Smile Politely

Year of the Park video feature: Scott Park, Champaign

As Year of the Park continues, we will be documenting every park in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, Champaign County Forest Preserves, along with other odds and ends between July 2020 and July 2021. You can see what has been covered thus far by clicking here. If you have suggestions or ideas or feedback, feel free to contact us at


Scott Park


207 E. Springfield, Champaign

Video by Tim Bailey.


Situated in the heart of north campustown, Scott Park has been serving the students and faculty at the University of Illinois since the late 19th century.

Originally named East Side Park, the 3.5 acre plot was gifted to Champaign by Thomas G. Wood and James R. and Lou Emma Scott, the park features a walking path, restored prairie scape surrounding the Boneyard Creek, basketball courts, a children’s playground, outdoor grills, and a shelter for gathering with friends and family.

One of the most unique features of Scott Park is the amazing views it offers of the Campustown skyline. Over the past twenty years, the people of Champaign-Urbana, along with students and alumni alike, have been witness to the rise of an urban forest along Green St. in Campustown, and Scott Park is a wonderful spot to take it all in.


Scott Park is one of the best parks in all of Champaign-Urbana, and its location — next to the 2nd Street Basin developed by the City of Champaign — is a big reason why. Stroll along the paths to the north for a lovely walk, and then spend some time inside Scott Park with friends for a barbecue or time with the kids, and you have yourself a quintessential day in the heart of Campustown, surrounded by the energy of the vibrant student population. 

Something that might be a treat would be to invite food trucks, or specifically, a rotating list of taco trucks to the park on Tuesdays along with some live music, perhaps, to create more activity in the summertime months when Campustown is slower. I have never heard of anyone being sad about a Taco Tuesday promotion. I have only heard about people being happy about a Taco Tuesday promotion. Happy is good right now, especially, outdoors, where we can be safe.

There is no better example in our community of an “urban” park than this one, and that is why it will land in our Top 20 Best Parks later in our Year of the Park features, with certainty. The Park District has done a remarkable job keeping it up, and adding amenities to it, and we should celebrate it every chance we get. 

Top image by Tim Bailey.

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