Action Research Center

Live Like A Local

We asked locals, "What should every IWU student see and do in Bloomington-Normal before they graduate?" Below you'll find crowd-sourced favorites for entertainment, food, and recreation throughout town.  

 

On Campus

Food & Drink

Pizza & Wings

Coffee & Tea

Sweets & Treats

Fun & Games

Out & About

History & Education

Local Food

Music & the Arts

Cool Shopping

Summer Events

 

On Campus

IWU Theatre Department - See a show.

IWU Athletics - Cheer on the Titans.

John Wesley Powell Conference - Explore the research projects.

IWU Art Gallery - See an art exhibit.

IWU Multifaith Meditation Room - Take time for reflection.

 

Food & Drink

Thai House - Delicious curry and pho (plus much more).

Puran Indian - Check out the lunch buffet.

The Rock Restaurant - A great place for gyros, baklava, & falafel.

Taqueria El Porton - Authentic Mexican food just a couple blocks from campus.

Anju Above - Japanese-American fusion served tapas style and sourced largely from McLean County farms.

 

Pizza & Wings

Flinger's Pizza Pub - Locally known for their unique pizza creations (try a Flinger Roll!) and wide selection of craft beers.

Mugsy's - The spicy barbecue wings are an alum favorite.

Tobin's - Try the Micheleo's thin crust or the thick and buttery Mama Teresa's pan pizza.

Schooner's - This greasy spoon is locally famous for their Po' Boy sandwiches.

Lucca Grill - A Downtown Bloomington staple since 1936! Considered by many to be the best thin crust pizza in town.

 

Coffee & Tea

Coffee Hound - Homegrown coffee shop made for the caffeine connoisseur. All beans are roasted in-house.

Fusion Brew - If you've never tried bubble tea, this is the place to go.

Coffee House - A staple of Uptown Normal and home to a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian breakfast and brunch items.

 

Sweets & Treats

Carl's Ice Cream

Gene's Dairy Delight

Kelly's Bakery & Cafe - In addition to a fully stocked bakery case, Kelly's offers delicious deli stye soups, sandwiches and quiche.

Grove Street Bakery - Be sure to try the giant sugar cookies.

 

Fun & Games

Red Raccoon Games - Home to card and board games galore, plus in-store game nights.

Marcus (Wherenberg) Cinema + IMAX - Catch a show and enjoy the giant dream lounger chairs.

Skate 'n' Place - Enjoy old school fun on a pair of skates or roller blades.

Pheasant Lanes Family Fun Center - Bowling and sand volleyball leagues, plus mini golf.

 

Out & About

Uptown Circle - Enjoy the beautiful water feature and grassy hill in spring, summer and fall. Free live music in the evenings throughout the season.

Constitution Trail - 10+ miles of paved bike and walking paths.

Upper Limits - Scale impressive 65 foot indoor walls, and a gargantuan 110 foot outdoor wall.

Comlara Park - Swimming, boating, camping, and hiking just 30 minutes north of Bloomington.

 

Beyond Bloomington

Starved Rock State Park - Hiking and camping along the scenic Illinois River. Just a 1 hour drive north on I-39.

Arcadia: Playable Arcade Museum - Located in McLean, IL, just 25 minutes south of Bloomington.

Moraine View Restaurant & Kayak Center - A short 30 minute drive from Bloomington.

 

History & Education

McLean County Museum of History - Students get in FREE every Tuesday, just present your IWU ID card.

Miller Park Zoo - Who knew you could find flamingos in Bloomington?

Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center

 

Local Food

Downtown Bloomington Farmer's Market - Every Saturday May-October from 7:30am to 12:00pm.

Green Top Grocery Co-op - A community-owned and led grocery co-operative focusing on local produce and products.

Common Ground Natural Foods

 

Music & the Arts

The Castle Theater - A staple of the Central IL music scene that offers a diverse array of live music all year long. 

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts - Musicals, plays, orchestras, comedians, and much more.

Normal Theater - Your local movie lover's haven. Featuring limited release films, seasonal favorites, cult classics, and special events.

McLean County Arts Center - Visit the galleries and sign up for a community art class. 

 

Cool Shopping

Retrofit Culture - A collection of unique, vintage and hand made clothes, bath & body products, cards, furniture pieces and more.

Waiting Room Records - Offering a wide array of vinyl records, CDs, cassette tapes, and turn tables.

Crossroads Handcrafts of the World - Offering unique and beautiful gifts and crafts sourced via fair trade from around the globe.

Bobzbay - Loaded with used books, CDs, movies and games.

 

Summer Events

Illinois Shakespeare Festival - Enjoy this nationally ranked Shakespeare festival on the beautiful grounds of Ewing Manor. 

Sugar Creek Arts Festival - Every July in Uptown Normal.

GLT Summer Concert - Free and open to the public every June.

Sweet Corn & Blues Festival