How to Spend 24 Hours in Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington | © Poren Chiang / Flickr
Photo of Courtney Johnston
26 April 2018

Are you planning a trip to Bloomington, Indiana, and hoping to cram in as many restaurants and attractions as possible in one day? Bloomington is full of top-notch eateries, charming local shops, incredible attractions, and a bustling nightlife. If you’re short on time, here are the must-see places you need to squeeze into your visit.


Breakfast at Runcible Spoon

Finding great breakfast in Bloomington is pretty easy, with great finds like Uptown Cafe and The Inkwell. But Runcible Spoon Cafe & Restaurant is an absolute must-visit. Nestled in the heart of this charming college town, Runcible Spoon serves breakfast all day long and is revered for their French toast, eggs benedict, corned beef hash, and pancakes. You’ll also love their eclectic décor, fantastic mimosas, and friendly service.

Been waiting for this meal for a long time!! #therunciplespoon #btown #bloomington

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Explore the B-Line Trail

After breakfast, explore some of the best sights around Bloomington by taking a quick walk across the B-Line Trail. This unique urban trail cuts right through downtown Bloomington, giving you easy access to local stores, cafés, and outdoor attractions. The trail itself spans just over three miles (4.8 kilometers) and offers the most comprehensive quick walking tour of Bloomington.

B-Line Trail | © Bart Everson / Flickr


Grab a quick coffee or juice at Soma

During or after your tour of the city, you’ll probably find yourself looking for a quick pick-me-up. Soma is one of the best places to stop for a great coffee, espresso drink, or freshly made juice. Try one of their original coffee creations, such as the Razz-Ma-Tazz dark chocolate and raspberry coffee, or one of their delicious smoothies, like Blue Suede Shoes (featuring apple juice, blueberries, bananas, and melons). They also have a great selection of baked goods for an easy, on-the-go snack.

Soma | © Amy Guth / Flickr

Take a tour of Indiana University

After your snack, continue the walking tour by visiting the most famous place in this college town: Indiana University. Continue up Kirkwood Ave to enter through the Sample Gates. Take a quick tour of some of the university’s most famous buildings and public art displays. Once you reach the Arts Plaza, be sure to visit the free on-campus art museum for an incredible look at over 40,000 artifacts. You’ll also want to check out the beautiful arboretum and campus greenhouse.

Indiana University | © StephenW. / Flickr

Grab a late lunch at BuffaLouie’s

This IU staple is an experience anyone visiting Bloomington should witness. This sports bar-style restaurant is 100% Hoosier, and you’ll feel that from the moment you step inside. This eccentric pub loves IU and remains seemingly untouched by time. This stop is a great one to indulge in some of your favorite bar foods, such as buffalo wings, cheese fries, and fried pickles. They also have great salads—if you’re looking for something a little lighter.

#iuhomecoming #buffalouies #hotwings

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Catch a show at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Bloomington has an incredible live music and comedy scene, which is part of the appeal for college students. No matter when you visit, there’s bound to be something awesome taking place. The Buskirk-Chumley Theater is one of the most popular venues for shows, from music and theatre to comedy and film to community events. Be sure to check out their event schedule before planning your trip, and grab tickets to one of the hottest shows in the area.

Buskirk-Chumley Theater | © Poren Chiang / Flickr

Have an unforgettable meal at Janko’s Little Zagreb

This hidden gem offers one of the best fine-dining options in Bloomington, with mouthwatering steaks that will blow you away. Don’t be fooled by the restaurant’s classic look and feel; you’ll be getting a gourmet meal, not diner food. Start off with their signature spicy meatballs, and choose from their filet, sirloin, or tomahawk steaks. Don’t forget to chase it down with a glass of their finest wine (they have an incredible wine list).

Parting attractions

From there, finish off your stay in Bloomington with a nightcap from one of their most popular bars like The Bluebird Nightclub, Oddball Fermentables, or the Root Cellar. You can stroll around the downtown area or navigate along the B-Line again (it’s lit up at night) to take in the magic of the city at nighttime, before heading back to your hotel.

Bloomington | © StevenW. / Flickr

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