Worried about boredom over Thanksgiving break in Champaign-Urbana? We’re here to help!
Staying in town for the holidays? Things can be crazy here in Champaign-Urbana. The weather? We have no idea what to expect. Maybe your family has been just a little too close the past few days, or maybe you’ve been on the road (or you’re going to be on the road). Thanksgiving becomes a distant memory and all things Christmas are everywhere you look.
You may be thinking: I have these kids at home, school is out … what to do? Well, we’ve got you covered. There are plenty of opportunities to get out and have fun in the Champaign-Urbana area — and keep kids active, too.
Places to visit during Thanksgiving Week
What: Check out books, movies and more at local libraries
Where: Urbana Free Library; Champaign Public Library; Mahomet Public Library; Tolono Public Library; Rantoul Public Library and many more
When: (almost) anytime (except Thanksgiving Day, that is)
How Much: Free. Pick out some new books or movies to keep your time at home interesting for your kids. Some even have equipment like 3D printers you can check out (we’re looking at you, Urbana!)
What: Explore local museums
Where: Mahomet, Urbana, Champaign, Homer
When: Well, that depends!
How Much: Everything listed here is free.
- Spurlock Museum is closed Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving.
- Museum of the Grand Prairie is open daily 1-5 p.m. and closed on Thanksgiving.
- Krannert Art Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
- The Homer Lake Interpretive Center is open Tuesday and Wednesday, between 1-5 p.m. Visit the playscape for some nature fun while you’re there or explore the rest of Homer Lake.
What: Try a new dessert
Where: We have a list of places you can get your Thanksgiving meal, yes; but if you’re looking to switch it up and go for one of Champaign-Urbana’s most unique desserts, we have ideas for you.
How Much: Varies, depending on restaurant and its current offers of course.
What: Go swimming
Where: Stephens Family YMCA
When: Times vary daily; get the Y schedule here
How Much: Guest passes are $25 daily for a family at the Y; individual passes also available.
What: Go bowling
Where: Several places, like Old Orchard Lanes or the Illini Union Rec Room
When: Most bowling centers are open; the Illini Union usually closes early on Wednesday and reopens Saturday morning.
How Much: Varies. Another way to stay active and have fun with the kiddos.
What: Run or walk a turkey trot
Where: Urbana and Mahomet, among others
When: Thanksgiving morning
How much: It depends. Check out the turkey trots on our calendar for more info.
What: Visit the University of Illinois campus and Campustown
Where: see above
When: Anytime — students have left campus for Thanksgiving break all week
How Much: Depends where you go, of course. 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. There’s even a self-guided tour.
What: Go explore nature and get outdoors.
Where: Forest Preserves, Allerton Park, Busey Woods, any local park or trail
When: any time (during the daylight hours)
How much: Free! From what we’ve seen, the forecast won’t be too terribly cold over Thanksgiving week. There’s something about bundling up, getting out into that cool, crisp air, and going out on an adventure.
What: Kiss a reindeer
Where: Hardy’s Reindeer ranch
When: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday
How much: It’s free to go to the ranch, but various attractions have a fee. Take the Reindeer tour ($8 per person) and surround yourself with these magical animals of the North. You’ll be given a treat to feed them then you can even give them a ‘reindeer kiss’ — if you’re brave. Help welcome Jolly, the newest reindeer to be born at the ranch! It’s a great photo opportunity.
What: Lights, camera, action! EVERYTHING holiday season kicks off full force
Where: All over
When: All week long, but truly going full throttle beginning on Friday and all weekend
How much: Depends on what you choose – tree lightings, parades, holiday lights illuminating for the first time. We have EVERYTHING holidays you want to know right here. Kick off the holiday season with Chambanamoms at our “Twinkling Lights and Cocoa” event, presented by Christie Clinic, to wrap up Thanksgiving week.
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