Local Area

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Local Area


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3 College Junior

Local Area: The local area is okay, but I am personally more of a large city kind of person. So, it's a nice getaway from the city but I would not plan on living there.

4 College Freshman

Local Area: Bloomington Normal is a great college town. I haven't explored it much, but I will in the future

3 College Junior

Local Area: Neither Bloomington or Normal are exciting. Not much to do for students.

4 College Freshman

Local Area: Whether it's downtown Bloomington or uptown Normal, there's tons of restaurant/shopping choices within 5-15 minutes. A few sketchy neighborhoods but nice areas as well.

4 College Junior

Local Area: It is a great college town!


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Most Illinois Wesleyan University students will never escape the Wesleyan bubble. The bubble captures students and keeps them on campus for lack of a car, motivation, time, and so on. When students manage to make it off campus, popular draws are downtown and ISU. Since most students hail from the suburbs, they acquaint themselves with Main Street, and the rest of the town might as well not exist. There are a good number of bookstores and coffeeshops for students who want to relax off campus, and they are fairly easy to find; it's a small town. You'll have to go to nearby Peoria or Champaign to go to larger events, like concerts. Champaign is a big draw for its bars since no one under the age of 21 is allowed inside Bloomington bars.

Bloomington has a lot to offer for a small community. The people here acknowledge that Bloomington is in central Illinois, and the Midwest is not the most exciting or geographically diverse area in the nation. The community here embraces that. There is enough diversity in lifestyle choice and just enough eccentric people downtown to make things interesting. There is always something to do in town, but it often turns out to be the same thing: catch a movie, go downtown, or visit ISU. The new Coliseum built in downtown Bloomington draws a number of large shows and concerts, as well as indoor football games, ice hockey, and the occasional rodeo and Monster truck rally. The University of Illinois is located nearby in Champaign, and many students make the 45-minute drive to party.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. The first Steak 'n Shake was built in Bloomington-Normal. It has since been converted into a Monical's Pizza.
  2. Bloomington and Normal are twin cities. Normal was named after the founding of Illinois Normal State University by the town's founder.
  3. Three major corporations got their start in Bloomington: State Farm Insurance, Beer Nuts, and Nestle Beich.
  4. Central Illinois is prone to tornadoes, but Bloomington has never suffered a direct hit. This is because Bloomington-Normal is on low-lying land surrounded by rolling hills, which creates a valley.
  5. Bloomington is home to the American Rabbit Breeders Association's headquarters.
Notable Natives
  • Sean Hayes
  • John Malkovich
  • Adlai Stevenson
Local Slang
  • Hellaboosy: Awesome
  • Weak Sauce: Lame
  • What's good in the hood?: What's going on in the neighborhood?
  • Yessir: Correct, affirmative
Points of Interest
  • Historic Downtown Bloomington
  • Miller Park
  • Starved Rock Preservation
Shopping Centers
  • Eastland Mall
  • The Shoppes at College Hills
  • The Shoppes at Grand Prarie
Movie Theaters
Castle Theater
209 E. Washington St.
(309) 829-4647
Movie Theaters
University Cinemas
1010 S. Main St.
(309) 862-2221
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Chicago: : 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • St. Louis: : 3 hours, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 31 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 32 responses

  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 69% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 22% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 9% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 0% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 32 responses

  • 88% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 9% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 3% There aren't any nearby schools.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 32 responses

  • 9% Totally.
  • 56% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 34% No way.
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