Introduction to Bloomington, Illinois
Bloomington is located in McLean County and is part of the Bloomington-Normal Metropolitan area. The city is home to the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, which is recognized as one of the best Shakespearean events in the nation. In 2007 the publication, Computerworld selected Bloomington-Normal as the sixth most "techiest" community in the country. In 2008 Forbes.com recognized the metropolitan area as the twentieth smartest community in the nation. Golf Digest named Bloomington-Normal as one of the five best locations for playing golf in the country. State Farm Insurance is one of the city's major employers.
The Kickapoo Indians were the original inhabitants. The first group of non-native settlers arrived in the 1820's. Farmers were attracted by the fertile soil and agriculture became an important factor for the economy. Downtown became a thriving agriculture and commerce center. It has been noted that Abraham Lincoln, while working in the field of law would do business in the town center.
In the year 1900 a major fire destroyed most of the downtown. During the early portion of the 20th Century, Bloomington experienced significant growth due to agriculture and the building of highways and railroads and the flourishing insurance companies, especially State Farm Insurance.
- Challenger Learning Center located at the Prairie Aviation Museum provides opportunities for simulated space and science activities with team programs for students, the public as well as corporate organizations.
- Grady's Family Fun Park includes a miniature golf course, go-carts and rides for kids.
- The Pepsi Ice Center offers indoor ice skating and incudes a hockey program.
- The U.S. Cellular Coliseum is utilized for sporting events, family entertainment, concerts and other events.
- The Bloomington Extreme are part of the United Indoor Football League.
- The Prairie Thunder participate in the International Hockey League.
- Upper Limits Indoor Rock Climbing Gym has a variety of climbing areas including a boulder area located outside.
- The Miller Park Zoo contains a variety of noteworthy exhibits.
- The McLean County Museum of History offers exhibits regarding the history of Central Illinois.
The Bloomington-Normal Constitution Trail provides opportunities for jogging, walking and cycling. The city is renowned for its golf courses. The Den at Fox Creek is a popular four star course. There are numerous other quality courses including Highland Park Golf Course, the Links at Ireland Grove, and Prairie Vista Golf Course.
Arts and Theatre
- The American Passion Play
- Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
- The Illinois Shakespeare Festival
- Illinois Symphony Orchestra
- McLean County Arts Center
- Ewing Manor is situated in a wooded environment and is a wonderful example of the Channel-Normal style of architecture.
- The David Davis Mansion was designed with Italianate and Second Empire features.
- The Vrooman Mansion is included in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Rubin Benjamin House.
- McLean County Courthouse.
- Stevenson House.
- Robert Greenlee House.
Bloomington is home to Illinois Wesleyan University.