Bloomington, Indiana is bursting with autumn adventures, fall flavors, and some of the best ways to enjoy fall foliage. Here’s how to enjoy autumn adventure by water, land, and even air.
Though it might be hard to convince some people of this, Bloomington in the fall when the leaves turn jewel shades of garnet, tangerine quartz, and tourmaline (or red, orange, and yellow) is more than college football. Here in this college town where Indiana University’s campus melds into the historic downtown, there are seasonal festivals and flavors, cool, crisp weather, wineries, distilleries, and breweries as well as an amazing selection of ethnic restaurants including not one but two Tibetan eateries. In all, Bloomington, Indiana is a one stop shop for all the fall feels.
On the water: Monroe County boasts three lakes, and each takes on a magical, majestic air and outdoor adventures during autumn. The rolling hills filled with orange, red, and yellow-leaved trees reflecting in the water is a breathtaking experience every visitor should check out during the fall season. Seasonal activities include boat rentals allowing visitors to cruise for the best fall foliage view. There’s also seasonal biking, fishing, hiking, campgrounds and more.
In the air: Nothing beats a fall foliage view from the top. While Bloomington is one of the Midwest’s top birding locations, nothing beats a bird eye’s view of the beautiful earth below. Bloomington is home to three popular hot air balloon companies including SkyVista Ballooning which offers a unique and customizable hot air balloon ride experience for everyone embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. For those who prefer to use their feet for a view from the top can climb the 133-step Hickory Ridge Fire Tower and snap a photo of the fall-toned tree tops. An autumnal view of Monroe County like no other. Nature lovers and avid hikers will be amazed by the Hoosier National Forest during fall.
Speaking of balloons, Bloomington is home to several seasonal festivals including the 10th annual Kiwanis Indiana Balloon Fest; Lotus World Music & Arts Festival; Hilly Hundred Bicycle Tour, and more.
On land: Indiana University, one of the most stunning college campuses in the country, shows off its colors in the fall (on the football field and campus). Be sure to attend a fall football game and/or take a trip to the campus.
Fall foodies enjoy all the season’s best flavors throughout town such as Apple Pie Wine at Oliver Winery, Oktoberfest at Upland Brewing Co, pumpkin pancakes at Village Deli, a Jack-O-Lantern Latte (made with local Dillman Farms pumpkin butter) over at Hopscotch Coffee, and so much more (there are over 350+ restaurants in Bloomington!).
And because fall season is also spooky season, for those interested in the other kind of “spirits” Bloomington is a great destination for Halloween vibes. Graduate Bloomington Hotel, a pet friendly place to stay, has a room dedicated to the hit Netflix show Stranger Things and if that’s not creepy enough, Bloomington offers cemetery hikes and tours with more Halloween activities to be announced soon. Mystery lovers will enjoy Indiana University’s Lilly Library Sherlock Holmes in 221 Objects exhibit on display now through December 16.