I'm beginning to really enjoy my time in Champaign. I've found a few new haunts, one of them being the Pekara Bakery in downtown Champaign, on Neil St. right beside Aroma Coffeehouse (another great place). Everything is made fresh from all natural ingredients-- you can taste the difference. Today's crisp, misty Autumn morning was met with a steaming cup of their house roast coffee, a piece of pumpkin bread, and a piece of banana chocolate chip bread. Delicious.
Things in Champaign are much quieter than in nearby Campustown (not surprising, really.) There's two great used bookstores-- Jane Addams being the better one-- and great restaurants and a few really great bars (the Blind Pig, Bentley's, the Seven Saints), not to mention the historic Virginia Theatre, where Roger Ebert hosts his own film festival every year and one can catch movies for much cheaper than in regular theatres (it's owned by the Park District.) There are also a bevy of up-scale eateries, jewelry stores, and vintage clothing stores. I've frequented the Walnut Street Tea Co.-- one of the best specialty tea stores I have ever experienced. All of these places are within walking distance of my apartment. Win.
So, there's my plug for the city of Champaign. Come visit me.