Bloomington (Indiana)

Bloomington is in Southern Indiana. Bloomington is home to the flagship campus of Indiana University and the I.U. Hoosiers.


The Courthouse Square, the city's central square

Like most Indiana cities, Bloomington is arranged mostly on a rectangular grid. College Ave and Walnut St, a pair of one-way streets, form the main north-south thoroughfare through the central city, dividing the city into the east and west sides. The east side is centered around the main campus (Bloomington Campus) of Indiana University. The west side historically was the industrial part of town, with a number of factories churning out a variety of industrial products, from limestone blocks to elevators (Otis) to television sets (RCA). While the university keeps growing, many of the industrial plants have now been closed, and the north-side railway running a few blocks west of Walnut St has been converted to popular walking and bicycling trail (the B-Line Trail).

Get in

By plane

Another company with a similar schedule and fares is Star of America. Both shuttles stop at the Indiana Memorial Union on the IU campus, as well as at a number of other locations on the IU campus and in the downtown area.

By car

By bus

Get around

Being a college town, Bloomington also has many bike paths to get around town. B-Line Trail is probably the most popular of them. The trail runs along the route of the now-dismantled railroad that used to separate the better-off east side of Bloomington from "the other side of the tracks", to the west.

Taxi The city is served by taxis, although the fares are high at 50¢ per quarter-mile plus a $4 charge for being picked up.


Parking near the university is regulated. A daily visitor parking pass may be purchased for $6 at the Biddle Hotel lobby of the Indiana Memorial Union (although this may only be purchased on the day of). This pass will allow visitors to park in many different lots & garages around the campus. Additionally, there are some metered parking spots on campus and some lots and garages on campus that are pay-parking (per half-hour). There are a few lots and garages that are free on Saturday & Sunday. For more detailed information, go to Indiana University Parking Operations: Visitor Permits

There are some street spots just off of the campus that either have 1 hour or 2 hour limits from 8AM-5PM (these tend to not be metered spots).

On-street parking throughout downtown is limited and, typically, metered. Visitors are advised to use parking garages instead.


Nature's Splendor


The Jangchub Chorten and the Kalachakra Stupa are traditional Buddhist monuments to the Enlightened Mind of the Buddha and were dedicated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visits to the TMBCC. $0-35.

Theatre, dance and classical music

Museums and galleries



The Holiday World amusement park in Southwestern Indiana is a two-hour drive from Bloomington.









Shopping areas in the city include:

Books and maps

Back in the early 1990s, Bloomington sported over 20 independent bookstores, and was sometimes described as a city with a largest number of bookstores per capita in the USA. Since then, most of them have gone out of business as Borders and Barnes and Noble arrived (the former of which having later succumbed to competition from the likes of; the latter is still there, in East 3rd St). Still, a few good independent bookstores remain. Two of them can be seen on the east side of the Courthouse Square; another one ("Boxcar Books", a non-for-profit co-op) is in 6th St between Dunn and Grant.

The annual Red Cross book sale is a major event, attended by local bibliophiles and second-hand book dealers alike. It usually takes place on a weekend in early October, in one of the huge pavilions of the Monroe County Fairgrounds.


Kroger and Marsh are the two main supermarket chains doing business in town; there is an Aldi and a Wal-Mart on the west side as well.

Being a major university town, Bloomington has more "organic" and "international" grocery stores than anywhere else in southern Indiana. Bloomingfoods is a local food co-op, emphasizing organic products and featuring eat-in deli sections in its several locations around the city. Sahara Mart, which now has two stores (in 2nd St near Walnut St, and in 3rd St on the east side, west of College Mall) is particularly strong on Middle Eastern products and wine. Tenth St Market & Deli, located near Eigenmann Hall, provides all kinds of imported groceries to international students living in the student housing in the area. At least four "Asian" (Chinese / Korean) grocery stores can be found on the city's east side, in the general area of College Mall (Obo's, Saraga, Rongcheng, and another one with a non-descript name, near Bed, Bath and Beyond just south of College Mall). There is even an Eastern European grocery store in the strip mall at W. Country Club Dr. and S. Walnut, on the south side of town.

During the summer and fall, a lively farmers' market operates on Saturdays near the City Hall.


Bloomington is known in the Midwest for its selection of world cuisine. Visit East 4th Street between Grant and Indiana Avenues for a huge selection of the best ethnic fare. There are some enduring classics and a small bit of turnover in this district. Of note is the Snow Lion, an excellent Tibetan restaurant owned by the Dalai Lama's brother! Don't be afraid to travel outside of downtown for great food, remember that University real estate doesn't come cheap, and some of the best new restaurants get their start in the suburbs before moving downtown.

Summer is a great time to avoid student crowds, but many restaurants often cut short their hours and even close-up 1–2 days a week, so call ahead from June–August if you don't want to risk a "Back Soon" sign. All Bloomington restaurants and bars are non-smoking.


Bar and Pubs




Free Wi-Fi and public computers are available in the Monroe County Public Library (Kirkwood Ave, between Grant and Lincoln St). Local residents use public computers with their library cards; an out-of-town visitor can ask a librarian for a temporary password for 1 hour computer time (free).

The main university library (10th St and Jordan Ave) also offers free temporary computer accounts to visitors.

The new central station of Bloomington Transit (at 3rd and Walnut) also has free Wi-Fi.

By phone

Most telephone numbers in Bloomington consist of +1 812 plus a seven-digit number, but a second area code (+1 930) was overlaid onto the entire 812 area in September 2014. A local or in-state telephone call now requires all 10 digits of the local number be dialed (omitting just the leading +1 from a local landline call).

Signage on many established businesses may still display the original seven-digit numbers; dial 812 before these if no area code is indicated.

Go next

Routes through Bloomington

Indianapolis Martinsville  N  S  Bedford Tell City
Terre Haute Spencer  W  E  Nashville Columbus

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.