Bloomington, Indiana, is a beautiful city located 50 miles south of Indianapolis. Bloomington is home to many parks, museums, and unique architecture. It’s also home to Indiana University and the birthplace of Star Trek’s Captain Kathryn Janeway! https://enjoytherandom.com/who-was-captain-kathryn-janeway/
Bloomington’s allure comes from the identity produced by its strong sense of community and culture. Also, many protected areas of natural landscape surround the city, making it a scenic place in its own right.
Here are some fun things to do when you’re in Bloomington, Indiana:
1. Check out some amazing architectural structures downtown.
The easiest thing you can do while you’re in Bloomington is to find a lot of sights at the heart of the city. Like many other cities across the globe, Downtown Bloomington offers you a wide range of choices when it comes to cafes, stores, restaurants, and hangout spots. Try some of the cafes in the area or pick up a charming souvenir from one of the many shops there.
Besides providing your needs, you can also find some awe-inspiring architectural designs in the city center. Take a lot of selfies in the streets to show off your vacation time! Visit the Courthouse Square Historic District, and you will find several amazing buildings. You may want to check out other buildings, including Wicks Building, Monroe County Courthouse, and Bloomington City Hall.
2. Stroll through the B-Line Trail.
The B-Line Trail is a paved pedestrian path that makes it easy to explore Bloomington on foot. Once a railway connector, this trail stretches for 3.1 miles through Bloomington, connecting many of the city’s top attractions.
You can get to the Farmers’ Market, the Wonderland Museum, and countless venues and city events by strolling through it. You can also find a lot of fitness stations scattered along the path.
3. Explore science at the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology.
Resting at the heart of Bloomington, the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology can spark your imagination with hands-on science activities and interactive exhibits. A few of the permanent exhibits at WonderLab include the Hall of Natural Science Kaleidoscope Cave and the Bubble Airium.
The museum also hosts different age-specific workshops, programs, and activities throughout the year. If you’re wondering what to do in Bloomington with kids, this is a great place to visit. It has an excellent range of exhibits, displays, and programs that will stimulate the minds of children and adults alike.
4. Learn about nature at the Indiana University Arboretum.
The current location of the Indiana University Arboretum was once the site of the original Memorial Stadium. Also known as the Jesse H. and Beulah Chanley Cox Arboretum – two influential Hoosier alums – the arboretum is now a welcoming natural space on campus. Apart from students, many tourists and locals alike flock to the university to visit the arboretum.
First planted in 1984, the tranquil attractions of this area have really grown into space. The fresh air, open space, and nature have made it a great place to relax in between classes. If you want to visit the arboretum in its most beautiful form, visit here around late April and May.
5. Admire some art at the Eskenazi Museum of Art.
If you’re into fine arts, stop by the Eskenazi Museum of Art. In here, you can take a trip around the world through history without leaving the building. This museum is home to an internationally-acclaimed collection of over 45,000 works of art that include paintings from the likes of Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Claude Monet. From African masks to Greek pottery to jewelry and treasures, you will find a lot of masterpieces that will amuse you.
Established in 1941, the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University is one of the best university art museums in the US. The museum itself features permanent collection galleries, traveling exhibitions, special installations, and on-site sculptures.
6. Visit Monroe Lake.
Monroe lake is a 10,750-acre reservoir surrounded by 24,000 more acres of protected areas. Located just 20 minutes south of Bloomington, this lake offers both locals and visitors lots of opportunites of outdoor recreational activities. It’s one of the best places near Bloomington where you can appreciate the great outdoors.
As the largest inland lake in Indiana, Monroe Lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating, kayaking, and even jet skiing. If you’re into water sports and activities, this is a place to visit. Hiking trails even sprawl throughout the forest surrounding the shoreline.
7. Shop at the Bloomington Community Farmer’s Market.
While enjoying your stay at Bloomington, don’t forget to check out their weekly Farmer’s Market to find fresh produce and handcrafted items directly from the farmers and artisans. The market comes with more than 40 vendor stalls where you can discover various products like fresh produce, charcuterie, homemade artisanal items like jams and pickles, as well as gourmet products like sweets and cheese.
The market offers an array of winter produce, coffee, chocolates, cheese, and arts and crafts during the winter months. They also offer live music and other entertainment.
8. Learn more about new cultures at the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.
This may seem unexpected, but you can learn more about an amazing and colorful Asian culture by visiting the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in the southeastern part of Bloomington. Currently, this destination aims to preserve and nurture Mongolia’s and Tibet’s culture in America.
Established back in 1979, the cultural center has continuously evolved. It features several sculptures, shrines, stupas, and prayer wheels. The beating heart of the center is the Kumbum Chamtse Ling Temple (a Tibetan phrase which means “Field of Compassion”) and residences for the monks. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, which include stops at a special shrine room, reception room, and bookstore, giving them a chance to learn more about the culture of Buddhism along the way. The campus also provides classes, workshops, retreats, and weekly teachings, including prayer, meditation, and yoga.
9. Get in touch with a little history at the Wylie House Museum.
Owned and operated by the Indiana University Libraries, the Wylie House Museum was the home of Dr. Andrew Wylie, the first president of Indiana University. The entire estate became a public museum open to all members of the community to enjoy. The museum aims to give insight into the life of Wylie and his family back in the mid-1800s.
Upon entry to the home built in 1835, you may feel like you’re time traveling, as the house still appears to support a 19th-century lifestyle. You can explore this historic house on guided tours to the public. Additionally, you can find a gift shop where you can buy heirloom seeds grown in the museum gardens.
10. Watch a stage play at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
When you’re in Bloomington, you can enjoy a stage play, musical, or recital at the wonderful Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Each year, the venue showcases a range of stage performances for the local community. From world-famous musicals to amazing dance recitals, there’s something that you can enjoy at this theater. The site also provides a base for both local and nationally-known performers from which to perform and an inviting space for the community to enjoy performing arts.
You may also find it interesting that this theater is listed at the National Register of Historic Places since it used to be a silent movie theater. Today, it’s one of the most active community theaters in the US. If you’re looking for a romantic date idea to do at Bloomington, watch a performance together at this theater. It’s located just off the downtown square, close to many downtown attractions, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs in the city.
11. Take a relaxing stroll at the Lower Cascades Park.
Sometimes you just want to relax and enjoy a peaceful setting instead of being entertained. One great place to do this is to take a stroll in Bloomington’s Lower Cascades Park. Children tend to enjoy the large and fully accessible playground, and adults appreciate the rambling views of the landscaped creek nearby.
If you want to go on a picnic, picnic areas and Creekside picnic tables are available. Plus, the variety of open spaces is ideal for outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy.