Skip to Content | Skip to Search | Skip to Navigation

Living in Bloomington

Life in Bloomington
Image of Lake LemonLiving in Bloomington is a revelation.  When people hear the name Indiana, they think “cornfield.”  They think “drab.”  They think “nowhere.”

And they couldn’t be more wrong.  Bloomington is a cultural gem; a unique Mecca in the heart of the Midwest.  It is home to great thinkers, political activists, nature lovers, artists, musicians and open-minded people.  Students from over 160 foreign countries call Bloomington home.  And university, community and social events make it easy to connect with
others who share your interests.  Take a look!

Restaurants and Bars   
                                   
Restaurants?  Sure, you can get pizza on just about every corner, but Bloomington takes it up a notch.  Think Thai.  Think Indian.  There’s Ethiopian, Moroccan, Italian, Chinese.  And, one of only two Tibetan restaurants in the US is located here in….Bloomington.  You’ll also find great ribs, steaks (Little Zagreb is known nationwide), vegetarian, and locally oriented food like Farm USA.  Want to eat cereal in a restaurant that serves only cereal?  You can do it here.  And if cereal isn’t your thing, pop up the street and grab a square donut!

Barack Obama's signature at Nicks English HutAnd then there are places that are so much part of the town that you can’t really classify them easily.  Like, Nicks English Hut, which has been around for 80 years.  It’s a popular hangout for grad students and faculty, along with town folks and visiting alumni.  It was also a stop on Barack Obama’s campaign tour in 2008.  Stop by and play a round of Nick’s famous bar game “Sink the Biz!”

If you’re going to watch basketball or grab something to eat between classes, Yogi’s  is just down the street from SPEA.  And when you get too busy to leave campus, you can easily pack lunch with locally grown organic foods from one of the three Bloomingfoods Market locations or the weekly local Bloomington Farmer’s Market.

For more information on Bloomington’s many fine restaurants and bars, check out breakawaybloomington!

Living Space
There are many places to live and the good news is, due to Bloomington’s size and location, you can easily do a downtown/city lifestyle, a rural wooded landscape or a traditional apartment complex.  It’s up to you, and here’s a great place to go to get a feel for what the Bloomington housing market is like.

Arts/Culture
Image of a street performer at Lotus World Music FestivalThere’s a confluence going on in the Bloomington arts scene.  Maybe it’s the presence of one of the best music schools in the country, or maybe it’s the top-rated fine arts programs, the annual national Writers’ Conference that happens every summer, or maybe the Lotus World Music Festival.  But whatever the reason, the best artists and musicians make Bloomington a regular stop.  And some stay for the duration. 

You can find big-name concerts:   the Dave Mathews Band, Horton Heat and DMX played here this spring.  Or you can find the next big thing: John Mellencamp, Carrie Newcomer, John Strohm all started here!  And, the IU Auditorium brings in
national touring Broadway shows and well-known artists at a fraction of the cost ON Broadway.

Sports
Image of bycliclists racing around a trackThere are many opportunities to be a spectator or a participant in Bloomington sports.  Indiana University Athletics  are part of the Big Ten, so you can see lots of football and basketball, but IU also has one of the top-ranked soccer teams and a legendary swimming and diving program (anyone remember Doc Counsilman?). 
If you’d rather be on the other side of the bleachers, the IU Intramural and Recreational Sports program is here.  They’ve got programs for everyone, including families and children’s programs.  And, you can even join their Facebook page
                                  
if you really want to know what’s going on.
For those who have seen the film “Breaking Away,” you will be able to watch that very cycling race on campus every April…the Little 500.  Better yet, the Cutters still race every year and are one of the all-time most winning teams.  Little 500 has been called The World’s Greatest College Weekend—and on Little 500 weekend, you will find out why!

So , Where is Indiana, Again?
Bloomington has a prime location.  It’s an hour to Indianapolis for shopping or a Pacers game, two hours to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, and about three hours to Chicago for a long weekend.  But, a lot of students find there isn’t much reason to leave.  With core curriculum, student organizations, events at the school, and social events, most students don’t leave town unless its for a field trip to the woods or presenting class results to the Governor’s staff in Indianapolis.  But luckily, life in Bloomington is easy and the possibilities are endless.  The REAL problem is finding enough time to do everything you want to do right here in Bloomington!