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Bloomington, IN


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AwkwardPants - this is amazing! Thanks so much for all of the links too :) I was really excited to hear about the library - I am really into reading. I was in town during the little 500, and it seemed like a fun tradition! I'm definetly going to hit up the farmer's market, and try the cool retaurants out when I move in July. Do you have any suggestions on coffee shops?

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You might be able to create an IU account now if you know your student number. The student number probably isn't on the CAS site but it might have been in your acceptance letter or something. You can

If you're a stereotypical west-coaster like I am: Coffee Joints to Check Out: Soma (on Grant St) Hopscotch Crumble If co-ops are your thing, I have enjoyed being a member

Thank you, it's been going great! I have decided to attend IU, but I can understand why you wouldn't. I wish you the best of luck wherever you decided to go!  

Upland and Lennie's are great too! Upland is especially nice in the summer. When the undergrads are in town during the rest of the year, it can be a pain to try to get a table there.

 

As far as coffee shops go, Soma is probably the most popular of the local places. Of course there are several Starbucks around, but Soma is the non-chain place that has a nice "hang out here for a while!" vibe. The inside is a little cave-like, though. I think some people like The Pourhouse Cafe, but I've never been there. (I'm not a huge coffee drinker.) One of my favorite places to go in the morning (though they're open all day) is the Bloomington Bagel Company. They have coffee, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, assorted baked goods, etc. They seem to have gotten a little pricier in recent years, but it's still a nice treat because the food and the customer service are both excellent.

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  • 5 months later...

Hello everyone,

 

I'd really be thankful if someone could give me an insight on living in Bloomington.

I am an international prospective student who is applying to 5 PhD programs this Fall, and one of my preferences is in Bloomington.

 

However, I have met several Americans recently who strongly discouraged me to go there. They say the university is great, but the city is not really a city but a village, and it can get depressing fast. This makes me a little uneasy. I'm not very fond of the idea of moving to someplace potentially depressing for 4-6 years. :-/

 

Can anyone give me feedback on this & on their experience in Bloomington (especially in a PhD program)?

Thank you

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  • 3 months later...

Bump, as I am interested in the above question too. Does Bloomington ever feel small and isolated, or is there enough going on and it's connected to enough bigger cities that you don't feel trapped?

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I just went on a campus visit last week - I liked Bloomington a lot more than I thought I would. It's a cute, fun, and overall quiet town. If you need a big city to be happy, you probably won't like it. It seems that except for certain bars and restaurants, everything is closed by 9 or 10 on a weeknight. Overall, I found the people to be open-minded, but also clean-cut. For example, there is a definite drinking culture, but at the same time they are very strict about underage drinking - I picked up a six pack and not only was my license closely examined, but I needed to show a credit card with the same name on it, and be able to answer a few questions about my age and ID. (This may be normal depending on where you're from - where I'm from it would definitely be considered overboard.) I, personally, am cool with it, cause it's irrelevant to me, and I think underage drinking only adds more headaches to a town. I was surprised how many students I saw studying, everywhere. It's made my decision about where to go to grad school that much more difficult - it was a back-up option that rose significantly in my opinion after visiting. If you have any specific questions (that a visitor can answer) let me know. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

As far as safety issues... there was a girl who disappeared from there a couple of years ago (got quite a bit of play in the media, though not on the level of a Natalee Holloway or anything like that), though of course that could happen anywhere. I bring it up because someone was talking about their girlfriend taking a walk at 5am - maybe not the best idea. 😕

 

 

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  • 9 months later...

Bump!

 

I have applied for the PhD program at IU and have no qualms about living in a "village" for 4-5 years. I love a village setup compared to a city! :)

 

In case accepted, I would be moving there with my family of three kids!

 

Any suggestions on a decent place to live (budget and good!) ? how about the university family accommodation? 

 

I am more keen to know about the place since I have to look up to the corresponding school district since I have one of my kids has to go to school.

 

Thanks and cheers! 

 

 

 

Thanks a ton!

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I too applied to IU and very much considering moving there, with no problems about "village" life (lived in Davis for 3 some years). Ive been looking at craigslist ads and zillow just price estimation. Any suggestions on local apartments vs on-campus living? 

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Hi -

 

I tried to look up....but could not gather anything specific.

 

But overall it looks to be a reasonable place to live (and enjoy!). 

 

I am awaiting my results (accepted/rejected) and based on that will dig deeper. Meanwhile, if anyone can pamper me with some ready information, that would be great! :)

 

- Cheers!

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Hi guys,

 

Im currently an MA student at IU. I actually like living in Bloomington a lot (I moved from a larger city), because its easy to get around and affordable. I have been able to keep myself busy and develop some fun new pastimes here (its a good place to explore your outdoorsy side, or your musical side-- the music scene here is pretty fantastic for a town of this size). 

 

As far as where to live, I would recommend against the on-campus graduate student housing (unless your program is paying for it, which I've heard to happening for one or two people). Its fine, but you can get nicer places, reasonably close to campus, for a better price. I do know of some international students who didn't want to deal with finding a place the first year who lived on campus, and said it was fine, but they all moved off campus by their second year. 

 

In general in terms of nice areas to live (I think this has been mentioned in this thread before), you'll probably fine as long as you avoid the area by the stadium. I really like area the several blocks south of campus, the Bryan Park and Elm Heights area, although its mostly houses, so its better for families (or for having housemates). The Prospect Hill neighborhood just to the west of campus also seems like a nice place to rent a reasonably price house.

 

A lot of graduate students live east of campus by college mall, or just south of campus (between 3rd and 1st street). Many apartment complexes in these areas cater specifically to graduate students, and refuse to rent to undergraduate. In these types of places, you can pay anywhere from 450-700 dollars for a one bedroom. You can pay less rent if you go in with a roommate for a 2 bedroom type deal.

 

House owners post on craigslist, although you'll have to sort through the ads from the big apartment complex companies to find them. To find decent apartment complexes that rent to primarily to grads, just do a google search of something like "bloomington, in graduate apartments special," or spend enough time on craigslist.

 

Hope that helps, and best of luck with your applications!

Edited by nT678
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  • 1 month later...

As a fellow Bloomingtonian, I can second all that AwkwardPants said! As far as your question about "weirdness" goes, I'm not quite sure what you mean but I can try to speak from my own experience. I think you'll meet plenty of people who are into "alternative" lifestyles around Bloomington. I'm in the humanities, so I can't speak to all of IU, but lots of my peers are into things like tattoos/piercings, different senses of personal style, things like veganism or straightedge lifestyles, and can be quite vocal about political opinions or social justice. Basically, I think you'll find that Bloomington is a fairly liberal community (especially for Southern Indiana). I see you're in sociology, and while I don't have knowledge of that specific program, I think the majority of the graduate courses here take a more informal approach- present yourself however you're most comfortable, and people aren't likely to judge you for it.

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Now I will second what pawnee_IN said! There's definitely a pretty high tolerance for "weirdness" here, as far as manner of dress, gender expression, hairstyles, etc. I'm a fairly masculine lesbian, and I find that I very rarely get "sirred" here and have only once in six years had a sort of stressful public restroom encounter. My partner and I got married in January, and we had nothing but enthusiasm and excitement from all the vendors and civic officials we worked with throughout that process. (We get the sense that most people are happy for us, maybe even more so than if we were an opposite-sex couple.)

 

I do fairly frequently have these moments where I think to myself, "Only in Bloomington..." As an example, there's an older gentleman who rides around town with a parrot perched on the back of his bicycle. Charlie (the parrot) has become something of a local celebrity, and he's now featured on bus ads that say "Charlie doesn't fly through stop signs, and you shouldn't either." Here's an article from the local paper about him.

 

There are also so many events and festivals and groups around here that are a little off the beaten path that nobody really seems to pay much attention to what other people are doing. I personally have seen both a Quidditch match and a live-action role-playing group in Bryan Park (on different days). There's a local punk scene and a poly scene and some anarchists around. I know several people who are into contra dancing, which I hear is a great way to meet new people. There's also people who do hashing (the non-competitive running/drinking club). Lots of restaurants with vegan options. I don't know if this covers the types of "weirdness" you're asking about, but this should give you some of the local flavor. It isn't Portland, but it's the kind of place that allows you to appreciate the jokes on the TV show Portlandia, if that makes sense. I do think you'd feel a little isolated and out of place here if you considered yourself a conservative person with old-fashioned values. I don't know anything about the culture of the Sociology Department, but I would be totally shocked if it weren't in this same vein.

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  • 3 weeks later...

When would be a good time to start looking for apartments? I've already found a few available on the eastern side of campus. Im also looking at southside, between 1st and 4th street, but I only found a few potential places. 

 

Living in Bloomington, does one need a car? This is something Ive been meditating on. Im currently looking at estimates to have my Jeep delivered to IN, but they are very expensive. Likewise, driving across country will take a toll. Im thinking maybe selling my car before I move, and buying a cheaper one when im IN. Thoughts?

 

Also, how bad does the winter season get? Ive seen pictures with snow as high as 2 feet. How does this effect bike travel? And if one cannot ride a bike during winter, nor have an available car, how does one grocery shop? It sounds like Id need to take multiple trips weekly to get all my groceries.

Edited by LeventeL
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When would be a good time to start looking for apartments? I've already found a few available on the eastern side of campus. Im also looking at southside, between 1st and 4th street, but I only found a few potential places. 

 

Living in Bloomington, does one need a car? This is something Ive been meditating on. Im currently looking at estimates to have my Jeep delivered to IN, but they are very expensive. Likewise, driving across country will take a toll. Im thinking maybe selling my car before I move, and buying a cheaper one when im IN. Thoughts?

 

Also, how bad does the winter season get? Ive seen pictures with snow as high as 2 feet. How does this effect bike travel? And if one cannot ride a bike during winter, nor have an available car, how does one grocery shop? It sounds like Id need to take multiple trips weekly to get all my groceries. 

 

Now is the time to start looking for apartments. March/April are the peak times before things start to fill up. If you find somewhere you like, I'd be proactive about going after it. It certainly isn't impossible to find somewhere by summer, but your options will start to become more limited.

 

I know a few people who have lived in Bloomington without a car. It certainly isn't impossible, but carless living here isn't as convenient as it is in other places. If you aren't planning to have a car, you'll probably want to make sure you examine the bus map fully before deciding where to live. Even if you live on a bus line, the busses vary in how often they run and whether they run at all in the summer and on weekends.

 

Biking is a viable option for most of the year. There have been incremental improvements to streets around town in the last few years to make biking safer. I don't know a ton about biking in the winter, but I think some people do it. Generally Bloomington gets cold in the winter, but the several inches of snow that stayed for weeks was a total anomaly this year. However, we do usually get at least one big ice storm, which makes biking (and walking around!) treacherous. I know one person who gets a cab every so often to make a big shopping trip. (I think she rides the bus to the store and then gets the cab for the trip home with all her bags.) I've also seen Zipcars parked by the Indiana Memorial Union, so that's an option.

Edited by AwkwardPants
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just officially accepted my offer of admission! I'm going to Bloomington in two weeks to find an apartment. I've been researching a lot and so far I really like Fountain Park (east of campus on 10th street) and Heritage Apartments (south of campus on Hillside Drive), both managed by Regency. Anybody have any experience with these? Ideally I'd like to be a little closer, but I also want to be safely away from the undergrad party scene. 

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I just accepted my offer from IUB and I am over the moon! I'm looking for information regarding housing. Specifically smaller complexes or small houses for rent in the area. I will be visiting campus on the 21st and I would love to check out any places that are recommended!

Thank you in advance!

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Teddy, I suggest looking at Cedar Gate or Fountain Park.  When I first moved to Bloomington, I lived on the south side of town, and I will say that is about as seedy as Bloomington gets.  They are both close to bus routes and close to campus.  Fountain park is right on the 6 route, but as a previous poster noted, the 6 route is cut back during breaks.  Cedar Gate is in the middle of the 6 and the 9 routes, and the 9 is definitely a more frequent route during the off season. Cedar Gate is a little more affordable, but they are under new management and a little further away from both bus routes. 

 

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Hi all, I will be moving to Bloomington in the fall to start a PhD program in Psychology. I visited Fountain Park and Woodbridge Apartments just today, but $650-665 seems high to me for rent with no utilities covered. 

 

What do you all think?

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Hi all, I will be moving to Bloomington in the fall to start a PhD program in Psychology. I visited Fountain Park and Woodbridge Apartments just today, but $650-665 seems high to me for rent with no utilities covered. 

 

What do you all think?

I think that's pretty affordable for the location.. Is it a single? If so, then definitely cheaper than places downtown or closer to campus. Downside is relying on the 6 bus. There's also apartments off of Covenanter that are pretty nice I hear. 

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Hi all, I will be moving to Bloomington in the fall to start a PhD program in Psychology. I visited Fountain Park and Woodbridge Apartments just today, but $650-665 seems high to me for rent with no utilities covered. 

 

What do you all think?

As fancyfeast said, it is pretty affordable for that specific location; however I highly suggest that you keep looking. I found a house on the eastern side of campus and only about a mile away. Its a 3 bed/3bath, two grad students live in the other rooms, and rent is $475 (with utilities + internet included). Visit IU's Housing Board, thats where a lot of grad students list available room rentals/trades.

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