Moving to Champaign

Welcome to your complete guide for relocating to Champaign, IL! Famous for its delightful mixture of urban energy and chic rural charm, moving to Champaign offers an array of exciting new experiences. From its well-renowned educational institutions to voguish local hotspots, every street corner has a tale to unveil. Sit back, relax, and let us stroll you through the ins-and-outs of what makes Champaign not just a city, but a lifestyle. Let's launch your incredible journey into the vibrant heart of the Midwest! Stay put as we explore why so many have chosen Champaign as their home sweet home.

Moving to Champaign, IL landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Champaign

1. A City Full of History and Charm

Champaign, IL, affectionately known as Champagne-Urbana, is a city that loves its history. The city is packed with beautifully preserved buildings and historic neighborhoods, making local strolls a walk through time. Don't miss the Virginia Theatre, a restored 1920s movie palace that now hosts film festivals and concerts - a classic representation of Champaign's proud past and vibrant present.

2. An Innovation Hotspot

Home to the University of Illinois, Champaign is a hub for innovation and education. Major tech companies, including Yahoo and IBM, have set up operations here, drawn by the university's cutting-edge research. Plus, Volition, a game development studio famously known for the Saint's Row and Red Faction series, is headquartered in town. It's not just cornfields in Illinois!

3. A Foodie's Paradise

Champaign has an unexpectedly rich and diverse food scene. From the artisanal farm-to-table restaurants to authentic international cuisine, there's a dish for every palate. One local secret? Be sure to visit the farmers market for the wildly popular Prairie Fruits Farm cheese - it's a game-changer!

4. Art is Everywhere

While Champaign might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of art, it definitely should be! The city is home to the Krannert Art Museum, featuring a spectacular collection from around the world. Street art is also a big deal here - the ever-changing urban canvas around town never fails to delight.

5. Outdoorsy? We've Got You Covered!

Champaign might be a city, but it's a city that loves the great outdoors. The city boasts 60 parks, including the sprawling Meadowbrook Park with its prairie landscapes and whimsical sculptures. Plus, the city's commitment to biking will thrill cyclists - with over 14 miles of bike lanes, getting around town on two wheels is a breeze.

6. The City is Haunted - Yes, You Heard That Right!

Perhaps one of Champaign's best-kept secrets is its haunted history. Ghost enthusiasts will get a kick out of known haunted locales like the Stickney House, known for its "devil's staircase", and the Orpheum Children's Science Museum, rumored to be haunted by a former stagehand. But hey, a few friendly spirits just add to the city's unique charm, right?

To wrap things up, Champaign, IL has an infectious energy that's hard to resist - a combination of Midwest charm, cutting-edge innovation, cultural richness, and a dash of spookiness. Whether you are a tech enthusiast, history buff, nature lover, art nerd, or foodie, there's something for everyone. Moving to Champaign isn't just a change of scenery; it's the beginning of an adventure. "Un-ordinary"? Yes. Unforgettable? Absolutely!

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Pros and Cons of Living in Champaign

Pros of Living in Champaign

Extensive Educational Opportunities

The city of Champaign is home to the esteemed University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The university provides diverse educational opportunities in various disciplines. Also, the public and private K-12 schools in Champaign are highly rated, making the city an excellent place for families with school-aged children.

Vibrant Art and Culture Scene

There is a rich arts and culture scene in Champaign, thanks to the presence of the Krannert Art Museum, the Virginia Theater, and the Art Theater. These venues host exhibitions, live performances, movie screenings, and cultural festivals throughout the year.

Affordable Cost of Living

Compared to many cities in Illinois, Champaign boasts a relatively lower cost of living. This is reflected in various aspects, including grocery bills, healthcare, and transportation. It means that residents can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Outdoor Activities

Champaign is a dream for lovers of the outdoors, particularly family-friendly outings. With places like the Champaign Park District and Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, families can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities like hiking, picnics, and wildlife spotting.

Accessible City Layout

Champaign offers easy access to everything within the city. It is well-planned with an efficient public transportation system and biking paths, making it easy for residents to get around the city. The airport and train station also provide convenient travel options to other states and cities.

Cons of Living in Champaign


Champaign experiences all four seasons, which can be a disadvantage for some. Winters can be quite harsh with heavy snowfall at times, making daily commuting for work or school more taxing. The summer, on the other hand, can get quite hot and humid.

Limited Job Market

While the University of Illinois is a major employer in the region, job opportunities can be limited outside the education sector. Residents often have to look beyond the city's borders for diverse job options, especially in industries like technology, healthcare, and finance.

Higher State Taxes

Although Champaign enjoys a comparatively lower cost of living, Illinois as a whole has a higher state tax rate. This could potentially offset some of the savings residents get from the city's affordable living expenses.

Crime Rate

Like many urban areas, Champaign does struggle with crime in certain neighborhoods. While the city is generally safe, those considering a move should research and choose their neighborhoods wisely to ensure personal safety.

Limited Nightlife

Champaign caters well for families and university students, but those looking for a bustling nightlife might find the city lacking. While there are bars and restaurants, the city doesn't have an extensive array of entertainment options like some larger cities.

Modern day picture of Champaign, IL highlighting pros and cons of living in Champaign, IL

Is Champaign a Good Place to Live?

Champaign, IL is a great place to live because of its diverse and lively culture, top-ranked education with the University of Illinois at its heart, and abundance of recreation options. It boasts a thriving art community and fantastic food scene. Plus, for those into outdoor activities, there are numerous bike trails, parks, and natural features to explore.

What Is Champaign Famous For?

Home to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

One of the attributes that makes Champaign famous is hosting the main campus for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As a Big Ten University, it attracts students from across the world, especially known for its programs in Engineering, Business and Agriculture.

Champaign-Urbana Music Scene

Known for a vibrant indie music scene, Champaign-Urbana nurtured bands like REO Speedwagon and American Football. The scene is sustained by venues such as the Virginia Theatre and an array of annual music festivals, drawing audiences from across the Midwest.

Agricultural Innovation

With one of the largest agricultural research fields in the world and a major contributor to agricultural innovation, Champaign sits at the heart of some of the latest agricultural research and technology. Innovations ranging from crop genetics to sustainable farming are being pioneered within this region.

Cradle of Supercomputing

Champaign is the birthplace of some of first supercomputers in the world, helping to push the boundaries of computation and its possibilities. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) was where a team of scientists and engineers created Mosaic, the web browser that made the internet popularly accessible.

Capital building of Champaign, IL in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

The property tax rate in Champaign, IL as of 2023 is 2.15%, which is higher compared to the national average property tax rate of 1.07%. This means that homeowners in Champaign pay more in property taxes on average.

Sales Tax

Champaign's combined sales tax rate for 2023 is 9%, which includes the Illinois state sales tax of 6.25% and Champaign County's sales tax of 2.75%. This sales tax rate is relatively high compared to the US average combined sales tax rate of about 7.12%.

Income Tax

As of 2023, the income tax rate for Champaign residents is 4.95%, which is a flat rate across the state of Illinois. This is fairly average when compared against the varied state income tax rates around the United States, which can range between 0% to more than 13%.

Housing Market

Champaign, IL offers a more affordable housing market compared to the national average. The median home value stands around $150,000, significantly lower than the US median. Renters keep around 48% of their income after paying rent, higher than the national average. An attractive mix of urban and suburban living, Champaign presents residential properties ranging from modern downtown apartments to traditional single-family homes. However, given the stable university and healthcare sectors, the demand is high, consequentially creating a competitive market. Savvy buyers and renters are advised to stay alert for emerging deals.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Champaign, Illinois is considerably lower than the national average. Housing, utility, and grocery expenses are notably affordable as compared to other U.S cities. However, this economical living doesn't compromise the quality of life- with a multitude of recreational, educational and employment opportunities, Champaign stands as an appealing city to reside in. Thus, combining affordable living conditions with an enriched lifestyle, Champaign, IL presents a compelling option for many.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Champaign, IL, located in the heartland of the United States, experiences a classic humid continental climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are comfortably warm, often reaching the mid-80s, while winters can be harsh with temperatures frequently plummeting below freezing, and occasional snowfall. The city also welcomes a moderate rainfall throughout the year with the most intensive precipitation typically occurring in the spring months. As for natural disasters, Champaign is susceptible to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, especially during spring and summer, due to its location in the Tornado Alley. Occasionally, it may also experience flooding from excessive rainfall. Despite these, Champaign's weather patterns add to its Midwestern charm, offering spectacular season transitions and a variety of weather phenomena for locals and visitors alike.

Typical weather in Champaign, IL

Economy & Job Market

- Education Services- Health Care and Social Assistance- Retail Trade- Manufacturing- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Champaign, IL nestled snug as a bug in the heart of Illinois, has a thriving economy largely powered by education services, thanks to the prominent University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Historically, Champaign was a farming community, but today, it is much more than just tractors and cornfields. It's roared into the 21st Century with a significant presence in the technology sector, boasting a vibrant tech startup scene linked to the university's research community. Health care, retail trade, and manufacturing also twirl in the mix, creating a balanced economy offering a variety of opportunities for its residents.

If you're packing your bags for Champaign, IL and wondering, "Hey, what's the job market like over there?" - let me tell you, you're in for a treat! Unemployment rates in Champaign are lower than the national average, and if you're swerving into the sectors of education (shout-out to all the teachers and researchers out there), healthcare, technology, or retail trade, you're diving right into the city's largest pools of employment. If you've got a keen mind for innovation, the city's tech startup scene could be your playground. So take a look, have a stroll around Champaign, IL. Your new job might just be waiting for you.

Traffic and Transportation

If you're zipping around in Champaign, IL, you're in some sweet luck! With an average commute time of just 16 minutes, it's almost as if folks in Champaign have figured out how to chill with time. Cruising has never been this smooth! Did we mention the public transportation? The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) is pretty awesome, providing ample bus routes throughout the city. It's an ecological ride with a fun twist! Now if you're more into soaring than rolling, the University Of Illinois Willard Airport has got you covered. This little gem of an airport offers multiple flights daily to and from Chicago's O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Charlotte, NC. Who knew getting around Champaign could be such a breeze? With great commute times, reliable public transport, and convenient air travel, this town truly is a mover's paradise!

What is the traffic like in Champaign, IL?

Best Neighborhoods in Champaign

1. West Side Park Neighborhood

West Side is a classic area full of history and character! This neighborhood is home to Champaign's first-ever park - West Side Park. Dotted with beautiful Victorian homes, Cleveland and Church Streets are ideal for evening virtuous walks. The neighborhood also features several annual events like the Picnic in the Park and Home and Garden Tour, perfect for meeting and bonding with your neighbors. This is an ideal place for people who love community-oriented and family-friendly places.

2. Campustown Neighborhood

If you like to be in the center of action, Campustown is the place for you. As the heart of the University of Illinois campus, this neighborhood is a vibrant hub of student life, with an abundance of coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and stores. The Alma Mater sculpture and the University of Illinois Arboretum are notable landmarks here. Despite its active pace, it still maintains a sense of tranquility with its quiet lanes and green spaces.

3. Downtown Champaign

Downtown Champaign is the city's cultural center, bursting with arts, music, dining, and shopping. This neighborhood is home to the Virginia Theatre, a restored movie palace that now hosts film festivals and concerts. Locals often gather at the Market at the Square, a weekly farmers market, or enjoy a leisurely outing at one of the many local restaurants, bars, or cafes. If you love a city vibe with an artistic flair, this is the neighborhood to move to!

4. Midtown Neighborhood

Midtown is a peaceful residential area, situated between downtown and Campustown. It's a blend of young professionals, families, and students, creating a diverse, welcoming community. With local businesses, district parks, and easy access to downtown and campus bus routes, it offers a balanced lifestyle. Midtown's main attraction is Scott Park, a charming park where you can relax, play sports, or just enjoy the outdoors.

5. Hessel Park

Hessel Park, just south of the university, is known for its sizable namesake park. The park offers a splash pad, tennis courts, open fields for pick-up games, and a walking/jogging path. The neighborhood is lively but not too busy and is home to a lot of younger families due to its playgrounds, recreational activities, and the choice of nearby schools. If you want a neighborhood that offers a suburban feel within the city, Hessel Park is the perfect choice.

In conclusion, Champaign is a diverse city with a wide range of vibrant and distinctive neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. From the historic charm of the West Side Park neighborhood to the buzzing hub that is Campustown, you're sure to find the perfect place to call home. So pack those boxes, grab a map, and start your exciting new adventure in Champaign today!

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Things to Do

Packing up and moving to Champaign, IL? While Champaign may seem like just another Midwestern city at first glance, this wonderful town brimming with culture, history, and culinary delights is so much more! We've compiled a list of seven must-visit places and activities to welcome you to this inviting city. There's something for every personality here!

1. Explore the Orpheum Children's Science Museum

While the name might suggest it's just for kids, the Orpheum Children's Science Museum is a fantastic pit-stop for people of all ages. Housed in an old Orpheum Theatre, this museum combines historical architecture with creative exhibits. From the Dino Dig to Castle Building, the interactive exhibits make this a fantastic location to unleash your inner child and stretch your mind.

2. Stroll through Meadowbrook Park

For the nature lovers, Meadowbrook Park is the perfect spot. Surrounded by a beautiful landscape with wildflowers and prairies, this 130-acre park also presents unique sculpture displays. Go for a jog, enjoy a picnic, or become lost in the beauty of nature here at Meadowbrook.

3. Marvel at the Specialty Growers Gardens

Hidden away in the heart of Champaign is a gardener's paradise - the Specialty Growers Gardens. A charming and lesser-known attraction, it is ideal for gardening enthusiasts or anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature. Breathe in the fragrance of a thousand blooms and enjoy the serene atmosphere of this horticultural haven.

4. Catch a Game at the State Farm Center

If you're a sports fan, watching a basketball game at State Farm Center should be on your bucket list. Home to the Fighting Illini, Champaign's pride and joy, the vibe in this arena is electrifying! The center also hosts concerts and other live events, so keep an eye on the calendar!

5. Visit the Unseen 'Underground City'

How about a tour of an unseen subterranean city? Beneath Champaign there is a labyrinthine network of interconnecting tunnels, dubbed the 'underground city'. Originally built for steam and maintenance purposes, it offers a different perspective on the city and is a must-visit for the adventurous souls. Prior permissions and a guide from The University of Illinois are necessary for this excursion.

6. Savor the Flavors at The Blind Pig Brewery

Step into the charming Blind Pig Brewery, located in downtown Champaign, for a unique experience where you meet fellow beer lovers and fantastic brews. Try out a wide variety of locally brewed, hand-crafted beers, and listen to some cool live music. Enjoy the camaraderie, or simply unwind on the beautiful beer garden patio.

7. Shop at The Market at the Square

Finally, if you are a food enthusiast, the Market at the Square is an absolute must! For over 40 years, local vendors have been bringing their fresh produce, crafts, and baked goods to this vibrant farmers market. Enjoy a lively morning of shopping, music, and delightful eats at this weekly community gathering.

Living in Champaign, IL brings with it an adventuresome blend of the unexpected and the heartwarming, the unique and the traditional. From hidden gardens to bustling farmers' markets, underground adventures to hops heaven, Champaign truly has something for everyone. Welcome to Champaign - where the prairie state meets a treasure trove of delights.

Things to do in Champaign, IL?

Find Movers for Your Champaign Relocation

As your anticipation grows for your upcoming move to the Champaign region, allow Great Guys Moving to simplify your transition. With a vast network of insured, licensed, and reputable movers, we are committed to providing you with affordable, quality service. By simply sharing a few details about your move, we can connect you with the most suitable movers in our network. Don't waste time scouring the market; instead, leverage our industry knowledge and expertise for a stress-free moving experience. So why wait? Request your free moving quote from Great Guys Moving today and embrace the excitement ahead in Champaign!

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