It's Game Day! Here's What to Do in Champaign County for Labor Day Weekend

There’s something magical about September in Champaign County. The community is bustling, with University of Illinois students and faculty filling the campus streets, with classes just beginning.

It’s really the countdown to Fighting Illini Football, Volleyball and other fall sports that creates this intangible energy that sparks the community. Orange and blue can be seen all around the community anxious to host thousands of fans heading to Memorial Stadium to cheer on Lovie Smith’s Illini.

While football is the main attraction in Champaign County this weekend, there are countless opportunities to explore our thriving micro-urban oasis before and after the game. Here’s our top picks for this weekend:

Visit a Museum—Check out the newest exhibits at Krannert Art Museum (KAM) and Spurlock Museum. These free stops (with suggested donations) offer world-class exhibits, such as the “World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean” at KAM which will be on display on campus before moving to the Smithsonian. Meanwhile, Spurlock Museum hosts the Flatlands Dance Festival Sept. 1–2 at 7pm showcasing  variety of films and shorts dedicated to dance performance, dance for camera, influential artists in the field, and the social impact of dance across the world. 

Bring the Family Downtown—With Fighting Illini sports being a family-friendly activity, bring those kids down early for an overnight before checking out the Frozen Sing-A-Long at the historic Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Catch dinner while you’re downtownin one of over 40 locally-owned restaurants.

Get Local Ingredients for Your Tailgate—We really love our local farmers in Champaign County, and you can enjoy the harvest at Urbana’s Market at the Square before the tailgating starts. In fact, you can pick up some freshly made brats or burgers, tomatoes, onions and all the toppings before firing up the grill. Get there early at 7:00 a.m. to allow plenty of time to tailgate!

Visit Amish Country for Cheese and Bluegrass—Just south of Champaign County, in the village of Arthur, you can celebrate all things cheese at their annual Amish Country Cheese Festival running throughout the Labor Day Weekend, with tractor races, free cheese samples, parades and more. Also in Arthur at the famous Great Pumpkin Patch, you can relax to the sound of bluegrass at the Chet Kingery Bluegrass Festival playing until 10pm on Saturday, allowing plenty of time to enjoy after the game.

Cool Off at the Pool One Last Time—Labor Day Weekend brings the end of swimming season, and we’re going out in style. Check out our incredible aquatic centers to cool down after a day of sitting in the horseshoe as Sholem Aquatic Center in Champaign celebrates the end of the season with 50% of admission. Or brave the Vortex at Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center in Urbana adjacent to the park featuring the new Friendship Grove Nature Playscape.

What are you waiting for? Plan your entire weekend in the Greater Champaign County area for an “Outside of Ordinary” Labor Day weekend!


Urbana's Market at the Square

S Vine St & E Illinois St
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 384-2319  PHONE

Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center

1401 N. Broadway Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 239-7946  PHONE

Krannert Art Museum & Kinkead Pavillion

500 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820

(217) 333-1861  PHONE

Spurlock Museum

600 S. Gregory St.
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 333-2360  PHONE

The Virginia Theatre

203 W. Park Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820

(217) 356-9053  PHONE

The Great Pumpkin Patch

1749 County Road 1900 N.
Arthur, IL 61911

(217) 543-2394  PHONE

Sholem Aquatic Center

2205 W. Sangamon Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820

(217) 398-2581  PHONE

Friendship Grove Nature Playscape

1505 N. Broadway Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 384-4062  PHONE