The BN Advantage is easiest to see when the mood is the lightest. If outdoor adventure is your thing, you can visit our indoor rock climbing gym - with 65-foot silos. The youngest residents of McLean County quickly fall in love with the Children's Discovery Museum. For lighter leisure, two malls, a farmer's market, two aquatic centers, and dozens of recreational parks offer the perfect setting.  When you're just looking to get out and stretch your legs, the Constitution Trail weaves its way through the heart and soul of the Twin Cities.

Bloomington-Normal is home to the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, the Cruisin' with Lincoln on Route 66 Visitors Center, and two restored theaters - one for classic films and the other for the cutting edge of musical entertainment. The list goes on and on, but the exploring is the best part.

It's time to find your BN Adventure.

Uptown Normal

Uptown Normal brings the vibrancy of a communal and cultural center. Adjacent to Illinois State University, Uptown features plenty of entertainment and life for all ages. Shopping options range from collegiate gear to local art, boutiques to record stores, and comic books to fitness shops of all types. The eclectic mix and convenient location offers something for everyone.


Downtown Bloomington

Whether you enjoy browsing antiques, strolling art galleries, refining your wardrobe, or unwinding among numerous boutiques, Downtown Bloomington offers something for you. You can peruse formal wear, board games, home brewing, bakeries, historic treasures, and so much more. Pick up a new hobby or indulge an old one downtown.


Shoppes at College Hills

You can find the major staples like Gordmans, Target, and Von Maur or you can enjoy the unique with Francesca’s, Tuesday Morning, or the BEER NUTS Company Store.


Empire Crossing

The recently updated shopping center features fan favorites in Dick's Sporting Goods, Five Below, DSW, and HomeGoods - and so much more.

Farmer’s Market

The Bloomington Farmers Market takes place on the historic downtown square every Saturday morning from May to October. Urban meets rural with locally grown food products, musical entertainment, and cooking demonstrations.


Miller Park

Featuring paddle boating on the lake, mini golf, a splash park, and sand volleyball courts for the outdoors and the Pavilion for indoor activities, Miller Park is a year-round attraction.


Constitution Trail

Originally a pedestrian trail built on an abandoned railway, Constitution Trail now stretches over 45 miles across the Twin Cities and services cyclists, runners, or walkers alike.


Champion Fields

These 10 lighted softball fields at Maxwell Park in Normal play host to numerous regional, national, and world tournaments – as well as annual community leagues and events.


Fairview/Anderson Aquatic Centers

Slides, spray toys, diving, and lap swimming cool down those long, hot summer days at both centers in Normal.


Miller Park Zoo

A fan favorite of Bloomington-Normal’s youngest audience, Miller Park Zoo is perfect for a day outing, birthday party, or one of the numerous special events hosted throughout the year. Harbor seals, river otters, snow leopards, sun bears, and a Sumatran tiger are just a taste of what awaits. The zoo also offers animal education through the Junior Zookeeper program and other volunteer opportunities.


Bloomington Parks and Rec

38 municipal parks, three golf courses, two aquatic facilities, and an ice rink bring year-round action, adventure, and entertainment to Bloomington residents.


Normal Parks and Rec

Features 17 parks, two aquatic centers, the Connie Link Amphitheatre, golf course, and dog parks.


Comlara Park

Cookouts, hiking, and camping are just a few of the many activities at the outdoor destination near Hudson. The 900-acre Evergreen Lake offers plenty of chances to fish, boat, swim, or enjoy a McLean County sunset.


Route 66

America’s most famous road runs right through the heart of Bloomington-Normal. From Towanda to Funks Grove and everything in between, vast pages of history await your drive.


McLean County Museum of History

The museum showcases five permanent and two rotating exhibits. The staff preserves 19,000 objects that tell of McLean County’s rich and fascinating story.


Illinois State Sports

With a commitment to academic and athletic excellence in 17 varsity sports, the Redbirds continue to fly to new heights on and off the field. The 13,391-seat Hancock Stadium is the epicenter.


Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts

Built in 1921 and renovated in the early 2000s, the former Scottish Rite Temple has served as a premier Midwestern destination for music, theatre, and other performing arts.



Home to Illinois High School Association regional and state tournaments, Central Illinois Flying Aces hockey, Express basketball, and Edge indoor football along with numerous concerts and trade shows.

Shakespeare Festival

Since beginning in 1978 on the tennis courts at Ewing Manor, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival has grown into a professional and nationally-renowned theatre.


Children's Discovery Museum

Inspiring a love of learning through the Power of Play, the CDM provides hands-on exhibits, classes, and programs that actively engage visitors in experiences that stimulate imagination, curiosity, and wonder.

Gamma Phi Circus

Central Illinois’ deep circus history continues in America’s oldest collegiate circus. Since 1929, Gamma Phi has dazzled audiences around Illinois from its base at Illinois State University.


University Galleries of Illinois State

University Galleries of Illinois State University showcases contemporary art with a mission to foster a greater understanding in urban and rural communities while providing support for artists.


Castle Theatre

The Castle brings local and national emerging and established musicians. The space is available for events, children’s performances, private parties, shows, and recitals.


CornBelters/Corn Crib

Home to the Normal Corn Belters, the Corn Crib also hosts summer concerts, Heartland Community College athletics, and the annual Bruegala Beer Fest.


McLean County Arts Center

Promoting appreciation, cultivation, and practice of the Arts in McLean County, the MCAC exhibits local art and provides instruction and inspiration.


Normal Theater

A classic throwback to the magical era of movie-going, Normal Theater shows the all-time greats as well as emerging art films and documentaries from local and national producers.


Sugar Creek Arts Festival

This festival highlights 128 artists from around the country every July on the streets of Uptown Normal.


Summer Concerts

Major annual events include the WGLT Summer Concert on the downtown square, Concerts on the Quad at ISU, and the Summer Series at the Corn Crib – along with many more.



Biaggi’s is a local entrepreneurial success story. From the 1999 opening of its first dining establishment in Bloomington, Biaggi’s has grown to 20 company-owned restaurants in ten states.


Coffee Hound

A reputation for fresh, specialty coffee draws crowds of java lovers to Coffee Hound in Downtown Bloomington and Uptown Normal.


Fort Jesse Cafe

If you're searching for brunch in BN, the wait is worth the effort. In fact, Fort Jesse Cafe was named as one of Illinois' "11 Restaurants the are Hard to Get in but Totally Worth it" by Only in Your State.



With tree branches soaring to the ceiling and a view of Uptown Normal, Medici offers a unique dining experience. Medeci’s outdoor festivals, like Craft Beer and Jazz, pack North Street.


Lucca Grill

Established in 1936 by brothers Fred and John Baldini, the first pizza place in Central Illinois is named for their hometown of Lucca, Italy. This place is called "the melting pot of McLean County" for a reason.

Carl’s Ice Cream

With locations in Bloomington and Normal, Carl’s has satisfied BN’s ice cream cravings for more than 40 years.


Anju Above

Anju Above is one of three area farm-to-fork restaurants owned by Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group - providing McLean County with fresh, local food from the company’s sustainable, “beyond organic” farms.