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Ring in the New School Year With Friends at These 4 Champaign Hangouts


There’s nothing like the start of a new school year. It’s a time to start fresh. To wipe the slate clean. It’s turning the page to the next chapter of your life. At West Quad, we know you’ll want to celebrate this new beginning with your friends, so let us share our favorite hangouts where you can do just that.

Crystal Lake Park

Get a group of friends together and take a hike through this forested park that sits in the heart of Urbana. It’s the perfect way to escape the bustle of the city, enjoy some downtime, take in the fresh air, and recharge for all the back to school excitement. When you’re done hiking, you can rest at the lakeside, enjoy a picnic-style snack, and take in the beautiful views.

Sam’s Café

How about a celebratory brunch at this eatery, beloved by locals? Clink glasses of ice-cold orange juice over stacks of buttery pancakes. Get your daily protein from their delicious diner-style eggs, and your caffeine fix from their famously good coffee. This is the perfect place to celebrate the upcoming year at the University of Illinois.

Jane Addams Bookshop

You’re going to have to stock up on textbooks this school year, so why not balance that with some books for pleasure reading, too? Take a friend over to this independent bookstore in downtown Champaign that’s been in operation since 1984 – which is quite a feat to accomplish in the Amazon Era – and support their business while you celebrate a new school year by refreshing your book collection. And with over 70,000 titles, that won’t be difficult to do!

Market at the Square

This isn’t just a farmers market, though we absolutely recommend that you pick up some peaches or apples for a delicious cobbler to share with friends. The Market at the Square also features vendors who sell jewelry, pottery, clothing, candles, body care products, and so much more. Go enjoy the market and stock up on decorative items that will make your home feel more cozy this school year, as well as some bath and body products for indulgent weekends of self-care. There’s nothing wrong with a little shopping spree when your purchases support local businesses, right? {wink, wink}

And don’t forget: If you want to stay closer to home to celebrate the upcoming school year, you can gather with friends in our game room or community pavilion.


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