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Living in Bloomington-Normal

Experience a great quality of life in Bloomington-Normal, recognized as one of the best college towns in the US. Explore bike-friendly roads and a picturesque countryside. Enjoy locally owned shops, restaurants and hotels in the thriving central business district right next to our campus.

Our area is recognized for its entertainment, art venues and restaurants. In your free time, visit live performances at performing arts studios, attend art festivals, or dine in the diverse restaurants downtown.

This area offers all four seasons, excellent job opportunities, a vibrant downtown and a welcoming community for you to create lasting memories in your new home.

ISU - Bloomington-Normal - Living page - Carousel - Image6
ISU - Bloomington-Normal - Living page - Carousel - Image3

Opportunity all around

Discover career opportunities and endless activities beyond Bloomington-Normal during your time at Illinois State University. Engage in research, join one of the 400+ student organizations and network at events attended by Fortune 500 companies. When you need a break, explore local restaurants, the performing arts scene and other entertainment.

Ready for more? Take a weekend trip to major neighboring cities like Chicago or St. Louis. Chicago, just two hours away, offers sights, sounds and tastes to explore—attend a Cubs baseball game or savor deep-dish pizza with friends. A 2.5-hour journey will take you to St. Louis, MO, where the Gateway Arch welcomes you to a vibrant city. At Illinois State, you're local to industry and central to opportunity.

Explore diverse dining in Bloomington-Normal, from locally-owned gems to popular US chains. Try something new in the downtown area or, if you enjoy cooking, find fresh produce at the farmers' market to elevate your home-cooked meals.

Enjoy shopping at locally-owned antique shops or explore shopping centers with major US department stores. In the Bloomington-Normal area, discover everything from the perfect outfit to relaxing spas and accessory stores.

Exploring beyond the city

  • Bus: Enjoy free local bus service throughout Bloomington-Normal.

  • Train: Use the train to go to Chicago in 2 hours or to Saint Louis in 2.5 hours.

  • Plane: Fly into Central Illinois Regional Airport is located 10 minutes from campus.