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18 UNIQUE & FUN Things to Do in Champaign (Illinois)

With so many world-famous attractions and sites, deciding on the best things to do in Champaign may appear bewildering.

Most especially, if it’s your first trip here, you may find it so tiring to narrow down your itinerary.

In order to ensure a perfect travel list for you, we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of the best and most fun sites that you can check out upon your arrival.

Whether you want family-friendly attractions or refined sites that are suitable for all-year-round vacations, you will never be short of options to choose from in Champaign!

So, carefully take your time to check through our 18 picks for the best and most interesting sites in Champaign, Illinois.

Things To Do In Champaign

1. Hessel Park

Hessel Park, Champaign

Rklawton / Wikimedia Commons

With its grassy fields and playground, Hessel Park is an ideal destination to spend a sunny afternoon together as a family.

This area has played a key role in drawing travelers to Illinois since its establishment in 1918.

Today, besides its beautiful grassy spot, it boasts fine tennis courts, beautiful gardens, volleyball courts, and many colorful floral displays.

To enjoy the best out of this entertaining site, bring your camera and a picnic basket, and it’s sure you’ll have a fantastic time vacationing here in Champaign.

In fact, for the little ones, the frolic in the aquatic center, which spurts from the ground, is enough to keep them entertained and engaged for the whole day.

If perhaps your kids prefer something more refined, that’s never anything to ponder about!

There are various jet styles, a large playground,s and lots of wildlife animals that no kids would be able to resist its awesomeness.

Obviously, there’s a bit of something fun for everyone in this attraction!

Even at that, if you care for a meal while on site, the outdoor grill and the pavilions offer a variety of food and options at low prices.

If you’re with your sportswear while on visitation here, you can join some of the seasonal events that are always held, including fitness runs, snow runs, and many more.

Address: 1400 Grandview Dr, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

2. The Virginia Theatre

The Virginia Theatre

Simone Williams – 3D Tour Gallery Photography / Wikimedia Commons

Since 1921 when it was commissioned, the Virginia Theatre has been a notable landmark and entertainment venue in the east-central of Illinois and downtown Champaign.

If you’re planning a trip to Champaign with the aim of having enough memorable time to flashback at, don’t be hesitant to check out this awesome cool place.

Go beyond the ordinary! From its various acting troupes to concerts and ebertfest to various historic displays, the Virginia Theatre is a place with many things to remember!

To underscore its awesomeness, this building which has a capacity of 1,463 and a renaissance architectural style, was recognized as one of the most historic and fun places in the United States in the year 2003.

Since you’re traveling to Champaign, why don’t you decide to have stopped here instead of dwelling on the beautiful descriptions of this place that are contained in pages of magazines and newspapers?

The seats are spacious and comfortable, and the admission fee is inexpensive.

Besides, the food and drinks in the display store here are also cheap!

Address: 203 W Park Ave, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

3. Sholem Aquatic Cente

Sholem Aquatic Center, Champaign

Bobpalez / Wikimedia Commons

Nestled along the Sangamon area in Champaign, the Sholem Aquatic Center is another tourist attraction in Illinois.

It’s a family waterpark that was established in 2006. Since its establishment, this area has recorded over 250,000 visitors coming from various cities in the United States.

Essentially, this awesome destination is home to two twisting body slides, a lap lane area, a winding tube slide, a children’s pool, and several other plenties of play features that are suitable for visitors of all ages.

The entire pool area is always clean, and no lines for the slides.

While reflecting on that, it’s essential also to note that the lifeguards are attentive & always friendly, most especially to little ones on site.

Despite these great amenities and attributes of this lovely spot, the admission fee is just $6, which is quite flexible enough.

Whenever you’re traveling around Illinois, this is a nice place to spend some time away.

Note there are considerably high numbers of food ventures on-site. So, you’ll have enough choices about what to eat during your trip here.

Address: 2205 Sangamon Dr, Champaign, IL 61821, United States

4. Champaign Public Library

Champaign Public Library

Dori / Wikimedia Commons

The myopic belief that there’s nothing exciting and fun about a library has made several visitors miss out on some of the hidden treasures of Champaign.

Certainly, museums are great places to enjoy a vacation, and so also is lakes and parks.

For Champaign in Illinois, there are whole lots of delightful things you’ll enjoy in Champaign Public Library, which is its most popular library.

Aside from its huge book collections, Champaign Public Library is home to several historical exhibits, artifacts, and lots of beautiful video documentation on major historical occurrences in the United States.

Serving as a vital landmark in Illinois, this library has continued to receive lots of recognition both locally and internationally. For instance, it was recently ranked among the top 5% of public libraries in the whole of the United States.

Not just that, to the United States Library Journal, this resourceful center has earned a star rating for ten consecutive years.

Despite being in existence for over 145 years, it has continually proven itself to be an ever-green attraction!

No doubt, Champaign Public Library always gives every visitor a renewed vacation experience anytime, any season!

There are also larger selections of books for the kids, and the coffee store here is a good way for you if you need something to cool yourself while on a trip to this spot.

Even at that, there are equally large parking lots, and with the exception of Sundays, its operating hours are between 9 am through 9 pm!

Undoubtedly, anyone who stops vacationing and learning new things is old, whether in their twenties or nineties!

If you’re on a voyage to Champaign, there’s a whole lot you’ll learn and appreciate at Champaign Public Library!

Address: 200 W Green St, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

5. Alto Vineyards And Winery

Alto Vineyards and Winery

Alto Vineyards and Winery

Nestled along the Shawnee Hills in Illinois sits Alto Vineyards, Champaign’s oldest and most award-winning winery.

In illustrating his love for wine, this winery center was founded by Guy Renzaglia in 1988.

Today, this beautiful place is remarkable for its grape-growing productions, tasty beers, and several wine varieties.

Alto Vineyards and Winery is a truly breathtaking spot that exemplifies the beauty of Illinois wine country.

The wine varieties that you’ll find here will surely surpass your expectations!

Serving its finely-crafted wines with an impressive artful event, this at-tasting destination is obviously top-notch!

Little wonder this pleasurable region has amassed over 1000 National, State, and International awards.

The best part of this place is that, aside from its wines, Alto Vineyards and Winery is also an amazing choice for an afternoon launch and better dinner bites.

Impressively, each of its offerings is cheap and affordable, and the waitress is friendly.

If you’d have a stop here, ensure your visitation period is before 6 pm because, in most cases, the closing period here is 7 pm.

Address: 4210 N Duncan Rd, Champaign, IL 61822, United States.

6. Krannert Art Museum

Krannert Art Museum, Champaign

Krannert Art Museum

The Krannert Art Museum is an art museum that was established in 1961.

It’s situated at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, with 48,000 square feet of space dedicated to various works of art ranging from ancient sculptures to the contemporary period.

In addition to its diverse collections, this museum features a series of exhibitions aimed at educating, entertaining, and inspiring travelers of various interests.

Being a major unit at the University of Illinois, with the exception of Sunday and Monday, this lovely spot is open to travelers between 10 am –4 pm.

If you’ll be in Champaign, Krannert Art Museum is a great place to walk around!

Although it is visually stimulating enough to make one tired, nevertheless, you’ll not feel disappointed. The pleasurable things here are enough to make your visit a fun-filled one!

In fact, the beautiful gardens outside make the Krannert Art Museum more inviting to all!

Address: 500 E Peabody Dr, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

7. West Side Park At Champaign

West Side Park

The West Side Park

West Side Park is a grassy outdoor activity area with picnic tables, a pavilion plus walking paths & a water fountain.

Opening 5 am through 9 pm daily, West Side Park is a must-visit for every outdoor enthusiast planning a trip to Champaign.

Originally known as White Park when it was established in 1854, this park has a lot of recreational activities that are suitable for travelers of all interests.

With a playground, statues, fountain, gazebo, and lots of sidewalks & grass, there’s no dull moment in this park!

The ambiance is pleasing, and there are photographers on site who are ready to give you the best shot of your travel highlights.

Other than that, this park which was designed by Edward Kemeys hosts several interesting community events and cultural activities.

Events like “Taste of Champaign” and everyday evening concerts during the summer months will make here a perfect stop for your summer vacation.

Suitable for after-brunch weekdays or solo weekends, West Side Park in Champaign is just too fun to be excluded from your bucket list!

Although swimming isn’t allowed in its fountain, the park closes at dusk, which allows visitors to leverage enjoyment without having to worry about its early closure.

Upon your arrival in Champaign, this park will give you a glimpse as to why visitors kept making Illinois their favorite state of vacation!

Address: 400 W University Ave, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

8. William M. Staerkel Planetarium

William M. Staerkel Planetarium

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium

William M. Staerkel Planetarium is another top place you should consider checking out if you’ll be in Champaign.

After Adler Planetarium in Chicago, this planetarium is the second largest planetarium in Illinois.

As distinct from other fun places highlighted above, this particular tourist center provides a series of educational programs and entertaining activities for all categories of visitors and local inhabitants.

For as many as 40,000 travelers making here their vacation destination annually, there hasn’t been any traveler who has found a reason to regret stopping here. The reason isn’t difficult; this is because of its uniqueness and modern amenities!

This fun house uses the Zeiss M1015 Model projector, the first of its kind to be made available anywhere in the world!

Opening on Monday through Friday between 8 am to 9 pm, except if you want to be restrictive while in Champaign, this is a must-visit for you!

Just as a reminder, life is too short; every moment is meant to be enjoyed and cherished!

Once you are in this downtown city of Illinois, take out some time to come and enjoy yourself here!

It’s going to be well worth the stop!

Address: 2400 W Bradley Ave, Champaign, IL 61821, United States

Planning a vacation to other beautiful cities in Illinois? If you do, you can check out our list of the best and most fun sites in Schaumburg, Chinatown, and Springfield

9. Champaign County History Museum

Champaign County History Museum

Beyond My Ken / Wikimedia Commons

Champaign County History Museum presents several historical exhibits that don’t only reflect the historical antecedents of Champaign but equally its cultural heritage.

Situated at University Avenue, Champaign County History Museum is a nonprofit museum in a restored 1857 building with rotating exhibits dating back to the 17th century.

This spot collects, preserves, and educates the public on major historic occurrences not only of Champaign but of the state of Illinois and the entire United States at large.

Adventure seems so interesting here because you can talk directly to the curators, who aren’t only friendly but quite courteous.

If you’re uncertain of how to use your time well while on a voyage to Champaign, this museum is a better way to use an hour or two!

Amazingly, entry is free, with no admission fee!

It’s, however, necessary to note that this attraction is open on Wednesday through Friday between 1 pm to 5 pm.

Although it’s usually not in operation on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, nevertheless, its hours of operating period on Saturday is between 10 am to 5 pm.

Address: 102 E University Ave, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

10. Champaign Kaufman Lake

Kaufman Lake

The Kaufman Lake

Offering outdoor fun for families and individuals, Kaufman Lake is another interesting destination in Champaign.

Known for its nice, smooth, and easy road that wraps around the lake, there’s no other fishing site you’ll enjoy as much as you will in Kaufman Lake!

When fishing here, you’ll have the privilege of catching a variety of fish, including Channel Catfish, Bluegill, Muskie Largemouth Bass, Yellow Bullhead, and White Crappie.

Although to ensure the safety of travelers, ice skating and swimming are not allowed on Kaufman Lake. Meanwhile, other series of fun activities aside from fishing in this 5 acres attraction are enough to keep you entertained for longer periods.

The tour guides act almost like old friends, and their eagerness to answer questions that come from visitors is second to none one!

Whether you’re coming for a short-term trip or a holiday vacation, Kaufman Lake is sure to make your sightseeing tour to Champaign so memorable and fun.

Note: pets are allowed & even on weekends; this park opens till dusk, so there’s no drawback to avoiding a vacation here!

While coming, do come with a nice camera so as to capture every one of your activities here.

The best part, there’s no entrance fee to explore this awesome site!

Address: 2702 W Springfield Ave, Champaign, IL 61822, United States

11. The Sousa Archives Center For American Music, Champaign

Sousa Archives

Sousa Archives Center for American Music

The Sousa Archives and Center for America showcase the history of music in America through its archival records & artifacts in multiple formats.

Established on the 26th of September 2002, the Sousa Archives Center for American Music boasts of incredible collections, including musical instruments of Claude Gordon, Herbert Clarke trumpet, and other series of educational materials.

If you’ve always desired to do something differently, this spot will present a better to do that.

No controversy, the only way you can instill fresh energy in your mindset is to think differently, act differently and do things uniquely!

If you’re traveling to Champaign, leaving out an hour or more to glance at these significant archival records and the history of music in the United States wouldn’t be a bad idea.

In fact, aside from its rich musical history, this site is also remarkable for its various social activities, which are just a plus to what you’ll enjoy here.

So, what’s delaying your vacation to Champaign in Illinois? If you’re in for the real deal, there should be nothing!

Address: Harding Band Building, 1103 S 6th St, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

12. The Boneyard Creek Trail

Boneyard Creek Trail

The Boneyard Creek Trail

Boneyard Creek is a waterway that flows through the north side of the University of Illinois in Champaign.

With a length of 3.3m miles and 728 ft elevation, this region in Champaign is a win-win adventure for every lover of hiking, trailing, or bicycling!

If perhaps you’re not a lover of hiking or bicycling, its pretty decent birding zone is a perfect alternative for you.

In addition to that, another outstanding feature of this site is that it’s totally safe to be here.

While kids enjoy every moment spent under the strict supervision of the tour guides, adults are quite sure of their safety too.

In fact, in this small but intimate region, there are varieties of vendors offering snacks and goodies with the best price tag!

You could be here from morning to dawn; nothing to worry about!

Talk of security, food, or adventure, Boneyard Creek Trail doesn’t disappoint!

Although not a typical free attraction, nevertheless, the admission fee isn’t expensive, it’s so affordable!

Address: 302 S 2nd St, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

Planning a vacation to other beautiful cities in Illinois? If you do, you can check out our list of the best and most fun sites in Galena, Quincy, and Naperville

13. Antiques & More Staley Road

Antiques & More Staley Road, Champaign

Alice / Antiques & More Staley Road

With over 90 booths and 45 plus vendors, Antiques & More Staley Road offers everything an antique lover can imagine!

Antiques & More Staley Road allows visitors to connect with history and purchase amazing varieties of antiques of high value at affordable prices.

Whether you’re seeking an awesome gift or want to take home some beautiful hand-crafted furniture, antiquities, or Bridport, Antiques & More, Staley Road has all you’ll ever need!

This store in Champaign isn’t only filled with varieties of antiques, but its retro finds, and all sorts of collectible items are also mind-blowing!

There’s apparently something special for visitors of diverse interests at Antiques & More Staley Road!

In fact, prices are what you’ll expect, and the conduct of each vendor on sight is always satisfactory.

Since Antiques & More Staley Road is a little store, parking most time always seems uneasy.

So, I suggest that you come early so as to avoid this shortfall.

Address: 606 S Staley Rd, Champaign, IL 61822, United States

14. Centennial Park Champaign

Centennial Park Champaign

Centennial Park Champaign

Situated in the western part of Champaign, Centennial Park is a friendly family destination suitable for summer vacation.

This park was established in 1959, and it’s the second-largest park that’s operated by the Champaign Park District.

Precisely, Centennial Park Champaign features a lighted baseball field, eight lighted tennis courts, and one soccer field.

This park also contains a large playground for kids and several picnic areas.

Interestingly, this awesome park equally has a little farm known as “Prairie Farm,” which features a farmhouse, barns, pond, flower garden, and pasture.

No matter your interests, no matter your expectations, you wouldn’t have any bad moments in this park because there’s something fun, entertaining, and engaging for everyone!

Perhaps if you’ll love to have a couple of minutes swimming, this engaging site also has an indoor pool that’s suitable for swimmers or various skill levels!

What more would you have wanted from a park other than these?

Obviously, the fact speaks for itself; Centennial Park Champaign has it all!

A quick note, this recreational spot is open to visitors on all days of the week between 6 am to 11 pm, and the admission fee is just $6.

Address: 2200 W Kirby Ave, Champaign, IL 61821, United States

15. Slowride Pedal Tours, Inc. In Champaign

Slowride Pedal Tours, Inc

The Slowride Pedal Tours

Slowride Pedal Tours, Inc. is a premier 15-passenger tour agency in Champaign that has been providing smooth and best vacation experiences for visitors and travelers alike.

If you’ll love to enjoy a leisurely ride while sipping your favorite beverage or exploring the best historical sites in this downtown, this tour agency is all you need!

Although this adventure is just about 2 hours, nonetheless, the cruising experience will last a lifestyle.

The tour guides are knowledgeable and friendly and wouldn’t hesitate to customize the exploration based on each visitor’s interests and peculiarities.

If you’ll be traveling through Champaign, this is a perfect spot to begin your exploration!

The most exciting part of Slowride Pedal Tours, Inc. is the fact that touring through them is quite affordable!

Address: 408 S Chestnut St, Champaign, IL 61821, United States

16. Dotty’s At Champaign

Dotty's Champaign


Do you love playing casino games?

Dotty’s is an award-winning casino center that offers an enabling and friendly atmosphere for all admirers of the casino.

Aside from the casino that’s available here, inside its kitchen area, you’ll find a long menu with affordable price tags.

Its herbal teas, gourmet coffee, and a large selection of beer and wine will also make your quick break fun packed!

As different from sham in other places, there are zero forms of manipulations at Dotty’s games which is quite assuring.

Even at that, Dotty’s long period of operation is so pleasing. From 7 am to 2 am, you’re good to go!

Whether it’s winter period or summertime, this isn’t an attraction worth missing out on your travel list!

It’s important to note that this attraction isn’t kids friendly.

So, endeavor to make adequate provisions for your kids before coming.

Address: 914 W Town Center Blvd, Champaign, IL 61822, United States

17. Zahnd Park

Zahnd Park

Zahnd Park

Life can be complex, tricky, and challenging. It can also be brimming with love, beauty, and experiences.

One of the best gifts to humanity is the presence of nature and its awesomeness.

If you’re traveling around Champaign and have yet to include a nature-rich site, it shows you’re not prepared for an all-inclusive adventure.

In Champaign, Zahnd Park is one of the beautiful sites that’s not only nature-inclined but also a beautiful spot with lots of fun activities.

This 20-acre attraction, established in 1994, equally features a nice trailing area, hiking facilities, and a baseball and football field.

Other than that, Zahnd Park has a small pavilion area and lots of picnic tables.

This amazing park has just everything you would want for a perfect vacation experience!

Adults’ entrance fee is about $7.57, while kids pay lesser, and there are on-site photographers who are ready to capture every one of your adventurous activities at inexpensive rates.

Address: 2502 S Staley Rd, Champaign, IL 61822, United States

18. Brainstorm Escapes

Brainstorm Escapes, Champaign

Brainstorm Escapes

If you’re after an immersive, thrilling, and effective form of entertainment when you visit Champaign, plan a trip to Brainstorm Escapes!

Brainstorm Escapes is an escape room house that offers lots of live action for travelers of all ages.

Whether you’re here as a single player or coming with your friends, you’ll have 60 minutes to solve & identify puzzles, find clues, or solve riddles.

The aim of doing these is to escape from the scary but immersive room, which is always entertaining.

Do you think you have what it takes to escape?

Until your next visit to Illinois, don’t be too sure!

Visit Brainstorm Escapes and evaluate yourself!

Interestingly, there are various themed rooms here ranging from defuse room to break out of prison to outwitting a professor and lots more.

With much certainty, you’ll have an immersive fun moment here like never before!

Address: 61 E University Ave, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

Final Remarks

As evident above, Champaign has lots of beautiful sites.

It’s certain that your vacation experience here will be so delightful like never before.

So, ensure you carefully narrow down your itinerary using the above recommendations.

We wish you all the best and a safe trip!