An online magazine that highlights small and mid-sized American cities has ranked Champaign as one of the country’s top places to live.
Champaign was put at No. 27 on Livability’s 2020 Top 100 Best Places to Live List, up 21 spots from last year’s rankings from the same organization. It is the highest Illinois community on the list (again, limited to small- and mid-sized cities).
The only other Illinois city to appear on the list: Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago.
“With a high employment rate for graduates, a great start-up and entrepreneurial culture, world-class fine arts and a food scene that’s been named Best in the Midwest, it’s easy to see why folks who come here don’t seem to want to leave,” they wrote about Champaign.
The article calls out some “bests”, including naming Flying Machine Avionics the best coffee shop, Triptych Brewing the best brewery (being inclusive of Savoy), and Watson’s Shack and Rail as the best “meetup spot.” It names the Diner Stack at Merry Ann’s diner as the city’s “must-have meal.”
It highlights the Champaign County Forest Preserve District as one of the best ways to have free fun.
Most of these lists tend to overlook Central Illinois as a great place to live and typically focus on the West and the Southeast. But the metrics for this year’s rankings were a little bit different, and perhaps tipped the scales in Champaign’s favor. (The list already has a bias towards small- and mid-sized cities as a primary focus.)
“This year’s list was also informed by a new metric: an “opportunity score” we used to determine each city’s landscape of opportunity, including variables like job numbers, broadband access, economic resilience and growth,” the article reads.
Champaign-Urbana often ranks highly on various lists of top college towns in the United States, which is hardly surprising. But this Livability list recognition is more substantial as it recognizes that the community doesn’t end on Green Street, and is a well-rounded city beyond the University’s borders. While Livability treats Champaign as a stand-alone city for the purposes of this list, those of us here on the ground know that Champaign and Urbana benefit greatly from each other as well as from the university located in both.
Livability touted Champaign as a “thriving, business-friendly community that’s a great college town as well as a great place for graduates and young families.”
Can’t say we disagree.
“These 100 cities offer the exact things so many of us are craving right now: connection, affordability, and the space and opportunity to grow.”
Curious about other rankings where Champaign-Urbana is mentioned? There have been plenty. Find a treasure trove of them at You’re Welcome CU’s website.