Worried about boredom over Winter Break in Champaign-Urbana? We’re here to HELP!
You may be thinking: I have these kids at home, and stuff is closed for the holidays, and everyone seems to be out of town. What to do? Well, we’ve got you covered. There are more opportunities to get out and have fun — and keep kids active — than you ever imagined! We also have a collection of day trip ideas. And check out our Winter Break Camps Guide.
Thanks to Illinois Athletics for helping us present this list of 50 Things to Do in Champaign-Urbana over Winter Break. Although the rest of the students may be gone, the games must go on! Don’t miss out on these great opportunities to support the Illini.
What: Go to Illinois women’s basketball games
When: Dec 21 at 12 pm against Missouri or Dec 28 at 7 pm against Indiana
Where: State Farm Center, Champaign
How Much: $5 tickets; free parking.
What: Go to an Illinois men’s basketball game
When: Dec 29 at 2 pm against Florida Atlantic
Where: State Farm Center, Champaign
How Much: Get four tickets for $49.
Places to visit over Winter Break
What: Play at a FREE Indoor Playground
Where: Champaign, Savoy, Mahomet, Urbana; check our guide.
When: Some are stores and open most of break; others, like the First Christian Church Playground, have limited hours over break.
How much: FREE
We’ve told you before how much we love these indoor playground facilities – great for kids to run off some steam. If you haven’t been to the Windsor Road Christian Church playground, this is a good chance.
What: Explore local libraries
Where: Urbana Free Library; Champaign Public Library; Mahomet Public Library; Tolono Public Library; Rantoul Public Library and many more!
When: (almost) anytime!
How Much: Free
Many of our area libraries continue to offer regularly scheduled programming, as well as a few special events. Of course many will be closed Dec. 24-25, and Jan. 1.
What: Explore local museums
Where: Mahomet, Urbana, Champaign, Homer
When: Well, that depends! Spurlock Museum is closed Dec 22 through Jan 2 for the winter holiday, but has regular hours otherwise. Museum of the Grand Prairie is open 1-5 p.m. every day through Dec. 31 except for Dec. 24-25; get there before its annual January/February closing. The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum is open regular hours (closed Mondays) and also closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Krannert Art Museum is closed from Dec. 23-Jan. 2. Anita Purves Nature Center is open except for Dec. 24-25, Dec. 31, and Jan. 1. The Homer Lake Interpretive Center is open Dec. 26-28, Dec. 31, and Jan. 2-4 from 1 to 5 p.m.
How Much: Orpheum has fees; others take donations but are more or less free.
What: Try a new restaurant
Where: We have a list where kids eat free in Champaign-Urbana and surrounding areas as well as a list of places we believe to be great values for kids.
How Much: Varies. For our Kids Eat Free list, read the fine print!
Use our kids eat free list and treat your family to a nice meal out.
What: Go swimming at the Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center
Where: Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center
When: Extended Public Swim Hours, Dec 21 – Jan 4; WEEKDAYS: 1:30-9 pm; SATURDAY: 12-5 pm; SUNDAY: 2-7 pm Closed Dec 24, Dec 25, Dec 31, Jan 1.
How Much: $6 per person; $3 for supervising adults; $4 per person on Thursdays.
Splash around this great community resource – fun for the whole family!
What: Go bowling
Where: Several places, we recommend Illini Union Rec Room!
When: Most bowling alleys are open over winter break. Illini Union will be closed some days.
How Much: Varies
Another way to stay active and have fun with the kiddos.
What: Keep kids active indoors with gymnastics open gym
Where: Champaign Gymnastics Academy
How Much: $7 per kid; $18 per family
When: Dec. 27; Jan. 2-4; Jan. 8. Check our calendar for info or visit the CGA website.
A great way to get the juices flowing and build some skills.
What: Go Ice Skating
Where: University of Illinois Ice Arena
When: Here is the online calendar with open skate times; times vary, but there are open skates almost every day except for Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1.
How Much: Complete rate schedule is available here. Our tip: buy a punch card or a family pass to save.
Skate at lunchtime, in the evening, or a few weekend afternoons.
What: Holiday Tennis Camp and Reduced Court Rates
Where: Dodds Tennis Center, 2802 Farber Dr., Champaign
When: Camp is Dec. 26-30; Facility open otherwise with exception of holidays
How Much: Reduced court rates are $15/court per hour for members and guests Dec 21-31; camp prices vary
Children ages 6-18 are invited to the 31st Annual Holiday Juniors Tennis Camp! Stay for a day or the whole time. Learn the fundamentals of tennis or perfect your backhand, and experienced tennis pros will ensure that your child has a healthy and fun holiday break! Sessions last one hour for 6-9 year olds and 1 1/2 hours for older youth.
What: Hang out at the Leonhard Rec Center
Where: Leonhard Recreation Center, Champaign
When: Open every day with the exception of Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1. Closing early on Dec. 31. This is based on 2017 info.
How Much: Day passes available.
Indoor playground, walking track, and more. Get moving.
What: Visit the University of Illinois campus and Campustown
Where: see above
When: Anytime! Although beware with the timing of the holidays and generous holiday vacation policy at the university, some restaurants and amenities may be closed.
How Much: Depends where you go 🙂
The students are gone! The students are gone! The students are gone! This is a great time to visit Campustown restaurants (or special treats), especially now that Green Street is more accessible. Shop at Campustown retailers. If the weather holds, walk around and see all the neat architecture and history.
What: High school basketball tournaments
Where: various locations
When: winter break
How much: varies by school
It’s a time-honored tradition – the winter break period is a busy time for girls’ and boys’ high school basketball teams, with holiday tournaments all over the landscape. One of our favorites is the Monticello Holiday Hoopla tournaments for both boys and girls from Dec. 26-28. Schools include Tuscola, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, and Paxton-Buckley-Loda.
What: New Year’s Eve activities
Where: various locations
When: Dec. 31
How much: Varies by location
Check out our Champaign-Urbana New Year’s Eve guide for info on Noon balloon drops and other family-friendly events for spending New Year’s together as a family.
Events to check out over Winter Break (check back often, we will be adding to this!)
Free Hot Chocolate at Mahomet Car Connection
Time: 4:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Mahomet Car Connection
1103 E Oak, Mahomet
Santa, Cookies, and Crafts at the Library
Time: 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Willow Branch Township Library
330 North Eldon St, Cisco
Kirby's Kids Zone
Time: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Monticello Gymnastics Academy
100 E Washington, Monticello
Noon Day Drop at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum
Time: 10:30 am - 1:00 pm
Orpheum Children’s Science Museum
346 N. Neil, Champaign
Noon Year's Eve
Time: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Urbana Free Library
210 W. Green Street, Urbana
Meet the Critters
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake Forest Preserve
2573 S. Homer Lake Road, Homer
Time: 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Champaign Public Library
200 W. Green Street, Champaign
Do you have other ideas? Let us know in the comments below!