Staying in Bloomington

Housing for the Institute
Some rooms have been reserved for participants at the Willkie Quadrangle Residence Hall on the east side of campus. About a ten-minute walk from the center of campus and our meeting place at the SSRC, Willkie is ideally placed for length of the seminar. For those who don’t want to walk or need to get further away, campus bus line E stops in front of Willkie and will take residents to the IMU and SSRC. For those who will have a car, there is parking at Willkie, and a permit is included in the regular rate.

The rates for summer 2017 are $30.70 (+12% tax) per night. Rooms are furnished, single-room, dorm-style suites with a twin bed and two separate rooms sharing a bathroom in between them. Two towels, two sheets, a pillow, pillowcase, and blanket are provided. Residents will have to bring their own toiletries and other essentials. Residents will have high-speed internet and wi-fi access. There are also computers, laundry facilities, and a convenience store on-site for residents.

Participants may want to consider staying at the Summerhouse instead, a furnished short-term rental facility located a few miles Southeast from campus, closer to the College Mall area.  One-bedroom apartments at the Summerhouse are fully furnished and equipped with all housewares and kitchen essentials; cable and wireless access are also included. The rates are $79 per day + tax.

The Summerhouse is located close to Bus Route 6. Please check the summer bus schedules to make sure you have the most accurate information.

Living in Bloomington
Bloomington is a charming college town nestled in the picturesque hills of Southern Indiana. It is located about an hour south of Indianapolis and two hours north of Louisville, Kentucky. Campus is immediately adjacent to downtown, as the image below, taken looking west down Kirkwood Avenue from the Sample Gates, illustrates. Although it does draw a lot of energy from IU and its students, the city of Bloomington stands by itself as one of the nicest and most vibrant small cities in Indiana, and maybe all of the Mid-West. This is most evident during the summer, when prices and traffic fall as the temperature rises and many students leave.

How to get to Bloomington
Indianapolis International Airport is small and very easy to get into and out of. It is on the southwest side of the city, which is more convenient for those traveling to IU as Bloomington is South of Indianapolis (about 45 miles from the airport). While participants can always rent a car at the airport, there are two shuttle services, GO Express Travel and Star of America, which run every few hours between Bloomington and the airport for reasonable prices (usually about $20 one way).

Greyhound operates bus services to Bloomington, meaning that with a few transfers, you can get to it from most anywhere without having to fly. The most common (and reasonably-priced routes) are from places like Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Columbus (OH), Nashville (TN), etc. One-way tickets from such locations usually cost $30-50 and run daily. There are of course many options from even further away.

Getting around town
By bus
Participants who are able to drive to Bloomington will obviously have their car on hand and will have the easiest time getting around. But thanks to Bloomington’s award-winning Transit service, which will be free for all participants, those who don’t have access to a car should not have much difficulty getting around either. Most will use the four Campus Bus routes, but there are many other bus lines that go all around the area.

Schedules have not yet been posted for the summer, but three of the four Campus Bus lines (A, E, X) stop at the IMU in the center of campus, meaning they are also just a minute walk from the SSRC (where the seminar will meet) and the Rec Center. Route E will be the most important for participants as it stops right in front of the Willkie residence hall and loops around campus.

Other Bloomington Transit routes will take participants to places like the College Mall shopping area on the Southeast side of town (routes 3, 8, and 9), Walmart on the West side (routes 3 and 4), and many areas in between. Participants will have to pay fares to ride the non-campus bus lines, but they are reasonably priced ($1 for a one-way trip, $30 for a monthly pass). Tickets can be purchased at the Transit Center at 3rd & Walnut downtown.

By bicycle
Bloomington is widely considered to be one of the best cities for cycling in the Mid-West. This vibrant culture is epitomized by the Little 500 bike race that takes place every year on the third weekend in April. Made famous by the 1979 movie Breaking Away, which was filmed in Bloomington, over 20,000 fans fill IU’s Bill Armstrong Stadium every year to watch the largest collegiate bike in the country.

While participants will not be in town for “Little 5” itself, there are few cities better suited for cycling fans, and few with so many bike shops and clubs in a small area.

Like most cities of its size, Bloomington is well-served by big retailers, most of which tend to cluster on the southeast side of town in College Mall and the surrounding area. Residents can get to the area from campus on the route 3 bus.

Downtown Bloomington is home to more independent retailers and second-hand shops, with some national brand names thrown in as well, including:

J.L. Waters Adventure Outfitters
Landlocked Music               
Vintage Phoenix Comics    
Andrew Davis Clothiers      

Dining and Nightlife
Unlike the rest of Indiana, Bloomington actually offers a fairly diverse array of dining options. Some highlights include:
Mother Bear’s Pizza                            
Uptown Cafe (Cajun/Creole)              
Malibu Grill (American)                     
The Owlery (Vegan/Vegetarian)        
My Thai Cafe                                       
Anyetsang’s Little Tibet                      
The Runcible Spoon (breakfast)        

Bloomington is also known for its craft beer, with at least 5 different microbreweries (and a distillery):
Upland Brewing Co.                           
Bloomington Brewing Company      
Quaff On!/Big Woods Brewing Company
Function Brewing Company             
The Tap Craft Beer Bar                       
Cardinal Spirits                                   

The Taxman Brewing Company in Bargersville, IN, as well as some others in Indianapolis, are also all only about an hour away.