10 Things To Do On Your Next Ride in Bloomington, Indiana

10 Things To Do On Your Next Ride in Bloomington, Indiana

Just 50 miles south of Indianapolis, you’ll find a vibrant university town with youthful energy. Bloomington, IN, might not be the first place you think of when planning your next motorcycle tour, but for many in the Midwest, it’s a charming spot for a long weekend getaway—complete with scenic landscapes, curvy roads, and plenty of places to get a delicious bite to eat.

Bloomington serves as both a cultural and educational hub for this region. It’s home to the renowned Indiana University. The college’s establishment in 1820 had a profound impact on the town, shaping its character and contributing to its growth. It has since become a cornerstone of Bloomington, influencing its cultural, intellectual, and economic landscape. The city has evolved into a vibrant community, blending an academic air with a rich cultural scene, diverse industries, and a commitment to preserving its historic charm.

Today, the city offers residents and visitors a unique glimpse into its storied past and promising future. The town is truly a melting pot of individuality, clearly visible as you walk the streets and patronize the restaurants and shops.

Bloomington’s arts scene caters to a diverse audience with theaters, art galleries, live music, and comedy venues. The downtown’s historic architecture and welcoming atmosphere eases you into its streets to explore local shops, restaurants, and cafes, creating a lively and engaging urban environment.

Nature lovers will feel at home in Bloomington, too, as they enjoy the surrounding landscapes, including the expansive Hoosier National Forest and Yellowwood State Forest. These natural gems provide myriad opportunities for outdoor activities, from simple hiking to virtually every other possible way of exploring the serene beauty of Indiana’s countryside.

Brown County Scenic Byway

Renowned for its winding roads and lush landscapes, the Brown County Scenic Byway offers motorcyclists a thrilling and picturesque ride through the hills and forests of southern Indiana. Here, you’ll find hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and opportunities for outdoor activities amidst the area’s stunning natural beauty.

Hoosier National Forest

Visiting Hoosier National Forest is an immersive journey into the heart of Indiana’s wilderness. Whether hiking through the greenery, exploring the network of winding roads, or simply enjoying a peaceful retreat, Hoosier National Forest offers a captivating escape into the natural beauty of southern Indiana.

Hickory Ridge Fire Tower

Located a few miles down a gravel road inside the Hoosier National Forest, 133 steps take you up to the top of the 110-foot Hickory Ridge Fire Tower. At the top opens a unique panoramic vista of the region’s rolling hills. The inside is also decorated—or vandalized, depending on your feelings—with colorful graffiti (and perhaps even a RoadRUNNER sticker).

Lake Monroe

Indiana’s largest inland lake, Lake Monroe is surrounded by gorgeous hills and dense woodlands, providing a stunning backdrop for riders. Fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, and watersports are just a few of the activities you can keep yourself busy with while visiting Lake Monroe. After a fun ride, unwind by the lake and soak in the tranquility of the scenery.

Indiana University

Explore the picturesque Indiana University campus, featuring iconic limestone buildings, the Sample Gates, and the beautiful Dunn’s Wood. Attend cultural events, visit museums, check out the greenhouse, or take a leisurely stroll through the grounds.

B-Line Trail

Enjoy a walk, jog, or a bike ride along the B-Line Trail, which winds through downtown Bloomington, connecting parks, cultural sites, historical landmarks, and local businesses. Follow this trail for a fun urban adventure on foot after a day of riding.

Oliver Winery

A visit to Oliver Winery will have you indulging in fine wine while enjoying the peaceful surroundings of the vineyards. Tours are available to get a closer look at the operation. This is a great spot to relax after a long day in the saddle.

Cutright State Recreation Area

Just a few miles south along SR 446, you will find Cutright State Recreation Area. The location offers swimming, camping, fishing, hiking, and boat launch access. Near the entrance parking lot, you can hike into the woods to find the Zoom Flume, an abandoned water slide turned graffiti haunt.

SR 135

Running through Brown County, SR 135 dishes up a mix of gentle curves and straight stretches, providing an enjoyable ride with scenic views. Connecting charming towns and showcasing the region’s natural beauty, SR 135 invites motorcyclists to experience the heartland’s allure with each twist and turn.

Bloomington Nightlife

Downtown Bloomington is home to many live music venues, theaters, and galleries. While you’re in town, some of the best venues to check out include the Bluebird, IU Auditorium, and the Comedy Attic. You’ll also find many breweries and restaurants to quench your thirst and appetite. My particular favorite is Upland Brewing Co. with its unique spin on a whipped feta dip!