With the help of four beautiful seasons, a richly diverse population, a Big Ten University, and vibrant arts and entertainment scene Urbana offers a variety of services, recreation, and culture.
Smart, innovative, and globally connected
Urbana is part of the Urbana-Champaign micro-urban community. The term “micro-urban” applies to population centers of 250,000 or less that possess a highly uncommon set of desirable attributes normally exclusively associated with much larger metropolitan centers. Among these are an internationally diverse population, a strong technology base (including our high speed internet), a vibrant arts/culture/entertainment scene, and a palpably animated public discourse on major societal and global concerns. The presence of such attributes within the context of a smaller population center—the size of which can provide advantages such as ease of transportation, more affordable living, and a stronger sense of community—positions micro-urban communities, like Urbana-Champaign, as an attractive location to live and visit.
Urbana is made up of neighborhoods, each with its own neighborhood school and park facilities, and many with an active resident association. The range of choices for the home-buyer include: the nationally recognized, top-ten West Urbana neighborhood, the stately homes and recreational trails at Stone Creek and Beringer Commons, the tidy homes of the East Urbana and North Urbana Neighborhoods and the more rural feel to the south and northeast. Urbana's growing downtown also offers mixed use housing conveniently located above shops and restaurants. Along with all the housing choices, Urbana provides single-family and multifamily recycling, with recycling totes given at no extra charge. Urbana takes environmental sustainability seriously and is working to expand solar energy in the city among other green initiatives.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This world-class institution boasts 10 programs ranked among the top 10 in the country, including the engineering program. The University is also recognized as one of the top universities in the world offering over 150 fields of study for its 45,000 students.
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
This interdisciplinary research institute is located within the University's campus. It is devoted to leading edge research in sciences and engineering and also has two interesting exhibits worth viewing. On the first floor, in the rotunda, one can learn more about the life and achievements of founder and Illinois alumnus Arnold Beckman. Continue on to the atrium and take a look at the various instruments designed by Beckman himself to advance the fields of science and technology.
Nationally Recognized Public Schools
Urbana is known for the progressive, high-achieving school system of Urbana School District 116 and its great Urbana Tiger spirit. Our elementary schools have a neighborhood focus and are co-located with beautiful park facililties. All of the schools have been recently renovated and two of them offer international instruction in a multitude of languages. The middle school has an indoor aquatic center and the high school has recently upgraded its athletic and performing arts facilities on its beautiful, historic campus. Urbana High School has an outstanding graduation rate, and regularly sends its graduates on to the University of Illinois as well as other elite colleges. District 116 has won recognition from the State Board of Education, the Associated Press Honor, and the U.S. News and World Report.
The Urbana Free Library founded in 1874, is ranked among the top one percent of American public libraries both statewide and nationally for the fourth time. The University of Illinois Library is the the largest public university library in the world with over 10 million volumes.
Parks and Outdoor Recreation
The award-winning Urbana Park District oversees more than 600 acres of parks and natural areas. Two of its best-loved, signature parks are Crystal Lake Park--149 acres just north of douwntown Urbana that includes an 8 acre lake--and Meadowbrook Park--a 130 acre park along Windsor Road that includes over 80 acres if recreated native Illinois tallgrass praire, a perimeter walking path and Wandell Sculpture Garden. The park district also operates the Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center and the Urbana Indoor Aquatic Facility. In addition to its facilities, the park disctrict offers hundreds of recreation programs for youth and adults such as dance, fitness and wellness, environmental education, sports leagues, summer camps and swim lessons.
Arts, Culture and Entertinment
Urbana is home to the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Station Theater, Cinema Gallery, Heartland Gallery, Amara Yoga and Arts, the Gilbert Gallery and International Galleries. Every year, downtown galleries and businesses open their doors to a community-wide Boneyard Arts Festival. The City of Urbana has established a Public Arts Program to promote and facilitate the development and expansion of public arts in Urbana. Urbana also is home to a unique variety of music and entertainment venues including the Canopy Club, Iron Post, Station Theater, Urbana Independent Media Center, Rosebowl, Crane Alley, Bunny's Tavern, and more!
Urbana's walkable downtown features more than a dozen, high-quality, locally owned restaurants and taverns, including restaurants offering Thai, Indian and Korean food as well as barbeque and gourmet pizza. Popular spots include Rick's Bakery, Common Ground Food Co-op and Heel to Toe shoe store. The Urbana Free Library, Lincoln Square Mall and the new city park along the Boneyard Creek all are part of the downtown fabric.
The Farmer's Market or Market at the Square occurs in downtown Urbana every Saturday from mid-May through mid-November, with over 130 vendors and over 127,000 visitors each season. Market at the Square offers fresh produce, meat, dairy, wine, and cheese along with arts, crafts and food trucks!
Unique Dining Opportunities
Urbana has some of the finest, award-winning, owner-operated restaurants in downstate Illinois including Courier Cafe, Black Dog Smoke and Ale House, Timpone's and many, many others.
A Bike-Friendly, Walk-able Community
Urbana is truly a walk-able community with one of the best transit systems in the nation. It's also the only gold-level Bicycle Friendly community in Illinois. Families can enjoy 22 miles of bike lanes connected to parks, schools, restaurants, and the University of Illinois.
Trees, Trees and More Trees!
National recognition as "Tree City USA" since 1976, with over 100,000 trees!
A Safe Community
Urbana's professional and highly respected Police Department provides effective, community-based policing that helps keep Urbana residents safe. Unlike many communities, Urbana has seen a notable decline in crime despite our increasing population. Our police are proactive in working with residents to promote neighborhood watch and safety awareness programs. Our UPD prides itself with the interaction and relationships they have built within the community.
Likewise, Urbana residents can feel safer knowing that the Urbana Fire Department has been certified with an ISO-Insurance Service office-Class 1 rating.
What does a Class 1 rating mean for the Urbana community? It means residents, business owners, and visitors to Urbana can continue to count on first-class fire protection services.
A Class 1 rating demonstrates:
- Quick response to community needs
- Risk mitigation at the highest possible standard
- A stellar commitment to preserve life, property and environment
The Class 1 rating is one of the factors used to determine fire insurance premiums for homeowners and businesses. Fire insurance premiums are based on the quality of service and fire protection available. This top rating means Urbana property owners could get the lowest premium possible in that area of insurance.