In central Illinois, seemingly all roads lead to Bloomington-Normal, which is crisscrossed by interstates 39, 55 and 74, as well as historic Route 66. The twin cities are home to Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University and nearly two dozen art galleries. Check out our trip guide.
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Top Things to do in Bloomington-Normal
Illinois State University quad area
| Credit: Bob Stekfo

Do

David Davis Mansion

Besides Abraham Lincoln, 1800s U.S. Supreme Court Justice (and Lincoln friend) David Davis lived here. You can tour his elegant Victorian mansion in Bloomington. Learn more about Abe and the historic Mother Road at the Cruisin' With Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center in Bloomington.

The Quad

The Quad at Illinois State University in Normal includes castle-like Cook Hall, built in 1897 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Children's Discovery Museum

Kids love the art studio at the Children's Discovery Museum in Normal, where three floors of exhibits allow hands-on learning through play.

Ewing Cultural Center

Ewing Cultural Center in Bloomington includes an outdoor theater for the highly regarded summer Illinois Shakespeare Festival plus a mansion and gardens to tour.

Ewing Cultural Center
Ewing Cultural Center
| Credit: Courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism

Crossroads Handcrafts of the World

Support artisans and farmers of developing nations at Bloomington's Crossroads Handcrafts of the World, which sells fair-trade goods and food.

The Garlic Press

Find artisan chocolates, women's fashions, jewelry and handmade cards at The Garlic Press, a longtime Normal cookware store and now one-of-a-kind gift shop.

Eat and Drink

More than 200 restaurants, 65 unique to the region, tempt diners.

Uptown Normal

Next to Illinois State University, revitalized Uptown Normal boasts an eclectic mix—record stores next to outfitters next to student-friendly eateries, such as calzone-slinging DP Dough.

Epiphany Farms

Epiphany Farms hosts meals for special events and grows food for its namesake French-influenced eatery, set in an old Bloomington firehouse. Anju Above occupies the building's upper level and serves Neapolitan-style pizza.

Epiphany Farms
Epiphany Farms
| Credit: Courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism

Destihl Brewery

Farther from campus, order a flight of local brews and a bite from the shareables menu in the cavernous, industrial beer hall at Destihl Brewery.

The Chocolatier Inc.

Indulge your sweet tooth with turtles, creams and toffee at The Chocolatier Inc. in Bloomington. The shop sells bulk candy and Italian ice, too.

Stay

Vrooman Mansion

Architecture and history make for a fascinating stay at the Vrooman Mansion. Guest rooms offer a taste of 1900s-style luxury. Eat breakfast at the table where Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan once dined.

Hyatt Place

The Hyatt Place, conveniently located in Uptown, boasts a rooftop terrace and indoor pool. Plus, it's pet-friendly.

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