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I'm looking at T&C as well. My building is in the middle of the quad (Davenport Hall). Would it be feasible to take the bus everyday? And are there any student lots on the interior of the campus? I was looking on the parking map and it was kinda confusing.

Looks like it's gonna be a grad student party out at T&C. I visited last weekend and talked to some students who were at Starbucks. One of them lived there and recommended a shuttle lot parking pass--she said the buses don't run late enough for some of the grad classes that are in the evening, and wasn't a fan of the fact that they only stopped there every half hour.

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Hi everybody!

I was wondering if anyone has been through or knows anything about the Industrial/Organizational Psychology Ph.D program at U of Illinois-Urabana/Champaign. Any feedback on the program, the university, or the town in general? I am married with two small children, so I am looking for a place to live that is relatively inexpensive and safe.

Thanks!

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I'm guessing people are going to start asking about life in C-U again as grad apps wrap up. As someone who came to C-U as an outsider and lived there for a total of 9 years (1998-2006 and 2010-2011), I thought it would be useful to provide those looking for a “feel” of the place with a somewhat comprehensive view. I'll split this over a couple of posts since I have a lot to say.

First thing to note is that your experience of the place in all respects will be colored by where you’re coming from and what you’re used to. I grew up in suburban Boston and went to college in Fairfield, CT (which is basically suburban NYC). I went to UIUC for graduate school and ended up staying several years after that, and then came back later for my husband’s job. There have been some changes for the better during the years I lived there. Overall, I enjoyed living in C-U very much.

Cost of Living

It’s pretty low. If you are careful with your money, make a budget and stick to it, you should be able to live decently on your grad student funding.

Geography and Demographics

First thing to note is that C-U is two towns or “twin cities” straddled by the University, surrounded by miles and miles and miles of corn and soybean fields dotted with little farm towns. As such, it is self-sufficient – everything you need is within Champaign or Urbana. It takes maybe 15 minutes, depending on your route, to get all the way from one end of one town to the other. (This was a change for me; where I grew up in MA it was densely populated, but you might have to drive 30 minutes to get to a BestBuy.)

Secondly, both towns are laid out on a grid. If you are not already familiar with thinking in terms of north/south/east/west/ you will be soon. The area is also very flat, with only very gentle hills here and there. There are trees in town, but they get fewer and fewer the further you get to the edges. It takes a while, if you’re not used to it, to adjust to being able to see so much of the sky at all times. Sunrise and sunset are brutal if you’re driving east/west! Also, the relative sparseness of trees means that some areas of town look a bit ugly (compare University Ave west of Neil – pretty, with old houses and trees—with the same street east of Neil, with no trees and non-lovely views of the Autozone and the backs of apartment buildings). You get used to it.

Who lives there? The population of the two towns together is somewhere around 150,000 (you can easily look this up online to get a more precise figure). The non-university population tend to be Midwest natives, majority white, who skew to the right politically. There’s a contingent of latter-day yuppies generally grouped in southwest Champaign. Urbana is a bit more hippie in sensibility. Crime is low. Like many towns and cities, the minority populations tend to live grouped in the poorer areas, which in this case is generally the north sides of both Champaign and Urbana. Like any town there are drugs, but if you don’t look for them you will never know they’re there. I’ve heard anecdotally that with the closing of the housing projects in Chicago, gangs have been moving to the downstate cities in Illinois. I saw absolutely zero evidence of that. (If this is in fact true, they’re probably in Decatur, a city that already had a reputation, earned or not, for being rather unsavory.)

Accessibility (meaning to/fro elsewhere)

  • I always found it kind of an ordeal to fly in/out of C-U cost effectively. There is an airport that runs several daily flights to Chicago and St. Louis, but it will cost you a couple hundred more than flying directly out of either of those airports.
  • Indianapolis is closer than you think – less than a 2-hour drive east. Great option for flying out of the area, depending on where you’re going. Southwest flies out of Indy, for example.
  • Driving time to Chicago varies depending on where you’re going in Chicago. Midway airport is less than 3 hours, but it will take you longer to get to O’Hare. There’s an Amtrak train – the station is right in downtown Champaign – and an assortment of shuttle and bus options.
  • St. Louis is also probably closer than you think at about a 4.5 hour drive

    Other cities/towns in the area, working outward from C-U:

    • Mattoon-Charleston is about a 25-min drive south. Eastern Illinois University is located there, and not much else.
    • Bloomington-Normal is about a 45-minute drive west. Illinois State is located there, so it too is a college town, though smaller than C-U. It also has an airport that can be a good option when you need to get out of town. Parking is free at the airport, and there’s a LEX shuttle that runs there for reasonable rates.
    • Peoria (where I currently live) is about a 75-minute drive west. Though this is a larger city (pop. around 350k), there’s not much reason to come here ever. (Which is too bad – it was once a thriving city, and it’s on the Illinois River.) It does have an airport as well, but you’re usually better off going to Bloomington-Normal or Indianapolis to fly out.

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(Continued)

Weather

  • Your experience of the weather depends very much on what you’re used to. I came from an area that was fairly snowy but not that cold, so I found it bad but not ridiculous. People who come from warm climates will find it brutal; people coming from places like Minneapolis or Ann Arbor probably find it quite bearable.
  • There’s are two longish season of pleasant weather. Spring begins in March and explodes pretty quickly in April, and nice fall temps extend well through October. There’s a marked drop in temps through the month of November and winter is fully arrived by the beginning of December.
  • Snow: there was a lot of variation in the winters in the years I lived in C-U, but I would generalize by saying that most years it snows with some frequency but not a lot at once – maybe one 6+ inch snowstorm per winter unless it’s one of those years when the whole Midwest gets a lot of snowstorms. The towns do a decent job of salt/sand/plowing, but I always lived close to downtown; people further out may have had a different experience with this. The flatness makes winter driving less treacherous.
  • Temps/wind: the #1 thing to know about winter in C-U is WINDCHILL. Looking at average temps only gives you half the story. Daytime temps probably average in the 20s, with some weeks of 30s and even 40s and some weeks of teens and single digits. The constant wind is really the thing that makes winters bad. However, as long as you dress for it, you’re fine. Don’t expect your hip-length wool pea coat to suffice! You’ll need good hats, scarves, gloves, warm boots, and a parka or down coat of at least knee length. I repeat: if you dress for it, you’ll be absolutely fine.
  • If you’re going to be in town in the summers, your tolerance for heat and humidity will determine your experience. It IS a humid climate, and the general lack of trees means you will feel the sun. I think daytime temps average in the low 90s, with some days or weeks of high-90s and a few nice days in the 80s. Things start to moderate in late August, but the warm temps extend through September. Unless you have a high tolerance for heat and humidity I would not recommend trying to go without air conditioning, but you don’t necessarily need central air. You can easily make do with a window unit.


    Sports
    Make no mistake, this is a Big Ten sports town. Expect massive influxes of orange-and-blue clad people for home games during football season, and to a lesser extent basketball season. I personally liked this aspect of being part of the university. I don’t care about football, but it’s really quite fun to follow the basketball team, especially listening to the radio broadcasts.

    C-U also hosts several of the state high school sports championships, most notably wrestling. (Don’t try to get a hotel room the second weekend of February, which is “wrestling weekend”!) You might be out doing errands on the weekend and feel like there are more people around than usual; this is probably due to one of these high school tournaments.

    If you want to play sports yourself, Champaign has an active parks district with lots of softball and basketball leagues, plus soccer and volleyball. The YMCA has dodgeball leagues if that’s your thing.

    One other thing to note: when I first arrived in C-U in 1998 the University mascot was still “The Chief,” a white dude got up in the most stereotypical Native American garments and make-up you can imagine, who did a ridiculous dance at halftime. It was embarrassing, and the University managed to transition to the mascot-less “Illini” over the course of a few years, but not without fervent alumni opposition. There’s STILL a “save the Chief” contingent in town.

    Housing, and Champaign vs. Urbana

    • As with the other categories, it all depends on what you’re looking for. I will preface my comments by saying that I always lived in Champaign, not Urbana, so my knowledge of housing options skews toward Champaign. A lot of people like Urbana better, and if you are bringing a family and kids, the schools are reputed to be better in Urbana. As a youngish married with no kids, I always preferred Champaign, which has a livelier downtown. However, keep in mind that it’s only a 10-min bike ride, if that, from downtown Champaign to downtown Urbana, so nothing is far. For example, Urbana has a great Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, but there’s no need to live in Urbana to take advantage of it.
    • As I mentioned above, the University straddles the two towns. Wright Street is the divider, with Urbana on the East and Champaign on the West. Campus is generally defined by Neil Street to the west, University to the North, Kirby to the South, and Lincoln to the East. Many undergrads live within this rough square in dorms, apartment complexes and buildings, and houses, so as a grad student you may want to steer clear. If being very close to your campus buildings is important to you and you don’t mind the noise, go for it. Within this rough square, the engineering quad is on the north side, the liberal arts quad is in the center, and the agriculture quad is to the south.
    • If you want a place with charm, the “old town” area of Champaign is a good place to look. This area goes generally from State St. westward to Prospect and from Church St. northward to Vine St. or so, and there are lots of old houses that have been converted to apartments, plus some small and larger apartment buildings. These places often don’t have modern amenities like dishwashers, and because of the proximity to downtown Champaign the rents tend to be a bit higher, but for many people it’s worth the trade-off. People will try to tell you that “anything north of Westside Park is sketchy” but I personally think this is a conspiracy to reduce the competition for the apartments in this area. Admittedly, things do get more ramshackle and racially mixed north of Vine St. or so, so make your own decision on that.
    • Downtown Urbana area also has some charming, house-style apartments. The rents are lower than their analogues in Champaign, but there’s a lot less to downtown Urbana than downtown Champaign.
    • You can also live IN downtown Champaign or Urbana. Rents are notably higher, and it can be noisy, especially downtown Champaign, but if you want to be in the center of things and can afford it, look into it.
    • If you prefer an apartment complex, they’ve been springing up all over in the last few years. Several of them are “luxury” type places aimed at undergrads whose parents can pay their rent. You can easily tell which ones these are by their advertisements and their suite-style rooming situations. I’ve heard that the Towne and Country apartments in Urbana are popular among grad students and are pet-friendly. There are also several grad-friendly apartments on Springfield, west of Mattis, in Champaign. These are a little further from campus so you’ll need to figure out your bus routes if you don’t have a car, but you are much closer to grocery stores, which can be an advantage if you don’t have a car.
    • Another area with a lot of rentals is in Champaign, roughly from Green St. southward to Kirby and extending west to Prospect. I’ve never lived in this area, but you are closer to the south side of campus if that’s where your buildings are, and Hessel Park is a nice spot in this neighborhood. You are also closer to the basketball and football stadiums, so you will notice the sports-season influx more than if you live in other areas.
    • If you prefer to rent a house, there are lots of options in both towns. Obviously the rents are higher than for apartments, but if you’re with a significant other or feel comfortable getting a roommate these can be a great option.
    • As with any college town, some of the rental agencies have bad reputations. Check out the tenant union online for info on which ones to be wary of.
    • One more housing option to look into: the small town of Savoy borders Champaign to the south. Rents here are cheaper, and more and more apartment housing has been going up. You’ll probably want a car if you live out here, but you’re still only a few minute’s drive from campus.

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(continued)

Transportation within the towns

  • You can definitely be without a car in C-U, but it will be easier for you if you live closer to one of the downtowns and/or campus.
  • The bus systems are really very good. Your University fees cover your bus pass, so you just show your student ID to ride. They have incorporated GPS technology, so the major bus stops have screens that show you when the next bus is coming, and if you’re not at one of those stops you can always call the 800 number to find out.
  • There are also several Zipcar locations, which makes it easy to do further-flung errands like grocery shopping. Just make sure to reserve early if you want to use a Zipcar on the weekends.
  • If you do have a car, try not to take it to campus. You’ll pay through the nose for a parking pass or for metered parking. If your meter runs out, you WILL get a ticket. It’s kind of a joke in both towns, but especially Champaign, that the city must get a lot of revenue from parking tickets, because the meter maids and men are really on top of things. However, the metered parking is free on the weekends.


    Physical Activity
    • You get access to the University fitness facilities with your fees, but if for some reason you’d prefer to work out elsewhere, there are plenty of options. In Champaign there’s a Gold’s, a place called Evolve downtown, The Fitness Center in the southwest part of town, and the YMCA, which is currently two locations but will be moving to one brand-new location in 2012.
    • If you’re a cyclist, there’s a small but fervent group of your compatriots in town. Check out Durst cycle shop and/or Champaign Cycle to make connections with your crazy cycling pals.
    • Runners enjoy Meadowbrook Park in Urbana. Check out the Second Wind runners club online or stop into Body ‘N Sole in Savoy (small town bordering Champaign to the south).
    • Crystal Lake Park in Urbana has canoes and the like if you want some low-key water recreation in the warm weather.
    • If you want to hike, you might want to take a few weekend trips down to the Carbondale area and check out Giant City state park, which is part of the Shawnee National Forest.


      Entertainment and Shopping

      • As mentioned above, C-U is self-sufficient. You have a mall with the usual anchor and retail stores (Macy’s, J.C. Penney, the Gap, Sephora, etc.), plenty of Wal-Marts (one each in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy), Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s, BestBuy, Staples and so on. Most of these are located on Prospect Ave and North Neil in Champaign. Most of the usual chain restaurants are in this area too (Olive Garden, Applebee’s and so on).
      • What you have in C-U is Urbana’s tiny downtown, Champaign’s small but surprisingly nice downtown, and Campustown.
      • Clothing options friendly to your grad school budget are the huge Goodwill store in Champaign, and the little Dandelion thrift store in downtown Champaign. If you want higher fashion, you’ll have to go to Chicago (but you’re a grad student! Can you afford high fashion?).
      • There’s no Whole Foods in C-U, but there’s the independent store Strawberry Fields in downtown Urbana. If you have special diet needs (gluten-free, vegan) or want a decent selection of organic products, make sure you can get to this place easily! They also have good coffee drinks and smoothies. It is expensive, though, so if you don’t need to do your food shopping here, I wouldn’t recommend it.
      • Two major movie theaters: the Beverly in Champaign and Savoy 16 in Savoy. There’s also an indie theater in downtown Champaign that typically plays an “art house” film and a “classic” popular film at any given time. E.g., in the last year they showed “Tree of Life” and “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” around the same time.
      • The biggest film event of the year is Ebert Fest at a restored theater in downtown Champaign. Roger Ebert can no longer attend due to his health, but the festival is still his picks of overlooked films of the year. This theater also hosts a film series, usually one film a month, that includes a lot of classics. I got to see “Top Hat” (an Astaire/Rogers film) on the big screen here, which was a highlight for me.
      • The Krannert Center is the area’s place to experience “culture” in the form of music, dance, and theater performances. A few big music acts per year come through and play at the basketball arena (I saw Dave Matthews Band in 1998), so check out the websites at the beginning of the semester and get tickets for anything you want to see/can afford!
      • Some of the bars in both towns often have live music, especially The Iron Post in Urbana and Mike-n-Molly’s in Champaign. A lot of pretty decent undiscovered bands come through town, so if this is your thing, check out the websites and find out who is playing when. There’s also an indie record store in downtown Champaign, so check it out if non-mainstream music is your thing.
      • Speaking of music, the University’s radio station is independent and student-run. The DJs are unintentionally hilarious in their youth as they “discover” bands from the early 90s, but they generally play good music. There’s also an excellent public radio station at AM580.
      • If you like good food you may be surprised at the number of tasty, non-chain places in C-U.

        • For semi-upscale dining there’s Silvercreek and The Great Impasta in Urbana (plus a place on the golf course that I can’t remember the name of), and Minneci’s, Bacaro, Luna, Jim Gould’s, and Radio Maria in downtown Champaign. (You must check out Radio Maria’s weekend brunch! Very reasonably priced, excellent coffee, fun atmosphere… my favorite place in all C-U.)
        • For the famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza, try Papa Del’s on campus, but if you’re an east-coaster like me who prefers New-York style pizza, you’re out of luck. Jupiter has two locations in Champaign and they do tasty thin-crust pizzas, but it is NOT New York style.
        • Asian restaurants include Miko, Siam Terrace, and Basil Thai Cafe in Urbana, Kamakura, Nitaya, Thara Thai (not the chain of the same name), and another sushi place I can’t remember the name of in Champaign.
        • Lots of good Mexican food, too. Dos Reales in Champaign is most people’s favorite, but El Toro (several locations) is also very good. Personally I also like Fiesta Café, especially when the weather’s warm and you can sit outside, but some people dislike this place. (It’s very LGBT-friendly, if that’s important to you.)

        [*]Speaking of LGBT, there are three places catering specifically to this crowd: Chester Street, Ruby’s, and Emerald City, all in Champaign.

        [*]If you want to go dancing, there’s The Highdive in downtown Champaign. Or, if you happen to be into ballroom dancing, check out The Regent.

        [*]If you simply like to hang out in bars with your friends, downtown Champaign has something like 12 bars in a four-block radius. Lots of options for good beer, especially. The Blind Pig is a brewery and has two locations (known as “the Pig” and “the Piglet”), and Mike-n-Molly’s has tons of good beers, as does Bentley’s. Pretty much all the places have good outdoor seating for the warm weather.

        [*]If you want to hang out with undergrads, feel free to hit the bars in Campustown! Even so, I would beware of those on Daniel Street. When the sidewalk outside the place reeks of urine and puke during the day, you might be too old to enjoy yourself there.

        [*]Speaking of Campustown, there’s plenty of options if you need food/drink while you’re on campus. In addition to Starbucks and Pot Belly, there’s an assortment of other places like a very good Indian restaurant, a pita place, a Greek place, and so on.

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(continued)

Non-University employment

The university is among the top three biggest employers in town, but here’s a quick list of some other major employers in the area (in case you have a significant other coming with you looking for work):

  • The two hospitals and all their affiliated clinics – Carle and Provena/Christie
  • Amdocs – large multi-national tech company
  • Kraft plant – in Champaign
  • Parkland College – a seriously good community college in Champaign
  • Human Kinetics, Inc – physical activity and health publisher in Champaign
  • National Council of Teachers of English, aka NCTE, is in Urbana
  • State Farm headquarters in Bloomington-Normal
  • Eastern Illinois U in Mattoon-Charleston
  • Illinois State U in Bloomington-Normal
  • There also lots of small companies that employ a good number of people


    Miscellaneous

    • Both towns have great public libraries, which are nice places to hang out and work.
    • Speaking of libraries, when you’ve been in town for a while you might find that there seem to be an unusual number of librarians around. It’s not your imagination; UIUC has a top-rated MLS program. The University prides itself on its libraries. The main grad library really is something to behold, and the Engineering library is gorgeous.
    • UIUC’s engineering, computer science, agriculture, and accounting programs are big draws.
    • The undergrad scene includes a major Greek system. Most of the Greek houses are in Urbana, so be on the lookout if you’re looking at housing there.
    • Even if you like small-town living, you will probably feel claustrophobic at some point and just want to get the hell out for a weekend. This is where the Amtrak to Chicago becomes a good option if you’re carless!

    Hope people find this helpful! I may be returning to C-U myself in the fall if I end up getting into the MFA/Creative Writing Program.

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Thanks for the info! I'm nurturing a grad school crush on U-C and can't seem to find enough info. I also appreciated the little note on ballroom dancing, I wasn't sure if U-C was large enough to have a studio nearby.

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Hey all---just thought I should respond to this. I feel like this thread did a pretty good job covering CU but if it helps feel free to ask me or DM some questions too. I lived in CU from birth until I graduated UIUC, so I probably know CU more than is reasonably healthy for anyone. I have since moved to Chicago, but go home quite often.

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Thanks for the input on the previous places I listed. I was just looking at places in Champaign. How is Hessel on the Park apartments- just south of Hessel park on Valley Road. Is that primarily undergrads or is it more grad students and community members?

I had some friends live in the Hessel on the Park apartments when I was a CU native--I didn't really get a grad student vibe. Mostly townies who might be louder than you want.

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This is a great and informative thread!

Can anyone speak to graduate housing at the university? Does that go fast as well?? Is it the best bet for a first year grad student?

I have not lived in graduate housing, but my understanding from those I know who have is that it's overpriced and not terribly well maintained. You can find much nicer places for the same (or lower) rent. The benefit of university housing is that it's much easier to get out of a lease than almost anywhere else in town, but you still have to be basically leaving the university for some reason to break the lease. Also, it's pretty much always available. I know several people who have lived in university housing for their first year and survived, but they have no plans to continue living there.

If you're worried about renting a place sight-unseen, I would recommend you contact the tenant union. They will point you towards the reputable and grad student friendly property managers.

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I have not lived in graduate housing, but my understanding from those I know who have is that it's overpriced and not terribly well maintained. You can find much nicer places for the same (or lower) rent. The benefit of university housing is that it's much easier to get out of a lease than almost anywhere else in town, but you still have to be basically leaving the university for some reason to break the lease. Also, it's pretty much always available. I know several people who have lived in university housing for their first year and survived, but they have no plans to continue living there.

If you're worried about renting a place sight-unseen, I would recommend you contact the tenant union. They will point you towards the reputable and grad student friendly property managers.

Thanks a lot, RiceandBeans!!

In terms of an easy move, it seems like a fine idea because I can apply online. Since I'm coming from CA, I thought the prices were amazing. But then, as you mentioned, I realized that rent can be cheaper elsewhere. I'll check out the tenant union. Thanks again!

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hey everyone! i'll be in town this weekend for an open house and i live far enough away to warrant a hotel. any suggestions of one on campus/walking distance so i can explore the area without having to drive? thanks!

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I'll be heading to Urbana in the fall as an english grad student. I have a couple of a travel-related questions:

1. I am thinking about visiting from South Carolina. It seems pretty hard to actually get to Urbana-Champaign. Does anyone know the best way to fly there? It seems like it is way too expensive for me to actually fly into the campus airport. It also seems like the airport in Normal-Bloomington, IL is the closest affordable option, but I don't know how I would get from Normal to Urbana without a car. Is flying to Chicago, taking a one hour train ride to the train station, and then taking a 2-3 hour train ride to Urbana really the best option? It seems as though a mid-sized area with such a prominent university would have easier access.

2. Once I am in Urbana-Champaign, I would definitely like to visit Chicago semi-regularly. While the amtrak seems like a good option, is it possible to drive to Chicago? I imagine parking is limited and extremely expensive there. Would it just be cheaper/more convenient to take the train?

Edited by Rupert Pupkin

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Hi I will be visiting Urbana-Champaign this weekend for a campus visit and I am flying into the campus airport (recommended by the department/they are paying for it) but if I end up at Illinois this is certainly not my plan for how to get there in the future. I know that there is an Illini bus system that goes back and forth from campus to Chicago for about $20 - $40ish (http://www.illinishuttle.com/). In terms of Chicago I think I would prefer the bus/train system as compared to driving but that might just be my own preference.

@badgerslp, I will also be in a hotel this weekend and I am in need of places to walk to as well so if anyone knows please let us know!

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Hey! I will also be at UIUC this weekend for a visit. I will be joining the COE PhD Program in C&I - I am super excited!

I am well, um, older (34) and I would like to rent a house so I can take my dogs with me. I am looking for somewhere quiet, but close to a bus line. I do have a car, but I've read that is a pain / not really cost-effective to take it to campus. Can someone recommend a quiet, nice area to rent a house?

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I'll be heading to Urbana in the fall as an english grad student. I have a couple of a travel-related questions:

1. I am thinking about visiting from South Carolina. It seems pretty hard to actually get to Urbana-Champaign. Does anyone know the best way to fly there? It seems like it is way too expensive for me to actually fly into the campus airport. It also seems like the airport in Normal-Bloomington, IL is the closest affordable option, but I don't know how I would get from Normal to Urbana without a car. Is flying to Chicago, taking a one hour train ride to the train station, and then taking a 2-3 hour train ride to Urbana really the best option? It seems as though a mid-sized area with such a prominent university would have easier access.

2. Once I am in Urbana-Champaign, I would definitely like to visit Chicago semi-regularly. While the amtrak seems like a good option, is it possible to drive to Chicago? I imagine parking is limited and extremely expensive there. Would it just be cheaper/more convenient to take the train?

For visiting, I would suck it up and fly into Willard Airport -- you will have to fly American Airlines via their regional service called American Eagle. There is a bus that runs from Willard to campus for $1. If you have plenty of time and don't mind taking a bus from Chicago, it will probably save you $150 if you fly to Chicago and bus to Champaign. In that case, or for visiting Chicago, I would suggest taking the Megabus or Lex Express (both run about 18-25 one way), or the Amtrack depending on the time and day (certain times/days are much more expensive). If you fly into Chicago, I would specifically choose a bus service that picks you up from O'Hare (Lex does this, as do some others). I would not recommend using the Greyhound bus service -- they are unreliable and unorganized (and nobody ever has anything good say about them...).

And yes, parking is limited and expensive in Chicago, though it really depends on the area.

Edited by Rick Deckard

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Hey! I will also be at UIUC this weekend for a visit. I will be joining the COE PhD Program in C&I - I am super excited!

I am well, um, older (34) and I would like to rent a house so I can take my dogs with me. I am looking for somewhere quiet, but close to a bus line. I do have a car, but I've read that is a pain / not really cost-effective to take it to campus. Can someone recommend a quiet, nice area to rent a house?

If you're looking for a dog friendly, quiet area, I would recommend Urbana, at least a half mile east of campus (to avoid the undergrad housing). I just moved to Urbana in the fall with my dog and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in the middle of a residential area. I love where I live. There are lots of parks and the residential area is really nice to walk around. There's a dog park in Urbana too which is nice to let your dogs run their energy off. The buses run pretty far, I personally wanted to stick reasonably close to campus, so I'm about a mile east which is perfect, right next to downtown urbana (easy to catch a bus), but still in the quiet residential area and easy to bike to school from. My landlord has mostly pet friendly places (apartments and houses). They are Weiner Companies. They are pretty good, I haven't had any problems with them and the only time I've had to ask them to do something, it got done within 2 days (I had some bees hanging around my balcony and they were taken care of in less than 2 days). They have several good options for both apartments and houses that are pet friendly. The other good pet friendly place I found was Joe Allen. But, they seem a bit more unorganized (the apartments are nice, the lady who runs most of it is just unorganized). If you have any other questions, let me know.

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This is very informative thread! I'll be coming to UIUC for PhD physics, fall 2012. Very excited :) . I dont see many people talking about it this year and nothing in 'Meet and Greet' as well. :mellow:

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This is very informative thread! I'll be coming to UIUC for PhD physics, fall 2012. Very excited :) . I dont see many people talking about it this year and nothing in 'Meet and Greet' as well. :mellow:

Are you looking for housing? I'm attending in fall 2012 as well!

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If you're looking for a dog friendly, quiet area, I would recommend Urbana, at least a half mile east of campus (to avoid the undergrad housing). I just moved to Urbana in the fall with my dog and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in the middle of a residential area. I love where I live. There are lots of parks and the residential area is really nice to walk around. There's a dog park in Urbana too which is nice to let your dogs run their energy off. The buses run pretty far, I personally wanted to stick reasonably close to campus, so I'm about a mile east which is perfect, right next to downtown urbana (easy to catch a bus), but still in the quiet residential area and easy to bike to school from. My landlord has mostly pet friendly places (apartments and houses). They are Weiner Companies. They are pretty good, I haven't had any problems with them and the only time I've had to ask them to do something, it got done within 2 days (I had some bees hanging around my balcony and they were taken care of in less than 2 days). They have several good options for both apartments and houses that are pet friendly. The other good pet friendly place I found was Joe Allen. But, they seem a bit more unorganized (the apartments are nice, the lady who runs most of it is just unorganized). If you have any other questions, let me know.

Thank you! Do you have a contact number for the Wiener Companies? I visited last month, and I think I saw the area you live. It is beautiful. Would love to live around there!

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Thank you! Do you have a contact number for the Wiener Companies? I visited last month, and I think I saw the area you live. It is beautiful. Would love to live around there!

The website is http://www.weinercompanies.com/. Their phone number, website, and apartment/house availability is on the site. Good luck! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

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