Are you looking for the best things to do in Bloomington Indiana? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Bloomington Indiana is southwest of Indianapolis.
But Indianapolis isn’t the only fun city in Indiana to explore.
There are tons of cool places to visit in Indiana, and Bloomington is one of them!
Since it’s the 7th largest city in Indiana, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Bloomington.
The city has museums, historic sites, delicious restaurants, and lots more to explore.
It’s also home to Indiana University, so you’ll find some unique college-town attractions as well.
With tons of activities in Bloomington, you won’t get bored.
So, let’s take a look at 15 of the best things to do in Bloomington IN.
15 Best Things To Do In Bloomington IN You Shouldn’t Miss
Take The Whole Family To The WonderLab
The WonderLab is probably one of the most popular attractions in Bloomington IN to visit.
It’s especially perfect if you are traveling with kids. That’s because this Bloomington Indiana museum is a hands-on science museum!
There are a ton of different exhibits within the museum that aim to teach kids all about science.
But it’s done in a way that makes science fun for all ages.
They can learn about composting, adopt their own worm, play in an augmented reality sandbox, or learn about sea life in their saltwater aquarium.
This museum in Bloomington is open on Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday.
Hours vary depending on the day, and they do have an admission fee.
However, you and your little ones will love spending a few hours at this museum in Bloomington Indiana.
Sample Local Wine At The Oliver Winery And Vineyards
This is one of the best activities in Bloomington if you’re traveling with an older crowd.
The Oliver Winery and Vineyard is located in Bloomington and is one of the prettiest wineries in Indiana.
They boast to be one of the top destinations in Indiana, and for a good reason.
The winery is beautiful with manicured gardens, a large tasting room, a restaurant, and of course, rows of grape vines.
They are open daily, and the hours vary depending on the day.
Oliver Winery has been featured in Forbes, Travel & Leisure, and Delish.
So you know that they are one of the best things to do in Bloomington!
Monroe Lake Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Bloomington IN
Just 10 miles southeast of Bloomington, you’ll find Monroe Lake.
It is the largest lake that is completely in Indiana.
With over 10,000 acres of water, it’s a very popular place to visit in Bloomington.
Monroe Lake is perfect for those who want to explore the great outdoors.
The lake has some of the best camping in Indiana, along with boating, swimming, and hiking.
There are 9 boat launches on the lake, and you can also rent a variety of watercraft from the park.
Monroe Lake also has 3 public beaches that are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day for swimming.
At Monroe Lake, you’ll also find some of the most scenic hikes in Indiana!
When you visit, you’ll quickly see why it’s one of the most popular parks in Bloomington.
Learn About Another Culture At The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center
If you’ve always been curious about different cultural traditions, then I suggest making a stop at the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.
It is located in Bloomington IN, and aims to preserve Tibetan and Mongolian culture.
Visitors to the cultural center can participate in Buddhist ceremonies and tour the Cultural Center’s grounds.
Throughout the year, they also host talks and lectures presented by venerated holy monks that are very interesting and enlightening.
While all are welcome to visit, please remember that it is a place of worship.
If you plan to visit, please be respectful of the beliefs and traditions of those who practice in the temple.
It’s a beautiful place to visit, and easily one of the best things to do in Bloomington.
Explore The Eskenazi Museum Of Art
The Eskenazi Museum of Art opened in 1941 on the campus of Indiana University.
You’ll find the museum in the heart of the Indiana University Bloomington campus.
Outside, there is a large red metal sculpture that let’s you know you’re in the right place.
Inside, you’ll be able to admire art from all around the world.
They also have art from a variety of different time periods as well.
Their collection includes works by Monet, Picasso, Pollack, and treasures from antiquity to the Sub-Sarahan African regions.
Admission to the museum is always free, which makes it one of the best free things to do in Bloomington Indiana too.
This Bloomington Indiana museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, with varying hours.
They also have a small cafe where you can grab a quick bite to eat during your visit.
See Downtown Bloomington While You Walk The B-Line Trail
Located in Downtown Bloomington, the B-Line Trail is one of the best activities in Bloomington.
The B-Line Trail is over 5 miles of paved trails that winds through Downtown Bloomington Indiana.
While you walk the trail, you’ll get to see some of the prettiest areas of the city.
With incredible scenic views and easily traveled paths, it’s one of the most popular things to do in Bloomington on a pretty day.
Along the trail, you’ll find amenties like the Wonder Plaza, benches, picnic tables, fitness stations, water fountains, and more.
There are also different pieces of art and sculptures that you’ll see as you walk the B-Line Trail.
If you’re looking to stretch your legs and see a bit of the city, then this is one of the best things to do in Bloomington Indiana.
Learn About Bloomington History At The Wylie House Museum
The Wylie House Museum is a unique museum in Bloomington Indiana.
That’s because it was the home of Andrew Wylie, the first President of Indiana University.
Wylie House was built in 1835 and Andrew Wylie called it home until his death in 1851.
Inside this Bloomington Indiana museum, you’ll learn about the early history of Indiana University.
The museum has artifacts from the Wylie family, photographs, and other archival elements within its collection.
It is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 am to 4 pm.
If you’re interested in learning about the history of Indiana University, then you’ll want to check out this unique attraction in Bloomington IN.
Shop For Antiques
One of the most fun activities in Bloomington is a day spent antique shopping.
Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll have tons of fun just walking through the many antique stores.
In Downtown Bloomington, you can check out the Historic Bloomington Antique Mall.
It’s right by the B-Line Trail and is packed with unique finds in the 24,000-square-foot brick building.
The Historic Bloomington Antique Mall is absolutely massive, and you could easily spend a few hours there.
However, there are a lot of other great antique shops in Bloomington.
There is the Westbury Antique Market, Jeff’s Warehouse, and lots more.
If you enjoy perusing antique malls, you’ll find plenty in Bloomington!
Go Hiking At McCormick’s Creek State Park
McCormick’s Creek State Park is one of the best state parks in Indiana.
The park has limestone canyons and a large flowing creek that leads to a few waterfalls.
McCormick’s Creek State Park was actually the first State Park in Indiana!
If you’re traveling to Indiana in the fall, it’s one of the best places in Indiana to experience fall foliage.
It’s one of the best parks in Bloomington Indiana, no matter when you visit though.
On the park grounds, there is a historic fire tower that you can climb up. You can also see the historic Statehouse Quarry or explore the nature center.
After a long day of adventuring, spend some time at the Canyon Inn before heading home.
Or, you can even stay there!
Tour The Lilly Library
The Lilly Library is located on the campus of Indiana University.
However, this isn’t your ordinary university library.
In fact, the Lilly Library is an internationally-revered library full of rare books and manuscripts.
Within the library’s collection, there are over 8.5 million manuscripts, 450,000 books, and 150,000 pieces of sheet music.
When you visit the Lilly Library, on display you’ll see the first printed edition of The Canterbury Tales, a New Testament Gutenburg Bible, and the first folio of Shakespeare’s works.
If you love literature and reading, then you’ll want to make sure to visit this amazing attraction in Bloomington IN.
Enjoy The Outdoors At Lower Cascades Park
Lower Cascades Park is another beautiful park in Bloomington.
It’s a city park, right in the city limits of Bloomington IN.
The park is open daily from dawn until dusk and you can even rent the shelters that are scattered around the grounds.
Lower Cascades Park also has one of the largest playgrounds in the city’s park system.
So it’s a great place to bring the kids if you want to enjoy some fun outdoors.
If you walk the Cascades Park Trail, you’ll be led to the small waterfall that gives the park its name.
It’s one of the best Bloomington Indiana parks and you’ll love spending the afternoon there with the whole family.
The John Waldron Arts Center Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Bloomington
The John Waldron Arts Center was originally built in 1915.
It was the Bloomington City Hall until 1990. In 1990, it was deeded to the Bloomington Area Arts Council.
This is when it was reopened as the John Waldron Arts Center.
Since its original opening, the arts center has hosted a number of events.
With a gallery, two performing spaces, classrooms, and the community radio station, it’s become a thriving piece of the Bloomington IN community.
Depending on when you visit Bloomington, you can see the latest art exhibition or maybe even catch a show in the John Waldron Arts Center!
Go Camping In The Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area
The Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area is one of the best parks in Bloomington Indiana.
At the wilderness area’s northernmost border is Monroe Lake.
There are over 36 miles of trails that travel through scenic hardwoods and along Monroe Lake.
It’s also one of the best places in Indiana to go camping.
You’ll find plenty of campsites in Indiana near Monroe Lake and within the dense hardwood forest.
These campsites are pretty rustic though, so keep that in mind if you are thinking of go camping here.
However, if you don’t mind roughing it, you’ll have tons of fun camping in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area.
Fashion Lovers Will Want To See The Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection
The Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection is located on the campus of Indiana University.
Indiana University’s School of Art, Architecture, and Design manages the collection of historic clothing items.
Within the collection, there are pieces of haute couture, historic uniforms, graduation garb, fashion publications, and more.
Some of the current items on display include a graduation dress from 1879, the wardrobe of Hilary Clinton during her campaign, and French fashion illustrations.
Spending the afternoon exploring the Elizabeth Sage Historic Costume Collection is one of the best things to do in Bloomington, IN.
Hike The Trails Of Hoosier National Forest
The Hoosier National Forest is separated into 4 separate sections.
One of those sections is the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area.
But the other sections of the National Forest are also worth a visit.
With over 200,000 acres, much of the National Forest is located near Bloomington IN.
It is located in the rolling hills of Indiana and is definitely worth a visit.
You’ll find well-maintained trails, comfortable campgrounds, and mountain biking trails to explore.
It’s a great place in Bloomington to explore and enjoy the local wildlife.
Packing List When Visiting Bloomington IN
If you are searching, here are some tips on how to pack lightly when packing when heading to Bloomington IN attractions.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when searching for things to do in Bloomington. It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and is so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking Insta-worthy selfies at all the Bloomington activities you attend.
I never much believed in using packing cubes when traveling. That is until I tried them. Now I am hooked. These are the exact cubes I use to stay organized when I pack for a trip!
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for your adventures and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. . No matter the time of day or evening.
This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. And it comes in many different colors!
There are so many fun things to do in Bloomington IN!
Whether you love exploring nature, shopping for antiques, or admiring art, there is a Bloomington activity that is perfect for you.
Bloomington IN is a beautiful city in Indiana that is worth taking a trip to explore.
Have you ever spent time in Bloomington? I’d love to hear about your trip in the comments!