Exploring Bloomington Without a Car

Students walk on campus

I am a senior and have never had a car on campus at IU. That doesn’t mean I never took advantage of all Bloomington has to offer. It is possible to explore without having your car in Bloomington. Here are some cool places to explore that you don’t need your car to enjoy:

Downtown Bloomington/Kirkwood

Mid-day shot of sample gates

It is a nice walk or a short bus ride from most areas of campus. Whether you want to try out a new restaurant or go to any of the shops, the downtown area is always a good place to start exploring.

Griffy Lake

Day shot of a Griffy lake

You can walk, bike, or run to get to Griffy Lake, which is just a couple miles north of campus. You could also take a bus as far north as you can from campus to shorten your walk. I have walked all the way there from the central dorms my freshman year, so it is possible. Griffy is a great place to enjoy nature, without having to go too far away from campus.

Hoosier Half Marathon

This is a race in Bloomington that usually takes place in early April. While 13.1 miles of running is definitely a unique way to get around Bloomington, it makes for a fun accomplishment. The course takes you through campus, down some of the main roads and near the stadium, but also winds through neighborhoods and rolling hills throughout the rest of Bloomington, outside of campus.

Art Museum/Showalter Fountain

Color shot of Art museum

The Eskenazi Museum of Art and Showalter Fountain are great spots to head to in the evening. Both are centrally located. You have probably walked by both on the way to class or on your way to other areas of campus. Whether you want a dunk in the fountain or to hang out under the lights by the Art Museum, they are both something you should cross off your IU bucket list.

Farmers Market

Every Saturday from April to November, you can head to the farmers market near Seventh and Morton. It’s a great place to grab a little breakfast or a snack and get some fresh flowers or produce. It’s a fun way to explore the food and some art in Bloomington. And it is a nice walk through campus and downtown to get there!

Even if you don’t have your own car on campus, you might have access to one through a friend or club. This can be another way for you to get off the IU campus and into other parts of Bloomington. Here are some places to explore via car:

Lake Monroe

Lake Monroe is one of the biggest lakes nearby and is located south of Bloomington. It’s not too far away from the IU campus, but it’s a bit too long for a walk. It is a great place to hang out with friends and even hike around near the lake.

Fire Tower

Day shot of Fire tower

The Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower (a.k.a. the Fire Tower) is about a 25 minute drive from campus, but it is a really nice spot and popular among students at IU. At the top there is a beautiful view as the sun rises or throughout the day.

If you do not have a car on campus, don’t be discouraged. There are awesome places for you to go! Walking, running, biking, and carpooling with friends are all options. No matter what, make sure to get out there and check out everything IU and Bloomington have to offer.

Ellie Easton
Ellie Easton


I am Ellie Easton, a senior in the Kelley School of Business. I am learning my way through the business world, eating my way through Bloomington, and making sure I write about as many of my experiences as I can. My goals are to travel, be a successful businesswoman, blog, make delicious sushi, and give back in as many ways I can.

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