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We want to take you behind the scenes, to give you insider information you won't find anywhere else. This is where we pull Bloomington's hip happenings together with recommendations from our team, first-hand accounts from project producers, and guest blogs by local gurus.  The Backstage Blog helps you stay in front of it all.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Bloomington's Best Picnic Spots

Categories: Outdoors, Wine & Culinary

Whether you're planning a romantic date, exploring B-Town with your kids, or you simply want to enjoy a meal under the sun, Bloomington offers a few top-notch picnic spots. Grab some blankets, pack your basket, and head to one of these perfect locations for a 10/10 B-Town picnic experience.
 

The Cutouts

The Cutouts at Monroe Lake
Photo by Anamitraa Chakraborty

The Cutouts, located near the Spillway on Monroe Lake, is one of Bloomington's finest hidden gems. Unless you know about the wide open field between two limestone rock walls (hence, "The Cutouts"), you may only stumble across it by happenstance as you drive around the lake. The unique spot's abundance of land is perfect for a lakeside picnic — pack your fishing poles, a football or frisbee, and a yoga mat to make an entire day out of your picnic trip.
 

Dunn Meadow

Dunn Meadow during fall

Dunn Meadow is a gorgeous expanse of land situated in front of the Indiana Memorial Union on the Indiana University campus. The charming Campus River flows through the meadow, which is also surrounded by towering trees and historic buildings. It's an extremely peaceful area during summer, but its beauty is unparalleled during fall. Dunn Meadow's lush landscaping makes it one of Bloomington's top places for a picnic, perfect for a romantic date or for IU alumni to spend some time at their old stomping grounds with their kids.
 

Indiana University Cox Arboretum

IU Arboretum at sunset
Photo by Aehong Min

IU has no shortage of picture-perfect picnic spots, but the Cox Arboretum is another stand-out location. Landscaped with Indiana-native trees, a picturesque pond, plant life from around the globe, and the new Metz Carillon Tower, the arboretum is a stunningly tranquil area to enjoy your basket meal during spring, summer, and fall. We suggest laying down your blanket and picnic spread near the pond for a whimsical ambiance and a bit of distance from sidewalk traffic.
 

Karst Farm Park

Greenway and grassy areas at Karst Farm Park

Karst Farm Park is a 120-acre park on the west side of Bloomington near the Monroe County Fairgrounds. The expansive park offers an abundance of open grassy areas, as well as eight picnic shelters, giving visitors a plethora of options as far as picnicking goes. For those with kids, Karst Farm Park is one of the best picnic destinations due to its four playgrounds and splash pad. Those who live an active life will also enjoy the park's disc golf course, horseshoe pits, soccer & lacrosse fields, and basketball, volleyball, pickleball, shuffleboard, and tennis courts.

 

Oliver Winery

Glass of white wine sitting on a table outdoors at the Oliver Winery in Bloomington, IN

Oliver Winery is one of the nation's most renowned wineries, and its grounds are just as incredible as its wine. With beautiful landscaping, a sweeping patio, and a pond nestled in the valley of their wooded grounds, Oliver's whimsical secret-garden ambiance is perfect for a picnic. Gather the girls for a wine and charcuterie date, or plan a romantic getaway to the winery with your significant other. Oliver Winery is also a kid- and dog-friendly destination, so don't hesitate to bring the whole family!
 

Switchyard Park

Bosque area at Switchyard Park

Comprised of nearly 58 acres in downtown Bloomington, Switchyard Park offers a few picnic options. Pack a blanket and enjoy your meal in any of the park's grassy areas, set up at the picnic shelter, or eat on the bosque that offers bistro tables and chairs. Much like Karst Farm Park, Switchyard Park is another great picnic destination for families due to its additional kid-friendly amenities, including a large playground and splash pad.
 

Looking for more to do outdoors in Bloomington? Check out these blogs:
Alyssa Davis

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is the Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington. She's a proud Indiana University alumna, mom to four cats, and Formula 1 enthusiast. When she isn't at work, you can find Alyssa checking out the newest restaurants in the area with her husband, curled up at home with a great book, or planning her next trip to a destination near or far.

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