Top 10 Places to Visit in Bloomington, IN | The Monroe

The gates of Indiana University Bloomington, By IT Communications Office via Wikimedia, CC BY 2.0


There are so many fun things to do in Bloomington, Indiana. The city is home to the University of Indiana, along with its accompanying Big Ten sports teams. Art and theater are major components of the local culture, which is evident in the many theaters and performance venues. Nature abounds through the area’s state parks, trails, and gardens. You could say the city has a little bit of everything. Whether you are a student, a local, or just in town to visit Bloomington, make sure to visit these top 10 attractions.


1. Indiana University

107 S. Indiana Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405

Indiana University Bloomington is a beautiful campus full of activities for students and members of the community. Students can take part in over 750 student organizations. Campus visitors can explore the award-winning campus grounds, including the IU Arboretum. Those in search of entertainment can take part in the university’s tradition of First Thursdays, which celebrate the arts and humanities. And last, but definitely not least, Hoosier fans can wear their cream and crimson colors to watch their team compete in the Big Ten Conference. The Hoosiers is a championship-winning team that always makes its fans proud!


2. Oliver Winery & Vineyards

200 E. Winery Road, Bloomington, IN 47404

Enjoy beautiful scenery among gardens and vineyards, relax on the outdoor patio, or explore the tasting rooms at Oliver Winery in Bloomington. They are known for their Camelot Mead, along with other award-winning, fruit-forward wines. No reservations are required for this top-notch wine-tasting experience. Picnic packages and group tours are available. The vineyard holds historic value and strong community ties. It was created by an Indiana University professor, William Oliver, in the 1960s. They’ve grown to be a distributor to over 18 states with cross-country shipping. The locals of Bloomington cherish having access to Oliver Winery right in their own city, and commend it as the very best wine-tasting experience in all of Indiana.


grapes growing on vine in vineyard


3. WonderLab

308 W. Fourth St., Bloomington, IN 47404

Challenge your intellect at WonderLab, a nonprofit museum covering the topics of science, health, and technology. The museum is located in downtown Bloomington, attracting visitors of all ages. Learning opportunities and hands-on activities are the focal point. You can fully immerse yourself in the study of science at the Bubble-Airium, the Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science, or any of the many exhibits. You can also plan your visit around one of the upcoming events at WonderLab. There is so much you can learn at these events, from web coding skills to the mechanics of a race car. The museum offers volunteer and internship opportunities for college and high school students, as well.  


4. Monroe Lake

4850 S. State Road, Bloomington, IN 47401

Monroe Lake is a hub of outdoor activities in Bloomington. The 10,750-acre lake offers kayaking, boating, fishing, water skiing, and swimming. Along the perimeter of the lake, there are many hiking and biking trails. The surrounding area also features campgrounds, parks, and picnic areas. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources provides all the information you need to plan a trip to Monroe Lake. On their website, you’ll find trail maps, activity information, campsite reservation links, boating permit information, photos, and other helpful resources.


Looking out onto big lake

Monroe Lake by Nyttend via Wikimedia Commons


5. Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market

401 N. Morton St., Bloomington, IN 47404

The seasonal Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market runs most of the year, every Saturday from April through November. The event is packed with local, fresh food vendors, prepared food vendors and food trucks, arts and crafts, performers, soup and salsa tastings, and much more to excite any foodie. Whether you want to purchase some produce to stock your kitchen or grab lunch, the farmers market will meet your needs and beyond. The event has been rated one of America’s best farmers markets by Cooking Light. The many local farmers and food producers in Bloomington get to showcase exactly what they bring to the table, and we’re very impressed!


6. Hoosier Basketball at Assembly Hall

1001 E. 17th St., Bloomington, IN 47408

The Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams play home games at Bloomington Assembly Hall. The 17,222-seat arena consistently sells out throughout the regular men’s basketball season. The student section is one of the largest in the country, and students make sure to show their spirit cheering the fight song and other chants as their team plays. The stadium has been around since 1971, underwent extensive renovations in 2013, and is home to three national championship teams in the present day.


7. Memorial Stadium

1001 E. 17th St., Bloomington, IN 47408

One of the best in the Big Ten, the Indiana Hoosiers football team makes Memorial Stadium its home field in Bloomington, Indiana. The stadium is also known as The Rock. The name references a game-day tradition where every coach and team member touches a large limestone boulder before running onto the field. The limestone boulder was found on the practice field in 2005 and is now located as a memorial to coach Terry Hoeppner on the north end zone. Football games at Memorial Stadium are a great event to attend with friends and family!


College football game playing

Memorial Stadium by William F. Yurasko via Flickr


8. Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University

1133 E. Seventh St., Bloomington, IN 47405

The Eskenazi Museum of Art is Indiana University’s primary art museum. Since its establishment in 1941, it has grown from a small teaching collection to one of the most notable university art museums in the country. The museum houses over 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history. Admission to the museum is free, and tours are given for free, as well. While you’re visiting the art museum, you can see hieroglyphs on an Egyptian mummy case, admire paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, and explore the sub-Saharan African collection that is considered to be among the best in the country.


9. B-Line Trail

350 W. Seventh St., Bloomington, IN 47404

The B-Line Trail is a scenic, paved trail for walking, jogging, and biking. The trail is completely accessible and filled with amenities. Lighting, picnic tables, drinking fountains, fitness stations, and public art are all incorporated into the trail. The trail is a treasured recreational spot for the locals of Bloomington. You can use it for your daily exercise, leisurely walks, and social meetups with friends. There are multiple art installments along the trail that add to the beauty of the surrounding nature.


10. Buskirk-Chumley Theater

114 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47408

One of the top downtown attractions, Buskirk-Chumley Theater is a historic building from the 1920s that is still up and running with exciting performances today. The building has had its trials, including a destructive fire in 1933 and financial difficulties in 1995. However, the theater’s fate took a turn when it was donated to the Bloomington Area Arts Council (BAAC). Today, the theater is incredibly popular, hosts national art and film festivals, and is in use more than 200 days a year with programs and performances. Their events calendar includes film, music, lectures, comedy, dance, and much more.


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