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Mancation Blog Feature

Sports. Food. Beer. That’s it!

If you and the guys are looking to get away for a long weekend, look no further than Champaign, Illinois – home of the University of Illinois. With plenty of exciting sports games, craft beer and delicious food, there will be no shortage of fun on your Mancation.

The “Fighting Illini” men’s football and basketball teams have a handful of great home games this fall, providing guys with many opportunities to plan a trip surrounding one of the matchups. Illinois football hosts fellow Big Ten Conference opponents Iowa on Saturday, November 15 and Penn State November 22. The men’s basketball team faces off at home against Austin Peay November 16 and American December 6.


  • Illinois football vs. Iowa on November 15 (get tickets)
  • Illinois football vs. Penn State on November 22 (get tickets)


  • Illinois basketball vs. Austin Peay on November 16 (get tickets)
  • Illinois basketball vs. American on December 6 (get tickets)

The Fighting Illini football team will face off Big 10 rivals at home this season. Click the photo to see more destinations in Champaign!

Where to Eat and Drink

If the sports alone didn’t convince you, then surely craft beer and great food will. The Blind Pig Brewery is the place to go for classic pub fare and incredible craft beer. Named as one of the top 50 places to drink beer in the U.S., be sure to stop by and sample their seasonal brews on tap. Big Grove Tavern is another local option that serves classic Midwest recipes with a farm-to-table twist. And you won’t want to miss the beer-infused dishes at Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works, including beer-battered bacon, three cheese & ale soup, and the brewmaster’s pizza.

The Blind Pig Brewery is the place to go for craft beer and classic pub fare. Click on the photo to learn about Blind Pig.

The Blind Pig Brewery is the place to go for craft beer and classic pub fare. Click on the photo to learn about Blind Pig.

Where to Stay

Hyatt Place is the newest hotel option in Champaign and is conveniently located a few short blocks from the train station. It’s also walking distance from all the best restaurants and bars. Hilton Garden Inn and Residence Inn by Marriott are also great hotel options.

How to Get There

Getting to Champaign is easy. Being in Central Illinois, driving is an easy option, but if you’re coming from Chicago consider taking Amtrak. This short train ride will get you there and drop you right downtown so you can spend more time bonding with the guys.

Did we cover the top things to do and see in Champaign? Comment below and tell us what your favorite Champaign activities are! For more information, check out Champaign, Illinois and

-The Illinois Office of Tourism


Are you an artist, art enthusiast or just someone looking for a new favorite art piece for your home?  You can discover inspiration everywhere you look in Makanda, Illinois!

One of the key places to enjoy Makanda’s art scene is along the celebrated Makanda Boardwalk. The block of storefronts and studios, also known as the “Valley of the Arts,” is a center for local artists and craftspeople to display their prized pieces of work.

Makanda’s Boardwalk features artists from all over the region during its annual Spring Fest

Makanda’s Boardwalk features artists from all over the region during its annual Spring Fest

Located at the end of the Boardwalk, Rainmaker Art Studio displays incredible sculpture pieces made from bronze and copper by artist Dave Daris. He learned his unique metal smith trade while traveling around the Midwest more than 40 years ago. Dave showcases his awe-inspiring pieces in his studio and in the one-acre garden that rests directly behind the property – make sure to wander into the garden to view his full collection!

To see more local work, visit Visions Art Gallery located just down the Boardwalk. It features hand painted glass, wood working, painting, photography and pottery by more than 60 local artists. Visions Art Gallery is a great place to see a variety of mediums all in one place and find what speaks to you.

Visitors who work up an appetite while wandering along the boardwalk can savor delicious sandwiches at the Makanda Country Store. Remember to save room for the store’s hand-dipped ice cream cones – you’ll thank us later! The Country Store also has a variety of local and international specialty items like jams and coffee to take home.

Enjoy hand dipped ice cream cones from the Makanda Country Store

Enjoy hand dipped ice cream cones from the Makanda Country Store

What are you waiting for? Start planning your art-filled trip to Makanda at

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

If you’re looking to spend a relaxing weekend away from home, The Senator’s Inn is a great Illinois destination for you.

Located in Savoy, a quaint town in the state’s Land of Lincoln region, the Inn is a retreat to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In fact, the innkeeper asks that all cell phones be turned off when guests enter the inn to ensure peace and tranquility.

Inn guests can feel pampered with a variety of spa services on location, like deep tissue and hot stone massages. Nothing says relaxation like a weekend away and a trip to the spa – all in one place!

Not only is The Senator’s Inn relaxing, but it also is a trip back in time. The Inn’s building itself, built in 1915, tells its own story through its rich history. It was once the mansion of Senator Harry Dunlap, and the original house on its property belonged to his father, Matthias Dunlap. Matthias Dunlap was a horticulturist and a long-time columnist for the Chicago Democratic Press, and later, the Chicago Tribune. It is rumored that Abraham Lincoln visited the Inn and that the Inn was also used as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

The Inn is only 2.5 miles from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Spend a day touring the beautiful campus and explore nature at its best at the university’s arboretum.  If arts and culture is your fancy, see local and internationally recognized artists at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.


Other attractions worth checking out in the area include the Wandell Sculpture Garden in Meadowbrook Park, featuring creative art sculptures across 22 acres of land, and The Art Theater, a historic cinema in downtown Champaign.

-The Illinois Office of Tourism


Did you know Illinois is home to an abundance of breweries that produce some of the tastiest craft brews in the country? Illinois’ brews are making headlines and being enjoyed by craft connoisseurs and casual beer drinkers alike. One Land of Lincoln brewery even holds the title as one of the “Top 50 Places to Drink Beer in the USA” by Beer Advocate.  That place is The Blind Pig Brewery.

Belly up to The Blind Pig Brewery Bar

Belly up to The Blind Pig Brewery Bar

Located in bustling Champaign, Illinois, in the heart of the Land of Lincoln region, The Blind Pig serves up an assortment of craft brews that wow locals and attract visitors from all over the country. The type of brew flowing out of The Blind Pig’s 14 taps is constantly rotating, but you can be sure at least four taps are always dedicated to The Blind Pig brews. The other 10 are microbrew taps from other outstanding breweries, many of which are located in the Midwest.  In addition to what’s on tap, The Blind Pig has more than 100 different types of bottles available – ciders, gluten free beer, you name it!

Located in the heart of Champaign, The Blind Pig is an ideal place to stop on a guys' getaway

Located in the heart of Champaign, The Blind Pig is an ideal place to stop on a guys’ getaway

The brewery is Champaign’s first all-grain brewery since prohibition and is a staple in the community. To celebrate its success, The Blind Pig Brewery hosts an annual festival dedicated to 10 tasty beers. Not only are these beers delicious, but they have a kick. Each beer featured in the festival is nine percent ABV and above.

The Blind Pig Brewery's beer garden is open during the warmer months, complete with awesome views of Champaign's downtown district

The Blind Pig Brewery’s beer garden is open during the warmer months, complete with awesome views of Champaign’s downtown district

Next time you’re thinking about taking a trip with the guys, think about Illinois’ breweries! For a complete list of microbreweries throughout the state,  click here.

–The Illinois Office of Tourism

43 march is women's month

Jane Adams Hull House Museum

Jane Addams is one history’s great women.  She was born in Cedarville, Illinois, on September 6, 1860.  Jane Addams was the first American woman to win the Nobel peace prize in 1931.  The FBI compiled a huge dossier on Addams and considered her one of the most dangerous women in America because of her passivism, advocacy for women’s rights and her commitment to democracy.

She was the co-founder of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and helped to establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Jane Addams Hull House is still in the heart of the community.  Each year, more than 60,000 people receive help through a variety of programs including foster care, job training, child care, counseling, education and literacy. Their programs continue to be community-based so they can be quick to respond to the needs of children, families, and seniors. They carry on Jane Addams’ simple mission of neighbors helping neighbors

If your in Chicago, stop in to learn about Nobel Prize winner Jane Addams one of our great women of history.

The Jane Addams Hull House Museum is open to the public for tours Tuesday – Friday, from 10 am – 4 pm, and Sundays from 12 Noon – 4 pm.  It is closed Mondays, Saturdays and on select holidays.  An introductory slide presentation is available to drop-in visitors. 

Jane Addams Hull House Museum

800 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Admission:  FREE