Bloomington, Indiana is an ideal spot for a road trip for music fans seeking an affordable destination in the Midwest that offers a wide variety of live music choices, local food, places to stay, and other cool things to do.

Bloomington is home to Indiana University, a revered college town. Live music, comedy, and theater happen all summer long at venues the Back Door, Bishop, Blockhouse, Bluebird, Buskirk-Chumley, The Cabin, Comedy Attic, Orbit Room, Port Hole Inn, Waldron Arts Center, and others. Open mic and special themed nights happen weekly and please check venue websites for the latest updates.  

Recommended upcoming live events worthy of a road trip to Bloomington, Indiana:

Cosmic Songwriter Festival is Wednesday, May 15 through Saturday, May 18 at venues located in easily walkable downtown Bloomington. The festival format showcases two musicians on stage together sharing original songs and stories. 24 performers over four nights.

Bloomington Early Music Festival takes place May 19-25. Honors music of the medieval period through the early 19th century. The 2024 festival theme is “Early Music In Exile.”

Limestone Comedy Festival happens May 31 through June 2 with 2024 headliners including Jimmy Pardo, Sophie Buddle, Roy Wood Jr, and KC Shornima.

Granfalloon: A Kurt Vonnegut Convergence is June 4-8. This art and community celebration features Sleater-Kinney headlining a FREE concert and the Handmade Market Summer Fair on Kirkwood Ave. 

The Break - A New Rock Musical - June 6-23 at Waldron Arts Center from Emmy-nominated creators of The Enlightenment of Percival von Schmootz.

Indiana University Summer Theatre is running July 5-28 with productions of “Dial M For Murder” and “Forever Plaid.” As always, the Eskenazi Museum Of Art, Lilly Library, and other campus attractions are open on campus with summer hours.

Switchyard Park Thursday Night Music Series returns in 2024. June 20 is Tune-Yards & Y La Bamba. July 18 is Lindsay Lou & TORRES. FREE outdoor concerts for everyone. There's always great music in the parks and usually it's free! Food Truck Friday also happens at Switchyard Park with local food trucks, free live music, and more fun for the entire family every Friday. The Bloomington Parks & Recreation Department produces an incredible season of free concerts and performances running May 9 through September 29 at various locations.

Bloomington’s acclaimed culinary scene includes local institutions such as Chocolate Moose, Crazy Horse, The Elm, FARM Bloomington, Lennie’s, Janko’s Little Zagreb, Mother Bear’s, Nick’s English Hut, Pizza X, Runcible Spoon, Trojan Horse, Uptown Café, Village Deli, and many others. The row of international restaurants lining Fourth Street is spectacular – don’t miss Little Tibet and Taste Of India. Butler Winery, Cardinal Spirits, Friendly Beasts, Oliver Winery, and Upland Brewing Company highlight the many successful homegrown breweries, distilleries, and wineries.

Bloomington is one of the top outdoor adventure towns in the Midwest. Three nearby lakes, Hoosier National Forest, Morgan-Monroe State Forest, Yellowwood State Forest, and several area nature preserves provide hundreds of miles of trails and camping options. Bloomington also boasts a serious cycling scene made famous in the Oscar winning film, Breaking Away.

Lodging of all varieties are available with the best rates found on off peak nights Sunday-Thursday. Hotels, cabins, and Airbnb rentals are readily available with the Biddle Hotel, Graduate Bloomington, Grant Street Inn, and Springhill Suites being a few high-quality options close to music venues.

Summer is simply a great time to experience the Bloomington college town vibe and soak it all in like a local. Extended weekends with family and friends are recommended. Come early, stay an extra day, enjoy cool music and art, take in delicious food and drink, and even get outside. Plan your music road trip at