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Bloomington is situated in central Illinois, about 125 miles southwest of Chicago. The Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area has a population of roughly 125,000, and several major interstates and railroad lines converge here. Bloomington is also a bustling agricultural area, and it has both universities and hospitals as well as a convention center. A wide array of cultural and entertainment venues await in the Bloomington area for both residents and tourists.
Bloomington, IL, History
Bloomington was founded in 1822 as the village of Blooming Grove. It was initially located on the edge of a grove of trees along the Kickapoo River. McLean County was founded in 1831, at which time the village had a population of 150 people. Bloomington became the county seat when a man named James Allen donated 60 acres for the town. On July 4, 1831, lots of land were sold at a citywide party. The McLean County Sheriff’s Office handled law enforcement for Bloomington until 1850, when the Bloomington Police Department took over. That was also the year when the city’s government was chartered and Orrine Curtis became the first city marshal. Abraham Lincoln, then a lawyer from Springfield, regularly rode a circuit between Springfield and Bloomington to conduct business. A building on West Washington Street in Bloomington is reported to have been the place where Lincoln was first encouraged to run for president. A fire in 1900 burned many buildings in downtown Bloomington, but most of the buildings connected with Lincoln were untouched by the fire. Rebuilding happened quickly, and Bloomington continued to thrive.
The Bloomington-Normal area has a rich and engaging assortment of attractions that will satisfy residents and visitors of all ages. Attractions range from educational to purely fun and encompass both indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Redbird Arena in Normal, Illinois, is a venue for sporting events, concerts, and shows. This Illinois State University structure hosts basketball and volleyball events at both the collegiate and high school level, and interior features such as stage lighting and a portable wood floor make the arena versatile.
- The Challenger Learning Center is located on the campus of Heartland Community College. The mission of this center is to allow visitors to gain new STEM knowledge while inspiring students to pursue careers in STEM fields. Hands-on interactive experiences are ideal for students of all ages.
- The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Bloomington hosts performing arts events and offers educational opportunities. The center is also available for rental as an event venue.
- The Planetarium at Illinois State University offers public shows and special programs to educate visitors about what’s happening in the sky. Show times are scheduled weekly.
- The Illinois State University Horticulture Center spans 18 acres with a variety of display gardens, prairie areas, and even an outdoor classroom. The gardens are open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Where to Eat in Bloomington
The Bloomington-Normal area boasts a huge variety of eateries to appeal to any taste. From steakhouses to bars with craft beers on tap to comfortable chains that feel familiar, it’s an easy process to find a good place to eat.
- Ancho & Agave specializes in Mexican cuisine with a focus on fresh ingredients and a relaxed setting. Residents agree that this is the place to go for tacos and margaritas!
- Alexander’s Steakhouse in Normal is definitely the place for a great steak. Start with a shareable appetizer and move on to the enticing steak selection as you plan your dinner. Be sure to save room for dessert, too.
- For the perfect farm-to-table experience, visit Anju Above. The locally grown ingredients ensure that everything on the menu is fresh and in season. The vibe in the restaurant is anything but boring, and the big flavors promise a happy palate.
Where to Stay in Bloomington
Bloomington, Illinois, has a pleasing selection of accommodations both small and large. Those looking for something intimate will love a night or two at the Vrooman Mansion. This historic bed-and-breakfast has been making history since it was built in 1869 as a 17-room mansion for the Matthew Scott family. The bed-and-breakfast is conveniently located near many attractions. Bloomington also has a number of chain hotels in the area at different price points.
Bloomington, IL, has an average high temperature of 33 degrees in January and 87 degrees in July. The rainiest months of the year are May and August, and February is Bloomington’s driest month. Summers in Bloomington tend to be warm and humid, and winters are cold and windy. The low temperature doesn’t usually fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit or go above 92 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to visit Bloomington is between the middle of June and the middle of September.
Visit Our Office in Bloomington
The Foehr Group is proud to have been a top dentist in Bloomington, IL, for more than four decades, and we’d love to serve you, too. Our Bloomington dental group offers orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, emergency services, dentures, implants, and veneers. We’re also happy to provide consultations for specific services such as Invisalign. Bloomington, IL, residents can come to us for all their oral care needs! Patients of all ages are welcome in our office, and we work hard to provide the best experience possible for every patient. Call us today to book your appointment.