This question, more than most, seems like it is really hard to answer abstractly: the best places for me to live are certainly not the best places for lots of undergrads who are as invested in partying as taking classes! So, with that as the backdrop, here’s a few things to consider:
(1) I’d strongly encourage you to look into campus housing for your first year at IUB. Personally, I lived in an IUB apartment building for my first year, which was a really great thing for me: I got to live close to (but far enough away from) campus, didn’t have to deal with the hassle of setting up utilities, and figured out where I wanted to live next. Which brings me to…
(2) Bloomington has lots of neighborhoods and several neat living possibilities!
- The South side of Bloomington has several apartments and condos that can be rented for as low as around $500/month (and as high as $1K/month). My impression is that the South side has more working professionals: it is a relatively nice and quiet area with people who get to bed at a reasonable hour and get to work early. It may not be a terrible idea to take out a loan and buy a condo if you’re planning on being here in Bloomington for four-five years…
- The East Side is mainly stand-alone homes and is very family-oriented. Lots of faculty live on the East side of town, and while it has a broad range of homes (including some that run for $1mil on the market), it is usually beyond graduate students’ paychecks.
- The area around the IUB Stadium is pretty hectic! It is renown for partying: don’t be surprised to find that someone mistook your stoop for a urinal at three in the AM if you ultimately decide this is the area for you!
- There is a fair amount of IUB housing that is available to faculty/ staff/ students on/around campus, including spacious apartments on/around N. Fess, on 10th street (Tulip Tree), and on 3rd street (Campus View). Because they’re located at different places—though usually close to campus—they have different feels, though they’re generally fairly quiet and usually within a 10 minute walk of campus.
Hope these thoughts help—feel free to comment if you’d like any more specific suggestions!