Best Places to Live

Champaign, IL

Population: 88,966
LIV
SCORE
665
iStock/leightrail

Champaign is a thriving, business-friendly community that’s a great college town as well as a great place for graduates and young families. With a high employment rate for graduates, a great start-up and entrepreneurial culture, world-class fine arts and a food scene that’s been named Best in the Midwest, it’s easy to see why folks who come here don’t seem to want to leave. 

Top Industries and Employers: Home to the state’s flagship university, about a quarter of the workforce is in education services, including companies like Herff Jones, which creates yearbooks, class rings and graduation regalia. Research and technology innovation, often tied to the university, is thriving. There’s also a small recording industry here and a number of Fortune 500 companies

Best Coffee Shop: Flying Machine Avionics is in the up-and-coming Midtown area. The folks know and love coffee and they get their beans from local Page Roasting Company.

Best Local Beer/Brewery: It’s almost impossible to find something to dislike about Triptych Brewing. Even their styles of beers you normally don’t like will go down smoothly and have you rethinking everything you thought about your beer choices. 

Must-Have Meal: The Diner Stack at Merry Ann’s is local legend, and at just $7, an absolute steal. Not for the faint of heart, it’s a known hangover cure of hash browns topped with cheese, hamburger or sausage patties, two eggs, and smothered with sausage gravy. Add a biscuit for $1. Trust us.

Best Co-Working Space: Launch at the Library is a walk-in co-working space focused on entrepreneurs and start-ups. 

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Watson’s Shack and Rail for adult slushies

Creative Hub: 40 North fosters collaboration, community, creativity and advocacy for the Champaign arts, culture and entertainment community. 

Free Way to Have Fun: The Champaign County Forest Preserve District has museums, lakes, hiking trails, a gorgeous natural playscape and more. They also have an International Dark Sky Park, a great place to stargaze.

Local Dream Job: Altgeld Hall Chimesmaster. Who wouldn’t want to get to be in charge of the iconic bells and get to choose what songs get played at the daily concert?

Read More:
Why Champaign, IL is a Great Place to Live
Champaign, IL is One of the Best Places to Live for Recent College Grads
Why I Stayed: 10 College Grads on Why They Made Their College Town Home

- Nicole Haase

"From an award-winning culinary scene, access to local ingredients through area farms, abundant live music and public art, boutique shopping, various museums, and nearby forest preserves and community parks, Champaign delivers on all interests."

Terri Reifsteck
Visit Champaign Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement

Champaign, IL Ranking Data

Civic
66
Demographics
71
Economy
51
Education
62
Health
51
Housing
68
Infrastructure
52