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8 Fun Things to Do in Bloomington

Bloomington isn’t just for Hoosiers. Though IU alums looking to relive their glory days will find endless adventure in Bloomington, so will those in search of an authentic Midwestern experience. Walk trails through town, dig into stromboli pizza sandwiches, or satisfy your cravings at the sweetest shop in town. 

Discover Bloomington by way of our eight favorite things to do, see, and eat, all within reach of Graduate Bloomington.


Malibu Grill

There’s a little bit of everything on the Malibu Grill menu, from steaks to seafood to pasta and burgers. Though Bloomington has named Malibu Grill the city’s best restaurant several years in a row, it’s not just the food locals love. Their atmosphere is as enticing as the food, making this a world-class dining experience. 

Belly up to the bar, grab a table in front of one of their flat screens or sip one of their unique martinis on their outdoor patio. 

Insider Tip

Tuesdays are Wine Night – select bottles of wine for just $12!

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steak and fries

Nick’s English Hut

Step into a Bloomington destination that’s a little bit English pub, a little bit sports bar. Spread across two levels and an outdoor patio, Nick’s English Hut offers mouthwatering pub grub and an energizing atmosphere in which to catch your favorite games on the big screen. 

Their cozy interior is matched only by the menu, which features unique dishes like Nick’s Stromboli, a pizza sandwich baked on a sub bun and served with sweet pickles. Whatever your order, wash it down with a cold beer fresh from the tap, whether that’s an import like Guinness or a more local brew.

Insider Tip

Try Sink the Biz, a drinking game invented by IU students. Involves a bucket of beer in the middle of the table with a beer glass (the “biz”) floating in it. Players take turns pouring beer into the biz. Whoever sinks the biz drinks the biz.

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beer taps

Chocolate Moose

Soft serve, shakes, floats, oh my! Chocolate Moose is a place to satisfy your sweet tooth. This local-favorite shop opened in 1933 and has churned their ice cream on-site ever since. Whether you enjoy yours in a cup or a cone, you’ll find something to love at Chocolate Moose. They even have handmade vegan flavors! 

The less sweet-inclined will also feel at home here thanks to their savory sandwiches for any time of day. Swing by in the morning for a croissant or English muffin piled high with breakfast meats and cheeses, or come in the afternoon to fill up on a classic Ham & Cheese or the more inventive Spanish Burger, which features a beef patty baked in tomato sauce. 

Insider Tip

Check out the IU Campus Locations at Memorial Union, Goodbody Hall, and Bookmarket Eatery

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banana split

Eskenazi Museum of Art

The Eskenazi Museum of Art promises that a trip around the world, and even through time, lies within its doors. Though the building itself is an icon, the exhibits within have even more to offer. Explore sub-Saharan Africa by way of its finest art alongside world-renowned works from artists like Monet and Picasso. 

Meander through seven galleries, special exhibitions, and more, all of which showcase art from cultures near and far. Visit on your own or attend one of their guided tours to learn from a docent about the stories behind the art. 

Insider Tip

Book one of the three art study rooms, available by reservation. Each space is outfitted with technology to allow you to take a closer look at the art that interests you.

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art gallery

The WonderLab Museum

Science, health, and technology get a playful twist at the WonderLab Museum. This museum encourages learning through play, which is why many of the exhibits are interactive. Say goodbye to reading plaques and hello to making your own music on the big piano or experimenting in the Sprouts Lab. 

Check out permanent exhibits like the Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science, which houses live insects, reptiles, and amphibians. Take a look at their event calendar before you go to see if you can fit in some special experiences like deep dives into the ocean biome and nature scavenger hunts.

Insider Tip

Check out their After Dark event series for adults-only events like chocolate tastings and happy hours.

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children learning

Sample Gates

Before you step foot on the IU campus, you’ll have to pass through the Sample Gates. The Sample Gates stand on the edge of the 1,860-acre campus, welcoming students and locals alike to experience the Hoosier way of life.

Edson Sample built the gates out of Indiana limestone in 1987, but they open onto one of the most historic parts of campus: Old Crescent.

Insider Tip

The Indiana University Sample gates serve as an entrance into the oldest part of the current Bloomington campus, known as the Old Crescent.

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sample gates

B-Line Trail

Get your blood pumping on the B-Line Trail. This short and sweet 3.1 mile trail meanders through some of the most scenic parts of Bloomington. Hop on the trail at Fairview Street before walking, running, or cycling your way to Country Club Drive, where the B-Line joins the Bloomington Rail Trail for a 5.1 mile jaunt.

The trail is well-lit from dusk to dawn, and also features amenities like picnic tables, a drinking fountain, and even a pet fountain for your furry friends. Get in a workout or two while you’re in Bloomington or simply step on the trail for a little peace and quiet. 

Insider Tip

The B-Line Trail, which is wheelchair accessible and free to use, is an ideal place for people of all ages and abilities to walk, run, bike, skateboard, stroller walk, in-line skate and otherwise engage in healthy, active lifestyles.

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old building

Alibi Boutique

Alibi Boutique opened in 2019 to spread a single message to Bloomington: when you look good, you feel good. Their carefully curated collection is full of pieces both structured and edgy, perfect for refreshing your wardrobe or replacing a piece you forgot at home. Stock up on graphic tees, modern jumpsuits, jeans, dresses, and more. 

Though Alibi Boutique specializes in beautiful clothing, they can do more than fill your closet. Find a new fragrance, take home a refined piece of jewelry, or shop their unique collection of home goods including floral arrangements and art prints.

Insider Tip

Book a private shopping experience and pop the bubbly for a girl’s night out, birthday party, retail therapy, or just because!

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clothes on a hanger