Brilliant Stories

Soak Up Summer in Champaign-Urbana

February 13, 2024

Summer in Champaign-Urbana includes a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered. While the students are away, come play and see what you’ve been missing. From daily live music to the tantalizing flavors of local delicacies and the boundless outdoor adventures, our brilliant Illinois community offers an array of opportunities to savor the season.


Live Music

Summer nights in Champaign-Urbana come alive with the sound of music, echoing through the streets and filling the air with rhythm and melody. We boast a vibrant live music scene, catering to a diverse range of tastes. Whether you're into jazz, blues, rock, or indie, there's something for everyone here.


From June–August, you can discover the breadth of our local music scene at Friday Night Live. Held in downtown Champaign, this free weekly concert series kicks off our weekend by creating a block-party atmosphere in downtown Champaign, where sipping drinks on the patio and tapping your toes to the music is a weekly activity.


At Rose Bowl Tavern in downtown Urbana, the music heads outdoors under the tent so you can here two shows daily in this popular honky-tonk. Check out other outdoor live music spots in our local parks, forest preserves, and Allerton Park & Retreat Center.


Local Food 

No summer experience in Champaign-Urbana is complete without indulging in the culinary delights offered by our award-winning food scene. From farm-to-table eateries to eclectic food trucks and bustling farmers' markets, the options are endless for food enthusiasts looking to tantalize their taste buds.


Head to the Urbana’s Market at the Square on Saturday mornings to sample fresh produce from local farmers, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, and more. Afterward, grab a bite to eat from one of the food trucks in the area with everything from burritos to barbecue.


For fresh, farm-to-table experiences, check out Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery. This goat dairy has been producing award-winning cheese that you can find on the menus throughout Chicago’s dining scene. Make your own charcuterie board, enjoy a dinner on the farm, or just socialize with the goats for this unique experience. Or head to St. Joseph, where Chef Ryan Rogiers incorporates local ingredients across the menu at The Wheelhouse, changing with each season.


For a sit-down dining experience, explore the diverse range of restaurants scattered throughout downtown Champaign and Urbana. Dine al fresco at our cozy cafes serving up hearty brunch fare or our international destinations representing countries across the world for a culinary adventure waiting to be savored.


Outdoor Adventures 

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds Champaign-Urbana. With an abundance of forest preserves, trails, and camping, there are endless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors during the summer months.


Pack up your camping gear and sleep under the stars at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve, the only International Dark Sky Park in Illinois where you can get a spectacular view of the Milky Way. Rent a kayak or bring your own to Lake of the Woods, River Bend, or Homer Lake to spend some time in the water, then hike the surrounding trails.


At Allerton Park & Retreat Center, you can walk through 14 formal gardens, complete with stunning art and then tackle up to 14 miles of hiking trails.


In Sullivan, an hour south of Champaign-Urbana, you’ll find Lake Shelbyville where you can sit on a beach, get on a boat, or go hiking in the many trails in the area.


Plan Your Visit

Summer in Champaign-Urbana is a time of celebration, exploration, and discovery. Whether you're soaking in the sounds of live music, indulging in delicious local cuisine, or embarking on outdoor adventures, there's no shortage of experiences to delight the senses and create lasting memories. Experience all that this brilliant community has to offer.


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Download our digital Experience Guide or request your copy to start planning.

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