Smile Politely

Take a walking tour of Historic Downtown Urbana

The Downtown Urbana Historic District has been on the National Register of Historic Places since August 2019, but the City of Urbana has just launched a walking tour of the area.

You can access the tour (with the map) online.

Additonal details are in the press release below.


The National Park Service, in recognition of both its historical and governmental importance, and its architectural character, added the Downtown Urbana Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places on August 27, 2019. To share this new historic district with the public, the City of Urbana has launched a new Downtown Urbana Historic District Walking Tour to celebrate Historic Preservation Month of May and the new Comprehensive Plan. Participants are encouraged to enjoy Urbana’s past and think about Urbana’s future.

The walking tour can be accessed on the phone application PocketSights. The PocketSights website allows you to preview the tour online at:

Urbana Planning staff highlighted nine locations that show the past and the future of Downtown Urbana.

A short written background is provided for each of the buildings on the tour, and is accompanied by an audio clip so you can hear the information being read to you by staff in the tour application.

Two locations have brief video interviews: the Rose Bowl Tavern, and the Nat Cohen Building. There people can hear the owners of each building talk about history and how they see their building fit into the future of downtown Urbana. Visit to take a survey, post ideas for the community to see, and drop “pins” on a map of places that deserve highlighting to help the City craft its new Comprehensive Plan, “Imagine Urbana.”

Upcoming Historic Downtown Urbana events and information can be found at the City’s website, If you would like to learn more about historic properties in Downtown Urbana, or across Urbana, Urbana’s Historic Preservation Commission has numerous resources on the City’s website.

For more information about the City of Urbana’s Imagine Urbana Comprehensive Plan, please visit

Top image from Historic Downtown Urbana Walking Tour Pocketsights website. Photo by Princess Theater.

Related Articles