The Best Things to Do in Bloomington, Indiana
Bloomington | © Owen Parrish / Flickr
Bloomington, Indiana, is more than just a popular little college town. Surrounded by lush hills, forests, and lakes, the charming city has much to offer, from incredible urban sights to unforgettable outdoor adventures. Here are some of the best things to do in Bloomington.
Stroll or Bike Along the B-Line Trail
Explore the city’s hottest spots along the outdoor B-Line Trail. This bustling, attractive outdoor urban trail that cuts through the heart of downtown Bloomington provides easy access to popular shops, eateries, and attractions in the city. Explore this trail on foot or by bike any time of day, with helpful LED lights brightening your path from sunset to sunrise. It’s also a great way to add some exercise to your urban adventure.
Go Shopping at Fountain Square Mall
Located in the center of downtown Bloomington, this shopping mall is lined with cute, trendy, independent shops, health and fitness services, as well as family-owned restaurants and bistros. With its eclectic range of stores, the mall has something for locals and tourists alike.
Discover Indiana University
It’s nearly impossible to visit Bloomington without discovering some part of this city’s claim to fame: Indiana University. Known as IU Bloomington, this university is one of the most popular attractions in all of Indiana. The campus sits on nearly 2,000 acres of land and boasts incredible walking tours full of outdoor art, remarkable architecture, and outdoor gardens. Check out the local IU theater, various museums, sports arenas, art galleries, and outdoor grounds for unforgettable activities perfect for all types of visitors.
Relax at Oliver Winery & Vineyards
Wine Seller, American, $$$
For a romantic or peaceful getaway, look no further than the gorgeous Oliver Winery & Vineyards. This picture-perfect winery is an ideal place to unwind, relax, and enjoy some of Bloomington’s most tranquil slices of nature. Taste incredible wine inside the tasting room, and take a tour to learn more about the winemaking process. Also, enjoy some food with your wine while taking in the stunning view overlooking the vineyard.
This incredible museum is a perfect place for kids and kids at heart. WonderLab combines science, health, and technology to create a one-of-a-kind experience. Located along the B-Line Trail in downtown Bloomington, this fascinating museum houses exhibits like the Bubble-Airium, Discover Garden, Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science, Coral Reef Aquarium, How Things Work, and WonderGarden.
Get Outdoors at Monroe Lake
Monroe Lake is a popular outdoor attraction that will allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Here, you can relax and enjoy a peaceful day of fishing, swimming, or sunbathing on the beach. You can also rent a variety of boats so that you can spend the afternoon out on the water. Bring food for a picnic, pack a tent for an overnight stay, or wear comfortable shoes for a scenic hiking adventure at this rural retreat.
Visit the Eskenazi Museum of Art
Formally called the Indiana University of Art, the newly named Eskenazi Museum of Art is Indiana’s largest free art museum. It’s also the best place in Bloomington to view local and upcoming artists’ works. This gallery is massive, with over three floors of art and sculptures, and a variety of rotating exhibits. This museum frequently hosts local events, so be sure to explore their online website and calendar of events before planning your visit. Currently closed for renovations, the museum plans to reopen in fall 2019.
Catch a Show at Buskirk-Chumley Theater
From local and regional acts to up-and-coming national performances, unique and exciting shows abound at this historic Spanish-revival-style theater. Always check the website for events and upcoming attractions, or swing by to scope out what’s happening in town.
These recommendations were updated on August 30, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.