One of the chief draws to Bloomington is the beauty of the surrounding environment. The town was named for what it does, and in the spring, there is no refuting the awe-inspiring scenery. In addition to Hoosier National Forest, which is a short drive from campus, there are many hiking trails and forested areas for the aspiring naturalist. You're apt to find locals who chose Bloomington for the surrounding countryside and students from major cities who add to the mix, making the small town eclectic and refreshing. As in any small town, close-mindedness is not unheard of. Fortunately, this negative way of thinking is mostly drowned out by the liberal attitudes on campus.
Without the college, Bloomington may be just like any number of other small Indiana towns: rural, serene, and not all that enticing to most college students. However, IU brings such a magnitude of diversity to the city that it far surpasses the norm. You'll find everything from small businesses where the owners know the clientele by name, to chains like Borders, Best Buy, and McDonald's. There are plenty of clubs and bars to sate the partygoers' thirsts, and just as many coffeeshops and art galleries. Bloomington houses students and faculty who are interested in a vast array of hobbies, pastimes, and passions, as well as the locals and some small-town vibes. Whether you want intimacy or anonymity, open air or indoor recreation, the variety of just plain nice folks in Bloomington will help you get what you're looking for.