With move-in weekend fast approaching and empty cupboards that need filling, we thought we’d give you a quick list of grocery stores that your child can choose from when living in Champaign-Urbana. All have different purposes and benefits, but your kid will likely find a favorite after many shopping trips for cereal and frozen pizza, and maybe some vegetables here and there.
2610 N Prospect Ave, Champaign, IL 61822
You’re probably very familiar with our first listing —Walmart. Although it lacks local charm, Walmart is reliable for your everyday needs including food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. The super center is also first on our list because you’ll likely stop there when moving your kiddo into their dorm room or their first apartment. Unfortunately, so will the rest of Illini nation. Beat the move-in weekend rush by going early in the morning or try their free grocery pickup option.
As for the rest of the year, Walmart typically has ample parking with plenty of checkout lines, so don’t worry about the crowds. Also, your kid may need a car or a friend with one. The store is accessible by bus, but public transportation is inconvenient for a student carrying a week’s load of groceries.
2401 N Prospect Ave, Champaign, IL 61821
Meijer and Walmart, who share a road, are nearly interchangeable. Big and full of things to buy, both have just about everything your child needs to survive. The choice between the two megastores depends on your child’s preferred shopping experience.
801 W Interstate Dr, Champaign, IL 61822
Pack your quarters and reusable shopping bags, we’re going to Aldi. Located almost in Walmart’s parking lot, the grocery store is known for their low prices and exclusive store brands. Aldi has the loyalty of many UIUC students, as seen in this reddit thread. They also offer a quick shopping experience. Whereas its easy to get lost in the mountains of stuff in the previously listed megastores, Aldi is the perfect place to grab what you need and get out.
You might be wondering why we mentioned quarters and shopping bags. At Aldi, a quarter is required to release a shopping cart. But don’t worry, your coin will be returned to you as soon as you return your cart. Bags are also not provided, so make sure to equip your student with some before they go shopping.
331 E Stoughton St, Champaign, IL 61820
If your kid doesn’t have a car on campus, County Market may be the place for them. While it is more expensive than other stores on this list, it’s easy to walk to and is ready to satisfy any of your kid’s cravings. They also house a Caribou Coffee shop if your child is in need of caffeine.
However, afternoon and evening shopping lines can get long, especially when students are preparing for a night out. The good thing is that they are open 24 hours, so going in the early morning or late evening can help prevent the wait.
200 N Vine St, Urbana, IL 61802
For our Urbana residents, Schnucks may be the place to go. Pro: they’ve got great produce. Con: their bakery section is sometimes too tempting. Like County Market, their prices can also be a bit higher, but some students would rather spend a little extra to avoid the hustle and bustle of a Walmart parking lot.
Like the Walmart, Meijer, and Aldi, your student will probably need to drive or catch a ride with a friend to get to Schnucks. You can have peace of mind knowing that they will find a way to spend money and satisfy their appetites no matter where they decide to shop.