The MHM Blog

7 of the Best Things To Do in Champaign, IL This Summer

Posted July 18, 2022
Outdoor Concert

While Champaign is bustling during the school year, with students and professors alike taking over its restaurants and school-hosted activities, those finding themselves living on or off-campus during the summer have found that there is much less to do. Or so they think! While the impression is that the students make Champaign a lively place, the truth is this thriving community has tons of incredible events and things to do all summer long that will keep students and residents both happy and entertained until the next school year. 

Champaign Farmers Market 

Who doesn’t love a farmers market in the summer! You may think of the cliche early Sunday morning market, but champaign does it differently. Their website says you can catch them “every Tuesday from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the parking lot at Neil & Washington in downtown Champaign. The Market operates from May 17 – October 25. This year vendors will be offering meat, poultry, eggs, vegetables, fruit, microgreens, baked goods, bread, desserts, flowers, and herbal products, dog treats, food trucks, and more.” 

Summer Movies 

While Savoy movie theatre is promoting a ‘kids’ movie series, we know how much adults like cartoons. If you’re looking for a way to spend a super hot day inside an air-conditioned room, look no further than this summer movie series. These movies are FREE all summer on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning, and by looking at the list below, some you won’t want to miss! Grab some popcorn and enjoy. 

“July 12-14: Trolls World Tour AND The Secret Life of Pets 2

July 19-21: Despicable Me AND Abominable

July 26-28: Sing 2 AND Clifford the Big Red Dog

Aug. 2-4: Minions AND PAW Patrol: The Movie”

If you’re looking for a more adult experience at the movies and don’t mind sitting outside, U of I also hosts a free outside movie series all summer long, playing movies that have just been in theatres and also classics and favorites. “Each Thursday during the summer, come enjoy a free movie out on the University of Illinois Quad facing the Illini Union. Snacks and drinks can be purchased from the Illini Union Quad Shop.” 

Don’t miss the next few weeks of movies, running until August 26th! 

Outdoor Concerts

If you enjoy watching movies outside, you’re bound to also enjoy the summer concert series in Champaign. With most concerts being downtown Champaign and a few at other venues, you have your choice of where and how to enjoy them. The upcoming schedule features some incredible shows, including Music at the Vines featuring a vineyard location, a Summer Twilight concert in the U of I quad, and a Friday Night Live concert every Friday. No matter what you’re looking for, you will find a concert for you this summer. Check out the list and schedule here

University of Illinois Arboretum 

The University of Illinois Arboretum deserves a special spotlight. A favorite of everyone in the area, making time to stop by and enjoy all of the cool features it has will make you grateful you spent time outside and visiting this season. 

There are tons of things to do and see here – you just have to pick where to start. If you’re looking for a chill, scenic day – pack a picnic and a blanket (or utilize one of their picnic tables!) and enjoy the breeze and the view. If you are looking for a little more adventure, the gardens are the spot for you. The Hartley Garden is massive and is what the arboretum has become known for. With the nice weather and season, now is the perfect time to visit. The flowers are in bloom, and the smell as you walk through is unbeatable. 

Kickapoo State Recreation Area

Interested in outdoor adventures? Check out the Kickapoo State Park – about a 30 min drive from Champaign. You can rent tubes and sail down the river at your leisure. A favorite on hot days, bring a few drinks and soak up the sun. Check out the experience and more details here

Prairie Farm

A favorite of the area during the summer and fall, Prairie Farm is not just for kids, as the name suggests. Any animal lover will tell you that they will take any opportunity to play with animals, and this is the best opportunity around. And one of the best parts is – it’s free! 

Prairie Farm has a number of offerings, including:

  • petting zoo area, featuring goats, donkeys, and miniature horses (may vary)
  • beautiful koi pond and bridge
  • variety of farm animals, including pigs, chickens, turkeys, horses, and more” 

Allerton Park 

In the same outdoor theme, Allerton Park is considered a hidden gem of Champaign, thus saving the best for last on this list. The Huffington Post named this location the most underrated tourist destination in all of Illinois. “Entry is free; go hiking, check out the formal gardens, hunt for the sculptures, have a picnic or grab a bite at the Greenhouse Cafe.”

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