Bloomington, Indiana is a mid-sized city offering many amenities and opportunities for recreation, entertainment, and diversion. The wooded university campus, recognized as one of the most beautiful in the country, features an historic core of renovated limestone buildings surrounded by modern additions designed to enhance the congenial aesthetic. The campus features state-of-the-art museums, laboratories, sports facilities, libraries, and centers for conducting research.
Warm & Welcoming
Bloomington is distinguished by the people who live here, and by those who spend time here as part of the university. Home to a diverse and international community, it is marked by Midwestern charm, open-minded residents, and a peaceful, community-minded way of life.
The city of Bloomington has cultivated strong connections with the university. It’s easy to walk from campus to the heart of downtown, where a nationally-recognized Saturday Farmers’ Market showcases connections to rural Indiana, offering local foods, flowers, and other wares for sale. An indoor Winter Market makes it possible to purchase local foods throughout the year.
You’ll find a large public library, a network of parks, variety of schools, and neighborhoods with many housing options. Bike paths and local buses make it easy to navigate within the heart of campus and town. With its welcoming community of students and faculty from around the world, Bloomington features many restaurants of international origin and flavor. Other eateries emphasize a farm-to-table approach, sourcing ingredients from local growers.
Diversity, inclusion, + cultural resources
Indiana University is unwavering in its commitment to create safe and welcoming learning environments that advocate access, diversity, equity, inclusion, and community for all. Learn more about campus cultural centers and institutes through the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs.
The arts in Bloomington
The arts are important in Bloomington, with an emphasis on both local performers and international talent. The Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University Department of Theatre and Dance, and local arts organizations such as the Cardinal Stage Company and the Bloomington Playwrights Project offer thrilling performances throughout the year. Arts opportunities are also available for children.
The Lotus World Music and Arts Festival recognizes connections across historical epochs, national boundaries, and disciplinary fields. The organizational home of the festival, the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation (LEAF) also coordinates the Lotus Blossoms Educational Outreach program, the Lotus Firebay community performance space, and an Edible Lotus fundraiser. LEAF offers special programming and events with community partners throughout the year, including a vibrant visual arts program.
Nearby Brown County is where Bill Monroe, the recognized “father of Bluegrass music,” purchased a park and campground in 1951, holding the annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival and other music activities near Bean Blossom, Indiana each year since 1967.
A local musician, an international festival
By choosing the name “Lotus” for the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, its founders wished to honor both Indiana’s traditional heritage and the international scope of the music and musicians who come to perform. They chose to celebrate Indiana musician Quinten “Lotus” Dickey as a partial Festival namesake, alongside the symbolic Lotus, a flower with deep significance in many cultures and religions. They noted that the Lotus blooms all over the world, including in Indiana.
Lotus Dickey (1911-1989) was a gifted folk singer, songwriter, and musician from rural Orange County who wrote songs that continue to find an audience. A musician who played fiddle and guitar, Dickey wrote music that drew from his family and community, as well as from country singers and fiddlers he heard on the radio.
Each year, the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival honors both Lotus inspirations. Its identity evokes the flower and the international reach of traditional music. Lotus Dickey’s memory is recognized with a set of music, an interactive workshop, or a designated Lotus Dickey Artist to introduce new listeners to the old-time traditions of the United States.
The surrounding terrain
Bloomington is situated near many larger metropolitan areas, including Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Chicago. Other places in Indiana are also worthy day-trip destinations, including the nearby cities of Terre Haute, Columbus, and Nashville.
Exceptional state parks offer camping and hiking. The unglaciated terrain in Monroe County and the surrounding region offer many opportunities for recreation. Kayaking at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve, fossil-hunting along the shores of Lake Monroe, swimming in the IU Outdoor Pool, and biking the local backroads and bike paths are all activities that make life in Bloomington memorable, productive, and rejuvenating.
Never before have I been to a place where it was so easy to make friends. At the university, on the bus, in a store. Bloomingtonians are warm and welcoming, and that, above all, makes life livable in this town. Bloomington was chosen as one of the top ten college towns in the U.S. for its rich mixture of atmospherics and academia.Edward B. Fiske, former education editor of the New York Times