23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Bloomington (Illinois)

Looking for the best & fun things to do in Bloomington?

Located in the heart of Illinois, Bloomington is a city and the county seat of McLean County, United States.

With a total population of about 76,382 as of 2020, Bloomington is recognized as the 12th largest city in Illinois.

Bloomington is a beautiful tourist location that boasts lots of fun things to do and see with its many spectacular tourist attractions.

Some of the most popular attractions in Bloomington include McLean County Museum of History, Miller Park Zoo, Illinois State University, Normal Theater, Pepsi Ice Center, and Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Bloomington? Below is a perfect list that will help you out.

Things to Do in Bloomington

1. McLean County Museum of History

McLean County Museum of History
Credits: Randy von Liski / Flickr
McLean County Museum of History

Among the many cool places to visit in Bloomington, Illinois, the McLean County Museum of History is one worth adding to your checklist.

This spectacular history museum is housed by the old McLean County Courthouse built in the early 20th-century.

Among the features of the McLean County Museum of History include two rotating galleries and five permanent exhibits.

On the museum display are more than 20,000 historical items, including historical papers, rare books, and a vast collection of pictures.

The exhibits in the museum portray different times in McLean County’s history, including during the time of Abraham Lincoln.

Feel free to visit if you wish to know more about the American Renaissance-style building that houses the museum, as there is a detailed exhibit about the Old Courthouse itself.

Also, there is the Cruisin’ With Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center, located on the ground floor of the building, where visitors can learn about the historic highway which cuts across the city.

Open every day of the week, McLean County Museum of History offers free admission to its visitors every Tuesday.

A visit to this wonderful museum is one of the best fun things to do in Bloomington, Illinois, for history enthusiasts.

Address: 200 North Main Street, Bloomington, Illinois

2. Pheasant Lanes

pheasant lanes
Credits: Artbox / Shutterstock

If you are looking for fun things to do in Bloomington with the family, add a visit to pheasant lanes to your checklist.

Pheasant Lanes is a 32 lane bowling center that offers league bowling, open bowling, tournaments, corporate parties, and birthday parties.

Aside from bowling facilities, Pheasant Lanes has several other exciting amenities, including a large pub where visitors can enjoy a meal and take part in any of the special events happening in the area.

Added to that, Pheasant Lanes had a professionally designed 18 hole miniature golf course where individuals who enjoy golfing can have fun during spring, summer, and fall seasons.

Other features of Pheasant Lanes include two sand volleyball courts and a newly added beer garden that can be used all year round.

Pheasant Lanes is open for rentals for special events such as birthday parties, school outings, and more.

Visit Pheasant Lanes on Monday through Friday from 9am to 10pm, on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 12am, and on Sunday from 10am to 8pm.

Address: 804 N Hershey Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704, United States

3. Red Raccoon Games

red raccoon games
Credits: Diane C Macdonald / Shutterstock

Nestled in historic downtown Bloomington, Red Raccoon Games is one of the largest board game stores in Illinois.

Red Raccoon Games was first opened in 2007 with the name ‘Gryfalia’s Aerie,’, but in 2014, it was purchased by Jamie & Kelly Mathy, who changed the store’s name to Red Raccoon Games in July of 2015.

Since stores make was changed, the couple has put in significant efforts to promote the brand through community outreach and other means.

Red Raccoon Games has more than 1500 games available for visitors to enjoy, including board games, children’s games, miniatures games, role-playing games, and card games.

If you enjoy nonelectronic games, Red Raccoon Games is one of the best places to visit in Bloomington, Illinois.

With space capable of containing about 90 gamers at once, Red Raccoon Games is a popular gaming location frequented by gamers all over Illinois.

A visit to Red Raccoon Games is one of the most fun things to do in Bloomington with the family.

Address: 309 N Main St, Bloomington, IL 61701, United States

4. Constitution Trail

Constitution Trail
Credits: Mike Linksvayer / Flickr
Constitution Trail

The Constitution Trail is a multi-use rail trail that spans through the corridor of an abandoned Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, passing through the cities of Normal and Bloomington in McLean County, Illinois.

First opened on the 6th of May, 1989, the Constitution Trail is made up of over 45 miles of trail, which links to the historic Route 66 Trail right in McLean County.

The Constitution Trail is owned by the municipalities of Bloomington and Normal and is frequently used by many, including walkers, bikers, runners, inline skaters, and skiers.

The trial comprises about 32 trailheads on different areas of the twin cities of Bloomington and Normal and many attractions and historical sites that can be spotted while using the trail.

Among the many historical sites that can be found along the trail include the Camelback Bridge in Normal, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Some of the trail’s amenities include restrooms, benches, shelters/gazebos, water fountains, picnic tables, and trash receptacles.

5. Iron Coyote Challenge Park

Iron Coyote Challenge Park
Credits: Iron Coyote Challenge Park / Facebook
Iron Coyote Challenge Park

Are you in for an adventure? If yes, add a visit to Iron Coyote Challenge Park to your checklist of fun things to do in Bloomington, Illinois.

Iron Coyote Challenge Park is a spectacular tourist attraction in Bloomington, which spans about 20,000 sq/ft with different kinds of life thrilling adventures visitors can be indulge.

Among the adventures this challenge park has to offers include a high ropes course with over 35 elements, harnessed climbing walls, 4 ninja warrior-style obstacle courses, and a 60 ft. zip line.

Aside from adventures, Iron Coyote Challenge Park also has a full-service cafe where visitors can enjoy snacks, adult beverages, smoothies, and more while having a beautiful view of the area from the cafe’s observation mezzanine.

With something to offer individuals of all abilities and ages, including children, Iron Coyote Challenge Park is a place where fun meets fitness.

Additionally, Iron Coyote Challenge Park hosts a variety of special events, including team-building events, field trips, and fitness classes for both children and adults.

Iron Coyote Challenge Park also has several party rooms for hosting party parties and other private events.

The park is open on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 12pm to 6pm, on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 6pm, and closed on Sundays and Mondays.

A visit to Iron Coyote Challenge Park is one of the best fun things to do in Bloomington with the family as there something for everyone to enjoy.

Address: 4113 Oakland Ave, Bloomington, IL 61704, United States

6. Miller Park Zoo

Miller Park Zoo
Credits: Heather Paul / Flickr
Miller Park Zoo

If you are visiting Bloomington with kids, do add a visit to the Miller Park Zoo to your checklist list of things to do in Bloomington.

Located just close to the center of the city, the Zoo features a variety of animal species worth beholding.

Among the many animals featured in the zoo include rare red wolves, tortoises, pythons, cockatoos, harbor seals, and more.

While in the Zoo, visitors get an opportunity to feed animals upon admission. If you wish to know more about zoos and how they operate, feel free to join the special Junior Zookeeper program.

Miller Park Zoo also hosts overnight programs for groups of 15 and above, which creates a memorable epic experience.

The Miller Park Zoo has other notable features such as war memorials, mini-golf, and multiple walking trials, which cut across the area.

Visit the Miller Park Zoo any day of the week to have an experience of what it has to offer.

Address: 1020 South Morris Avenue, Bloomington, Illinois

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7. Bloomington Ice Center

Bloomington Ice Center
Credits: Bloomington Ice Center / Facebook
Bloomington Ice Center

For some sports time, add a visit to the Bloomington Ice Center to your checklist of things to do in Bloomington, Illinois.

The Bloomington Ice Center is an Ice rink that hosts sporting activities such as open skate, hockey, figure skating, broomball, and curling.

Although not affiliated with the Grossinger Motors Arena, Bloomington Ice Center is attached to the arena.

Home to the Bloomington Normal Sharks high school hockey program and the Bloomington Jr. Thunder Travel Hockey, the Bloomington Ice Center is primarily used for Hockey games.

The center serves as a hosting arena for several hockey leagues, including mini-mite and adult house leagues.

The center also provides an opportunity for visitors, be it adults or children of any skill level, who wish to learn or upgrade their skating skills through the skate lesson programs. Hockey lessons are also available.

The Bloomington Ice Center is open to the public during set open skate times, with an admission fee ranging from $6 per person or $4 per person for groups of 10 and above.

The center is also open for Birthday parties upon reservations.

Address: 201 S Roosevelt Ave, Bloomington, IL 61701, United States

8. David Davis Mansion State Historic Site

David Davis Mansion State Historic Site
Credits: Randy von Liski / Flickr
David Davis Mansion State Historic Site

Another notable historic building in Bloomington, IL, is the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, a three-story Victorian-style mansion built between 1870 and 1872.

David Davis Mansion State Historic Site was once home to a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, David Davis, who served as United States Senator and a Supreme Court Judge during his time.

David Davis was married to Sarah Davis, a prominent entity in the community at that time with a significant amount of influence with which she assisted in his political prowess.

David Davis Mansion State Historic Site is also called Clover Lawn, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The historic mansion is open to visitors every week, from Wednesday to Saturday.

The tours take participants through 35 different rooms featuring painstakingly preserved antiques and decorative art.

Visit the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site between 9am and 4pm if you wish to be part of a guided tour.

Another interesting feature of this site that makes it worth the visit is the beautifully preserved Sarah’s Garden surrounding the estate.

Additionally, the mansion serves as host to several special events throughout the year, including garden walks, antique auto shows, and holiday lights.

Do add a visit to the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site to your list of things to do in Bloomington, Illinois, for some historical time.

Address: 1000 Monroe Drive, Bloomington, Illinois

9. Evergreen Memorial Cemetery

Evergreen Memorial Cemetery
Credits: Ron Cogswell / Flickr
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery

Are you in search of a quiet and peaceful environment to relax while in Bloomington? If yes, add a visit to the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery to your checklist.

A natural place for locals and tourists to cool off, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery has an amazing landscape that is fun to explore.

The cemetery features century-old headstones, which give the area a feel of history alongside its natural plethora.

Evergreen Memorial cemetery serves as a resting ground for several notable figures and heroes of the community, and the Evergreen Cemetery Walk, which takes place every year, helps pay tribute to these figures.

During the Evergreen Cemetery Walk, there are a variety of costumed actors portraying characters of different individuals from the history of McLean County.

While in Bloomington, Illinois, do well to be part of the thousands of visitors who travel far and near to witness the Evergreen Cemetery Walk.

Address: 302 East Miller Street, Bloomington, Illinois.

10. Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
Credits: Randy von Liski / Flickr
Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts

If you are interested in performing arts, add a visit to Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts to your list of things to do in Bloomington, IL.

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) is a 1,200-seat auditorium that offers a wide range of entertainment to its visitors.

The center serves as a host to over 500 events throughout the year and provides an opportunity for local artists to display their talents.

Among the many entertainments that can be enjoyed while in the center include special holiday performances, Summer Solstice Concerts, and Broadway shows.

Added to that, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts also hosts a variety of educational-related arts programs, including seminars, lectures, and classes.

Feel free to visit the center if you are an aspiring thespians, as BCPA serves as a sponsor to the Miller Park Summer Theatre, which takes place annually.

Interested Thespians can also be part of the annual outdoor summer musical auditions, held in the center.

Address: 600 North East Street, Bloomington, Illinois

11. BEER NUTS

BEER NUTS
Credits: Buranto [CC BY-SA 1.0], Wikimedia Commons
BEER NUTS
To get some of the best nuts while in Bloomington, Illinois, add Beer Nuts to your checklist of places to visit in Bloomington.

Opened in the late 1930s, Beer Nuts is a family-owned and operated company that began as a small confectionery shop in Bloomington.

Over the years, their unique redskin nuts gradually grew in popularity and were in high demand by local liquor stores and bars.

Presently, Beer Nuts’ snacks are now sold all over the USA and also in several neighboring countries.

Though having the name “BEER” Nuts, the company nut’s nut snacks are alcohol-free and are suitable for individuals of all ages.

Some of the company’s snacks include glazed peanuts, chocolate-covered nuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, macadamias, and more.

Beer Nuts is open to visitors on Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm and closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Address: 103 N Robinson St Bloomington ​, IL United States

12. Prairie Vista Golf Course

If you take to golfing for a fun time, add a visit to the Prairie Vista Golf Course to your checklist of fun things to do in Bloomington, Illinois.

Prairie Vista Golf Course is an American Contemporary Style course that spans 6,745 yards from the Championship Tees and 5,224 yards from the Forward Tees.

This Roger Packard-designed Prairie Vista Golf Course was opened on the 17th of May 1991 by the City of Bloomington.

Prairie Vista Golf Course has hosted several exciting tournaments, including the NCAA Division I Women’s East Regional of 1997.

The golf course has also been the hosting grounds for the Class A Boys State Championship of the Illinois High School Association ever since 1993.

The Course features Bentgrass tees, fairways, and greens, making it a perfect place for any golf enthusiasts to play.

Other features of the course include an extensive practice chipping green, a large practice putting green, and a grass driving range.

Don’t be alarmed if you forget to come with your golfing gears as there is a full-line Golf Shop in the area which offers golf equipment and apparel at discount prices.

Address: 502 W Hamilton Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704, United States

13. Normal Theater

Normal Theater
Credits: artistmac / Flickr
Normal Theater

For some theatre time, add a visit to the Normal Theater to your checklist of things to do in Bloomington, IL.

Located opposite the Illinois State University, the Normal theatre is one of the top tourist attractions in Bloomington.

Normal theatre was first opened in the year 1937, and for many years, it excelled in popularity before falling into decline later on and was shut down.

Nevertheless, in 1994, the theatre was renovated and restored to be a modern theater that shows independent, classic, and foreign movies.

The theatre also serves as host to a variety of live performances, including concerts, comedy shows, special lecture series, and more.

Normal Theater also serves as one of the top hosting grounds for several events and neighborhood discussions.

A mixture of history and theatre, Normal theatre is definitely worth the visit while in the area.

Address: 209 West North Street, Normal, Illinois

14. Illinois State University

Illinois State University
Credits: Tomasz Szymanski / Shutterstock
Illinois State University

Located north of Bloomington, the Illinois State University is recognized as the oldest public university in Bloomington and the state of Illinois in general.

The Illinois State University was founded in the year 1857, and ever since, it has been a notable cultural element in the state of Illinois.

The university has a beautiful green space called The Quad, featuring multiple trees, sidewalks, and passerby students.

Though a university, the Illinois State University has an outstanding natural feel attributed to its many beautiful trees of different species.

One of the things visitors should anticipate while in the area is the Illinois State University Redbird sporting events, which have lots of fun to offer.

The university also serves as host to several other fun-filled events and festivals throughout the year.

Just adjacent to the campus is The University Galleries, which displays contemporary art, and the Gamma Phi Circus, known to be the oldest collegiate circus in the USA.

The university streets feature different kinds of fun-filled venues, including yoga studios, record shops, and an indie-movie center called The Normal Theater.

Visiting the Illinois State University is one of the best things to do in Bloomington for a fun time.

15. Prairie Aviation Museum

Prairie Aviation Museum
Credits: Eric Friedebach / Flickr
Prairie Aviation Museum

Prairie Aviation Museum is an aircraft-related museum located close to the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Illinois.

The museum focuses on displaying a variety of restored civilian and military aircraft as well as other informative exhibits.

An amazing place to visit for aircraft enthusiasts, the museum showcases a wide range of air and space history through its many interactive exhibits, including pilot simulators.

On arrival, visitors can see most of the featured exhibits outside on display.

Among the vehicles, Visitors are free to tour while in Prairie Aviation Museum which features eight spectacular aircraft and three helicopters.

Visitors are also allowed to have a tour of restored military vehicles during events like the “Open Cockpit Days,” some of which includes an attack helicopter, a twin-engine Cessna, and jet fighters during special events

Prairie Aviation Museum is closed from January through February, and opening hours vary during the rest of the year.

Address: 2929 East Empire Street, Bloomington, Illinois

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16. Grossinger Motors Arena

Grossinger Motors Arena
Credits: Wahkeenah [CC BY-SA 1.0], Wikimedia Commons
Grossinger Motors Arena
Officially opened on the 1st of April 2006, the Grossinger Motors Arena is one of the top event attractions in Illinois that you should consider adding to your checklist of things to do in Bloomington.

Having hosted over 3,000,000 people since its inception, the Grossinger Motors Arena is a popular event space which features event such as concerts, ice shows, motorsports, family shows, trade shows and more.

The Grossinger Motors Arena has also served as a hosting ground for several high graduation ceremonies, Illinois High School Association’s regional and state tournaments, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals caravans, and many wedding receptions as well as private meeting.

The arena has 24 luxury suites, two party suites, 800 club seats, a seating capacity of 5,500 for hockey and indoor football games, and a capacity of 8,000 for concerts.

Additionally, the arena has a standard basketball ball floor for basketball games.

Grossinger Motors Arena shares the same building as the Pepsi Ice Center, so feel free to quickly stop by this arena after checking out the ice rink.

Address: 101 S Madison St, Bloomington, IL 61701, United States

17. Altitude Trampoline Park Bloomington

One of the best fun things to do in Bloomington, IL, with the family is visiting the Altitude Trampoline Park Bloomington.

Altitude Trampoline Park is a fun-filled park spanning over 23,000 square feet, which provides a safe and clean environment where people can have fun.

The park features several fun amenities and facilities designed for visitors to have ultimate fun.

Among the many features of this Park include a Main Court, Kids Court, Wipeout, Battle Beam, Tumble Tracks, and Trapeze Bar.

With something for the entire family to enjoy, Altitude Trampoline Park is one of the best family tourist attractions in Bloomington.

Other park features include Log Roll, Extreme Dodgeball, Trampoline Basketball, Monkey Bars, and Foam Pit.

Altitude Trampoline Park Bloomington is also open for rentals for birthday parties and other private or group events.

Open every day of the week, Altitude Trampoline Park is worth visiting if you wish to have some family time.

 

Address: 1702 General Electric Rd, Bloomington, IL 61704, United States

18. The Castle Theatre

The Castle Theatre
Credits: Onasill ~ Bill / Flickr
The Castle Theatre

For theatre lovers, The Castle Theatre is definitely worth adding to your checklist of places to visit in Bloomington, Illinois.

The Castle Theatre is an old renovated performance center located in downtown Bloomington.

Established in 1916, the Castle Theatre was initially a top-notch movie palace for many years before being abandoned.

However, in 2003 the building was renovated and beautifully restored to be a modern theatre.

Currently, the theatre is frequented by talented artists who perform different kinds of music genres ranging from indie to country and more.

Also, there are several other non-musical performances that take place in the theatre, such as stand-up comedy, storytelling, and benefit concerts.

Address: 209 East Washington Street, Bloomington, Illinois

19. Illinois Shakespeare Festival

Illinois Shakespeare Festival
Credits: eissfeldtk / Pixabay
Illinois Shakespeare Festival

The Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF) is a fun-filled theatre festival that started in 1978 and has been hosted annually ever since.

Celebrating its 43rd season in the summer of 2021, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival is held at the Ewing Theatre in Bloomington, IL, and at the Center for Performing Arts Theatre in Illinois State University in the city of Normal.

Illinois Shakespeare Festival is produced by the College of Fine Arts and the School of Theatre and Dance at Illinois State University.

The festival presents free pre-show entertainment which features live jazz, a short version of the play to come, and other exciting performances.

During the festival period, the Ewing Grounds is used for picnicking by the audience.

Illinois Shakespeare Festival runs from June to the middle of August annually. Do visit Bloomington during this period if you wish to be part of the fun this festival has to offer.

20. Ewing Manor Cultural Center

Ewing Manor Cultural Center
Credits: ParentingPatch [CC BY-SA 3.0], Wikimedia Commons
Ewing Manor Cultural Center
Located northeast is downtown Bloomington, Ewing Manor Cultural Center is a 6.5-acre estate that features beautifully landscaped gardens, an open theatre, and a historic manor.

In particular, the Ewing Manor is a Channel-Norman mansion built in 1929, which provides a beautiful and picture-friendly space where large events and special gatherings are hosted.

Featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, the center also has several open-to-the-public plaza areas where visitors can chill and have fun.

The open theatre also featured in the area is a favored performance venue in Bloomington capable of comfortably accommodating about 430 visitors at a time.

Also, the open-air theatre stage serves as the hosting ground for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, which takes place every year.

Feel free to add a visit to Ewing Manor Cultural Center to your checklist of things to do in Bloomington for a fun time.

Address: 48 Sunset Road, Bloomington, Illinois

21. Bloomington Farmers’ Market

Bloomington Farmers Market
Credits: Eric Bartholomew / Flickr
Bloomington Farmers’ Market

If you are in Bloomington between May and October, a visit to the Bloomington Farmers’ Market should be left out in your checklist of things to do.

A mixture of shopping and entertainment, the Bloomington Farmers’ Market farmers market holds every Saturday between May and October at the historic Museum Square.

Bloomington Farmers’ Market offers a variety of locally grown farm produce alongside live entertainment such as music and more.

Among the many items found in the farmers market includes fruits and vegetables, different types of flowers, plants, poultry and beef, baked goods, and lots more.

Fresh locally made food can also be found in the farmer’s market at Museum Square.

Bloomington Farmers’ Market is one of the best places in Bloomington to get fresh farm produce while in the area.

Address: 401 North Morton Street, Bloomington, Illinois

22. Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service

Sprague's Super Service Station
Credits: Steve Walser / Flickr
Sprague’s Super Service Station

Once a rest area, Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service is a gift shop and information center which commemorates the Historic Route 66, which cuts across the region.

Ryburn Place is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as it was first opened in the year 1931 as a gas station, garage, cafe, and rest stop for individuals traveling through Route 66.

This Tudor-Revival building now serves as a city-owned landmark alongside the pumps and gas sign that can be found within the area.

A variety of interpretive information and significant memorabilia relating to the Mother Road of the U.S. Highway System can also be found in Ryburn Place.

Ryburn Place at Sprague’s Super Service is open for visitors on Wednesday through Saturday.

Try stopping by this roadside attraction if you are in Bloomington during the opening days.

Address: 305 Pine Street, Normal, Illinois

23. Merlot and A Masterpiece

Merlot and a Masterpiece
Credits: Merlot and a Masterpiece / Facebook
Merlot and a Masterpiece

Do you want to be creative? If yes, add a visit to the Merlot and A Masterpiece to your checklist of fun things to do in Bloomington, Illinois.

Located in the heart of downtown Bloomington, the Merlot and A Masterpiece was established in June 2010.

Merlot and A Masterpiece provides an opportunity for visitors to explore their artistic talents through a step-by-step painting class carried out in a fun and creative environment.

This one-of-a-kind venture helps you have fun alongside imagining and bringing the best artistry out of you.

Feel free to come along with any drink of your choice, be it alcoholic or non, and any snack or food of your choice.

Merlot and A Masterpiece provides amenities needed for your wines and snacks such as wine openers, glasses, ice, plates, and silverware.

Merlot and A Masterpiece is also open for rentals for private events such as birthday parties, date nights, bachelorette parties, girls’ night out, and more.

Address: 412 N Main St, Bloomington, IL 61701, United States

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Plan a Trip to Bloomington

Bloomington is an amazing tourist destination filled with lots of fun things to do and see.

The city features many impressive attractions that will interest any tourists ranging from museums to art centers, theatres, game centers, fun parks, historic buildings, and lots more.

Start planning your trip today, feel free to pin this article as a guide to easily fall back to as you make your checklist of things to do in Bloomington IL.