Best hotels in Champaign
Champaign IntroductionBack in 1969, Bob Dylan and Carl Perkins wrote 'I certainly do enjoy Champaign, Illinois' in the famous song that namechecks the city. Nowadays, this former farming community is making a greater name for itself as home to a thriving technology center known as the Illinois Silicon Prairie—it's here that one of the world’s first web browsers, Mosaic, was born. As well as boasting science and astronomy centers, Champaign is home to historic theaters and an art museum, and annual cultural festivals include the Boneyard Art Festival, with its extensive program of creative activity, and Roger Ebert’s Film Festival.
Hotels in ChampaignFrom family-friendly inns to budget-friendly motels, hotels in Champaign reflect the wide-ranging tastes and pockets of its visitors. The hi-tech industries of Silicon Prairie bring a demand for business hotels with on-site conference facilities, high-speed Internet, and round-the-clock service. Contrast these priorities with the simple needs of cash-strapped students dropping in on buddies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and you’ll soon understand why Champaign hotels are so varied. Book early for the best rates and availability, look for room deals that include free breakfast and free WiFi, or take advantage of last-minute bargains to stretch your budget even further.
Where to stayChoose one of the hotels in Champaign's downtown to be close to the heart of all the action. The historic Champaign Garden Inn offers charming rooms in a Victorian family home; in contrast, the 3-star Hyatt Place Champaign-Urbana is a sleek modern landmark with state-of-the-art facilities that are in keeping with its hi-tech surroundings. A large number of discount hotels in Champaign are to be found on Interstate 74, the main east-west artery through the city’s northern limits. Stay here for easy access to the University of Illinois research institutions—the no-frills motels in the area are also perfect for those en route to Indianapolis or Chicago.
Things to seeIt's no surprise that most of the must-sees in Champaign revolve around technology and science. Proud home to the Blue Waters supercomputer, the National Center of Supercomputing Applications offers tours of the machine room on request, and those interested in astronomy can enjoy an exploration of the wonders of the night sky at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium’s 'Prairie Skies' event. This city has its fair share of culture too; the Renaissance-style Virginia Theatre is now a historic performing-arts center hosting concerts, films, and plays. Downtown Champaign’s vibrant restaurant quarter is complemented by the more esoteric refreshment on offer at Japan House, open on Thursdays, where you can participate in a traditional tea ceremony and explore the intriguing gardens. Afterwards, explore the eclectic displays at Krannert Art Museum, which houses over 10,000 works of art, from Ancient Egyptian pieces to contemporary photography.
How to get to ChampaignFlights to Chicago and Dallas depart from University of Illinois Willard Airport, the former base of the University of Illinois Institute of Aviation, located on the outskirts of Champaign. Central Illinois Regional Airport at Bloomington-Normal, 50 miles northwest of Champaign, offers a wider choice of destinations. Interstates 57, 72, and 74 connect Champaign with the national highway network, and 3 Amtrak routes stop in the city, namely the overnight City of New Orleans and the Illini and Saluki services, which run to and from Chicago and Carbondale. The local bus network, operated by the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, supplies the means of public travel in Champaign.