The MHM Blog

5 Fun Winter Weekend Trip Ideas Near Champaign

Posted February 11, 2022
Driving Car on Sunny Day

The Winter semester at school can get boring as you look back on all the areas surrounding UIUC is filled with an awesome community that is set on making the students feel welcome year-long. So many fun activities for the weekends and parts of Illinois and your area you’ve probably never seen before. Check out our list of awesome weekend activities and trips near Champaign. 

Chicago, IL

Number one on the list for a reason, if you have the time and means to take a full weekend trip, Chicago is only a few hours away and easily the best city in the area to spend some time. From the beautiful icy lakefront to Michigan Ave shopping, the museums, and shows, there is so much to do in Chicago in one weekend and so little time. Some of the best winter activities include the Maggie Daley ice skating rink, the Art Institute, and so much more. Best to plan ahead, so you miss the snow and just get the glow of the city! 

Galena, IL 

About the same distance as Chicago, Galena sits right before the Iowa/Illinois border and is one of the cutest little towns to take a breath and relax in. With a downtown known for shopping and wine tastings, you can’t run out of things to do in the area. It’s beautiful and scenic, with the historic homes sitting along the tops of the rolling hills in the area. Galena is full of history and life, even in winter! Hotels are relatively cheap, and the drive is easy with mile after mile of farms. Galena is a great option if you’re feeling stir crazy and need some time to relax and unwind. 

Springfield, IL 

Only an hour and a half west of U of I sits the great state of Illinois’ capital! If you’ve never been to the capital, take this as a sign that it’s worth visiting! You may have burned out from learning, but seeing all the historical buildings around the area is a unique and fun experience for many. Tripstodiscover.com lists some awesome things to do and see in Springfield – “You can visit the Illinois State Capitol building, Lincoln’s Tomb, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Other top sights here to check out are the Air Combat Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana Thomas House, and the Camp Butler National Cemetery. Springfield is an epic weekend destination for history buffs and a place that will transport you back to another place in time.

Rockford, IL 

Your first thought when planning a weekend getaway from Champaign may not be Rockford, IL – but let us tell you why this place is great for an adventure. The town is super affordable and one of the biggest cities in Illinois. Rockford is between Chicago and Galena, so if you have an extra-long weekend, you could knock a few of these cities out all in one go. 

Tripstodiscover.com talks about why you should visit Rockford – “Rockford is a large city that is diverse, unique, and culturally rich. Here you can check out Japanese gardens, many local breweries, and the Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens for your nature fix. There are also opportunities in Rockford for ice skating, childhood learning at the Discovery Center Museum, and some excellent restaurants that include the Machine Shed Restaurant, Abreo Restaurant, and GreenFire.” Any weekend you spend here with these incredible recommendations will be worth it. 

Quincy, IL 

Located just about 200 miles west of Champaign, you can be in Quincy, IL, for just under 3 hours. Affectionately called the “Gem City” (having nothing to do with diamonds or rubies!) Quincy is known for its beautiful views of the Mississippi River and its abundant land, making it a popular place to settle in Illinois. Attractions of America encourages visitors, saying, “Quincy is considered of the cultural hubs of Illinois. There is the Villa Kathrine, which is a Moroccan-styled villa with grand architecture and pristine grounds. The Quincy Museum is a historical wonder in a restored mansion with tourists coming from all over the country to tour. Or, maybe try something a bit more modern. The Quincy Art Center is open for the inspired throughout the year.” With all these options, it’s hard not to clear your schedule and make way for an exciting weekend trip with your friends. 

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