10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

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10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana 10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

As graduates of Big 10 schools, Hope and I were very excited when Visit Bloomington invited us to explore a Big 10 city that we had never visited before. We had heard great things about Bloomington, IN from our friends who went to school there and expected to find something similar to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where we had both lived for a few years while going to school. Our expectations were met and exceeded, as we discovered a very aesthetically pleasing city with lots of fun things to do. If you’re looking for a local weekend escape in the U.S., you would be remiss not to experience these 10 fun things to do in Bloomington, Indiana for yourself.

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

1. Scoot along the B-Line Trail

The B-Line Trail is a 3.1 mile long multi-use trail that passes through downtown Bloomington from the east side of Adams Street to the north side of Country Club Drive. Along the way, you’ll find parks, paved plaza areas, fitness stations, drinking fountains, and the former McDoel Railroad Switchyard, which operated as a regional hubs for railroads and commerce between 1892 and 2000. Run, walk, bike, or rent a scooter to connect with nature and explore some of Bloomington’s history.

2. Visit Indiana’s largest farmers’ market

The Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market is the perfect place to spend a Saturday morning in Bloomington, IN. Not only can you find farm fresh produce and flowers here, you can also find tasty green juices and smoothies, as well as delicious bakery and brunch items.

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

3. Look for your favorite piece of public art

Downtown Bloomington, particularly stretches along the B-Line Trail, are littered with beautiful street art. Don’t be afraid to wander off the trail to explore and try to find your favorite piece of public art. We found art ranging from historical depictions to current political messages to abstract designs.

4. Eat, eat, and eat some more

One thing we weren’t expecting to find in Bloomington was the quality and variety of foods we found there. From New American to Asian to Mexican food, Bloomington has it all. Here is a list of some of our favorite Bloomington restaurants and what to order there:

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Lennie’s (and Bloomington Brewing)
514 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Menu
Order: Lennie’s Meatballs, Caribbean Ahi Tuna Salad

Do Asian Fusion Cuisine
404 E. 4th St.
Menu
Order: Kimchi Pork Belly, Grilled Squid, Bulgogi, Seafood Pancake

The Tap
101 N. College Ave.
Menu (Brunch)
Order: Beer Cheese Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, Chicken & Waffles

Cardinal Spirits
922 S. Morton St.
Menu
Order (Brunch): Poblano Potato Hash, Porchetta Benedict

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

5. Load up on sugar

No meal is complete without dessert, and thankfully there is no shortage of dessert in Bloomington. Here are two of our favorite Bloomington restaurants for dessert:

Two Sticks Bakery
415 S. Washington St.
Menu
Order: Chocolate Chip Cookie (or Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie)

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

Hartzell’s Ice Cream (our favorite Bloomington ice cream shop!)
107 N. Dunn St.
Menu
Order: Everything!!

6. Caffeinate to avoid the sugar crash

Letting yourself indulge in dessert once in a while is great, but the sugar crash afterward is never fun. Easily transition from your sugar high into a caffeine buzz by heading over to Hopscotch after your sweet treat and loading up on some coffee or cold brew.

Hopscotch Coffee
235 W. Dodds St. #102
Website

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

7. Tour Bloomington’s only distillery

There is only one distillery in Bloomington, IN, and it’s the perfect example of quality > quantity. All of the handcrafted spirits you’ll find at Cardinal Spirits are made from locally sourced ingredients and handcrafted to perfection. The coffee liqueur is a must-try, and if you’re a gin fan like I am, give the terra botanical gin a try. The best way I can describe it is it tastes like you’re drinking a forest. Don’t ask, just taste.

Cardinal Spirits
922 S. Morton St.
Menu
Order: Coffee liqueur, terra botanical gin.

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

8. Check out a comedy show

Our favorite place to hang out at night on the weekend in Bloomington, IN was The Comedy Attic. Comedy can be hit or miss, but the show we attended there with comic Caitlin Peluffo was hilarious. I checked out a few other comics who have performed there, and I was impressed by the overall quality of their guests. Tickets are very affordable, as are the drinks inside. We paid $18 for three drinks and a box of popcorn, and Hope had to remind us of the depressing fact that the total was less than we sometimes pay for one drink in New York City or Chicago.

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10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

9. Take a stroll around Indiana University Bloomington

No visit to a college town is complete without checking out the campus. You’ll find the gates to Indiana University Bloomington at the end of Kirkwood Avenue, where you can start your stroll around campus. There is no shortage of greenery on campus, and you’ll even find hiking trails going through campus.

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

10. Shop for unique souvenirs

Once you wander away from the Indiana University  apparel shops on Kirkwood Avenue a bit, you’ll find boutique shops selling unique gifts and vintage items that would make for memorable souvenirs for yourself or for your loved ones at home. Here is a list of some of our favorite shops in Bloomington, IN:

Gather
116 N. Walnut St.
Website
What to buy: Handmade souvenirs

Caveat Emptor
112 N. Walnut St.
Website
What to buy: Used books

10 Fun Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

Goods for Cooks
115 N. College Ave.
Website
What to buy: Kitchenware

Where to Stay

Graduate Bloomington
210 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47408
Website

We stayed at the Graduate Bloomington on Kirkwood and cannot recommend it more highly. The hotel’s vision is to create a space that incorporates various elements from the community, and it does a great job of achieving that vision. From the common areas to the rooms, the decor at Graduate Bloomington is quintessentially Indiana and heavily incorporates elements from Indiana University Bloomington down the street and the Little 500, an annual bike race held in Bloomington. The hotel is also loaded with amenities, including a fitness center, a restaurant, and an outdoor terrace with lounge chairs and games like giant jenga.

A big thank you to Visit Bloomington for making our visit possible. As always, all opinions are 100% our own.


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Hi, I'm Diana, the big sister in the sister duo. I left my job as an attorney in March 2017 to pursue the work-from-anywhere/travel-everywhere life aka The Dream. I blog about off the beaten trail travel destinations, adventure travel, immersing in local cultures, and publish plenty of travel guides for all you who are too lazy to plan your own trips. I've traveled to 61 countries to date, and some of my recent adventures include hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, visiting a child I've sponsored for over 10 years in Rwanda, and exploring the Middle East.

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9 Responses
  1. You’ve managed to combine some of my favourite activities here. I’d never have thought of visiting Bloomington but now it looks really interesting. Farmer’s markets, street art and bookstores – all things I just love to see.

  2. I’ll admit I wasn’t very familiar with Bloomington but it looks like a fun college town. There’s a lot of nice wall murals — fun for photos. The distillery looks awesome I would love to try the gin drink you mentioned. It’s great that they have such a large farmers market — perfect for college students learning how to cook!

  3. I always love farmers markets and to get to see Indiana’s largest one would be amazing.
    And I’m a super big fan of street art and sculptures. I try my best to see atleast a few in every place I venture to. Bloogminton’s murals look spectacular.

  4. I heard about Bloomington before, but I have no idea how does it look like. I think the city isn’t that big, but it has the basic things that people need. Walking or biking along multi-use B-Line Trail and looking for murals will be fun to do in the city. With all the restaurants. cafes, and bakery around town, Bloomington reminded me of Wichita and Denton, another college towns in Kansas and North Texas.

  5. Bloomington seems to have a lot of things to do and keep you entertained. I would love to go for a comedy show, or stroll at the University or just have some great coffee and soak myself in desserts.

  6. Kristy Bullard

    So many fun things to do in Bloomington! I think I could spend all day at Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market. And, all of the food, sweets, and coffee sounds wonderful to me! Pinned this for future planning.

  7. Sounds like a great place to spend a weekend. Am all for that farmer’s market. And souvenier shopping does sound like a good way to spend time. Am also, curious about the B line.

  8. Yukti Agrawal

    Bloomington looks amazing with many wonderful things to do here. The street art caught my first attention and I would love to explore some of them in Downtown area which stretches till B-line. Also farmer’s market would be interesting to check out some local produce of that region.

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