9 best things about Bloomington/Normal

With summer rapidly approaching, many students are looking forward to a summer spent in places, well, other than the cornfields of Bloomington/Normal. While true, Bloomington/Normal doesn’t offer the same landscapes and activities that destination spots across the country might, there are plenty of unique features that make it a fantastic place to live. Unpopular opinion: Bloomington/Normal is pretty great.

  1. Pretty sunsets. Need I say more?
  2. We have three–count ‘em three–big cities within easy driving distance. Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis are all less than three hours away. You can’t beat that kind of accessibility.
  3. Is a list about Bloomington/Normal complete without mentioning the massive amount of restaurants we have? Plus, a plethora of chains mostly based in more suburban areas have been migrating down to Blo/No; I’m lookin’ at you Portillos, Oberweis, Chick-fil-a, and Pancake House. Us small town folk appreciate your presence.
  4. Okay, this one is pretty underrated: the Constitution Trail. With over 24 miles, it offers a nice place to run, bike, and walk wherever you are in town without having to deal with skinny sidewalks or wild drivers.
  5. Downtown and Uptown: Between the art galleries, coffee shops and boutiques, they’re the perfect place to hang out with friends on a summer afternoon. Not to mention the cool murals!
  6. Speaking of summer afternoons, Blo/No has a lot of sports teams. Who hasn’t spent at least one summer evening at the Cornbelter’s stadium, watching our minor league baseball team? We also have all of Illinois State University’s teams for all the other seasons. Between Redbird basketball, football and even gymnastics, there’s plenty of sporting events to keep us occupied.
  7. Just hear me out on this one: the cornfields. They’re pretty. If you haven’t done it before, just go driving in the late summer when it’s warm, the sun is just beginning to set, and the fields are full of crops. There’s just something about the corn (or soybeans), the giant windmills and the huge sky.
  8. Blo/No is the perfect size. It’s not as small as Downs, but it’s not as big as the suburbs. As a former suburb-dweller, I can attest to the positives of living in a smaller town. There is a sense of community here that just isn’t present when you live amidst hundreds of thousands of people. As a bonus, less people means way less traffic. If you think Veteran’s Parkway is bad at rush hour, you clearly haven’t tried driving on Chicago highways.
  9. Even if you don’t agree with anything I just said, you’ve gotta admit this: If you lived somewhere more “exciting,” beaches and mountains and lakes and big cities just wouldn’t be as cool. Living in the middle of nowhere gives us Blo/No residents extra appreciation and awe for “cooler” places. Even so, there’s nothing like seeing the cornfields after a week on vacation: they’re a symbol of home.