Campus Travel Guide—Bloomington, Indiana

Much like your childhood hometown, the city in which you attend college will forever feel like home to you. Lucky for me, I got to spend four wonderful years living in Bloomington while attending Indiana University.

Sure, there are the Sample Gates and watching basketball games at Assembly Hall that make it so quintessentially college. But Bloomington is more than just a college campus. There is a real vibrancy to this Southern Indiana town. From a thriving art scene to hidden shopping gems to food staples I miss almost daily, a part of me will always miss my days living in Bloomington.

If you get the chance to visit Indiana University, be sure to check out my must-hit places to eat, shop and more!

Happy hourKilroy’s Pub on Kirkwood is always crowded. From a random Tuesday night to a lazy Saturday afternoon, anyone who has lived in Bloomington, Indiana has spent far too much time at this spot. Great for beers with friends, their breadsticks stuffed with cheese and pepperoni and on your birthday you get a free birthday shirt (it’s the little things in life)!

BrunchVillage Deli is everything. Their pancake situation is beyond gluttonous (and thus, perfect). Made from scratch, these pancakes are literally the size of the plate, made-to-oder and DYNAMITE.

Entertainment—Bloomington has a really happening arts scene. The Buskirk-Chumley Theatre is right on Kirkwood and hosts a variety of events. The vintage theatre is the best place to catch old movie screenings. The Indiana University Auditorium is located at the heart of campus and brings big name talent to B-Town. I have seen everyone from Jay Leno to the Dalai Lama perform there.

Late-night bites Pizza X. Order the Big Ten Special. Get the ranch. Enough said.

Shopping–Bloomington, Indiana is where my love for vintage blossomed. Cactus Flower upstairs is a must-have spot to check out. Think worn in flannels, jeweled jackets and costume jewelry that your Bubbie would wear. I have a vintage wedding dress from there I still wear on the reg.

SightseeingLake Monroe is a short drive away from the heart of town and makes Bloomington that much more beautiful. There are plenty of hiking trails and spots to sunbath with friends. Grab a map before you head out because it can get a bit confusing (everything is green, gorgeous and looks alike).

Hidden gemFARMbloomington is one of my absolute favorite places in Bloomington. The restaurant itself is all about fresh ingredients and features a menu that rotates seasonally. Their bison burger is beyond incredible. Perhaps the only thing better than the food and craft cocktails is FARM’s Root Cellar Lounge—which features a variety of entertainment including live local bands, karaoke and even trivia. It is one of the most unique and fun spots I’ve ever been to.

Where to stay –There are a handful of chain hotels in town, but The Indiana Memorial Union Hotel is by far top of the list. The rooms are tiny but the location is the center of everything and is easy for walking around. Also, secret perk—there is a bowling alley in the back of the IMU.