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Making the Most of a Student-Free Campustown

June 25, 2021

Campustown is an area a lot of residents avoid during the school year. Despite many areas not feeling overly crowded, the sentiment is that when U of I classes are in session the area is off-limits. That's not true, but if you are someone who tends to only make their way to that part of Champaign-Urbana during student breaks, you have a few more weeks to take advantage of an empty Campustown. Making the most of this Outside of Ordinary part of our community can actually be a lot of fun. 

making the most of a student-free campustown

Here are just a few ideas to make some time in Campustown a fun little adventure in your own backyard before students return!

13 thursdays: The perfect way to experience campustown

Champaign Center Partnership organizes 13 Thursdays as a way to encourage residents and visitors to explore Campustown while students are away for the summer. From May 20 to August 12, over 20 businesses around Campustown feature specials that you can take advantage of with a digital 13 Thursdays passport. The summer-long event also features fun activities like free trolley rides, sessions to learn how to take advantage of the local MTD bus routes, and an end-of-summer Campustown Pub Tour!

When it comes to exploring Campustown, you're not just limited to Thursdays. There's plenty to do all summer long.

grab a drink!

Whether you're craving a boba tea from Latea Lounge or a latte to keep you warm from Espresso Royale, these locations are great to visit for a few reasons. Firstly, without students, some of these businesses have seen a huge dip in sales. If you're already making an effort to explore Campustown, show these businesses some love until students return.

In that same vein, no students means very few lines. With features like order ahead and curbside pickup, you can get a drink while on the go without the wait you'd find at other locations! Feeling up for a beer? Stop by Murphy's Pub or pair a brew with the famous Legends fish sandwich!

Shopping options worth exploring

From Illini gear at Gameday Apparel to vintage finds at Ragstock, there are a lot of awesome options you might not even be aware of in Campustown! A great resource if you're not aware of some of Campustown's many businesses is the aforementioned Champaign Center Partnership. Representing Campustown as well as Midtown and Downtown Champaign, you can find a number of businesses listed in their Campustown directory.

Fun fact for all you Illini fans. Now is the perfect time to shop at the Illini Union Bookstore. Open 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, you can grab some orange and blue, or even a Chambana Proud shirt before the students return for their textbooks.

campustown target...c'mon, you know you're curious

The new, small-scale Target in Campustown opened back in October, but you might not have made it over yet. Why not go check it out now? It's a really unique setup that's fun to explore. It's a great pit stop while exploring all Campustown has to offer. 

Make a few stops along Green St. and then bring lunch back home from Sakanaya or Fat Sandwich Company. Even if it's just a few hours exploring an area of your community you don't get to very often, it's a very unique part of our area. Give it a go and explore before students return!

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