Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area

From Academic Kids

The Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area, also known as Chambana, is a region in east central Illinois. The region is home to roughly 150,000 residents and encompasses the cities of Champaign, Urbana, and the village of Savoy. Students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are included in this estimate of residents due to the fact that they are typically discounted from the official city census as they are not permanent residents.

Champaign-Urbana is home to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system, as well as the University of Illinois Research Park. It has become a major research center and houses many companies and research entities, including: iCyt (a biotechnology company); the Illinois Natural History Survey; the Illinois State Geological Survey; Motorola; the National Center for Supercomputing Applications; Phonak; Power World; and the Science Applications International Corporation.


Demographics Overview

The CU Metro area has total area of 75.3 km² (29.1 mi²) giving it a population density of roughly 2,000/km² (5,200/mi²). Exact numbers are unavailable due to the fluctuating student population, and inconsistent practices when discounting students as residents.

Roughly 27% of the residents in the CU Metro area are students at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Additionally while exact figures are not possible, a large number of residents are graduates of the University, many of them graduates in Science and Engineering who have stayed because of the booming Science and Technologies sector in the Metro area.

Colleges and Universities


The Champaign-Urbana Metro area is home to two large hospitals. The Carle Clinic and Foundation Hospital, and the Provena Covenant Medical Center with a combined total of over 550 physicians. The Carle Clinic is affiliated with the University through part of the medical program though the main medical school is in Rockford, Illinois. Both hospitals are located less than a mile apart on University Avenue in Urbana. Both hospitals maintain several urgent care and specialty centers throughout the metro area.

In addition to the two main health care providers Christie Clinic, a third smaller hospital, is headquartered in downtown Champaign. Christie Clinic prides itself on being one of the largest physician owned health care facilities in the state of Illinois.

Arts and Culture

Missing image
The Virginia Theatre in Downtown Champaign.

The Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area is home to many theatres. The University is home to two theatres, Assembly Hall and The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. While Assembly Hall is largely just a campus theatre, The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts is considered to be one of the nations top venues for performance and hosts over 400 performances annually. Built in 1969, the Krannert Center's facilities cover over four acres (16,000 m²) of land featuring four theatres and an amphitheatre.

The Historic Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign is a public venue owned by the city of Champaign and administered by the Champaign Park District. It features a variety of performances from community theatre with the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company, to post box-office showings of popular films, current artistic films, live musical performances (both orchestral and popular), as well as other types of shows. First commissioned in 1921 it originally served as a venue for live performances before being converted into a movie house in the 1950's. The theatre once again began showing live performances when it was purchased by the Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company in 1991. Control passed to the Virginia Theatre group in 1995 and the theatre became a non-profit public venue. The Champaign Park District assumed control of the facilities in 2000.

The Boardman Art Theater in downtown Champaign is a small venue which shows films not normally playing in the box office (typically films from the Sundance Film Festival).

Parkland College in Champaign also features a small theatre of its own, the Parkland College Theatre.


While greater Champaign-Urbana does not feature any professional sports teams, the University of Illinois fields many teams which compete in the Big Ten Conference. Two large sports centers are located in the southern portion of Champaign. Memorial Stadium is a football arena where the Fighting Illini football team plays, and Assembly Hall is the home of the Fighting Illini basketball team. The Football team, while notorious for being one of the worst teams in the Big Ten somehow continues to pull in the crowds, nearly selling out each game. The Basketball team has been largely successful ranking at the top of the Big Ten Conference and national standings.

Famous people

The following people are from the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area:

Tourism and recreation


  • Champaign County Historical Museum(Homepage ( 102 East University Ave, Champaign. +1 217-356-1010. W-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-4:30PM. Free Admission. Located in the Historic Cattle Bank built in 1858. Features exhibits on the history of the area and the midwest as a whole.
  • Chanute Aerospace Museum(Homepage ( 1011 Pacesetter Drive, Rantoul. +1 217-893-1613 or +1 877-726-8685. M-Sa 10AM - 5PM, Su 12PM - 5PM. $7 Adults, $4 K-12, Free if under 4. Showcases Illinois' role in aviation, featuring several hangers of planes on exhibit.
  • Early American Museum(Homepage ( Rt 47, Lake of the Woods Park, Mahomet. +1 217-586-2612. Daily 1PM-5PM. Open March through December. Features historic exhibits on life in the early midwest.
  • Krannert Art Museum(Homepage ( 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign. +1 217-333-1860. Tu, Th-Sa 9AM-5PM, W 9AM-8PM, Su 2PM-5PM. Free Admission, Donation Suggested. Art Museum featuring both modern and classical art. Many changing exhibits.
  • Orpheum Children's Science Museum(Homepage ( 356 N. Neil Street, Champaign. +1 217-352-5895. Tu 9AM-6PM, W-Sa 1PM-5PM. $3 Adult, $2 Children. A hands on science museum for children.
  • Spurlock Museum of Natural History(Homepage ( 600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana. +1 217-333-2360. June-Aug: Tu-F 11AM-4PM Sa 10AM-4PM, Sept.-May: Tu 12PM-8PM, W-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Over 46,000 artifacts on display focusing around human culture and history throughout the world. Features some of the largest exhibits on Native North American and South American history in the nation.
  • Museum of Natural History(Homepage ( 1301 W. Green Street, Urbana. +1 217-244-2360. Tu 12PM-8PM W-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM. Admission Free, Donation Suggested. A museum on natural history administered by the Illinois Natural History Survey and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The museum has been closed and all artifacts were moved to Spurlock Museum.[1] (

Parks and Recreation

  • Champaign Park District features many parks, hiking trails, and biking trails in the city of Champaign.
  • Urbana Park District includes exercise and biking trails, Crystal Lake, and other public facilities in the city of Urbana.
  • Robert Allerton Park a private estate donated to the University consisting of a large manor house (now a conference center), formal gardens, and natural woodlands and prairie. Open to the public.

Outlying suburbs

Several suburban and small urban areas are Dependant on the Champaign-Urbana area for economic and political reasons. Most of these cities and towns lie in Champaign County. Most of these areas are populated primarily with commuters who work in Champaign or Urbana, and choose to live outside of the city. Due to the fact that many of these small towns consist entirely of highly paid professors, or technology professionals who work for the University or in the Research Park, these areas often have a higher median household income than Champaign or Urbana.

The suburban part of the Metropolitan area is constructed in a way that most from the coasts find odd. Instead of a sprawling suburban skirt that encircles the urban area, the urban area is instead surrounded by farmland, with small suburban villages consisting mainly of residential areas dotting the landscape. Most of these villages are home to only 100 to 500 people, though some have as many as 5,000 residents. Unlike most small towns in the midwest they are very affluent due to the high incomes of the residents and the resulting high tax revenue collected by the village. This movement of tax dollars from Champaign and Urbana to their Dependant areas is a point of constant strife between the cities and the suburbs.


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