Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Bloomington, Illinois

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Bloomington, IL: Where Fun and Adventure Collide – The Ultimate Guide to the Best Things to Do and Places to Visit!

Welcome to Bloomington, Illinois – a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, or just looking for some family fun, Bloomington has got you covered. Located in McLean County, Bloomington is home to a variety of attractions that will keep you entertained for days.

If you’re a fan of historical hotspots, you won’t be disappointed with Bloomington. The city is home to the David Davis Mansion, a beautifully preserved Victorian mansion that was once the home of Supreme Court Justice David Davis. You can also visit the McLean County Museum of History, which is housed in the Old Courthouse building and offers a fascinating look at the area’s past.

If you’re more interested in cultural corners, Bloomington has plenty of those too. The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts hosts a variety of shows throughout the year, while the Normal Theater is a great place to catch a movie or a live performance. And if you’re a fan of museums, you won’t want to miss the Miller Park Zoo or the Children’s Discovery Museum.

Key Takeaways

  • Bloomington, Illinois is a city with something for everyone, from history buffs to outdoor enthusiasts.
  • The city is home to a variety of attractions, including historical hotspots, cultural corners, and museum mania.
  • Whether you’re looking for family fun, dining delights, or retail retreats, Bloomington has got you covered.

Historical Hotspots

If you’re a history buff, Bloomington has plenty of historical hotspots that will make your heart skip a beat. Here are some must-visit places that will take you back in time:

David Davis Mansion State Historic Site

Step into the world of David Davis, a Supreme Court Justice and friend of Abraham Lincoln, by visiting the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site. The mansion was built in the mid-1800s and is now a museum that showcases the life of Davis and his family. You’ll get to see the Victorian-era furnishings, paintings, and historical papers that offer a glimpse into local history.

McLean County Museum of History

The McLean County Museum of History is a treasure trove of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that will transport you to the past. From the Civil War to World War I and II, you’ll get to learn about the significant events that shaped Bloomington and the country. The museum also has a vast collection of historical documents, including photographs, letters, and diaries, that will give you a deeper understanding of the local history.

Old McLean County Courthouse

The Old McLean County Courthouse is a beautiful building that has stood the test of time. It was built in the mid-1800s and served as the courthouse until the 1970s. Today, it’s a history museum that features an exhibit about Lincoln’s Bloomington connections. You’ll also get to see the restored courtroom, which looks the same as it did in the 1800s.

Ewing Manor

Ewing Manor is a stunning mansion that was built in the 1920s. It was designed by the famous architect, Arthur L. Pillsbury, and features a mix of architectural styles, including Tudor Revival and Arts and Crafts. The mansion was home to the Ewing family, who were prominent Bloomington residents. Today, it’s a popular event venue and is also open for tours.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for something new to explore, these historical hotspots are a must-visit. So, put on your walking shoes and get ready to step back in time.

Cultural Corners

If you’re looking for some culture in Bloomington, you’re in luck! The city has a variety of cultural corners that offer everything from plays to live music. Here are three popular venues you should check out:

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts

The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts is the place to go if you’re looking for a night of theater. With a variety of plays and performances throughout the year, there’s always something new to see. The venue is also home to the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, so you can catch some beautiful music too. Make sure to check out their website for upcoming events.

Normal Theater

If you’re a film buff, you have to check out the Normal Theater. This historic cinema has been around since 1937 and still shows classic films on the big screen. They also host special events like movie trivia nights and sing-alongs. Plus, the theater serves popcorn with real butter – need we say more?

Castle Theatre

The Castle Theatre is a popular venue for live music in Bloomington. With a capacity of 500, it’s the perfect size for an intimate concert experience. They host a variety of genres, from rock to blues to country. The venue also has a full bar, so you can enjoy a drink while you listen to some tunes.

No matter what cultural corner you choose to explore, you’re sure to have a great time. Bloomington has a thriving arts scene, so make sure to take advantage of it while you’re here.

Museum Mania

Are you a history buff? Do you have a fascination for aviation and planes? Or maybe you just want to keep your kids entertained while you explore the city? Look no further than Bloomington’s Museum Mania!

Prairie Aviation Museum

The Prairie Aviation Museum is the perfect place to satisfy your aviation obsession. You’ll find yourself surrounded by planes, helicopters, and aviation memorabilia that will make your heart soar like a bird in the sky.

From vintage aircraft to modern helicopters, the museum has it all. You’ll be amazed at the collection of planes on display, and the knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to share their expertise with you.

Don’t forget to check out the flight simulator, where you can experience the thrill of flying without ever leaving the ground. It’s the perfect activity for those who have always wanted to be a pilot but never had the chance.

Children’s Discovery Museum

If you’re looking for a more family-friendly museum experience, head over to the Children’s Discovery Museum. Located in Museum Square, this museum is a favorite among families with young children.

The museum has a variety of interactive exhibits that allow children to learn while having fun. From the water play area to the interactive art studio, there’s something for every child to enjoy.

Don’t forget to check out the outdoor play area, where children can climb, slide, and explore to their heart’s content. It’s the perfect place to burn off some energy before heading back inside to explore more exhibits.

In conclusion, Bloomington’s Museum Mania has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an aviation enthusiast, or just looking for a fun family activity, these museums are sure to provide a memorable experience. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore!

Outdoor Oasis

If you’re looking for some fresh air and sunshine, Bloomington has plenty of outdoor activities to offer. Here are a few of the best places to visit for some outdoor fun:

Miller Park Zoo

Looking to see some exotic animals without leaving Bloomington? Look no further than Miller Park Zoo! You’ll see all sorts of creatures here, from tigers to red pandas to wallabies. Plus, the zoo has a great playground for the little ones to burn off some energy.

Constitution Trail

If you’re in the mood for a leisurely stroll or bike ride, the Constitution Trail is the perfect spot. This 24-mile trail winds through Bloomington and Normal, and it’s a great way to see the sights. You’ll pass by gardens, parks, and even a few sculptures. And if you’re feeling ambitious, you can even bike the whole thing!

Tipton Park

Tipton Park is a great spot for a picnic or a game of frisbee. There are plenty of tables and benches, plus a playground for the kids. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a dip in the park’s swimming pool or try your hand at fishing in the pond.

No matter what your outdoor interests are, Bloomington has something for you. So grab your walking shoes or your bike and get out there!

Fun and Games

Looking for some fun and games in Bloomington, Illinois? Look no further than these exciting attractions:

Pheasant Lanes

Get your bowling shoes on and head over to Pheasant Lanes! This classic bowling alley has been a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike for years. With 32 lanes and a full-service bar and grill, Pheasant Lanes is the perfect place to spend an evening with friends or family. Plus, they offer league play and tournaments for those looking for a more competitive experience.

Iron Coyote Challenge Park

If you’re up for a challenge, head over to Iron Coyote Challenge Park. This outdoor adventure park features a variety of obstacles and challenges, including a high ropes course, zip line, and climbing wall. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or just looking to try something new, Iron Coyote has something for everyone.

Prairie Vista Golf Course

Looking to work on your swing? Check out Prairie Vista Golf Course. This beautiful 18-hole course offers a challenging but enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels. Plus, they also offer a miniature golf course for those looking for a more relaxed experience.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Bloomington has plenty of fun and games to offer. From ice skating at Pepsi Ice Center to hockey programs and ice skating lessons, there’s something for everyone. So why not challenge yourself and try something new? You never know what kind of fun you’ll have!

Dining Delights

You’re in Bloomington, Illinois, and your stomach is growling. Lucky for you, this town has a plethora of dining options to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for a fancy night out or just a quick bite, Bloomington has got you covered.

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, check out Epiphany Farms Restaurant. This farm-to-table restaurant serves up creative dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. Plus, the atmosphere is cozy and inviting, making it the perfect spot for a romantic date or special occasion.

For a more casual vibe, head over to Anju Above. This Asian-fusion restaurant has a fun and lively atmosphere, with a menu that includes everything from sushi to Korean fried chicken. And don’t forget to try one of their signature cocktails – they’re almost as delicious as the food.

If you’re in the mood for some good old-fashioned pub grub, you can’t go wrong with Lucca Grill. This Bloomington staple has been around since 1936 and serves up classic American fare like burgers, sandwiches, and pizza. And with its cozy booths and vintage decor, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Looking for a place to grab a drink and hang out with friends? Check out The Backroom. This bar and restaurant has a laid-back atmosphere and a menu that includes everything from burgers to tacos. Plus, they have a great selection of craft beers and cocktails.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Bloomington has a restaurant or bar that will satisfy your cravings. So go ahead and indulge – you deserve it!

Retail Retreats

Looking for some unique shopping experiences? Bloomington has got you covered! From vintage finds to handmade crafts, you’ll find it all here. Check out these three sub-sections for some retail therapy.

Downtown Bloomington

First on the list is Downtown Bloomington, the heart of the city. Stroll along the streets and explore the boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries. You never know what treasure you might find! Make sure to stop by the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts for some live entertainment.

3rd Sunday Market

If you’re a fan of antiques, then the 3rd Sunday Market is a must-visit. Held on the third Sunday of every month from April to October, this outdoor market has over 450 vendors selling everything from vintage clothing to old-fashioned toys. It’s like stepping back in time!

Red Raccoon Games

For the gamers out there, Red Raccoon Games is the place to be. This local game store has a wide selection of board games, card games, and miniatures. Whether you’re a casual player or a serious collector, you’ll find something that suits your taste. Plus, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and explore Bloomington’s retail scene. You never know what kind of treasure you might find!

Brewery Breaks

Looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon in Bloomington? Why not take a brewery break? With a variety of breweries in the area, there’s sure to be a beer that suits your taste buds.

Lil Beaver Brewery

If you’re looking for a local brewery with a great selection of beers, look no further than Lil Beaver Brewery. This cozy brewery offers a variety of brews, from stouts to IPAs, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.

One of the standout beers at Lil Beaver Brewery is their Lil Beaver Brown Ale. This smooth, malty beer has a nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with a burger or pizza. If you’re in the mood for something a little more hoppy, try their Hoppy Beaver IPA. This beer is bursting with citrus and pine flavors, making it the perfect pairing for spicy food.

In addition to their delicious beer, Lil Beaver Brewery also offers a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff. So grab a pint, sit back, and enjoy the laid-back vibe of this local brewery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the most unique thing to do in Bloomington, IL?

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience in Bloomington, look no further than the Beer Nuts Factory Tour. That’s right, you can take a tour of the factory that produces those delicious, crunchy little snacks that go so well with a cold beer. You’ll learn about the history of the company and the process of making Beer Nuts, and of course, you’ll get to sample some fresh nuts straight off the production line.

Where can I find the best pizza in Bloomington?

Pizza is serious business in Bloomington, and there are plenty of great options to choose from. For a classic, no-frills slice, head to Monical’s Pizza. If you’re in the mood for something a little fancier, try Anju Above, which offers a variety of creative, gourmet pizzas. And if you’re looking for something truly unique, check out Flingers Pizza Pub, which features pizzas with toppings like mac and cheese, tater tots, and even Fritos.

What’s the craziest event that’s ever happened in Bloomington?

Bloomington may be a relatively small city, but we know how to party. One of the craziest events in recent memory was the annual Red Bull Soapbox Race, which took place on the streets of downtown Bloomington. Teams built their own soapbox cars and raced them down a steep hill, with plenty of spills and thrills along the way.

What’s the best way to spend a rainy day in Bloomington?

If the weather isn’t cooperating, there are still plenty of fun things to do in Bloomington. One great option is the McLean County Museum of History, which offers exhibits on the history of the area, including Abraham Lincoln’s time in nearby Springfield. Another option is the Normal Theater, a beautifully restored historic theater that shows classic and independent films.

What’s the most underrated attraction in Bloomington?

While there are plenty of well-known attractions in Bloomington, one that often gets overlooked is the Miller Park Zoo. This small, charming zoo is home to a variety of animals, including red pandas, otters, and even a snow leopard. It’s a great option for families with young kids, and admission is very affordable.

Where’s the best place to take a date in Bloomington?

For a romantic evening out, head to Epiphany Farms Restaurant. This farm-to-table restaurant features locally sourced ingredients and a menu that changes seasonally. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, with dim lighting and rustic decor. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the Chef’s Tasting Menu, which features a variety of small plates and surprises.

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