Things to do near Normal.
August 18, 2005 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Things to do in Bloomington, IL.

Next Wednesday I will be flying to Bloomington, IL for some job training. I'll have all Wednesday evening after about 6 PM and all Thursday evening after about 5 PM. I know Bloomington is the home of the Beer Nuts factory (w00t!) but what else is there to do in the evenings? Difficulty: Probably no rental car unless there's something spectacular worth driving to.
posted by mr_crash_davis to Travel & Transportation around Bloomington, IL (15 answers total)
There is a cool climbing gym in some old grain silos near the center of town. That is all I have ever gone to Bloomington, IL for. Its called Upper Limits.
posted by jduckles at 7:28 PM on August 18, 2005

Do you rock climb? If so, definitely check this place out. It's awesome. Actually, even if you haven't climbed before it looks like they may have some lessons in the evenings.
posted by MsMolly at 7:30 PM on August 18, 2005

posted by MsMolly at 7:41 PM on August 18, 2005

upper limits is about all i know of. it's fantastic, if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by quadrinary at 7:53 PM on August 18, 2005

Not much of a rock climber, I'm afraid. Tried bouldering many years ago and just didn't have the finger strength for it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:05 PM on August 18, 2005

Take a walk into downtown Bloomington and check out some of the college bars! If I remember correctly, Fat Jacks has a special on long islands on weds. Or, you could visit one of the MANY insurance company corporate headquarters that reside in that fine city.
posted by pemulis at 8:25 PM on August 18, 2005

" could visit one of the MANY insurance company corporate headquarters that reside in that fine city."

Oddly enough, that's where I'll be doing the training, so that's not really an option either. :)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:29 PM on August 18, 2005

Find a porn store. And stay away from the GKC movie theaters if you want to see a Hollywood flick; I hear they have a roach problem.

Honestly, this is central Illinois. And while it isn't Nebraska or (God forbid) Wyoming, there isn't a whole lot to do. Peoria is about 45 minutes North but I wouldn't suggest it because even for a native finding interesting things is tough. The UIUC campus is 45 minutes in the other direction. I'm rather partial to the downtown Champaign bars but I wouldn't bother renting a car to get there.

... or, you could call for a meetup :).
posted by sbutler at 10:27 PM on August 18, 2005

I'm sure a beer fan would consider the Blind Pig worth a 45 minute drive. If you come in on Thursday, drop me an e-mail and your first one's on me.
posted by Eamon at 11:24 PM on August 18, 2005

Stalk John Cougar Mellencamp
posted by poppo at 4:56 AM on August 19, 2005

Wrong Bloomington, poppo. This is Bloomington, IL, not Bloomington, IN.

Okay, it's not exciting, but the city right next to, almost part of, Bloomington, IL, is Normal, Il.
posted by eriko at 5:26 AM on August 19, 2005

Congrats on the new job, Crash!
posted by tizzie at 6:28 AM on August 19, 2005

Ugh, two year veteran of Normal, IL here. Well, it's not really tornado season anymore, so there goes all forms of excitement. Normal has the Normal Theater and they show old films. There's a place where you can get kung fu shoes in Bloomington. If the Lemon Grass Thai restaurant is still around, that's worth a shot as they have pretty damn good food. There's a street that claims to be the only street in America that has a university at each terminus. You could always find it and pee on it. You know, just to say that you did it.
posted by NoMich at 7:17 AM on August 19, 2005

I lived there for four years (in college), so the short answer is... not much. Considering there are 4 colleges in the town (two four year, two two year) it's a really piss poor college town. Lots of dive bars if that's your thing, otherwise, nada.

The Castle Theater is a pretty decent theater, they show a fairly random collection of movies, sometimes it's an indie flick, sometimes it's mainstream, but it's one of my favorite theaters ever. All the seating is couches, and there's a bar w/ some food in the theater. More fun if you have people to go with.

The Normal Theater (which was mentioned above) is another pretty good theater, they show older movies and some indie stuff. Not quite as comfy as the Castle, but tickets are only $5.

Depending on if you're training at Country Companies, or more likely, State Farm, will give you a different set of easily available options. If you're at State Farm, and you're at the usual hotels they give out for people at them, there isn't a ton in your area. Although there are a decent number of restaurants in that area, including some really good sushi at Tachibana (there's a Mitsubishi plant nearby, and wherever there is a major Mitsubishi plant, Mitsubishi builds a sushi restaurant). Although there is a way better sushi place in Normal, whose name currently escapes me.

Mostly getting around will probably involve a taxi, since the Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System pretty much sucks.

Unfortunately you're going before the school year starts, the town mostly shuts down over the summer.

If you have any questions, drop me a line, my email is in my profile and I still have a lot of friends in that area, so if you know where you're staying, I can probably find a couple of good things for you in the area.
posted by KirTakat at 7:51 AM on August 19, 2005

whoops good call eriko. though imo it would be funny if you went to Bloomington, IL to stalk Mellencamp anyway
posted by poppo at 8:03 AM on August 19, 2005

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