Champaign, IL

jjimm: First off, ignore the pseudosophisticated 3-4 year tourists who never opened their eyes outside of Campustown during their parent-funded vacations. There’s a few good places to eat (Chambana’s pretty ethnically diverse for a small Midwestern city), a couple good places to drink, the 3rd biggest academic library in the U.S. (11 million holdings – not too shabby), some good bookstores, a kickass theatre department… Post again and let us know what you like. Definitely try the Blind Pig for beer – the owner’s a expat Englishman who’s seen the inside of a few public houses. Burgers: Farren’s downtown or Crane Alley in Urbana. Decent Chinese: Tang Dynasty in Urbana. Italian… opinions vary. I like the three Sicilian places downtown; rich kids showing off prefer Biaggi’s. Timpone’s not bad for appetizers and desserts. Radio Maria ONLY if you want to pose elegantly in an avant-garde ambiance as you slowly starve, waiting for your undersized portions of whimsy to arrive at a glacial pace, garnished with the suave apologies of the attractive young waitstaff. Best yet, let us know when you figure you’ll be in town and I’ll buy you a pint and give you a quick orientation to things to do and places to eat/drink. Omniscient’s got the basic flavor of the place, but when in doubt, ask a townie. PM me – I’ve been here, oh say, longer than three years.

Hell, you can see LT’s scuptures any number of places (especially in and around Chicago.) But how many places can you see his house?

Dinsdale, who at the time thought 8 years was far too long to spend in C-U, but now things it wouldn’t be at all a bad place to live. Hey, if you stop by Chicago first, I’ll let you borrow my Illini Inn Mug Club card # 1227.

Funny, sounds rather like you’ve gotten the hang of it already.

No intent to hijack this post, jjimm, please bear with me.

Long time reader of SDMB, I 'bout fell out of my chair when I read the post titled “Champaign, IL”. Just the title had me bamfoozled! WOW!..
Then read your post, oh, a visitor, from England!!! Why would anyone from England want to visit this sh*t hole? Especially during those cold months?

Yes, as figured, I’m a 38 year resident of this town. Nuttin to brag about in my opinion. Illini football has everyone in an up roar, Michael Jordon’s son on the basketball team…whoopie do! Illini sucks!

But when I read the above quote, “I’ll let you borrow my Illini Inn Mug Club Card # 1227”, I couldn’t get my visa out fast 'enuf to subscribe! I thought I had a low number! Exactly 200 more than yours! 1427. And I got this years ago when the legal age of consumption was lowered to 18. It was reversed when I turned 21, God Bless 'Em! Yes, I’m tellin my age, thanks! It’s been a while since I was in there, but they sure go nuts when I pull out this card!

Thanks for the memories, Dinsdale!

Willie’s Thick and Sleazy. Mmmm!

Omni’s got the sense of it. For a medium-sized city in the midwest, it isn’t bad.

It’ll be dead after finals, though. When do they end these days, about 12/20?

The week before that.

I send gas samples to Champaign, so if you smell anything strange, I’ll take the blame.

I actually loved the place when I lived there. Nice quarter of a house, furnished, utilities included for $125 a month. In fact I loved it way too much, if my thesis adviser hadn’t died on me, I might be there yet.

And to tell you another way how long ago it was, when I lived there there were only corn fields between the Ford dealer on Neil and Withered Airport.

We were in England over last New Years. I was born/raised in NW Indiana; colleged in Chicago.

My verdict: England cold is nothing like Midwest cold. Yeah, so it was a bit windy at Stonehenge on New Years Eve. But lemme tell you! Waiting for the 55th street bus for 20 minutes on the Dan Ryan overpass after getting off the Red Line at 2AM in February will fuck you up.

Jjimm? Buy a really warm hat. Get thermal underwear. Trust me.

(I realise my data set for England is small, but what the hell)

And to tell you another way how long ago it was, when I lived there there were only corn fields between the Ford dealer on Neil and Withered Airport.

Voyager, that would be Willard Airport, but you’re correct, it is withered. Same airport where Air Force One ran out of runway carrying Clinton when he was trying to leave from some visit here. Pilot was dismissed after that, of course.

The Ford dealer at that time was “University Ford”. My old employement after too many years and I recall a par 3 golf course just south of the dealership on the way to “Withered Airport” which is now a passel of office buildings. But you’re correct, corn after that!

I was there 95-99, but was abroad that semester. IIRC, the runways at the time were too short for jet service, but there was talk of expanding them. Did I miss something? Did they just land Air Force One there anyhow? I see they have flights to Vegas now, did they expand the runways?

I did like the fact that I could leave my apartment 45min before departure and still make the flight. I always thought it was kinda telling that it was “Univ. of Illinois Willard Airport”, not “C-U Willard Airport”, but I didn’t realize that it was owned by U of I.

When I lived there they had jet service - but I suspect only 727 class. (Not that a big plane would ever get enough passengers to be useful there.) Ozark was the only airline at the time, but there seems to have been a few more come in later.

Withered Airport comes from a great series the college commercial station ran in 1975 called Flush Bizbo, College Freshman. Because of a shortage of dorm rooms Flush was assigned to the South Farms with a bull as a roommate. (Angus Black was the name.) It was quite well done.

Air Force One did land there, but as I recall there was some nasty winter weather when they were trying to take off. As far as runway expansion, I’m clueless. I dunno if they did or not.

It is U of I Willard Airport just as it’s U of I Golf Course next to it!

Near Chicagoan chiming in–also, I’m in grad school at UIUC (but online, so I won’t be oncampus).
He’s not far wrong. I’ve been in UK in late fall, and you all have a damp creeping cold–sort of like our March. We get dry winters–unless there’s snow–and the wind can and will freee your face, crack your lips and chap both sets of cheeks. The windchill is always a factor in IL. We have had relatively mild winters recently, but you can’t count on that. Wait to buy the gloves and hat until you’re here-they’ll be much cheaper, and more warmly made.

The upside is we have tons and tons of central heating–so you can take your “jumper” off indoors. I’d wear a turtleneck, sweater, scarf, heavy coat, hat and gloves, for around town. If you’re out walking for any length of time, add longjohns and thick warm socks and boots to that.

I like the Noodle’s restaurant on Green. I also like Murphy’s–nice atmosphere for a casual beer. Avoid Green St on a Friday night, unless you like walking on vomit slicks.

(I hate to say this but I find Champbana limited in terms of nightlife and quiet pubs–there’s Green St and that’s about it for the visitor. I’ll look for the Blind Pig next time I’m down there. Iowa City has more variety in terms of restaurants and bars-or had when I attended).

That should say freeze, not freee. Stupid edit window.

ok, i found the original DI artile that I was thinking of, talking about bringing jets to Champaign. Seems the runway expansion was entirely my own invention, apologies (hey, it was 10 years ago). I see they have daily service to Dallas now, I do have to wonder who is filling those flights. :confused:

Nothing much to contribute beyond what’s already been said, just digging all the stuff about my alma mater.

BS, MS, 1989-1994.

From Eleanorigby:(I hate to say this but I find Champbana limited in terms of nightlife and quiet pubs–there’s Green St and that’s about it for the visitor. I’ll look for the Blind Pig next time I’m down there. Iowa City has more variety in terms of restaurants and bars-or had when I attended).
See, that’s the problem with finding cool things to do in Chambana – you’ve GOT to get away from Green Street, which has decayed in the past 5 years into a playground for the freshmen… not the bright, curious freshmen either, but the dregs. The grown-ups, grad students and undergrads with taste play downtown at night, or Urbana on a weekend day. Green St. has the best movie rental place (comparable perhaps to Tofu Hut in I.C., maybe, if it’s still around), and some good Asian & Middle Eastern food. That’s it, other than tanning booths, tattoo shops and bars with water-soluble age stamps.
So far, everybody’s dead-on about the weather, though – Central Illinois is known for rather well-defined seasons, I’m afraid. JJiimm, bring a hat. And not a natty Panama, either, but something ugly that covers the ears. Eleanorigby, I’ll extend my offer to you as well. Next weekend you’re down, let me know and I’ll stand you a beer and we’ll see if we can’t scratch up some fun. I also remember Iowa as a hoot, but Chambana has its charms IF you know where to look.

Have you been to downtown Champaign? Downtown Champaign is not Green St. Green St. is Campustown – mostly just undergrads and the aforementioned vomit slicks.