The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Illinois campus is one of the jewels of Champaign-Urbana. It’s also a great place to take your kids!
Our Top Five Favorite things to do at Krannert with Kids:
- Take in a family friendly show. Krannert has a comprehensive yearly performance schedule, including robust and varied offerings for families and children. Some are even FREE.
- Explore the outdoor Amphitheater. Situated on the East side of the terrace and facing the quad, the outdoor Greek inspired Amphitheater seats up to 560 people. My kids love to walk on the “popping tiles” and then chill in the amphitheater: For about five seconds before they climb to the top and start reciting what they believe is Shakespeare. No matter how your kids use it, the amphitheater is cool and good for at least 15 minutes of outdoor exploration.
- Eat a sweet treat at the Intermezzo Cafe. Open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., and 90 minutes before and after performances, the Intermezzo Cafe has great lunch and dessert options for your family. We’ve eaten at the Intermezzo before performances, and my kids were impressed with the quality and selection on the kid’s menu. I love their soup and salads. They offer a great selection of drinks and their desserts. Let’s just say that their dessert options alone are worth a stop at Intermezzo. Black Forest Cake, I’m looking at you.
- Go on a tour of the amazing one of a kind performance space. I’ve been lucky enough in my short music career to perform on Krannert’s stages. And trust me, it’s a humbling experience. Not everyone can perform on one of Krannert’s five indoor stages, but everyone can take a behind the scenes tour of this state of the art fine arts venue. A tour lasts approximately 45-60 minutes, and is FREE. We love to take out of town visitors on Krannert tours, and while the tours are best for school aged-children and up, we’ve taken our little ones along in a front sling or backpack, and they did fine. To read more about the Krannert Tour, and see why we think this is a Best Kept Secret, click here.
- Do some eclectic shopping at Promenade. While you will need to make sure your little one is by your side at the lovely eclectic boutique inside Krannert, you can always find something special for anyone on your gift-giving list. My kids love the selection of toys, and the candy is always a big hit. I like to visit the Promenade when I’m looking for that perfect gift for the hard to buy relative.The Promenade is open Mon.-Sat. from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. and on performance days: 10:00 a.m. to after performances end. Closed on Sundays, except for performances (open 60 minutes before performances to after performances end).
Where to Park: Street metered parking is available. There is Free parking on evenings and weekends—plus 30 minutes of free parking in the lower south level of the underground garage (on the Oregon Street side) during the weekday. Just make sure your car will fit before you park in the garage. (Not that I have any experience with this.)
What is your favorite thing to do at Krannert with kids? Add it in the comments below!