Downtown Bloomington, Indiana – A Quick Glimpse

Monroe County Courthouse

Earlier this fall I had a chance to visit downtown Bloomington, Indiana, while attending the Travel Media Showcase. It was my first visit to Bloomington and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised! While I only had one free afternoon and the opportunity to visit a small area, it gave me the impression of a full-fledged city with a cozy small-town feel and lots to see and do. Within just a few blocks I found history, shopping, food and culture.

Monroe County Courthouse Ceiling Bloomington

Historic Monroe County Courthouse

This beautiful Beau Arts style limestone building was built in 1826. From the beautiful entrance sculpture to the impressive octagonal dome to the rotunda’s restored murals by German artist Gustav A. Brand- – there is a lot to see. One of the things that I found the most interesting was an unassuming marker in the ground outside the courthouse. This Center of Population stone indicates that in 1910 the center of population for the United States was located in Bloomington.

Center of Population USA 1910 Census Bloomington Indiana

Fountain Square Mall Bloomington Indiana

Fountain Square Mall

For shopping, there are lots of shops housed in the Fountain Square Mall, which encompasses one whole side of the downtown square that was rebuilt and repurposed in the 1980s. Eight buildings were restored and connected to create the mall, which is now filled with unique, independently owned shops and service providers.

Pictura Gallery Bloomington Indiana

Pictura Gallery

To get your culture on, head over to Pictura Gallery. The gallery, which specializes in contemporary photography, has only been open for six years, but has already gained a great reputation and featured some amazing collections. I was fortunate when I visited to see the Steve McCurry exhibition. You most likely have seen his photo of an Afghan girl, which graced the cover of National Geographic in 1985. I was excited to see that photo, as well as his other amazing work.

Pictura Gallery Steve McCurry exhibition Afghan Girl

Uptown Cafe

Chef/Proprietor Michael Cassady has a gem in The Uptown Cafe, which he opened in a different location in 1976. His cooking is inspired by Louisiana cooking styles, especially by the late, great New Orleans Chef Paul Prudhomme. The decor of the restaurant pays hommage to that inspiration with beautiful paintings depicting New Orleans life. My vegetarian sandwich for lunch was delicious. My friend, Liz, went with a Louisiana classic, Red Beans and Rice, and it did not disappoint.

Uptown Cafe Bloomington Indiana Exterior Uptown Cafe Bloomington Indiana

B-Line Trail

To get out and enjoy some movement, the B-Line trail runs for 3.1 miles through Bloomington. The trail is an asphalt surface with gravel on each side if you prefer to do your running or walking on a softer surface. Besides helpful features like drinking fountains (for both humans and pets) and fitness stations, the trail is also home to some pretty cool outdoor art, including murals and sculptures.

B-Line Trail Bloomington Art

Bloomington B-Line Trail Art

My time to explore Blooomington, Indiana, was very limited and I look forward to visiting again to see the rest of what the city has to offer.

Have you visited Bloomington? Tell me what else I should see/do next time I’m there!' About Chrysa

Chrysa is the founder and owner of, a site dedicated to living a fabulous life on a frugal budget. Her approach is that by spending less on the boring everyday stuff, you can have more money to splurge on the things you REALLY want, whether it’s travel, fashion, electronics – you name it! Chrysa is married, has a 8-year old nephew she dotes on, as well as three lovable cats and a big sweetie of a German Shepherd.


  1. What a charming place to visit. I have never been to Indiana at all, so I would love to spend some time in Bloomington!

  2. I love all the artwork! It looks like an amazing place to visit! As soon as my kids get old enough, I want to start traveling more and see places all over the US like this one!

  3. Wow great photos! Being from Canada I don’t hear about many places in the USA, but I will say I have heard of Bloomington before and its gorgeous!

  4. What a cute town!! 🙂 It looks like so much fun; I’d love to visit!

  5. My friend’s family is from Indiana, near Bloomington if I remember correctly. She’s always after me to join her for a visit!

  6. I really enjoyed the time we spent there even though it was quick. It’s such a charming community, and I loved strolling around!

  7. I have visited several places in Illinois, but never Bloomington. From all of your lovely pictures, it looks like a place that should be on my radar!

  8. I’ve never been to Bloomington, Indiana. I would like to go and see the beautiful court house and try some of that good food!

  9. I love this! My friend actually lives out that way and she speaks so highly of Bloomington. I need to get out there and visit. This is such a charming area.

  10. This looks like a great place to visit. I love all those photos. The food looks yummy too!

  11. how awesome. you captured some great pics and the food looks amazing.

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