University of Illinois

#5. Champaign

Champaign, IL has been ranked for a third time as a Best College Town by Livability thanks to the thriving campuses of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Parkland College.

The 1,400-acre flagship campus of the University of Illinois has hands-on programs to fulfill any educational interest, famous for its engineering program and Study Abroad at Home program.

Ranked as a Best City for Entrepreneurs, the city is home to seven Fortune 500 companies, including Kraft Foods. Other major employers, besides University of Illinois, include Carle Foundation Hospital and Provena Medical Center. Industries that are flourishing in Champaign include educational services, health care, social assistance, arts and entertainment, recreation and food services.

Not just for business-minded people, Champaign also has a heart for the arts. The Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion is the second largest art facility in Illinois, next to the Chicago Art Institute.

Additionally, visitors and residents can enjoy the Arboretum at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to either learn more about plant science, or to simply appreciate the natural beauty of the region with more than 160 acres of gardens, habitats and collections on the campus farmlands.

However, if you’d rather appreciate beauty from indoors, Champaign has also been ranked as one of the 10 Best Film Festivals thanks to renowned film festival, Ebertfest. Originally titled Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival, every April in the historic Virginia Theatre the festival sheds light on non-mainstream films that would otherwise not be seen by the local audience.

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