Local Atmosphere

Normal, IL
Tuition (in-state)
$20,016 ($12,726)
Admission Difficulty
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3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: The atmosphere is good when the weather is nice. There are lots of things to do.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Normal is a great town to be located in. It offers a lot to the college students.

3 College Student

Local Atmosphere: I am from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and I will say that Normal, IL is a very different atmosphere. I do enjoy how there are many things to do on and off campus that are walking distance or easy to travel to through free public transportation.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Everyone is nice here. help you out if you need it

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: The local atmosphere is a typical college town feel. there is always something to do and the people are very welcoming


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Elizabeth Nelligan
Lake Zurich, IL
View all previous student authors

ISU is located in Normal, Ill., which is conveniently situated next to Bloomington, Ill. This area of twin cities is called Bloomington-Normal or "Blo-No" to the local crowd. The population of these two cities is roughly 127,000 people, yet there is still a small-town feel to this large, metropolitan area. A number of residents are local farmers who work in the outskirts of town on one of the plentiful cornfields that occupy Illinois. The residents of Bloomington-Normal are friendly to visitors as well as students and will always lend a helping hand. They are the first to give suggestions about the town, such as where to eat and shop.

The main road that connects Normal and Bloomington is Veterans Parkway, and it hosts a number of different shops, eateries, and hotels. There are two main shopping centers: The Shoppes at College Hills and Eastland Mall. There are many clothing stores, but Bloomington-Normal lacks a number of popular chains that can be found closer to Chicago or St. Louis. There are many movie theaters around town that offer discounted prices for students. Situated right off campus is a quaint area called Uptown Normal that has locally-owned shops for students and residents to visit. Bloomington-Normal is home to the Bloomington Prairie Thunder hockey team, the Bloomington Extreme Indoor Football team, and the Normal CornBelters baseball team. Overall, there is a lot of entertainment around campus, and local residents are more than willing to give advice on what to do.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Aside from ISU, there are two other centers of higher learning in Normal: Heartland Community College and Lincoln College.
  2. Every July, the Sugar Creek Arts Festival draws artists and art lovers to downtown Normal.
  3. Normal has the only Mitsubishi car manufacturing facility in North America.
  4. Normal is home to the first Steak `N Shake in the world!
  5. Watterson Towers is the highest building in Illinois between Chicago and St. Louis.
Notable Natives
  • Ellen Crawford - actress best known for role on "ER"
  • McLean Stevenson - actor best known for role on "M*A*S*H"
  • Rachel Crothers - American playwright and theater director
Local Slang
  • Blo-No/The B-N: Bloomington-Normal
  • Downtown: Area located in Bloomington
  • Soda: Otherwise known as "pop"
  • Townie: An ISU student who was raised in Normal or Bloomington
  • Uptown: The area located in Normal
Points of Interest
  • Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
  • Children’s Discovery Museum
  • Constitution Trail
  • Normal Theater
  • U.S. Cellular Coliseum
Shopping Centers
  • Eastland Mall
  • The Shoppes at College Hills
Movie Theaters
Normal Theater
209 North St.
(309) 454-9722
Movie Theaters
Starplex Cinemas
201 McKnight Dr.
(309) 454-1373
Major Sports Teams
  • Bloomington Extreme: Arena football
  • Bloomington Prairie Thunder: Minor league hockey
  • Normal Cornbelters: Baseball
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Chicago: : 2 hours
  • St. Louis: : 3 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 99 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 100 responses

  • 4% Painfully remote.
  • 6% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 14% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 67% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 9% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 99 responses

  • 2% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 29% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 69% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 99 responses

  • 28% No way.
  • 56% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 16% Totally.


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