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Planning a Midwest Road trip this Summer? Make Sure You Stop in Bloomington, Indiana

What’s Happening and What’s New in Bloomington

There are new restaurants, big anniversaries, and more taking place in Bloomington this year. Culinary news includes The Elm, a new restaurant serving up American cuisine with spice profiles from Mediterranean and North African cuisines plus Small Favors Bar, a new farm-to-fork restaurant with a goal to source ingredients from farmers within a 50-mile radius from Bloomington. Bloomington’s first park, Cascades Park, and the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater both celebrate 100 years this year while the award-winning Oliver Winery, Indiana’s largest and oldest winery, celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Bloomington is a mecca for global cuisine. Turkish, Tibetan, Venezuelan, Burmese, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, French, Japanese—if you can find it on a globe, you can find it in Bloomington. Bloomington boasts 350+ restaurants where diners can find everything from gourmet hotdogs in an underground dive bar filled with pinball machines and traditional mo-mo’s at the Midwest’s best Tibetan restaurant to ethically sourced coffee shops and all-vegan bakeries. Here are Bloomington’s most iconic restaurants.

Did you know that you can forage for the prized Morel mushroom in Bloomington, IN? These mushrooms are a Hoosier delicacy that can only be found in certain parts of the country from late March – May and Bloomington can be found on that belt. The city is known for its hidden spots, prized recipes, and restaurants that highlight dishes with them.

Little 500, a big event. Indiana University’s Little 500 is the largest collegiate bike race in the United States, widely known as “The World’s Greatest College Weekend” — more than 25,000 people travel to Bloomington each year to watch the race and participate in the week’s festivities. In the past, Lance Armstrong, former Bachelor & IU alum Ben Higgins, and former President Barack Obama have attended the race. The Little 500 has even gotten recognition on the silver screen: Breaking Away (1979) is an Academy Award-winning film about the race. It’s a truly iconic event. This year’s event takes place April 22 & 23.

Bloomington, Indiana is full of blooms and culture. Explore the country’s only Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center with self-guided walking tours, meditation classes, stay in an on-sight Yurt (no TVs, electronics). Then enjoy the only restaurant in the U.S. dedicated to Tibetan food (Founded by Dalai Lama’s brother in 1970s, Dali Lama has private apartment there). Read more about Bloomington’s Arts & Culture scene here.

Get outdoors – many are still looking for outdoor adventure and Bloomington offers several lakes, trails and scenic outdoor activities and adventures any time of the year. Bloomington is home to Monroe Lake, Indiana’s largest land-bound body of water and offers camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, boating, beaching, and more. Just 30 minutes from downtown Bloomington and the Indiana University campus resides Indiana’s only national forest. Comprised of over 200,000 acres, tens-of-thousands of which are found in Monroe County, and Indiana’s only wilderness area, the Charles C. Deam Wilderness, the Hoosier National Forest offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of life, as well as a slew of nature activities to enjoy during any season.

Cream & Crimson – spend a day at the famous Indiana University, one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country full of experiences that are open (and many free) to guests such as the Lilly Library which holds millions of cultural & literary artifacts that document some of humanity’s highest achievements including a New Testament of the Gutenberg Bible, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s works, over 30,000 comics donated by Batman producer, Michael Uslan, the first printed edition of The Canterbury Tales, George Washington’s letter accepting the presidency of the United States, typescripts from many of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, four of John Ford’s Oscars, Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Bill of Rights, 94 of Sylvia Plath’s poems, and so much more.