5 Awesome Places to Visit in Bloomington, Indiana (2023)
Bloomington is a famous college town in the beautiful state of Indiana. It is one of the largest cities in Indiana, full of many fun activities and places to see. With plenty of natural beauty and a community that is defined by the campus of Indiana University, this is a magnificent landscaped city that is home to the Hoosiers.
5 Awesome Places to Visit in Bloomington, Indiana
To ensure that you don’t miss any of the major attractions of the city, here are some of the best places to visit in Bloomington.
1. McCormick’s Creek State Park
McCormick’s Creek is the first state park in Indiana, located just 15 miles northwest of Bloomington. Rushing water, limestone caves, and densely forested landscapes define the beautiful scenery at McCormick’s Creek. This state park is perfect for a day trip or an overnight adventure.
There are many opportunities for primitive and electric camping available at McCormick’s Creek State Park, with over 200 individual camping sites available. There are also cabins and group camping areas available. Some of the other overnight stay options here include the Canyon Inn, which is located within the complex of the state park itself, complete with front-door access to the wonderful outdoors of the park.
Some of the other famous attractions inside the park include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a variety of hiking trails, and an exhibit-filled nature center. Visitors can also indulge in guided horseback rides from the Saddle Barn.
2. Campus of Indiana University Bloomington
The flagship campus of one of the most prestigious institutions and home of the Hoosiers, Indiana University Bloomington, can be called the heart of the community. The campus has a park-like layout, and it is a fun place to visit, having many scenic stops with fountains, landscaped green spaces, and halls of academia that are rich in history. Founded in 1820, Indiana University Bloomington has played an important role in defining the community of Bloomington for over two centuries. This research university continues to be a major attraction for the public to enjoy. Checking out a Saturday Hoosier football game at the Rock or the Memorial Stadium is one of the most popular rites of passage events for Hoosier families. The same holds true for Hoosier basketball games at the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Interested observers can also enjoy the open houses that are held at the Kirkwood Observatory, located close to the iconic Sample Gates on campus. The nearby Fountain Square Mall and Kirkwood Avenue are also popular destinations for students and residents. Some of the other community attractions located on the campus include the IU Arboretum, the Eskenazi Museum of Art, and numerous free concerts that are held throughout the year.
While you are visiting the campus, do not forget to check out one of the most frequently visited places here, which is the IU Arboretum. The arboretum was first planted in 1984, and since then, it has grown into a magnificent green space for everyone to enjoy. The open space and fresh air are ideal for students who get to relax here in between their classes.
3. Hoosier National Forest
Sprawled out over 200,000 acres of natural habitat is the Hoosier National Forest, which is the best place to visit for adventure lovers in south-central Indiana. Located across nine counties, the Hoosier National Forest is divided between two natural parts of the state. The northern part of the forest can be accessed easily from Bloomington. This is why for tourists and residents of Bloomington, visiting the Hoosier National Forest is a leisurely getaway.
The northern part of the Hoosier National Forest near the city of Bloomington is popular for a variety of recreational activities. Some of the common activities you can indulge in there include fishing, backpacking, scenic driving, wildlife viewing, and rock climbing. There are several camping grounds spread out through the forest, and they are ideal for both standard tent campers or RV dwellers.
If you want to check out the most scenic area in the entire forest, head over to the Charles C. Dream Wilderness, which can be accessed from Bloomington if you are willing to drive 20 miles. This is a 13,000-acre federally earmarked wilderness area that is unique to the state of Indiana. You will find wild hyacinths here that bloom throughout the spring months. The roadless forest is meant for non-motorized exploration only.
4. B-Line Trail
The B-Line Trail is one of the most popular spots in Bloomington. This is a paved pedestrian pathway that allows you to explore the city without needing a car. While this used to be a railway connector at one point in time, today, this 12-foot wide trail goes on for 3.1 miles through Bloomington and connects many of the top attractions and natural spaces of the city.
Downtown Bloomington is a major stop on the B-Line Trail, and you will find walkers, cyclists, and other travelers heading off to popular attractions like the WonderLab Museum, the Farmer’s Market, and countless other city events and locations.
5. WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology
This is a fascinating children’s museum located in downtown Bloomington that is perfect for sparking the imagination of children with numerous hands-on science activities and interactive exhibits. You can reach the WonderLab Museum easily via the B-Line Trail. Some of the incredible permanent exhibits at the WonderLab Museum include a Bubble Airium, Kaleidoscope Cave, and the Hall of Natural Science.
As you head outside on the museum grounds, you will come across the Lester P. Bushnell WonderGarden, which is a beautiful natural space full of many living exhibits. WonderLab Museum also offers a wide variety of programs, such as its STEM-oriented IDEA Labs, WonderCamps for kids, and adult social functions. This is provided as part of a non-profit program by the museum.
Apart from these exciting places to see in Bloomington, some of the other places of interest you can check out include:
- Wylie House Museum
- Monroe Lake
- Wapehani Mountain Bike Park
- Lower Cascades Park
- Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center