Champaign is located in central Illinois northeast of Decatur in Champaign County along Interstate 72. It lies just north of the headwaters of the Kaskaskia River and the Embarras River.
Urbana, the county seat and sister city, was founded in 1822. Champaign was founded in 1854. In the 1850s, the area was a destination for attorney Abraham Lincoln, who frequented friends' homes there as he traveled the circuit from Springfield for the 8th Judicial District.
The University of Illinois campus is nestled between the two cities. The University is the county's largest employer. Ten alumni have won Nobel Prizes, and another 16 have won Pulitzer Prizes (as of 2002).
The Champaign-Urbana area also is a technology hub, dubbed "Silicon Prairie", and agriculture has been, historically, a major economic contributor.
Places to visit: Allerton Park's forests, gardens, sculptured hedges and statuary; prairie flora at the Arboretum and Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden and the Olympic Tribute, a monument honoring county athletes.