This post may contain affiliate links, which help us generate revenue so that we can keep producing awesome content for you. We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for using our links and giving us the opportunity to share a sliver of this great big world with you.
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
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.
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:
Lennie’s (and Bloomington Brewing)
514 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Order: Lennie’s Meatballs, Caribbean Ahi Tuna Salad
Do Asian Fusion Cuisine
404 E. 4th St.
Order: Kimchi Pork Belly, Grilled Squid, Bulgogi, Seafood Pancake
101 N. College Ave.
Order: Beer Cheese Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, Chicken & Waffles
922 S. Morton St.
Order (Brunch): Poblano Potato Hash, Porchetta Benedict
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.
Order: Chocolate Chip Cookie (or Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie)
Hartzell’s Ice Cream (our favorite Bloomington ice cream shop!)
107 N. Dunn St.
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.
235 W. Dodds St. #102
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.
922 S. Morton St.
Order: Coffee liqueur, terra botanical gin.
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.
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. 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:
116 N. Walnut St.
What to buy: Handmade souvenirs
112 N. Walnut St.
What to buy: Used books
Goods for Cooks
115 N. College Ave.
What to buy: Kitchenware
Where to Stay
210 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47408
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.
Like it? Love it? Pin it!