My comparison of Chicago versus Champaign is very strange. Chicago is a huge city. Champaign is a small town. Yet Champaign has the early edge in "big city" characteristics, and while Chicago is winning on "small town" things.
For example, there are more good restaurants in close walking distance of our Champaign Apartment. And the Chinese delivery we've gotten is much better. On the other hand, our downtown Chicago apartment was very quiet and peaceful, while we're on top of two beer gardens in Champaign, one of which decided to bring out a live brass band to play at 12:30 in the morning.* I also had more of a "community feel" in Chicago than I do here, though that's a little unfair of a metric.
In any event, so far the noise in the beer garden has dropped off by around 1:30 each night. And other than that, I'm a happy camper.
* I'm already plotting my counterattack to this. Since we're in downtown, a noise complaint probably won't fly. So instead, I'll just fight fire with fire -- blast out the most obnoxious rap and heavy metal I can think of out my second-story window. I can just imagine the ensuing complaint:
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Playing music. What are you doing?"