Bloomington, Indiana, Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Bloomington, Indiana, Trip Guide

The forested hills of south-central Indiana cradle a college town that nurtures vibrant arts and a renowned food scene.

What to do

BEAD (Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District) You'll find museums, galleries and performing-arts venues along with more than 90 restaurants and 100 shops in these 60 blocks. Make sure to stop for a handmade treat at Blue Boy Chocolate, a self-guided tour of the Beaux Arts courthouse anchoring the district, and a peek at local history at the Farmer House Museum. (812) 334-8900

B-Line Trail A 3.1-mile converted railroad carries walkers, joggers, bikers, skateboarders and strollers from the woodsy north and south to the heart of town. Public art adds interest. (812) 334-8900;


Forests More than 230 miles of hiking, horseback and mountain bike trails traverse Hoosier National Forest’s 200,000 acres. (812) 275-5987; Or drop a fishing line or take out a rowboat in Yellowwood State Forest. (812) 988-7945;

Indiana University The numbers add up to a worthwhile destination. There are 30,000 pieces of art in the museum designed by I.M. Pei, more than 900,000 tree specimens over the university's 700 acres, and numerous architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Second Empire and Art Deco. (812) 856-4648;

Indiana University Art Museum

Most High Adventure Outfitters Let staff gear you up and lead you on an outdoor adventure via canoe, kayak or mountain bike.  (812) 340-0700;

Oliver Winery One of Indiana’s best-known wineries pours generous tastings of their award-winning wines. For a bit of background, take the 20-minute tour of the winery. (812) 876-5800, (800) 258-2783;

The Tap Try to choose just one beer from 50 gleaming taps or off the list of 400. Weekends bring live music. Though this place is all about beer, you can order food from outside vendors to have it delivered to your table. (812) 287-8579;

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center For an introduction to Tibetan culture and artforms, schedule a tour or take the self-guided tour of the 108-acre grounds and its structures. (812) 336-6807;

Wonderlab Museum of Science, Health and Technology Kids learn how things like bubbles and solar power work with two floors of hands-on exhibits. (812) 337-1337;


Where to eat

FarmBloomington Its farm-to-table comfort food has garnered this restaurant a reputation as one of the best in Indiana. (877) 440-3276, (812) 323-0002;

Mother Bear’s Pizza The affordable pizza is “just right” in a casual setting. (812) 332-4495;

The Runcible Spoon Cafe and Restaurant This coffee shop owes its long-standing popularity to basic meals served in a quaint setting.  (812) 334-3997;

Sweet Grass Restaurant Strings of lights and fake palm trees set a laid-back feel perfect for BBQ. (812) 333-1043;

Snow Lion Enjoy Tibetan food in a place founded by relatives of the Buddhist Dalai Lama. Art on the wall is by residents from the nearby Tibetan cultural center. (812) 336-0835 

Uptown Cafe Dine on food with a Cajun-Creole flair in an artsy setting. 812/339-0900;

Where to stay

Biddle Hotel and Conference Center It’s all about the location at this spot on Indiana University campus.  Choose from economy rooms to boutique suites.

Scholars Inn Bed and Breakfast Old-fashioned Hoosier hospitality gives this 125-year-old brick home distinction. The rooms, named after Hoosier scholars and authors, offer pampered ease. Its related cafe and wine bar serves gourmet meals.


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