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Fall 2008


I want to welcome you to Champaign-Urbana, or Urbana-Champaign, or C-U, or U-C, or Shampoo-Banana…it's all the same place! The twin cities are divided by a single street -- Wright Street -- which runs through the center of campus. If you are west of Wright Street, you are in Champaign, to the east, you are in Urbana.

I developed this handbook many years ago in an attempt to help students new to town learn the little secrets the "townies" know about C-U. I know that grad school is a big enough transition without the added stress of being new to a community. I hope this will help ease that stress by giving you ideas where to go and how to easily get around town.

I am a "townie", born and raised in C-U. I graduated from both Urbana High School and the University of Illinois (in psychology) decades ago. I lived in Los Angeles for 11 years, but always considered C-U my home. I returned to town in 1992, to a very fast-growing area -- there were once cornfields spreading for miles where shopping malls and restaurants now stand.

I tend to watch my pennies pretty carefully. Most of the places I talk about in this guide are relatively inexpensive, though I do mention (and recommend) some of the more expensive places to go.

These are the places where I actually shop, eat, and visit. My lists are, as a result, somewhat limited. There are many other places besides the ones I include here, and many are just as good, I'm sure. It's all rather subjective and a matter of which way your tastes run. I have also included other useful information such as emergency phone numbers, utility companies, and even some University numbers, which should come in handy for graduate students.

I hope you will find the information in this guide useful. This is a wonderful community to live in, with lots of variety, and new businesses starting up all the time. Sometimes these restaurants and businesses only stay around for a short time, and as a result, the guide may be out of date in a matter of months. Therefore, it is always best to support your favorite local businesses!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me.

Enjoy your stay in C-U!

Cindy Dodds, Administrative Coordinator
Center for Biophysics & Computational Biology