Life in Bloomington

This is the college town of your dreams

You have probably heard people refer to Bloomington as a “college town,” but what does that mean for its graduate students?

Just outside the Sample Gates, you will find streets lined with restaurants and coffee shops, trails for hiking and biking, and a surprising number of lakes, parks, museums, and venues.

Take the time to explore what is available to you, and enjoy life in Bloomington while you attend the IU School of Optometry.

Safe, affordable, and convenient

Bloomington offers all the activities and conveniences of a major metropolitan area—including excellent public transportation—with the affordable housing and safety of a small town.

But if you sometimes require a big city, Bloomington is just one hour’s drive from Indianapolis and the Indianapolis International Airport, two hours to Louisville, three to Cincinnati, and four to Chicago and St. Louis.

Bloomington has the soul of a big city, but the heart of a much smaller town.

Travel + Leisure magazine
A band with a tuba, accordion, drum, and other instruments play on a brightly lit stage at the Lotus Festival.

Arts and culture

Bloomington hosts world-class concerts, Broadway musicals, and more than 30 festivals each year, including the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, which attracts more than 12,000 people to downtown Bloomington for five days of music and art from around the world.

Explore Bloomington arts and culture
A couple hikes on an outdoor trail in Bloomington, surrounded by tall trees and grasses.

The greatest outdoors

Home to the state’s only national forest, largest inland lake, and a variety of city and county parks, Bloomington offers dozens of opportunities to get out and enjoy its fresh air and natural beauty. Whether your sport is boating or hiking, riding a bike or riding a horse, you’ll have thousands of acres of land and water to explore.

Explore nature activities in Bloomington
Four female vocalists perform on a warmly lit stage.

A nightlife for anyone

Bloomington truly comes alive at night. The city is home to a wide range of music venues with shows every night of the week, a half-dozen local breweries, and one of the most respected comedy clubs in the country.

Explore Bloomington nightlife

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