Don’t Let Spring Break Break You: Keep the Family Busy with 50+ Things To Do in Champaign-Urbana
Spring Break in Champaign-Urbana is right around the corner and you’re already thinking: what are we going to DO? We’re seeing the beginning of some of our favorite community staples opening up again and you may or may not know what is an option for this particular week, in this particular year.
Well, we have some info to help you put the pieces together. We’ve got 50+ ideas for things to do over Spring Break around Champaign-Urbana for your family.
For most school districts, spring break is the week of March 15-19. Here are our ideas to help you navigate Spring Break for this special year. Of course, always check our events calendar to see what’s happening as well, as it gets updated daily.
Editor’s Note: This list of options is to help you discover what is open and what is closed when it comes to the week of Spring Break in Champaign-Urbana. The status of these businesses can change at any time, so check with the business before venturing out to be sure they’re open and if reservations are needed. Readers are urged to follow guidelines — mask wearing, social distancing, capacity limits — set forth by local authorities. Inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement; we are reporting on open/closed status only.
Visit a Champaign-Urbana area museum or nature center
Book a private guided tour at the Anita Purves Nature Center. Tours must be booked at least two days in advance and are only for your household group. FREE. Go play on the playscape outside the nature center afterwards, or stroll through Busey Woods.
On the University of Illinois Campus, the Spurlock Museum takes you around the world with artifacts from every corner of the globe (closed Monday all day and Tuesday morning, but otherwise open). Krannert Art Museum is open, with reservations ahead of time required. It has everything from masters to modern. Both are FREE.
Pack a picnic on a nice day and drive out to Homer Lake, making the Interpretive Center part of your visit. Only ten individuals will be permitted in the center at a time, so you just may need to wait a few minutes to enter.
Be active – the kids, the family, whoever needs it!
We have a whole list of ways to be active together with your family. Need to get started? Spring Break is a great time to start new habits. The weather is improving and there’s lots to try.
If you’re not already a member, snag guest passes for the Stephens Family YMCA. You can make reservations for family swim time or family gym time.
Skating at Skateland and jumping at Elevate are options as well.
Get outside and explore
Go out to a new park or a park you haven’t been to lately — we have a whole list of favorite parks and playgrounds you can try. The Hessel Park playground is always a great place to start! You could also try out the new Morrissey Park or Noel Park, which are some of the more recently opened playgrounds.
Go to the Library
So kids might want to take a break from learning, but libraries make learning FUN. Go check out some books at the library over spring break. Kids’ play areas aren’t open right now, but you can get some books, movies and maybe even some fun other things, like games or puzzles, depending on the library.
Visit our Trails
If you’ve noticed, we’ve put together multiple “trails,” some food-related, and some related to activities. A round-up of all the Champaign-Urbana Food Trails is available here for quick reference. The pizza trail, barbecue trail, ice cream trail are just a few of note.
Not related to food, if you kids love space, check out some of the unique space activities we have in Central Illinois.
Go to the I.D.E.A. Store and find some unique crafting supplies and ideas for an eco-friendly craft — on the cheap!
Go to campus
Spring is a great time to visit the University of Illinois campus, whether just for a new place for a scenic walk, to shop, or to enjoy some of the unique dining opportunities. Take note as you plan that the University of Illinois modified their spring schedule, so students will be present during spring break on campus.
Trek to the Zoo
We have lots of zoos within a short drive (let’s say three hours or less) that we think your family will love — Miller Park Zoo and Peoria Zoo being the closer options and Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo and Saint Louis Zoo being some others. Take note that many zoos require you to make a reservation for your visit in advance. (Scovill Zoo in Decatur won’t open for the season until April.)
Get ready for Easter and Passover
No FOOLING, these holidays are around the corner! Passover starts the night of March 27, and Easter is April 4. Don’t let those holidays sneak up on you; get your baskets ready (non-candy options here), prep for those hunts, and much more.
Go out to eat on a budget
Many restaurants in town offer specials for kids on certain nights of the week. Check out our list of places where kids eat free (or cheaply).
Take a day trip
We LOVE day trips, and have a whole list for you. See the big things in Casey, where the attractions are mainly outside. Go to Peoria and see Peoria Riverfront Museum. Make a date to head out to the museums and Lincoln sites in Springfield. There might be some free museum days in Chicago — the Field Museum has Free Days (for Illinois residents) scheduled on March 11 and 15, just plan to get there early.
Are you home for Spring Break? What are you doing with your family? We’d love to know! Tell us if we’ve missed your choices for Spring Break fun. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Things that are not currently open, but we look forward to visiting again someday.
- If you haven’t been to the Champaign County History Museum, this is a great outing especially for older children who are interested in the world around them. Typically open Wednesday-Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. FREE.
- Visit our friends at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal.
- The University of Illinois Ice Arena (our review complete review with tips) is typically open daily for lunchtime skates, which are 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
- The Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Theatre had hoped to open on March 19, 2021, but too much mud (bad for parking) will push this year’s opening back to March 26.