You will find a variety of reasonably priced housing in Urbana and Champaign. The university maintains housing for single and married graduate students, and many private apartments and rental houses are also available near the campus.
Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) provides bus service throughout CU; the buses are free for UIUC students. Hop on the Amtrak at Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign and head north to Chicago or points south. Willard Airport is in Savoy, minutes from CU, and charter buses can take you to Chicago's airports.
The University of Illinois campus boasts beautiful green spaces like the Quad and historic buildings such as the Illini Union, which is home to a bowling alley and several eateries. On game days, you can tailgate and root for the Fighting Illini football team at Memorial Stadium or cheer on the volleyball team at the always electric Huff Hall. The School of MCB buildings are just east of the Quad, and affiliated interdisciplinary institutes and centers (Beckman Institute, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology) are all within a five-minute walk. Just across the street from MCB is the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, where students can catch orchestra performances, live theatre, or events such as the Ellnora Guitar Festival.