Life in Bloomington

Heart of a city & soul of a small town

Bloomington may seem like an unlikely place to find a vibrant art scene, diverse community, and scenic natural beauty. But it’s all here—the attractions of a city and tight-knit community of a Midwest town.

Music festivals and broadway shows. Pizza by the slice and international cuisine. Gallery walks and nature trails. There’s always something to do, see, and try.

And the best part: everything is just a walk or bike ride away.

I chose IU mostly because of Bloomington. I realized I didn’t need a big city to create art. It's the community here that makes the experience different.

Matthew Batty, M.F.A. in printmaking

Art & community

You’ll find art all over Bloomington—from exhibits and collections to street murals and sculptures. Bloomington hosts events throughout the year that make art accessible and prominent in the community. Below are some of the standouts.

Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, an annual celebration of international music and art, transforms downtown Bloomington into a global stage. From Swedish hip-hop to Bhangra Celtic fusion, artists from all over the world come for the three-day event.

Join Gallery Walk the first Friday of each month for a free tour of nine galleries displaying artwork by local and visiting artists—including IU students and faculty. Among the favorite stops are Pictura Gallery and Blueline Gallery.

PRIDE Film Festival showcases films by queer filmmakers and explores issues concerning the LGBTQA community. The annual three-day festival in January brings together audiences for a range of work by local and visiting filmmakers. And you don't want to miss PRIDE Summerfest in August.

See the complete Bloomington events calendar