Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Urbana High School Athletic Complex
298-100 E Michigan Ave. Urbana, IL 61801
Year Opened: 2011
Urbana High School is the only public high school in Urbana, Illinois and was established in 1872. The current building was built in 1914 and is rumored to be haunted.
Notable alumni of the high school include Roger Ebert and former Miss America Erika Harold. Music artist Ludacris spent some time at Urbana High School before moving away.
In 2011, the Urbana began construction on several projects to update the older facilities. The school demolished its football and soccer fields in the spring of 2011 and combined them into a new state-of-the-art football/soccer field with artificial turf and several bleachers. It was called the Urbana Tigers Athletic Complex and the project cost an estimated $4.3 million.
Food & Beverage 3
There is a surprisingly large menu for a high school football stadium. All the usual offerings are available and the prices are reasonable. There are some more unusual options such as walking tacos and pork chop sandwiches.
Wait until the end of the 3rd quarter and the stand offers some bargains as they do not want to keep extra food items around between weeks of the game.
There is one long and basic grandstand along the home side of the field. A smaller visitor stand sits along the side of the school on the opposite side from the home stand. That is pretty much it as it is a basic stadium.
The scoreboard is brand new and does offer a nice videoboard. A marching band and cheerleaders fill out the normal high school sports offerings.
Urbana is a slow pace kind of town. But there are three places that jump out as must visits. Black Dog Smoke & Ale House offers amazing barbecue, just expect to wait in line to get in and that the tasty burnt ends will go quickly. Crane Alley is a nice bar with some great beers and Masijta Grill is a great Korean barbecue. Also check out the beer garden/ art space called The Sipyard.
A very short walk away is the area along Green and Wright streets called “Campustown.” There are many bars, shops and restaurants in this area, and they tend to cater to young college students.
Older fans will want to center their post game activities around downtown Champaign. Once a pretty boring downtown area, one will now find many bars and restaurants. The Esquire Lounge is a local icon and should be a stop for everyone. Try a pork chop sandwich and say hi to owner Pedro.
Other great downtown spots are Derailed 57, Blind Pig Brewery, the gastropub DESTIHL, sports bar Jupiter’s, and Farren’s Pub & Eatery (at a very hidden location at 308 N Randolph Street). There is also a much larger version of Jupiter’s on the outskirts of Champaign (2511 Village Green Place at The Crossing Center) that is also a good choice. If visiting that second Jupiter’s location also try Billy Balooz right next door (2521 Village Green Place at The Crossing Center).
The fans here are pretty standard high school fans. The high school kids run and socialize without paying much attention, but the older fan base is engrossed in the action. They are a friendly bunch of people.
Champaign and Urbana are both easy cities to navigate. There is plenty of parking both near to the stadium and also on the north part of the school.
Champaign-Urbana is at the crossroads of I-57 and I-74, as well as being the eastern terminus for I-72 so getting to the area from Chicago, Indianapolis and points west will be pretty easy.
Return on Investment 3
The games are only $5 to attend so the value is quite good. Concession prices are also quite reasonable. There are no other costs for attendance.
Check out the tiger statue outside the main entrance of the stadium complex.
The school is very old and offers some cool architectural styles. It is pretty cool to see the various additions to the school over time and to note the change in style of design.
The Urbana High School Athletic Complex offers a pretty basic high school athletic atmosphere. It is worth a stop if you are in the area.