Head Backstage to be in the know. 

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.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Bloomington's Most Instagrammable Places

Categories: General

The quest for a perfect photo to post on Instagram is truly an art. In Bloomington, we're lucky to be surrounded by a variety of photogenic spaces that keep both locals and visitors exploring, seeking inspiration through the lens. If you're on the hunt for some aesthetically-pleasing B-Town shots for the 'Gram, scroll on.

Oh, and don't forget to follow us for even more Bloomington IG content!


Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula

The Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula is Bloomington's most unique trail — it's a mile-long peninsula that juts out into Monroe Lake. It's a rewarding hike for several reasons: the views are incredible, the exercise is great for you, and you're able to capture a 12/10 shot for the 'Gram.

RELATED CONTENT: Bloomington's Most Unique Hikes
 

Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve

Beanblossom Bottoms is another beautiful nature destination in Monroe County. The wetland habitat is home to an array of wildflowers, birds, and endangered species. The tangled, overgrown nature preserve is truly stunning — you feel like you're stepping into nature as it once was long ago: totally uninterrupted. 

RELATED CONTENT: Places to Know in Bloomington: Spring
 

The B-Line Trail

What makes the B-Line so photo-worthy is the various downtown destinations it winds through and by: Switchyard Park, Hopscotch Coffee, Le Petit Cafe, the Community Farmers' Market, WonderLab Science Museum... We could go on, but we think you get the picture. (Pun 100% intended.)

RELATED CONTENT: 48 Hours in Bloomington: Spring
 

BuffaLouie's at the Gables

BuffaLouie's is the best place to get wings in B-Town, and it's a very cool experience for IU sports fans. The exterior of the restaurant looks like a German-style house of sorts, but the interior is a sight to behold for the Hoosier sports aficionado. Decked out from floor-to-ceiling with IU sports memorabilia, fan-fare, and art, the restaurant offers Indiana sports photo ops like no other in town.

RELATED CONTENT: Best Places to Watch IU Games
 

Buskirk-Chumley Theater

The Bus-Chum was once a silent movie house, erected on Kirkwood Avenue in 1922. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theater is now primarily a venue for musical, performing arts, and other touring acts. Its vintage sign is its standout feature — capture it yourself next time you're in B-Town.

RELATED CONTENT: A Memorable Day in Bloomington
 

Butler Winery

Butler Winery is Indiana's fourth oldest winery, located right here in Bloomington. Its charming grounds make for the perfect Instagram backdrop — raise your glass of wine in front of the growing grape vines, or smile for a photo with your crew on their patio.

RELATED CONTENT: 5 Things to Do with Mom
 

Cardinal Spirits

With its clean, contrasting aesthetic and vibrant mural on one side of its building, Cardinal Spirits is yet another picture-perfect spot in B-Town. Their food & drinks are beautiful, too, so you'll walk away from the distillery with plenty to share on the 'Gram!

RELATED CONTENT: Eat Like a Local in Bloomington
 

The Chocolate Moose

The Chocolate Moose's new downtown location is what IG dreams are made of. From their perfect ice cream creations to their pink-accented interior to the colorful mural on their patio, this is another Bloomington foodie location that inspires tons of photos.

RELATED CONTENT: Bloomington's Best Ice Cream
 

Dunn Woods

Dunn Woods is one of the most beautiful spots on IU's campus, especially during fall. The grand trees, the winding brick sidewalks, and the charm of old IU make for a gorgeous nature shot to share on Instagram.

RELATED CONTENT: Top 10 Prettiest Spots on IU's Campus
 

Fountain Square Mall

One side of Fountain Square Mall is painted a pretty pink shade, which makes for a great backdrop any time of year, but the wall really pops during summer when all of the windowsill planters are in full bloom. If you capture only the wall and nothing else, it looks like a scene out of Greece!

RELATED CONTENT: Vintage Shopping Guide
 

Fourth Street

Fourth Street is known as International Row due to its many restaurants that serve international cuisine. You can find authentic Korean, Turkish & Mediterranean, Thai, Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, Burmese, and Japanese cuisine on this colorful, culturally diverse street — both the food and the restaurants make for great Instagram photos.

RELATED CONTENT: No Passport Required
 

The Graduate Hotel

The Graduate is Bloomington's most unique hotel — its entire design is inspired by the culture of Bloomington, Indiana University, and Indiana. Its decor is definitely a contributing factor to its Instagrammability (that's a word, right?), but they also offer an incredible view of downtown from their Jack & Diane Terrace, a funky mural on one side of their building, and shelves lined with kitschy cookie jars in their Poindexter Cafe. 

RELATED CONTENT: 7 Hidden Gems on Kirkwood Avenue
 

Griffy Lake Nature Preserve

Griffy Lake offers kayaking & canoeing, fishing, hiking, paddleboarding, picnicking, and even ice skating. These activities, along with its scenic lake and wooded views, make it a great B-Town destination to capture for the 'Gram in any season.

RELATED CONTENT: Life on the Water
 

Hickory Ridge Fire Tower

The Hickory Ridge Fire Tower is one of the most popular destinations as far as Bloomington photo ops go. The tower is 110 feet tall and offers a view of the Hoosier National Forest like no other. Those who are afraid of heights may face a challenge with the 133-step staircase, but we promise that the view is well worth the climb. 

RELATED CONTENT: Hard to Find Hikes in Bloomington
 

Hopscotch Coffee

Hopscotch Coffee is a local-favorite coffeehouse with two locations in Bloomington. Their beverages, cafe interior, dog-friendly patio, and aesthetically-pleasing to-go roastery all make for 10/10 shots for Instagram. 

RELATED CONTENT: Drink Like a Local in Bloomington
 

Indiana Memorial Union

Almost every corner & crevice of IU is photo-worthy, but the IMU is near the top of the list. With three floors of interesting shops and lounges, as well as gorgeous views all the way around its 500,000 square-foot exterior, you'll have enough photos to create a dedicated Indiana Memorial Union IG account.

RELATED CONTENT: 40 Things Every IU Senior Should Do Before Graduation
 

Jordan Hall Greenhouse

The Jordan Hall Greenhouse is a B-Town destination everyone should visit at least once. Home to rainforest, desert, and insectivorous plants from around the globe, the greenhouse transports you to lands far from Indiana and provides plenty of photo opportunities for the 'Gram.

RELATED CONTENT: A Discovery Day in Bloomington
 

Kirkwood Avenue

While there are specific places on Kirkwood that are top-notch photo spots, like the Buskirk-Chumley Theater and Graduate Hotel, the entire avenue is also worth capturing. It's almost a Bloomington rite of passage to shoot a photo looking down the iconic street from either Sample Gates or The Square.

RELATED CONTENT: How to Spend a Day on Kirkwood Avenue
 

Leonard Springs Nature Preserve

Leonard Springs is a beautiful nature preserve that features two caves, a spring, and an abundance of forestry. Visitors and locals love to capture photos of the caves, the spring, and the wooded staircase on the Leonard Springs Trail.

RELATED CONTENT: A Nature Lover's Guide to Spring in Bloomington
 

Monroe County Courthouse

Located in the heart of downtown, the Monroe County Courthouse is one of the most popular photo destinations in town. Photographers, visitors, and locals all love to share their shots of the historic courthouse on Instagram — its beauty can't be denied!

RELATED CONTENT: Museums in Bloomington
 

Monroe Lake

The largest lake in Indiana resides in beautiful Bloomington, and it offers tons of incredible views to share on Instagram. Whether you're boating, beaching, hiking, camping, biking, or fishing, there's a great photo opportunity available on every shore of Monroe Lake.

RELATED CONTENT: Get Outside This Spring
 

Oliver Winery

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 looks like a secret garden that you'll definitely want to share on the 'Gram.

RELATED CONTENT: A Culinary Day in Bloomington
 

Sample Gates

If you can only take photos at one spot on Indiana University's campus, it has to be at the Sample Gates. The most iconic and most photographed feature of campus is something that all visitors, regardless of if they attended IU or not, feel a sentimental connection to. It's a 15/10 shot for any Instagram feed.

RELATED CONTENT: Where to Take the Perfect Graduation Photos
 

Showalter Fountain

But if you can walk around campus and take more photos, definitely make sure Showalter Fountain is on your list! The fountain is know for its legendary missing fish (look it up if you're not familiar with the story) and stands in front of the IU Auditorium, offering a stunning view of the Fine Arts Square for your camera to capture.

RELATED CONTENT: The Ultimate College Visit
 

Soul Juice

Soul Juice is a smoothie bowl joint that was inspired by the culture and fresh foods of Turks & Caicos. The shop offers a little slice of island life in our beloved B-Town, and every corner (and smoothie bowl) offers tropical aesthetic for you to share on your feed.

RELATED CONTENT: A Healthy Day in Bloomington
 

The Square

Much like Kirkwood Avenue, The Square offers a few specific locations worth capturing, but is photo-worthy as a whole as well. Shoot a photo with your camera looking down any of its four streets for a great downtown shot, capture a pic of the many visually-captivating storefronts, or shoot from a street corner to capture the Courthouse and as much of The Square as possible.

RELATED CONTENT: How to Spend a Day on The Square 
 

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center

The TMBCC is dedicated to fostering, preserving, and sharing the Tibetan & Mongolian cultures with the Bloomington community and United States as a whole. Their grounds offer many beautiful views of cultural architecture, decor, and design that make you feel like you've been transported to Asia. It's Bloomington's most unique place to visit, and you'll definitely want to capture photos of your experience.

RELATED CONTENT: The Ultimate Bloomington Bucket List
 

Want to see your most Instagrammable B-Town photos in one of the galleries above? Post your Bloomington shots on IG using #visitbtown and you just might find it here in the future!
 

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.