21 Fun Things to Do in Bloomington (IL)

Bloomington is located in Monroe County and is home to Indiana University. Its distinct identity is due to its strong sense of community and culture. Numerous protected areas surround the area, making it a beautiful place to visit.

There are several fun things to do in Bloomington, IL. In addition to museums dedicated to aviation and history, the city has a zoo and a summer Shakespeare festival.

Aside from that, Adlai E. Stevenson, the US vice president between 1893 and 1999, and his grandson Adlai E. Stevenson II are buried in the same cemetery.

Bloomington is known for its annual festivals and various bars and restaurants. These areas offer a variety of food and numerous fun activities. Over 90 unique restaurants in the city and 30 bars are waiting to satisfy your appetite.

The article details all the exciting activities you can enjoy while in Bloomington, Illinois.

Where Is Bloomington, IL?

The city of Bloomington is located in Illinois, and it’s the county seat of the state’s McLean County. 

It’s also the more populous of the two principal municipalities in the region known as the Normal-Bloomington metropolitan area.

According to the 2020 census, the city had a population of 78,680. It is regarded as one of the most populated cities in the state outside of Chicago. It is 135 miles southwest of Chicago.

Bloomington is home to two universities. Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University are located in the area. It’s also the home of Country Financial and State Farm Insurance.

In the 2010 census, the city of Bloomington had a total area of 27.229 square miles. Of this, 27.22 square miles is land, and 0.009 square miles is water.

Since you’re planning to visit Illinois, we think you should also check out things to do in Rock Island and the different fun activities in Quincy.

Fun Things to Do in Bloomington, IL

The city of Bloomington is a beautiful tourist destination with plenty of fun things to do. 

Its most popular attractions include the Miller Park Zoo, the Illinois State University, the Pepsi Ice Center, and the Normal Theater.

The city also has several performing arts facilities. The following are 21 things to do in Bloomington, IL;

1. Iron Coyote Challenge Park

One of the most popular attractions in the city of Bloomington is the Iron Coyote Challenge Park, which spans over 20,000 square feet.

This facility features different types of adventure activities. These include a high ropes course, four ninja-style obstacle courses, and a 60-foot zip line.

In addition to its various attractions, Iron Coyote Challenge Park has a full-service cafe. 

This area allows visitors to enjoy a variety of beverages and snacks. The cafe’s observation deck also provides a great view of the area.

Address: The Iron Coyote Challenge Park is located at 4113 Oakland Ave, Bloomington, IL 61704, USA.

2. Red Raccoon Games

The Red Raccoon Games store was first opened in 2007. It was initially called “Gryfalia’s Aerie.” In 2014, it was purchased by Kelly and Jamie Mathy.

The couple then changed the store’s name to Red Raccoon Games. They have also carried out various promotional activities to promote the brand.

The store features over 1,500 games, including various kinds of non-electronic games. 

So if you’re a fan of board games, card games, and miniatures, Red Raccoon Games is a great place to visit in Bloomington.

Address: The Red Raccoon Games is located at 309 N Main St, Bloomington, IL 61701,USA.

3. McLean County Museum of History

One of the best things to do in Bloomington, IL, is to visit the historical museum known as the Mclean County Museum of History. This facility is inside the old courthouse constructed in the early 20th century.

The museum features five permanent exhibits and two rotating galleries. It has over 20,000 items on display, including various historical papers and rare books.

Address: The McLean County Museum of History is located at 200 North Main Street, Bloomington, Illinois,USA.

4. Normal Theater

One of Bloomington’s most popular tourist attractions is the Normal theatre, located on the opposite side of Illinois State University.

It was first opened in 1937 and enjoyed a long run of success before it eventually fell into decline.

After it was renovated and restored in 1994, it became a modern movie theater that shows foreign and independent films. It also hosts various live performances. These include comedy shows and concerts.

Address: The Normal Theater is located at 209 West North Street, Normal, Illinois,USA.

5. Prairie Vista Golf Course

The Prairie Vista Golf Course, designed by Roger Packard, spans 6,745 yards and features various greens. It was opened on May 17, 1991, by the City of Bloomington.

It has hosted various tournaments, such as the NCAA Women’s East Regional in 1997. The Prairie Vista also frequently hosts the Illinois High School Boys State Championship.

Address: The Prairie Vista Golf Course is located at 502 W Hamilton Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704, USA.

6. Beer Nuts

The Beer Nuts was established in the 1930s as a small confectionery shop. Over the years, the company’s unique redskin nuts became very popular.

Due to the popularity of their products, they were frequently requested by local bars and liquor stores.

Due to the company’s success, it has expanded its reach and now sells its products all over the US and other countries. Although the company’s name suggests it’s made with alcohol, its nuts are not.

Address: The Beer Nuts is located at 103 N Robinson St Bloomington ​, IL,USA.

7. Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts

The BCPA is a 1,200-seat auditorium that can accommodate various shows. It can also host hundreds of events throughout the year. In addition, this facility allows local artists to showcase their talents.

The Performing Arts Center of the City of Bloomington is a multi-purpose facility that accommodates different types of events, such as Broadway shows, holiday performances, and summer concerts. It also hosts various educational programs related to the arts.

Address: The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts is located at 600 North East Street, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

8. Evergreen Memorial Cemetery

The beautiful and natural surroundings of the cemetery, known as the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, are a fun and relaxing place for tourists and locals. 

The graveyard features over a hundred headstones that date back to the 1800s.

The cemetery also has several notable individuals and heroes who are buried there. A yearly event known as the “Evergreen Cemetery Walk” is also held in the cemetery to honor these individuals.

Address: The Evergreen Memorial Cemetery is located at 302 East Miller Street, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

9. David Davis Mansion State Historic Site

The David Davis mansion was once owned by David Davis, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln. He served as a Supreme Court Judge and US Senator in office.

During his office, Davis was married to Sarah Davis, a prominent community member. She also helped in his political activities.

The mansion, also called Clover Lawn, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s open to the public, and tours are conducted every week.

Address: The David Davis Mansion State Historic Site is located at 1000 Monroe Drive, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

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10. Bloomington Ice Center

The Grossinger Motors Arena is a multi-purpose facility with an ice skating center. Although it’s not affiliated with the facility, the Ice Center of the City of Bloomington is attached to it.

This ice facility features various sporting activities such as hockey, broomball, and open skating.

The Bloomington Ice Center is mainly used for hockey games. It’s also home to the local high school hockey team, the Normal Sharks.

Address: The Bloomington Ice Center is located  at 201 S Roosevelt Ave, Bloomington, IL 61701, USA.

11. Miller Park Zoo

The zoo, located right in the city’s center, has various animal species worth keeping. These include rare red wolves and tortoises.

During their visit, visitors can feed the animals. The facility also hosts overnight programs suitable for groups of 15 and above. These programs create a fantastic experience for the entire family.

Address The Miller Park Zoo is located at 1020 South Morris Avenue, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

12. Constitution Trail

The Constitution Trail runs through an area of an abandoned train line. It goes through the cities of Normal and Bloomington.

The Constitution Trail was first opened on May 6, 1989. It spans over 45 miles and connects to a historic Route 66 Trail in Illinois’ McLean County.

The municipalities of Normal and Bloomington on the trail are frequently used by various individuals, such as runners, cyclists, and skaters.

Address: The Constitution Trail is located at 1402 Constitution Trail, Bloomington, IL 61701, USA.

13. Pheasant Lanes

Located in Bloomington, IL, is Pheasant Lanes, which features 32 lanes of bowling. In addition, the facility has a large pub that can accommodate up to 20 people.

It also offers various other facilities, such as birthday parties and corporate events. It also participates in various unique events held in the area.

The facility also has a miniature golf course used by individuals who enjoy playing the game of golf. 

It also has two sand volleyball courts and a beer garden that can be utilized all year round.

Address: The Pheasant Lanes is located at 804 N Hershey Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704, USA.

14. Bloomington Farmers’ Market

The farmers market in Bloomington, IL, takes place every Saturday from May to October in Museum Square.

It features various local products and live entertainment. This event is also great for people to shop for local food.

The market features various fruits, vegetables, flowers, and plants. It also has multiple types of meat and poultry.

The food served at the market is made from locally grown food. It is also the best place to get fresh products in Bloomington, IL.

Address: The Bloomington Farmers’ Market is located at 401 North Morton Street, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

15. Ewing Manor Cultural Center

The Ewing Manor Cultural Center is located northeast of downtown Bloomington. This property, constructed in 1929, features an open theatre, gardens, and a historic manor.

This area can be utilized for various events. The Ewing Manor Cultural Center is a beautiful space that can accommodate up to 200 people.

The center features a variety of open-to-the-public areas that allow people to have fun and chill out. 

The open theatre at Ewing Manor is also a famous performing arts venue. This facility can accommodate up to 430 people at a time.

Address: The Ewing Manor Cultural Center is located at 48 Sunset Road, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

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16. Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, which started in 1978, has been held yearly since it was first established.

It occurs at the Ewing Theatre and the Illinois State University’s Center for Performing Arts. This event, which is celebrating its 44th season, takes place in the summer of 2022.

The School of Theatre and Dance and the College of Fine Arts produced the event. It features various performances and free pre-show entertainment.

Some other activities featured during the festival include a short version of the play to be performed.

Address: The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is located at 48 Sunset Rd, Bloomington, IL 61701, USA.

17. The Castle Theatre

The Castle Theatre was established in 1916 and is located in downtown Bloomington. It used to be a famous movie palace. 

After it was abandoned, the facility was renovated and became a performing arts center.

The Castle Theatre underwent a complete renovation in 2003. It was then transformed into a modern theatre. 

Currently, it’s used by various local and national artists who perform different kinds of music.

Address: The Castle Theatre is located at 209 East Washington Street, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

18. Altitude Trampoline Park Bloomington

One of the most popular facilities in the area is the Altitude Trampoline Park, which measures over 23,000 square feet. It has various fun facilities designed to provide a safe and enjoyable environment.

The Park features various areas to provide several fun and challenging activities for the whole family. 

These include the Main Court, Kids Court, and Battle Beam. It’s also a great family tourist destination in the area.

Address: The Altitude Trampoline Park Bloomington is located at 1702 General Electric Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704, USA.

19. Grossinger Motors Arena

The Grossinger Motors Arena was officially opened on April 1, 2006. It’s regarded as one of the most popular event facilities in Illinois.

Since it was first established, the Grossinger Motors Arena has already hosted over three million people. 

In addition, it can accommodate different events, such as concerts and ice shows.

The facility features various luxury suites and seats for multiple events. It can also accommodate up to 8,000 people for concerts.

Address: The Grossinger Motors Arena is located at 101 S Madison St, Bloomington, IL 61701, USA.

20. Prairie Aviation Museum

The Prairie Aviation Museum is a facility that focuses on the display of military and civilian airplanes. 

It’s located near the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington. This museum also features other exciting exhibits.

The Prairie Aviation Museum features over eight aircraft and three helicopters, and visitors are free to explore the facility while they’re inside.

The museum is a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts as it showcases a wide range of aircraft and space history. It also has several interactive exhibits, such as pilot simulation programs.

Address: The Prairie Aviation Museum is located at 2929 East Empire Street, Bloomington, Illinois, USA.

21. Illinois State University

One of the oldest public universities in Illinois is Illinois State University, which is located north of the city of Bloomington.

It was founded in 1857. Since its establishment, the university has been regarded as a cultural institution in the state.

The university’s green space, known as The Quad, features multiple trees and various areas to provide a tranquil environment for students and visitors. 

Although it’s a university, the campus has a natural feel due to its many trees.

Address:  The Illinois State University is located at 100 N University St, Normal, IL 61761, USA.

Best Time to Visit Bloomington, IL

The best time to visit Bloomington, IL, is the warmest months in the city of Bloomington, which are September, May, and June. Conversely, the most depressing months are in January and December.

Cost of Visiting Bloomington, IL

The average cost of traveling to Illinois is about $1,143 for a seven-day trip (an individual). Therefore, a couple can expect to spend about $2,771, while a family of four $4,123.