Bloomington, Illinois is a city in the heart of Central Illinois, about 64 miles northeast of Springfield, the State Capital. As well as being the only place in the world where Beer Nuts are manufactured and the birthplace of the Republican Party, Bloomington is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the United States and one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in Illinois.
The area of today’s Bloomington was once settled by the indigenous Kickapoo, until they were displaced by the first European colonists in the early 1820s who named it Bloomington Grove. James Allen, one of the promoters of the new County of McLean, donated 60 acres of land in order to establish the county seat of Bloomington. Its lots were sold at a festival on July 4th in 1831. In the early years of the city, Abraham Lincoln often conducted business from the Miller-Davis building, eventually meeting businessman Jesse Fell, who encouraged him to The
Aside from cooler temperatures in the winter and 30 fewer days with precipitation, Bloomington’s climate closely mirrors the United States average. The average high temperature in July is 85 and summers are long and humid, while the average low temperature in January is a bracing 16 degrees. The sky above Bloomington is partly cloudy year-round.
The major highways serving Bloomington include Interstates 39, 55, and 74, as well as U.S. Route 51 and State Route 9. Bloomington is also serviced by two major railroad lines and Amtrak. The Central Illinois Regional Airport, one of the fastest-growing airports in the United States, is immediately outside city limits.
Cost of Living in Bloomington
According to Sperling’s Best Places, living expenses in Bloomington are cheaper than the United States average. Housing in Bloomington costs 20 percent less than the national average. Best of all, income per capita in Bloomington is nearly $5,000 greater than average at $33,279. Want to know how far your current salary will go in Bloomington? Use the resources below to find out.
There are 25 K-12 schools in Bloomington. Public schools include 11 elementary, 2 middle, and 2 high schools, as well as one grades 7-12 alternative school. There are also several private parochial schools available. Illinois Wesleyan University is an independent liberal arts college located downtown. The larger University of Illinois is 40 miles northwest in Peoria.
There are two general hospitals in Bloomington, including OSF St. Joseph Medical Center and Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. The Advocate BroMenn Medical Center is the larger of the two at 221 beds and has an affiliate clinic for minor illnesses and injuries called the Empire Immediate Care Center.
Bloomington Real Estate
There are about 34,339 housing units in Bloomington with an owner-occupied rate of 92 percent. According to Sperling’s Best Places, the median home value in Bloomington is only $148,800, which is nearly $40,000 lower than the United States average. Monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is only about $843 on average.
There are nearly 30 quality options for brand name lodging in Bloomington, including Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Hilton DoubleTree, Holiday Inn, and a number of other recognizable names. However, the Bloomington Chateau is well-worth sacrificing familiarity for uniqueness and ambiance. For a more luxurious experience, try the Vrooman Mansion, a gorgeous B&B decorated with antique period furniture that serves a delicious and expertly crafted breakfast.
Reality Bites is a fun and classy tapas restaurant with a full bar, frequented by local college students. Wind down with a cold craft brew on tap with balls of fried goat cheese, scallop risotto cakes, or the signature Bites Burger with homemade potato chips. The Epiphany Farms Restaurant is an eatery with a mission to educate the community about sustainable farming practices and the importance of locally-sourced foods. Dishes like beer-battered duck and waffles, carrot veloute, and Korean bulgogi are crafted directly from freshly farmed ingredients.
Things to Do in Bloomington
The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts regularly hosts musicians, comedians, and outdoor summer musicals at Miller Park. For family entertainment, the Miller Park Zoo has a fascinating collection of exhibits with animals like Sumatran tigers, red pandas, Galapagos tortoises, harbor seals, and gibbons. The beautiful Macinaw Valley Vineyard is 20 miles west via State Route 9, and holds concerts, festivals, and painting classes as well as wine tastings.