Families from all over have come to Bloomington (or are on their way) to experience the city and celebrate the achievements of the class of 2021. Even though families cannot attend the ceremony at Memorial Stadium, Bloomington offers dozens of activities, restaurants, and attractions to make your family’s trip memorable and exciting. You can check out Visit Bloomington for a full visitor guide, but we’ve highlighted some of our favorite sites and top graduate photoshoot spots below:
Remember to bring your mask and practice social distancing.
- Go bowling or play billiards at the IMU: A favorite activity among IU students, the pool table and bowling lanes at the IMU are open for all to enjoy. Be sure to walk around the newly refurbished building and try new dining options (including an expanded Chocolate Moose ice cream shop) while you’re there!
- Eskenazi Museum of Art: Reopened to the public in 2019 after a complete renovation, the museum hosts permanent collections from around the world, and their current exhibitions include Women and the Surrealist Movement and Italian Renaissance Painting. Be sure to check the newest exhibition of movie costumes donated by acclaimed actress Glenn Close. Plan your visit.
- Grunwald Art Gallery (IU School of Fine Arts): The Grunwald Gallery of Art is home to contemporary works by both professional and student artists. Exhibits incorporate art from a variety of contemporary genres and approaches, and can be experimental or traditional.
- Upland Brewery: Upland is one of the jewels of Bloomington’s renowned restaurant and bar scene. Besides offering a world class selection of seasonal in-house brews, the restaurant’s large outdoor patio space makes it a perfect place for a celebratory meal that can accommodate all ages.
- Griffy Lake Trails: Griffy Lake is a classic day hike beloved by many IU students for its scenic views, easily accessible trails, and proximity to campus. Hike all the way out to the edge of the reservoir or take the loop around the beautiful surrounding wilderness area.
- Cultural trail Downtown: The B-Line Trail is a multi-use trail that extends a total of 3.1 miles through the downtown Bloomington area. Public art installations, parks, restaurants, and other attractions line the trail including City Hall, the WonderLab Museum, Switchyard Park, and the newly installed statue of Star Trek’s Captain Kathryn Janeway, a future Bloomington native.
- Tibetan-Mongolian Buddhist Monastery: The TMBCC was established in 1979 by Thubten J. Norbu, Tibetan lama and older brother of the 14th Dalai Lama. With numerous temples, artworks, and natural areas for meditation and reflection, this is a hidden gem just a few minutes from campus.
- Oliver Winery: Oliver is one of the largest wineries in the US and nationally ranked as one of the best wineries outside of California. Aside from offering a wide selection of wines and ciders in its tasting room, the vineyard and grounds offer a beautiful place to learn about winemaking, enjoy spring flowers, and take photos.
- Local Food Trucks Downtown: Some of Bloomington’s best dining experiences are offered by food trucks that can be found throughout the city. Try doner kebabs, street tacos, grilled cheeses, and more local favorites! See a full list of trucks here.
- Local Parks: Bloomington has an array of parks near campus and off the beaten track that are accessible and suitable for all ages. Check out a full listing here.
Looking for a place to take a memorable photo with your grad? Here are some ideas, and don’t forget to tag @hamiltonlugar to be featured on our Instagram page!:
- The Sample Gates
- The IU Arboretum
- Showalter Fountain
- The Herman B. Wells Statue
- The Global and International Studies Building Courtyard
- Kirkwood Ave., which on the weekends is a pedestrian thoroughfare between Indiana Ave. and Walnut St.
- The lawn of the Monroe County Courthouse, right downtown
- The murals throughout town
- Beck Chapel on the IU campus
Check out Visit Bloomington for a full visitor guide and more ideas on places to spend your commencement weekend.