Bloomington, Indiana




Sunny Days: 184
44100 Affordability
95100 Schools
38100 Diversity
75100 Safety

I don't know what it is about Hoosiers. But wherever you go there is always a Hoosier doing something very important there.

  • Kurt Vonnegut

The Best Thing About Bloomington?

Small Town College Life

College towns dominated by student populations and their schools have a number of common characteristics that are ideal for the right kind of person(often a family). The towns are typically beautiful(great architecture), have big sports energy during the school year, dynamic cafe/bar/restaurant scenes, outsized cultural offerings via school programs, and often have great public school systems that the education culture drives. Bloomington has all of this and so families tend to love it.

A note from a graduate student about living in Bloomington:
What I like/admire about Bloomington:
- It is a small, hip college town. I'll admit, it is a pretty cool town to go to college since it caters to the students and social life revolves around the university.
- It is unique compared to other cities in the region and state. I've been through other small towns in Indiana by bus and Bloomington certainly stands out remarkably.

The Worst Thing About Bloomington?

It’s pretty quiet

While there is stuff to do in Bloomington it is remote, small and if you're not into the campus life it can get very quiet. A lot of professors commute from outside the city or even Indianapolis(a little over an hour) so they get a bigger social/cultural scene at home. If you don’t want a nightlife built for college kids you’re going to find it snoozy. For families it works great. For young professionals ready to move past the college pub scene it may not be your best choice.

Comment from local on living in Bloomington in 20's/30's: There's a gap in the late 20s/30s age range in Bloomington. There's families of people who work here, students, and not much else. Pay is low, living expenses are high, and there isn't a whole lot of reason for graduates to stick around unless they're already doing the family thing. Most grown-up, non-student places you go to work, you'll be on the very young side.

Lifestyle of Bloomington

Bloomington is generally considered a cool, liberal town. There are pretty diverse eats here that serve the college kids all sorts of pretty cheap interesting fare. As noted there are some cultural opportunities with downtown housing theaters, live music, and other performing arts. Those are also available to locals at I.U. The town though is pretty divided between those at school and families who take advantage of the relatively affordable real estate, great family amenities and excellent public schools. This is Main Street America, in a more rural sense in all its glory and so expect that kind of lifestyle.

Worklife of Bloomington

Move to Bloomington if you have a job at IU or you’re going to work remotely. You can commute to Indianapolis where the job market is significantly better but it’s a long one and far better to live in Indy if you work there. The school hasn’t driven much local startup industry so unlike other college towns that have tech incubators or venture opportunities that’s not really happening here.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Pound for Pound a Great Option

If you can work remote and have a family Bloomington is an ideal place to live. Assuming of course you don’t feel the need to live in a big metropolis, or live within a very short driving distance from one. Bloomington, like many college towns, is a bit pricier than other towns its size in the area but is far far cheaper than bigger city options that aren’t as cool or have as good a school system.

Neighborhoods in Bloomington

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Downtown/Old Northeast

Young Professionals/Students

Downtown is the most obvious choice for Young Professionals. The city has done a fair bit of development in the area and there are plenty of bars, restaurants and galleries all within walking distance of the apartment/condo options in the new and converted buildings.

Plenty of students live in Old Northeast Downtown, which is the part of downtown closest to campus. Also check out Garden Hill and Maple Heights. They're a shorter walk to campus, tons of rental apartment buildings and just a hop to nightlife.

  • Downtown / Old Northeast Downtown
  • Maple Heights
  • Garden Hill

Bryan Park


Bryan Park is a nice neighborhood about 10 blocks from downtown. Plenty of newer and historic homes, a great park, elementary and high school all within walking distance and a very active neighborhood association creating family activities year round.

If you’re hankering for something a bit fancier check out the areas west and east of College Mall and around the country club. Bigger homes and yards and also excellent schools.

Finally if a historic district is more your thing then look at Elm Heights. Beautiful older homes, and stunning streets just south of campus. Great public schools (as is often the case near a campus) and great open spaces both on and off-campus to run and bike and hike.

  • Bryan Park
  • College Mall
  • Elm Heights