Monday, November 13, 2023
An Overnight Couple's Getaway in Bloomington
One of the best things about Bloomington is that it has something to offer everyone. No matter your interest, there are a wide range of things to do in the area. Grab your significant other, pack your bags, and choose your couple's getaway adventure — you'll love what B-Town has in store for you.
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If you consider yourself a foodie, Bloomington is one of the best places in Indiana to visit solely for the food. Our small city offers such an expanse of culinary options that it feels like you're dining in a big city — choose from authentic Thai, New York-style pizza, upscale Cajun-Creole, rustic Italian, Irish classics, gourmet burgers, and so much more. Whichever cuisine you're hoping to find in B-Town, we're betting we have it. And then there's our two wineries, four breweries, and craft distillery that aren't to be missed out on.
Here's how you could spend a food-centric overnight couple's getaway in Bloomington:
- Before you arrive at your hotel, make a pit stop at Oliver Winery. Revered across the nation for their exquisite selection of wines, visiting Oliver is truly an experience. Make a reservation for a tasting — you'll be guided through a wine flight of your choosing (dry, semi-dry, or sweet) on the winery's gorgeous back patio or in their tasting room.
- Check in at your hotel — we recommend booking your stay downtown so you're close to all of the best local eateries. Settle in, take a breather, then head out to dinner.
- There are a huge amount of options for you to choose from when it comes to dinner — there are nearly 150 eateries in downtown alone. Browse our restaurant listings by type of cuisine, or check out our Eat Like a Local blog if you want to get an authentic B-Town food experience. If you're wanting to try one of Bloomington's famed international restaurants on 4th Street, you can read about all of your choices. For those wanting to dine on the patio, you can find over 100 restaurants with outdoor seating.
- Continue the food tour as the night wanes on by enjoying a cocktail or two at Cardinal Spirits. Bloomington's sole distillery is a favorite of both locals and visitors, offering a unique range of handcrafted cocktails, all mixed with their house-distilled liquors. The menu changes seasonally, so there's always something new to try — and if you love a good foodie pic for the 'Gram, Cardinal is one of the most Instagrammable places in B-Town.
- Treat yourself to a few hours of extended sleep after a late night, then mosey around downtown to a local coffeehouse for a cup of java and a pastry. Hopscotch Coffee, located on the B-Line Trail, is another favorite of both locals and visitors. Take a leisurely stroll down the popular downtown trail as you enjoy your light breakfast — if you happen to be visiting on a Saturday, stop by the Community Farmers' Market, located right off of the trail on Morton Street. Curious about all of Bloomington's coffee options? Check out our blog on Bloomington's best coffeehouses and cafes.
- Head back to your hotel to pack your bags and check out, then enjoy one last meal before you leave town. Dine at one of our five downtown breweries — choose Upland Brewing Co. or The Tap for elevated pub food, Lennie's if you're feeling stromboli, Metal Works Brewing Company for a gourmet sandwich, or Switchyard Brewing Co. if you want a pub spin on authentic Latin cuisine. And, of course, try one of the signature brews at whichever spot you go to!
Do you and your partner enjoy sporting events and activities? As the home of Indiana University, Bloomington is a great place to attend a college game, get active, and enjoy the sports atmosphere at many local establishments. During every season, there are a variety of fun sports-related things to do in B-Town.
Here's how you could spend a sports-centric overnight couple's getaway in Bloomington:
- Embrace your love for sports to the fullest by booking a stay at the Graduate Hotel. They have a variety of interesting IU sports memorabilia decorating the lobby and rooms, including a cheeky chandelier of tangled chairs as a nod to Bobby Knight, a massive painting of the basketball team in the movie Hoosiers, bicycle-motif wallpaper and Cutters tapestries in honor of the Little 500, basketball hoops as light fixtures, and more. Check in, get settled, take a breather, then head out for dinner.
- Take a short five-block walk down Kirkwood Avenue toward the IU campus, then hang a right on Indiana Avenue and walk one block further to a Bloomington sports mainstay: BuffaLouie's. The restaurant, which specializes in traditional & boneless wings but also serves burgers and sandwiches, is a beloved favorite of locals, students, and alumni. In addition to serving some of the best wings in the area, BuffaLouie's offers an incredible sports atmosphere. Every inch of their wall space is decorated with sports memorabilia & fanfare, and there are televisions mounted every few feet throughout the restaurant — which are, of course, always broadcasting an assortment of sporting events for patrons to enjoy.
- After dinner, head to one of IU's home stadiums to attend a game. If you're visiting during spring, you're likely to catch a baseball or softball game in the evening. During late summer and fall, there are volleyball matches and soccer games several nights each week. During winter, you can experience the most famed Hoosier sport of them all: basketball. If you happen to be in town when there isn't a scheduled game, visit Simon-Skjodt Assembly Hall for a tour of the famed arena and the abundance of sports memorabilia & history lining it's walls and corridors.
- Mosey back downtown for drinks at another popular B-Town sports institution: Yogi's Bar & Grill. Similar to BuffaLouie's, the restaurant is decked out in Hoosier sports memorabilia and TVs every few feet. Their atmosphere is a perfect mix of lively and laid-back, deeming it a great place to hangout and sip a few beverages while watching live sporting events with other enthusiasts. Plus, if you start to crave a late-night bite, Yogi's has some of the best midnight grub in town.
- Treat yourself to a few extended hours of sleep, then pack up your bags, check out, and head to The Tap for lunch. One of Bloomington's most popular 21+ establishments, The Tap serves a robust selection of elevated pub plates — favorites include their Firecracker Shrimp Tacos, Beer Cheese Burger, and Smoky Ghost Pizza. Choose from nearly 500 brews, 90 on tap and 400 bottled varieties, to wash down your meal while you enjoy the latest sporting events broadcasted on their many flatscreens.
- Before you leave Bloomington, take part in one last sporting experience together. If the weather allows it, playing 18 holes at The Pfau Course at Indiana University is a must. Rated in the Top 100 golf courses in North America, the championship-level course is one of B-Town's most premier sports offerings. If the weather is not ideal for a day on the golf course, head to Hoosier Heights for a fun afternoon of rock climbing. The indoor facility offers one of the best climbing experiences in Indiana, catering to all levels, from beginner to expert.
Out on the Town
If you and your partner love to hit the town and attend live performances, Bloomington is one of the best places to visit in Indiana. Our downtown scene is thriving with incredible restaurants, lively bars, unique shops, and a great assortment of venues that host acts of a variety of genres. With live shows happening nearly every day of the week, every night can be a rock-n-roll date night in B-Town.
Here's how you could spend a couple's getaway on the town in Bloomington:
- Check in at one of our many downtown hotels. This will put you within walking distance of the majority of B-Town's entertainment venues, in addition to the best restaurants and bars in town. Get settled in, then step out onto the streets to enjoy a drink before dinner.
- There are a wide variety of bars to choose from for a pre-dinner beverage. If you're a whiskey connoisseur, head to SmokeWorks for a flight of three whiskeys or one of their signature whiskey cocktails. Beer lovers should try one of downtown's breweries — Function Brewing, The Tap, and Switchyard Brewing Co. are in closest proximity to our downtown entertainment venues. For tequila drinkers, there's no better place than Social Cantina — enjoy a flight of three, one of their house-made margaritas, or a craft cocktail. If you like a good variety of choices, The Village Pub is a great option due to their assortment of wines, rotating beers, and craft cocktails.
- Once you're in the mood for food, enjoy dinner downtown before you head to your show. The great thing about each of the aforementioned places to grab a drink is that they all also offer food. SmokeWorks specializes in barbecue and southern-style plates; each of the breweries offer elevated pub food; Social Cantina serves modern Mexican dishes, and The Village Pub offers gourmet gastropub selections. If none of those are tickling your fancy, there are nearly 140 other downtown restaurants to choose from — you can browse them all here.
- After dinner, it's time to experience Bloomington's nightlife scene. Head to one of our many music venues to enjoy a live show — we have everything from national headliners at The Bluebird, local artists at The Bishop, country cover shows at The Blockhouse Bar, underground performances at Orbit Room, and much more. If you're looking for another option, consider having a fabulously fun time at The Back Door, Bloomington's only queer bar. The venue frequently hosts drag, cabaret, and burlesque shows, which always promise an outrageously entertaining night. If live music isn't your thing, no worries — catch a stand-up performance at The Comedy Attic, one of the nation's most renowned comedy clubs that's hosted the likes of Amy Schumer, John Mulaney, Melissa Villaseñor, Burt Kriescher, and many more.
- After a fun night extended into the wee-hours of the morning, allow yourself to sleep in, then pack your bags, check out, and hit the town once more for brunch. Downtown offers a variety of restaurants that serve brunch — head to Uptown Cafe for a Cajun-Creole-style meal, The Owlery for a full menu of vegetarian-friendly options, Le Petit Cafe for a homemade Provincial déjeuner, FARMbloomington for a farm-to-table meal, The Irish Lion for an authentic pub plate, or La Una Cantina for a modern Mexican mid-day meal. Looking for more options? Check out our blog on Bloomington's Best Brunches.
- Not quite ready to hit the road? Complete your downtown B-Town experience by shopping the many local stores on The Square and Kirkwood Avenue. You'll find an assortment of home goods stores, apparel boutiques, vintage shops, IU emporiums, book & music stores, and specialty retailers, most of which are locally owned and operated. Leave town with a memento of your time in Bloomington, and make it a tradition to bring home a little bit of B-Town each time you visit in the future.
Relive Campus Memories
If you're an IU alum, chances are you might have met your significant other in B-Town during college! For couples who found one another on the Hoosier campus, we're sure Bloomington holds a very special place in your hearts. What's a more nostalgic, romantic getaway than to revisit the fond memories of the beginnings of your relationship during such a special time in your lives? Our hearts are fluttering just thinking about it.
Here's how you could spend a romantic couple's getaway reliving your college memories in Bloomington:
- Lean into your walk down memory lane to the fullest by booking your stay at the IMU Biddle Hotel & Conference Center. Check in, drop off your bags at your room, then walk through the student union to find your favorite spots and to see what's changed since you were students. When you're done wandering the building, head down to Kirkwood Avenue for dinner and drinks at the most beloved Hoosier mainstay.
- If you thought we were referring to Nick's English Hut, you thought correctly. Play a game of Sink the Biz in the name of tradition, enjoy your favorite meal from the tavern, and play I-Spy with the Hoosier memorabilia lining the walls to see if you can spot a few pieces of history from your time on campus. Spend some time talking about your favorite memories with one another and laughing about stories you may have forgotten until now as you enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the Hoosier haunt.
- After dinner, partake in some of IU's most legendary traditions: go to the Eskenazi Museum of Art to lay on your back, legs up against the side of the building, as you watch the colors from the light totem change against the museum's exterior. Walk down the road to Showalter Fountain to dip your feet in the water or make a wish as you toss a coin. Before you head back to your room at the IMU, stroll over to the Rose Well House for a midnight kiss, stopping to greet Herman along the way, conjuring more good luck from campus for years to come.
- Rise and shine like you're going to an 8:00 am class and head to Kirkwood's Bloomington Bagel Company for a breakfast bagel. Order your favorite bagel & schmear combination and a cup of coffee to get your day going in a delicious direction, fueling up for the next item on the itinerary.
- Spend the next few hours strolling the campus grounds, visiting old classrooms & dorms, favorite buildings & landmarks, beloved study spots & hidden gems, paths you used to trek, and any other places that hold a special memory for you. Recreate photos you took when you were students for a fun "then and now" set of pictures you'll treasure for years to come. Once your literal walk down memory lane is over, head back to the hotel to pack up and check out, saying "see you later" once more to the campus that brought you together.
- Before you hit the road, lunch at Mother Bear's Pizza is a must. Order your favorite pie, sip on an old-fashioned vanilla cola, and partake in one last Hoosier tradition by signing your names on the wall in Sharpie.
For couples who love to spend time in nature, Bloomington is the perfect getaway destination. With three lakes, a national forest, a state forest, several nature preserves, and much more, there are a variety of outdoor adventures and zen moments to be had amongst the elements in B-Town. Pack your hiking boots, a bundle of firewood, and two camping chairs, then head to Bloomington for a peaceful nature escape.
Here's how you could spend an overnight couple's getaway in B-Town's rolling hills:
- Immerse yourself in nature by booking your stay at a cabin or vacation rental. Whether you're looking for lakefront views, quick access to hiking trails, or a secluded stay surrounded by woodland, Bloomington has an option for you. Once you arrive, unpack your bags, get settled in, then head out the door for dinner.
- Lean into the nature theme by enjoying dinner at Trailhead Pizzeria, a local pizza joint near Monroe Lake — one of the very few restaurants outside of the city. Choose from a variety of unique signature pies, salads, and breadsticks, or get creative and customize a pizza to your preference. If you want to embrace solitude to the fullest, place your order for carryout or delivery and enjoy it around a bonfire at your abode for the evening.
- Before arriving at your lodging, make a pit stop at Cardinal Spirits to pick up an order of to-go craft cocktails, or swing by one of Bloomington's many Big Red Liquors to grab a pack of your favorite brews. After dinner, relax and enjoy a few drinks around the bonfire — take in the sound of the crackling flames, the rustling of leaves, and the faint noises of nearby wildlife.
- Rise with the chirping birds the following morning and set out on a hike around Monroe Lake or through the Hoosier National Forest. Trails span from 0.5 miles to 12.5 miles, with several distances falling between the two. Choose a hike based on your preference — one moderate-length trek, two short trails, a single long hike — and take plenty of water to stay hydrated during your adventure.
- After your hike, head back to your cabin, get ready for the day, pack your belongings, and head to Scenic View Restaurant for brunch before you leave town. The restaurant sits high in the hills near Monroe Lake, offering an incredible view of the water from their outdoor patio. Enjoy a signature Bacon Bloody Mary and a delicious mid-day meal as you take in Bloomington's natural beauty for just a little while longer.
Rest & Relaxation
If you're looking for an opportunity to slow down, get some rest & relaxation, and end your getaway feeling re-energized, Bloomington has plenty to offer you, too. With laid-back eateries, tranquil hotels, and regenerative activities, B-Town will have you feeling revived and re-centered in no time.
Here's how you could spend a relaxing overnight couple's getaway in Bloomington:
- Before you arrive at your hotel, spend an hour or two at Butler Winery. The vineyard sits on a serene plot of land surrounded by lush forestry, offering visitors a peaceful oasis with a whimsical ambiance. The winery offers tasting flights both in their tasting room and on their outdoor patio — if the weather allows it, we highly recommend sitting on the patio, which overlooks the vineyard, a picturesque pond, and a variety of beautiful blooms. It's the perfect place to set the tone for your rejuvenating stay.
- To keep with the theme of rest and relaxation, book your stay at one of Bloomington's cozy and quiet bed & breakfast establishments. Check in, get settled in your room, and spend as much time as you like relaxing at the B&B before you head out for a laid-back dinner.
- Take a short drive to C3 for dinner and drinks. Although it's considered a fine dining establishment, C3 has a very relaxed atmosphere, complete with soft lighting, comfortable seating, and jazz music. Treat yourself to a gourmet meal, craft cocktails, and a unique dining experience, all the while enjoying leisurely conversation and zero rush to be anywhere except in the present moment.
- After a good night's sleep, rise in the morning to practice yoga and/or meditation, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a book or magazine. Once you're ready to venture out into the world again, pack your bags, check out, and head to the Bloomington Salt Cave for a session of halotherapy. Here's what to expect if you've never been to a salt cave:
In a salt cave, a fine, dry salt aerosol is dispersed into the cave, which is constructed of pink Himalayan salt walls and beach-like salt pebble flooring. The aerosol is both inhaled & absorbed through the skin — the salt absorbs excess mucus, allergens, and foreign elements, clears blockages in the lungs, bronchi, and alveoli, kills microbes and the spreading of bacteria & viruses, and normalizes the pH of skin, thus inducing reparative & regenerative processes in the body's largest organ.
Negative ions in the salt aerosol and the pink Himalayan salt walls & floor are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost daytime energy. The salt cave experience also has a meditative quality to it, allowing participants to sink to a deeper level of restorative relaxation that feels quite profound afterward. It's the perfect experience for those seeking major relaxation, body detoxification, and energy realignment.
- After your therapeutic session at the salt cave, mosey over to Southern Stone for a southern comfort brunch meal. Their atmosphere is slow and inviting; their dishes are relaxation on a plate, and their sweet tea cocktails bring the entire package together, creating one last leisurely, restful experience in Bloomington before you hit the road to go back to reality, hopefully having found that rejuvenation you came here seeking.
Looking for more things to do in Bloomington? Check out these blogs:
- Free Things to Do in Bloomington
- The Ultimate B-Town Bucket List
- Where to Hear Live Music in Bloomington
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