Follow the sound of the Illinois Fighting Illini, and you’ll find yourself in the heart of Champaign. This city in central Illinois is home to the University of Illinois, a handful of fascinating museums and a burgeoning tech scene drawing more than eyes from Silicon Valley. First time in the Silicon Prairie? Let the best hotels in Champaign teach you a thing or two about Midwest hospitality.
Pack an appetite when you’re planning a stay at Hyatt Place. The booze, bites and complimentary breakfast bar at the Placery and the around-the-clock snacks at the Market are only the tip of the iceberg. Your king suite is surrounded by some of the best restaurants in Champaign, including tandoori at the Himalayan Chimney and chicken and waffles at Watson’s Shack & Rail, along with 34 others within a two-block radius, if you have the time.
Stay close to the courtside at Holiday Inn. A half-mile (0.8km) walk will take you to the paint at the State Farm Center. Before tipoff, get comfortable in your suite and loosen up your hightops. There’s an indoor pool, but it’s just as chill to kick it in front of the TV watching college basketball highlights. Pregame at the State Street Grille, then walk over to the arena for Illinois Fighting Illini men’s and women’s basketball.
It’s appropriate that Hilton Garden Inn is one of the best hotels in Champaign for tree-spotting. Along with being within walking distance of campus, it’s a literal walk in the park across the street at Hessel Park. The sun shining through your queen room will entice you outside for a walk around this lovely green space. Savor the sun as much as possible by stopping at the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry to bring a picnic with you.
There’s nothing like an evening of drinks and a night of shooting hoops to unwind from a long drive. That’s why Residence Inn treats you to both. Its evening mixer makes Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays feel like five o’clock on a Friday. Meanwhile, the outdoor basketball court is ready for your best buzzer beater if the beers don’t sway your shot too much. Looking for some NBA action on your holiday? You’re within a two-hour drive of watching the Pacers and the Bulls toss around the rock.
Study up on Champaign at TownPlace Suites. On the northern end of the University of Illinois campus, this extended-stay hotel will make you feel as welcome as an undergrad without having to share a bathroom, a kitchen and awkward moments. Also, your complimentary breakfast in the morning requires no dining plan. Wander out onto the quad any time you wish, or shop for things far less expensive than textbooks at the shops around the corner.
Illinois Fighting Illini fans and first-time visitors will find a happy home at Candlewood Suites. This hotel just north of downtown Champaign is just as close to the University of Illinois and Spurlock Museum as it is to Parkland College and the Urbana Country Club. With so much time spent exploring the campus and getting the lay of the land, you’ll be happy that the Candlewood Cupboard has meals and snacks ready whenever hunger strikes.
When you and the doggo ride into Champaign, let Hampton Inn give you a relaxing space to rest outside town. You’ll be in a suite so comfortable that you’ll both have leg twitches in your sleep. The smell of a fresh, hot and complimentary breakfast will perk you up in the morning. Head downtown if you want a little excitement, or venture to Robert C Porter Family Park to give Snoopy a scent-filled stroll.