The Best Years of Your Life, for Students & Parents

Welcome to Bloomington and Indiana University! For students, these next few years will be pivotal. You're going to learn and grow in so many more ways than you can imagine. You're going to build friendships that last a lifetime, and maybe find a special someone to spend that lifetime with. You'll find new skills, new hobbies, and a new happiness. IU and Bloomington are like a big greenhouse that provides the right climate for growth. 

For the parents, your child is now an IU student, which means they are smart and talented and obviously have great role models. This also means they're leaving the nest and moving to a new community. Your student is going to have a great time, but the good news is that you will too! Bloomington is a magical place where students, residents, and visitors blend together to form a balanced environment with just the right amount youthful enthusiasm and aged wisdom. So when you come visit your student, make sure you take some extra time to enjoy yourself too. Consider signing up for our events newsletter so you can plan a visit around activities that interest you. 

We've created this section to help students and parents, and anyone new to IU, make the most of their time here. It's a selection of helpful tips, things you absolutely must do, and when to do all of this. Learn, grow, have fun, and go Hoosiers!

Big Events


Indiana University Homecoming occurs in October each year so plan in advance. The dates for the next two homecoming weekends are:

  • 2019: October 12, vs. Rutgers
  • October 10. 2020
  • October 16, 2021
  • October 8, 2022
  • October 21, 2023
  • October 12, 2024
  • October 11, 2025

Family Weekend

  • 2019: September 20 - 22

Family Weekend typically falls near mid-to-late September. This is a great weekend to explore the campus and town together. Visit the Farmer's Market, see a show at the IU Auditorium, or go on a brewery tour, we've got your weekend covered! For more trip ideas click here.

Little 500

  • 2020: April 24-25
  • 2021: April 23-24
  • 2022: April 22-23
  • 2023: April 21-22
  • 2024: April 19-20

The Little 500 is the largest collegiate bike race in the United States. Modeled after the Indianapolis 500, riders compete in four-person teams around a quarter-mile cinder track at Bill Armstrong Stadium. More than 25,000 fans flock to the campus in Bloomington, Indiana, each April to be a part of IU’s storied tradition. And who can blame them? The excitement, the competition, the pageantry — Little 500 is an experience like no other. The race began in 1951 as a way to raise scholarship money for students working their way through college. Since that first race, IUSF has given away over $1 million to deserving undergrads. Little 500 isn't just for students either. Check out our guide to Little 500 Weekend.


These are huge events so plan accordingly. For graduation, it is a good idea to book lodging one year in advance. If you are having trouble finding a hotel room, or need advice on things to do, call us. That's what we're here for! 800-800-0037

Click for Full Event Calendar

Trip Planning Tips

Booking Hotels

With so many events throughout the year, it's beneficial to book hotel rooms as quickly as possible. For a huge weekend like spring graduation, it's a good idea to book rooms a year in advance. For football season it's good to have a plan about five to six months in advance. We keep track of available hotel rooms at the Visitor's Center so feel free to call us anytime to check on availability. For more hotel information click here.

Click for hotels close to IU


Parking can be difficult for visitors, but there are options. The Visitors Center sells one-day "A" permits, which allow you to park in almost any parking spot on campus (exceptions are handicapped and reserved spots). There are also several pay-parking garages you can use, on campus and on the perimeter. See our Campus Parking section for more details. Your best bet is to find a spot and stick with it all day. You'll enjoy more of the campus by walking through it.


If you don't have a car but want to explore Bloomington there are options.

To and from the Indianapolis Airport: Check out the GoExpress Shuttle service that runs every couple of hours. This shuttle also has service from Bloomington to Chicagoland on the weekend as well. 

There are several taxi services, Zipcars, and Ubers available in Bloomington. Click here for more details.

Bloomington is a Gold-level "Bicycle Friendly Community" by the League of American Bicyclists, for "longstanding commitments to providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists, and for their efforts to encourage bicycle travel for transportation and recreation." Bloomington was the first League-designated "Bicycle Friendly Community" in Indiana, and the highest rated community in the eastern United States. There are dedicated bike lanes throughout the community and two major pedestrian/bike trails through town. Click here for more information and maps. Want to rent a bike? Click here.

Staying informed

Our monthly events newsletter features top events in the Bloomington area, including those on campus. It's a great way to find things to do for any planned visits, or find an event to build your trip around. Sign up for the newsletter, or check out the annual events for inspiration. 

The Indiana Daily Student newspaper is an excellent way to keep up with happenings on campus and within the IU community, plus local news. Follow along online and pick up a copy when you're in town, you'll be informed and impressed.