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

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com
Updated March 12, 2021
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Pandemic-related closures and restrictions may be in place. Please check destinations' websites before making travel plans.

Do

Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD) You'll find parks and public art spaces as well as nearly 100 restaurants and more than 100 shops in these 60 blocks downtown. Take a self-guided tour of the square around the Beaux Arts courthouse, and. fuel up with sweet treats like a flaky house-made Pop Tart at The Inkwell Bakery and Cafe, Fudge O'Bits at mother-daughter-owned DK Sweets, and colorful vegan doughnuts at Rainbow Bakery. bloomington.in.gov

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. bloomington.in.gov

Bloomington Indiana
B-Line Trail
| Credit: Courtesy of Visit Bloomington

Indiana University The limestone Sample Gates form a gateway from campus to downtown. Take time to see the just-renovated I.M. Pei-designed Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, with seven galleries and a lighted totem that glows rainbow colors at night. The Lilly Library—home to a world-class book and manuscript collection that includes one of the world's 14 original Gutenberg Bibles and Ian Fleming's James Bond manuscripts—is expected to reopen in 2021. visitorcenter.indiana.edu

Indiana University Art Museum
Indiana University

Monroe Lake Just outside town, Indiana's largest inland lake is a prime spot for finding geodes and bird-watching. in.gov

Most High Adventure Outfitters Let staff gear you up and lead you on an outdoor adventure via canoe, kayak or mountain bike. Most High Adventure Outfitters on Facebook

Oliver Winery One of Indiana's best-known wineries pours generous tastings of their award-winning wines. For a bit of background, take a free 25-minute walking tour. oliverwinery.com

The Tap This place is all about the beer; choose from 90 gleaming taps or off the list of 400. Nibble on fare like Tap Fries with four dipping sauces or warm pretzel sticks with beer cheese dip. thetapbeerbar.com

Wonderlab Museum of Science, Health and Technology Kids learn how things like bubbles, sound and solar power work with two floors of hands-on exhibits and the outdoor WonderGarden space. wonderlab.org

Wonderland Museum of Science, Health and Technology
Wonderland Museum of Science, Health and Technology

Eat

FarmBloomington Its farm-to-table comfort food has garnered this restaurant a reputation as one of the best in Indiana. Start the day with a plant-based breakfast or come for dinner entrees like honey sesame chicken. farm-bloomington.com

Cardinal Spirits The city's first (and, still, only) distillery makes rums, gins and liqueurs—and offers carry-out food as well. cardinalspirits.com

Mother Bear's Pizza The affordable pizza is "just right" in a casual setting. Try hot subs and pasta too. motherbearspizza.com

Nick's English Hut It's neither British nor a hut, but a 94-year-old Bloomington staple for beer in Mason jars and meaty stromboli. nicksenglishhut.com

The Runcible Spoon Cafe and Restaurant This local favorite still offers the fresh-ground coffee that first drew students and locals, but also has a solid, menu that covers the bases from vegan to corned beef hash. runciblespoonrestaurant.com

Samira Sample garlicky hummus and other Afghan favorites, such as seasoned spinach with lamb over rice. samirasrestaurant.com

Upland Brewpub Pair craft beer with seasonal fare or pub favorites like blue corn chip nachos or a Hoosier pork tenderloin sandwich. uplandbeer.com

Upland Brewpub
Upland Brewpub

Stay

Biddle Hotel and Conference Center It's all about location at this lodging in the heart of Indiana University. The 189 guest rooms form part of the Indiana Memorial Union complex; choose from smaller rooms to boutique two-room suites. imu.indiana.edu

Graduate Bloomington Light fixtures shaped like basketball hoops and quilts with picket-fence designs reflect the Hoosier influence at this Kirkwood Avenue hotel, one of the newest in the Graduate collection. graduatehotels.com

For more information visitbloomington.com