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Life in Bloomington

*View a recording of our online chat about Life in Bloomington here*

Living in Bloomington is a revelation. Bloomington is a cultural gem; a unique Mecca in the heart of the Midwest.  It is home to great thinkers, political activists, nature lovers, artists, musicians and open-minded people.  Students from over 160 foreign countries call Bloomington home.  And university, community and social events make it easy to connect with others who share your interests.  Take a look!

Restaurants and Bars
Anatolia Turkish RestaurantRestaurants?  Sure, you can get pizza on just about every corner, but Bloomington takes it up a notch.  Think Thai.  Think Indian.  There’s Turkish, Moroccan, Italian, Chinese.  And, one of only two Tibetan restaurants in the US is located here in….Bloomington.  You’ll also find great ribs, steaks (Little Zagreb is known nationwide), vegetarian, and locally grown food like Farm USA. 

And then there are places that are so much part of the town that you can’t really classify them easily. Like, Nicks English Hut, which has been around for 80 years.  It’s a popular hangout for grad students and faculty, along with town folks and visiting alumni.  It was also a stop on Barack Obama’s campaign tour in 2008. 

If you’re going to watch basketball or grab something to eat between classes, Yogi’s is just down the street from SPEA.  And when you get too busy to leave campus, you can easily pack lunch with locally grown organic foods from one of the three Bloomingfoods Market locations or the weekly local Bloomington Farmer’s Market.

For more information on Bloomington’s many fine restaurants and bars, check out breakawaybloomington!

Living Space
There are many places to live and the good news is, due to Bloomington’s size and location you can easily do a downtown/city lifestyle, a rural wooded landscape or a traditional apartment complex.  It’s up to you, and here’s a great place to go to get a feel for what the Bloomington housing market is like.



There’s a confluence going on in the Bloomington arts scene.  Maybe it’s the presence of one of the best music schools in the country, or maybe it’s the top-rated fine arts programs, the annual national Writers’ Conference that happens every summer, or maybe the Lotus World Music Festival.  But whatever the reason, the best artists and musicians make Bloomington a regular stop.  And some stay for the duration.

You can find big-name concerts: Band of Horses, Emmylou Harris, and Umphree's McGee are all playing this winter.  Or you can find the next big thing: John Mellencamp, Carrie Newcomer, John Strohm all started here!  And, the IU Auditorium brings in national touring Broadway shows and well-known artists like John Legend, who played here in December.

Check out the Bloomington Entertainment & Arts District (BEAD), a cultural district with specialty shops, restaurants, galleries, and live music.  Go to Visit BEAD for more information and to find out about exciting upcoming events!

Image of byciclists racing around a trackThere are many opportunities to be a spectator or a participant in Bloomington sports.  Indiana University Athletics  are part of the Big Ten, so you can see lots of football and basketball, but IU also has one of the top-ranked soccer teams and a legendary swimming and diving program (anyone remember Doc Counsilman?).

If you’d rather be on the other side of the bleachers, the IU Intramural and Recreational Sports program is here.  They’ve got programs for everyone, including families and children’s programs.  And, you can even join their Facebook page if you really want to know what’s going on. Take a look on YouTube!

For those who have seen the film “Breaking Away,” you will be able to watch that very cycling race on campus every April…the Little 500.  Better yet, the Cutters still race every year and are one of the all-time most winning teams.  Little 500 has been called The World’s Greatest College Weekend—and on Little 500 weekend, you will find out why!

IU Spirit
Become part of an incredible community of scholars and Hoosier alums! See for yourself...

So, where is Indiana, again?
Bloomington has a prime location.  It’s an hour to Indianapolis for shopping or a Pacers game, two hours to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, and about four hours to Chicago for a long weekend.  But, a lot of students find there isn’t much reason to leave.  With core curriculum, student organizations, events at the school, and social events, most students don’t leave town unless it's for a field trip to the woods or presenting class results to the Governor’s staff in Indianapolis.  But luckily, life in Bloomington is easy and the possibilities are endless. 

The REAL problem is finding enough time to do everything you want to do right here in Bloomington. Welcome Home.