Hi Bloomington Mamas,
My husband is thinking of transferring to the Univ of Indiana, so we might move to Bloomington. I don't really know anything abt the town, and we are coming to visit in a few weeks so he can meet some professors and we can check out the town.
Are there some highlights of the town we should see while we are there? We are bringing our 2-yr-old, so family-friendly cafes, food coops, playgrounds, parks, even neighborhoods to drive around would be helpful to get a feel for the community.
Also, how is it for you to live in Bloomington in general? Advice abt whether to move there (from St Louis, w a toddler).
thanks so much.
Hi KBL. Bloomington is pretty great. It is a small town, but it's one of the most culturally rich and tolerant you'll find in the rustbelt.
Cool things in the area: the Tibetan Cultural Center (which the Dali Lama visits every three or four years), Hoosier National Forest (about 20 minutes east of Bton), the Art Museum on campus, the Mathers Museum also on campus, plays at the John Waldron Arts Center and/or film and/or concerts at the Buskirk Chumley Theater. There's a zombie parade every Halloween. The Square (on Kirkwood and between Walnut & College) is the center of town, and there's lots of great shopping right in that area (spiritual shop called Athena, a couple gallerys, a cooking shop, a mall with lots more).
Also, just walking around IU campus is a treat--it's considered one of the most beautiful campuses in the US.
Food places to check out: Trojan Horse, the Irish Lion, and Nick's are all Btown staples. Blu Boy is a chocolatier and highly recommened for desert/treats. There's also the Farm restaurant, which serves only local and organic foods--pricey but awesome; and Michael's Uptown Cafe. These are all in the general area of the Square (except for Nick's which a short walk east towards campus).
Park-wise, there's Bryan Park near downtown, which has a pool and waterslides in the summer; there's Olcott Park further south next door to Jackson Creek Middle School and neighborhoods.
The local co-op is Bloomingfoods; there's a branch off of Kirkwood, the main drag in town, but the big one is one Third near the College Mall.
In short, I love this town. I live outside of town with a forest in my backyard, but it's only a twelve minute drive to downtown. There *are* lots of students, who are student-like in behavior, of course, but overall people here are friendly. It is definitely a small town in comparison to St. Louis, but it has a lot going for it.
So, that's a lot of stuff. Drop me a message if you have more questions--I'm happy to help!
we love bloomington!
housing tends on the pricier side because of IU :/ but probably much cheaper than St. Louis.
the local food movement is big and growing still, if that sort of thing is important to you. there's a lot of stuff to do here, even for little kids - it borders on overwhelming.
We moved to Bloomington from the St. Louis area (Illinois side) a year and a half ago! We really like it here. There is a ton to do with kids. Definitely bring your toddler to the Wonderlab! It's a great, local science museum for kids with a nice area for younger kids to play. If the weather is nice, there are many good playground. Check out Olcott and the newly renovated Bryan Park playground. Oh, and Lower Cascades too. The parks and rec department in Bloomington is one of the best in the country, and they offer a lot for children of all ages. Cost wise, Bloomington was just slightly more expensive than what we had in IL ~ we sold our house there for the exact same amount as the house we bought here, but this house has no basement and is a little smaller in terms of square footage.
Good luck with the move!!!!
Thanks so much Bloomington Mamas! This is super, super helpful. Now I am looking forward to our visit next month, and I'll be back in touch if we decide to move there!