Townies know what fall brings: sweater weather, autumn leaves, and of course, IU students! Everybody in Bloomington loves the IU kids, but it seems like the only things that the IU kids love about Bloomington are the frat parties. So here are the Top Ten Things To Do In Bloomington That Aren’t “Have A Frat Party,” participation welcomed, even for non- IU students.
10. Get Takeout- support a local business and get tasty food at the same time! Lots of small businesses are struggling during the pandemic, and any support they can get is good. Bloomington has a wide variety of restaurants, serving everything from loaded pub fries to vegan cuisine to French pastries. Favorites include, but are not limited to, Big Woods Restaurant, the Laughing Planet Cafe, and the Runcible Spoon.
9. Have a Picnic With Friends Safely- while many people are still avoiding dine-in restaurants, you can still grab lunch with a friend! Take some of that takeout food you just ordered and meet up with a friend or two in a park for some socially distanced snacking. Third Street Park is close to downtown restaurants (just a block away from the Chocolate Moose), or you could opt for Bryan Park, a mile or so south of downtown. Get a break from your online classes and Zoom calls and enjoy Bloomington’s late summer weather with a sandwich and some friends.
8. Check out the Farmers Market- Bloomington now has a Farmers Market at three different locations on Saturday: Switchyard Park, Woolery Mill, and the Bloomingfoods on the east side of town. All of the locations are a great place to shop, take pictures, or just check out!
7.Visit the Eskenazi Art Museum- after a brief closure, the Eskenazi Museum of Art on IU’s campus reopens August 27. Packed full of art from famous painters, masterpieces from across the globe, and educational material for everyone, the Eskenazi is one of the best places to learn without being in class. Just remember not to touch the artwork!
6. Switchyard Park- visit one of the newest, coolest parks in Bloomington! Located right on the B-Line Trail, Switchyard Park has something for everyone, whether it’s their skate park, splash pad, or simply the pretty scenery.
5. Break out the Bike- the B-Line Trail and Rail Trail go on for miles in Bloomington, and are lovely places to take a bike ride. Watch out for pedestrians and their pets, however.
4. Hit up the Chocolate Moose- a local favorite, the Chocolate Moose is open for socially distant ordering. Go and buy a cone to celebrate the great bike ride you just had!
3. The Lake- hang out at either Lake Monroe or Lake Lemon (reader’s preference). Both are great, with nice beaches and swimming spots. Pack a lunch and some bug spray and make a day out of it, or bust out the canoe in the garage that hasn’t been used in at least seven years and hit the water!
2. Watch a Movie- no, the movie theaters aren’t open yet. But Starlite Drive-In is! Just south of town, the drive-in shows new movies every week. It’s a sweet location to go and get out of the house and watch a movie instead of surfing Netflix for twenty minutes and then deciding to rewatch that one show for the fifth time.
1. Explore Brown County State Park- Bloomington is a mere half-hour drive from one of the most beautiful places in Indiana: Brown County State Park. The park has over 18 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, and especially as fall grows closer and the leaves begin to turn, it will be a must-see destination in Southern Indiana.
BONUS!!! Social Distance and Wear A Mask- wouldn’t it be neat if one day everyone could go back to hanging out with their friends, going to parties, and getting food from a restaurant without even having to worry about getting sick? It totally would. So please, as you participate in the “things that aren’t a frat party” on this list, social distance and wear a mask for the health and safety of everyone around you, not to mention your own.