BN Life

BN A to Z

Discover the people, places and things that make BN such a unique place to visit!


A)  Avanti’s Italian Restaurant
Avanti’s was founded in BN in 1971, and now has two locations. They serve pizza, pasta, and of course, their famous gondola.

B) Beer Nuts
BN is the only city in the world where Beer Nuts are made. It has been a BN favorite since 1937, and produces different types of nuts covered with a sweet and salty glaze.

C) College Town
BN is home to not one, but two renowned universities: Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University. Go Redbirds and Titans!

D) Downtown Bloomington
Plan some down time today! A day in downtown includes endless opportunities for shopping, dining and live entertainment. The Downtown Bloomington Association sponsors many events throughout the year for residents and visitors, including F1rst Fr1days and various festivals.

E) Entertainment
Visitors can enjoy an ice show at Grossinger Motors Arena, a Broadway show or play at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, or a concert at the Castle Theatre.

F) Farmers’ Market
Run by the Downtown Bloomington Association, the outdoor farmers’ market is held weekly on Museum Square from May-October, and then moves to Grossinger Motors Arena once a month from December-April.

G)  Golf
From 9 holes to 18, courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Roger Packard, and practice greens and driving ranges, BN has 9 different golf courses for you to choose from.

H) History
BN has witnessed both important people and moments in history in its time. The McLean County Museum of History is a great starting point to learn about our history.

I) Ice Cream
It is never too cold for ice cream here. Carl’s Ice Cream is a BN favorite, as is Gene’s Dairy Delight.

J) Juggling
The Gamma Phi Circus is the oldest collegiate circus in the nation. Held every year at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena, the circus features dazzling acrobatic and trapeze acts.

K) Kids
Need something to do with the little ones? We have numerous attractions that kids of all ages will enjoy, including the Children’s Discovery Museum, Grady’s Family Fun Park and Upper Limits Indoor Rock Climbing Gym.

L) Looking for Lincoln
Few places in Illinois played a more important role in shaping Lincoln’s political success than BN. The Looking for Lincoln Tour offers you a chance to walk in Lincoln’s footsteps. See the places where he stayed, worked and visited during his time here.

M) Midwest Nationals Wrestling Tournament
Since 2004, the Midwest Nationals Wrestling Tournament has attracted local youth and wrestlers from across the country. Held at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center, the tournament brings approximately 1,100 wrestlers to BN each year.

N) Nature
Let’s take this outside. BN offers some great locations for you to get out and enjoy nature: explore Sugar Grove Nature Center, ride your bike on the Constitution Trail or rent paddle boats at Evergreen Lake in Comlara Park.

O) Organic
Epiphany Farms practices the “farm to fork” concept, which practices sustainable, beyond organic, environmentally friendly techniques. During its growing season, the farm educations tour groups about ethical farming practices and inspires visitors about the future of farming, food and family.

P) Paint
Looking to let out your creative side? BN is home to over 20 art galleries. Take a painting class at the McLean County Arts Center, or enjoy a glass of wine at your class at Merlot and a Masterpiece.

Q) Quilts
McLean County’s Barn Quilt Heritage Trail is a celebration of the county’s farming heritage. Area barns have been decorated with 8×8-foot quilt squares. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the trail.

R) Route 66
BN is home to 11 historic and 13 major attractions on Route 66. You can stop by our office to pick up a map for a self-guided tour, or download a copy from our website.

S) State Farm
State Farm has been a good neighbor to Bloomington-Normal since it was founded here in 1922. BN continues to serve as its headquarters. With 14,109 employees, it’s BN’s largest employer.

T) To Be Or Not To Be
For the last 40 years, BN has been the home of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. The festival is held on the gorgeous grounds of Ewing Cultural Center. Grab some good friends, a picnic basket, and a bottle of wine and see one of The Bard’s masterpieces!

U) Uptown Normal
Whether you arrive by bicycle from the Constitution Trail, the train from Uptown Station or your own vehicle, visiting uptown Normal is stress-free and convenient. Attend a seasonal festival, or eat and shop at one of its many restaurants and stores.

V) Vineyards
Another glass? Wine not! There are several wineries surrounding the BN area, including Mackinaw Valley Vineyard and Sunset Lake Vineyards & Winery.

W) Windmills
The Twin Groves Windfarm is located on two prominent moraines in eastern McLean County. Tours of the farm include information on the facility which produces 396 megawatts of affordable, pollution-free wind energy.

X) Xylophone
Well-loved and highly respected, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra continues to perform beautiful music and stirring concerts. The Symphony Orchestra performs at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts where they hold five Masterworks concerts, two Pops concerts and three Chamber Orchestra concerts annually.

Y) Yourself
Need a little “me time” during your stay in BN? Plan a day that’s just for you! Make an appointment at one of our spas, treat yourself to a delicious bakery treat or indulge in some serious retail therapy.

Z) Zoo
Highlights of the Miller Park Zoo include the red pandas, snow leopards, red wolves and the Sumatran tiger. After you meet the animals, take a ride on the zoo’s carousel.




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