WORK REMOTELY • LIVE CONNECTED

WHAT TO DO

Look, there’s no way we can fit all the cool places in Bloomington. And half the fun of living here is exploring Btown’s nooks and crannies! So here’s a few of our favorites. Looking for something specific? Check out Visit Bloomington for trip ideas and even more fun things to do!

BEER, WINE, & SPIRITS

COFFEE & TEA

BAKERIES & CAFES

FOOD (JUST A TASTE)

TRAILS 

PARKS & REC (HEH HEH)

SPORTS

A FEW OF OUR FESTIVALS 

FILM

STAGE

ART

NIGHTLIFE

INSIDER INFO

TIBETAN CONNECTION

How does a small city in southern Indiana end up with two Tibetan monasteries? His Holiness the Dalai Lama came here many times to visit his brother. You might still spot His Holiness’s nephew at a local paint store, or cross paths at Starbucks with a monk in saffron robes. Check out the Tibetan Cultural Center, and if the monks are working on a sand mandala, be sure to see it before it’s wiped away!

SECRETLY CANADIAN, DEAD OCEANS, & JAGJAGUWAR

It’s actually not that secret: Bloomington is home to Secretly Canadian, one of the coolest indie record labels, founded by two college kids who grew it into the Secretly Group. They’re home to artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Cherry Glazerr, Bon Iver, Alex Cameron, Anohni, and more. Bloomington’s rich and varied music scene has been surprising newbies for a long time. Secretly captures our indie spirit and its range.

LIMESTONE LEGACY

Indiana limestone clads the Empire State Building and monuments all over the nation. It’s the literal bedrock we’re built on, and the scrappy ingenuity of quarrymen—”cutters”—lives on. Locals remember swimming in abandoned quarries on hot summer days of yore. They’re off limits to swimmers these days (for good reason—too dangerous) (we mean it, don’t swim there illegally, we don’t want you to get hurt). But you can relive their glory in Breaking Away or take home a quarry painting by local artist Meg Lagodski, and if you move here, we hope you’ll embrace the cutter spirit!

FAMOUS CITIZENS & RESIDENTS

Captain Kathryn Janeway, Kate Mulgrew’s character on Star Trek: Voyager, hailed from Bloomington. Check out her statue on the B-Line Trail. Not into statues of fictional citizens? Visit the IU campus to put a flower in the hand of the Hoagy Carmichael statue, or sit next to the statue of Nobel Prize-winner Elinor Ostrom. Download some Joshua Bell music, or snag some swag featuring beloved celebrity cat Lil Bub. Will you see rocker John Mellencamp around town? Probably not. Pulitzer Prize-winning cognitive scientist Doug Hoftstadter? Maybe. Poet Ross Gay? We like your odds. Actor Jesse Eisenberg? Definitely possible (his wife is from here, and they visit a lot).

ON FILM

Want to see what Bloomington looked like in 1979? Check out the Academy Award-winning movie Breaking Away (featuring a young Dennis Quaid). A lot of things have changed since then, but our obsession with the Little 500 bike race continues. Then watch Hoosiers, starring Gene Hackman and written by Bloomingtonian Angelo Pizzo, to understand Indiana’s passion for basketball. Then check out The Good Catholic, filmed here in 2017 and produced by Bloomington’s own Pigasus Pictures. Wrap it up with Kinsey, the film about the pioneering sex researcher who founded the Kinsey Institute at IU.

THE ASHRAM, THE COMMUNE, & THE CO-OP

Long-time residents remember that back in 1970s, Bloomington was home to an ashram. It’s a long story (read about it here in this insert produced by our local Bloom magazine), but it influenced local culture for decades. Former ashram members have developed iconic local restaurants (The Uptown Cafe and Yogi’s) and businesses (Sunrise Publications, home of Mary Engelbreit cards). The May Creek Farm ( a commune/intentional community), also founded in the 70s, still exists just outside Bloomington, in Harrodsburg, and our beloved Bloomingfoods Co-op has multiple locations around town.