Top Attractions and Natural Spaces in Bloomington, Indiana
Bloomington is home to Indiana University, a university that nurtures students from across the world. It is also home to a thriving community of artists, farmers, philosophers, and athletes.
Whether you’re looking for a pub meal with a beer or a spot to try some international cuisine, there are plenty of great Bloomington restaurants to choose from.
The B-Line Trail is a paved pedestrian pathway that connects downtown Bloomington with top attractions and natural spaces throughout the city. It was originally built as a railway connector, and today it’s one of the most popular routes for visitors to explore the city.
The path is ideal for walking, running, biking, and skating. It’s also wheelchair accessible and free to use.
Sculptures and murals by regional and local artists, limestone accents courtesy of the area’s limestone quarries, trees, landscaping, and large flower pots sponsored by local businesses add to the aesthetics.
The trail is home to several plazas where local organizations host events and gatherings. The Market Plaza, at Fourth Street, hosts various local farm vendors on Saturdays and the Animal Island Plaza, next to WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology, has shade structures and a drinking fountain.
Southeast of Bloomington, Monroe Lake is Indiana’s largest reservoir and a popular destination for water sports and outdoor activities. The 10,750-acre lake crosses through portions of Monroe and Brown counties and offers a variety of recreational opportunities throughout the year.
Fishing is a big attraction on Monroe Lake, with bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, black crappie, channel and flathead catfish, and bullhead and hybrid stripers available for anglers to catch. There are several fishing piers around the lake, making it easy to cast your line from shore and enjoy a day on the water.
Monroe Lake is also home to three public beaches, where visitors can dip their toes in the water or soak up the sun. Beachside activities include swimming, kite flying, volleyball, sunbathing, sandcastle building, and more.
The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, originally established as Indiana University’s teaching museum in 1941, is an internationally acclaimed collection ranging from ancient gold jewelry to paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. It is one of the foremost university art museums in the country.
The museum recently underwent a $30 million renovation of the building designed by I.M. Pei, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect who died last year. The renovation included seven new galleries, four new centers (Education, Conservation, Curatorial Studies, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs), and three art study rooms.
For more than forty years, the museum has been committed to moving, empowering, and enriching the lives of visitors through the magnificence of art. Its permanent and changing exhibitions reflect this commitment, featuring European and American art; art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; and Asian and Islamic art.
Located on the beautiful campus of Indiana University, the IU Auditorium is one of the most popular venues in the state. Offering a wide range of performances ranging from concerts to theatrical shows this venue is sure to have something for everyone.
Originally built as a Federal Works Agency Project, IU Auditorium opened on March 22, 1941. It has been host to a number of world-class performing artists.
The 3,200-seat theatre has been the centerpiece of a variety of events including theatrical productions, lectures, student events, conferences, church services, and university ceremonies.
Located in the Fine Arts Plaza, IU Auditorium is constructed of locally quarried Indiana Limestone and was designed by IU President Herman B Wells. The building has been a gathering place for the arts and is home to several important collections, including the Dailey Family Memorial Collection of Hoosier Art and the IU Auditorium Organ.
Located along the B-Line Trail in the heart of Bloomington’s entertainment and arts district, Wonderlab Museum offers two floors of interactive hands-on exhibits to help kids understand how science affects their world. They also feature an outdoor WonderGarden and various outreach programs, including summer science camp.
The first floor features a two-story grapevine climbing maze, a bubble atrium, a Lego Water Table, and many other exhibits. The second-floor features live animals, displays regarding southern Indiana’s geologic past, and interactive exhibits related to health & the human body. For those with younger children, they have a special area that includes science adventures for toddlers and preschoolers. Visiting Wonderlab is an excellent way to spend a day with the family in Bloomington. Guests can even volunteer or intern at this amazing museum!