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Five Amazing Attractions Outside of Champaign-Urbana

January 17, 2020

If you stand just outside our office in downtown Champaign, you can spend less than 15 minutes walking and end up at an internationally prestigious university, multiple museums, a number of award winning restaurants, an array of shops and boutiques, and a travel terminal that can get you a ride to just about anywhere else in town. We’re incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so many great amenities and attractions, and the greater Champaign County’s offerings don’t just end in the C-U. As you plan your 2020 adventures in our area, consider a visit to one of these five amazing attractions outside of Champaign-Urbana!

Five Amazing Attractions Outside of Champaign-Urbana to Check Out in 2020

Monarch Brewing Company – Monticello

Located in a beautifully renovated former church building in Monticello, Illinois, Monarch Brewing Company features seasonal brews of small-batch craft beers on a 3.5 barrel (BBL) system. To pair the craft beers, Monarch also houses a kitchen dedicated to making delicious food with fresh ingredients. The location’s New American cuisine emphasizes pops of flavor inspired by the team’s travels around the world. Each entree pairs perfectly with tastefully curated craft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and extensive wine selection. Come for trivia and happy hours, or stop by anytime during regular hours!

The Vault Art Gallery – Tuscola

The Vault Art Gallery is located in historic downtown Tuscola, and gets its name from the massive bank vault located behind the front counter. The location features local artists who have their work for sale in a variety of mediums, from paintings to sculpture to photography to jewelry to ceramics to fiber art and much more. The Vault also has vintage items and antiques. At the core of the Vault’s philosophy is the idea that art should be for everyone, and the curators and staff strive to feature artwork in an affordable price range. With so much to see and shop, it’s a must-visit outside Champaign-Urbana!

Rantoul Historical Society – Rantoul

"What you do today is tomorrow's history" This is the motto of the Rantoul Historical Society, located on Klein near all the action in Rantoul. The Rantoul Historical Society is dedicated to preserving and showcasing Rantoul's rich history. Visit the museum and see displays of authentic schoolhouse layouts and artifacts from Rantoul’s past. Likewise, explore everything from newspapers and toys to clothing and décor that keeps the spirit of Rantoul’s past alive.

Middle Fork River Forest Preserve – Penfield

If there’s one outdoor adventure destination you need to visit, make it Middle Fork River Forest Preserve. The area contains 1,702 acres composed of old hardwood timber, reforested lowlands, grassy meadows, and in-progress prairie restorations. From trails to campgrounds, there’s a ton of family-friendly activities waiting to be explored. Plus, you can see the Waterfowl Management Area, which features 130 acres of prime nesting habitat for migratory waterfowl with viewing platforms which allow visitors the opportunity to observe a wetland teeming with life. Lastly, Middle Fork River Forest Preserve is Illinois’ only International Dark Sky Park – a designation that makes it ideal for viewing the night sky without the threat of light pollution!

Downtown Mahomet - Mahomet

The downtown Mahomet area is exactly what you’d look for in small town charm, but there’s nothing small about what this downtown district has to offer. From a brewhouse and local boutiques and frozen treats, the downtown Mahomet area is a huge draw for anyone looking to shop local. Away from the hustle and bustle of busier areas of the county, you can enjoy a quieter shopping and dining experience in downtown Mahomet without sacrificing flavor, ambiance, or experience. 


There’s so much to do in the greater Champaign County area, and we’re here to keep you in the loop! Be sure to explore our Calendar of Events, as well as follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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