First things first: if you’ve never visited Bloomington, you need to go. Now.
Now that you’ve been there, you can see how it’s nearly impossible to wander the downtown square, sample craft beers with friendly locals and explore the gorgeous Indiana University campus without thinking, “Man, this would be a great place to live.”
We couldn’t agree more. Bloomington earned a spot in the top 20 thanks to high scores in the categories of health (top-notch medical care and miles of easily accessible trails make it easy for residents to stay healthy and active), as well as housing (prices are rising but there are still affordable options to be had) and, of course, amenities (the list of things to do in Bloomington is endless, but here are six of our favorites).
Local Obsession: 1. IU Hoosiers 2. Pizza (in that particular order)
Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Four distinct seasons; all are beautiful.
Top Employers: Indiana University, Cook Medical (medical device manufacturing) and Crane Naval Warfare Surface Center (located in an adjacent county but a big local employer) are the top employers in the area.
Local Dream Job: It’s tough not to be jealous of the couple who own Le Petit Cafe, a charming French restaurant located on the B-Line Trail, selling homemade crepes and quiches out of their trail-facing window on Saturday mornings during the Farmers' Market season.
Quintessential Meal: We can’t choose just one, so here are three:
1. Stromboli and a pound of beer from Nick's English Hut
2. Breaded tenderloin sandwich from Office Lounge
3. Bison burger with blue flame sauce and a Dragonfly IPA from Upland Brewing Co.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Attending the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market. Getting a coffee and a breakfast treat from one of the food vendors then walking around, shopping for produce, buying a bouquet of fresh flowers, listening to buskers and people-watching makes for a perfect Bloomington weekend.
After-Work Meetup Spot: Crazy Horse
Best Brewery/Local Beer: Upland Brewing Company and their Wheat or Dragonfly IPA.
Beloved Bookstore: Book Corner
Best Music/Vinyl Store: Landlocked Music
Truly Hidden Gem: The 360-degree views of the Hoosier National Forest from the top of the Hickory Ridge Fire Tower in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. It's 168 stairs to the top, but absolutely worth the climb.
- Winona Dimeo-Ediger & Erin White