Bloomington-Normal is a DOUBLE college town. With Illinois State University on one side and Illinois Wesleyan University on the other you would think there are a lot of things to do. Yes, believe me there is enough bars to go around! But when you’re not 21 yet the things to do in this town becomes minimal. I stayed in my hometown for college so at ISU I am considered a “townie”. Living in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois for 18 years, I absolutely know the struggle of having “nothing” to do.
A Townie’s Top Ten Non-Alcoholic Date Ideas
1. Go Ice Skating
In downtown Bloomington, there is an ice rink that is connected to the Grossinger Motors Arena. It is called the Pepsi Ice Center. They are open all year and they have times for the public to skate for $8 including the skate rental. Check their website to check when they are open.
2. Arcadia: America’s Playable Arcade Museum
I know most people have not heard of this place AND it isn’t actually in Bloomington-Normal but trust me it is fantastic. It is in a small town named Mclean it is about 20 minutes outside Blono. Actually 24 minutes from Illinois State according to Google Maps! Arcadia is a museum displaying of old videos games that you can actually play. The best part is that it is only 25 cents per game to play so, $5 equals 20 games and $10 equals 40 games! This is my boyfriend’s favorite date idea we have ever had but he is a total gamer geek. The hours can be weird but check the website before you head over and trust me it is TOTALLY worth the 20 minute drive.
3. Trampoline Parks
Trampoline parks have just become a trendy way to have fun and work on your fitness. In December 2017, Alititude Trampoline Park opened in Blono and so far business has been booming or should I say BOOMINGton. The most popular trampoline park, SkyZone is opening up a facility sometime in 2018-2019. Trampoline parks bring joy to the young and the old! I have personally gone on a double date at Altitude and it was so much fun. Trampoline parks can be great to take boomerangs for your Instagram story to just having a fun workout with family and friends. The down side is the admission fees can rack up but it definitely worth your money.
4. Skate ‘n’ Place
The Skate ‘n’ Place is a roller rink and it has been around for awhile. My mother who is also a townie has been going to the the rink since the late 70’s! This rink has brought a lot of joy to my family as well to others. So come skate down to the Skate ‘n’ Place for a retro blast from the past date.
Yes this is not the most creative idea for a date but believe me it wouldn’t be a classic if it did not work. Bloomington-Normal has one of the highest restaurants per capita in the US. There are so many restaurants in town that you could go to a different restaurant every week for at least a year.
I know this is another cliche date idea but movie dates are one of my personal favorites. In Blono there are 4 theaters so everyone’s preference is met. From reclining seats, dining and watching, to classic movies there is a theater for you in town. I suggest looking around for the best prices for your time choice and looking into student discounts too!
7. Country Road Late Night Drives
This one only makes sense if you have lived in a rural town. Some of my best memories has come from late night drives. When you are driving, listening to music, and talking you can find out a lot about the other person. On quiet country roads you can blare your music or even have a deep conversation.
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8. Goofing off at stores
This may sound weird but it is really fun! It is especially the best when you do not have a car on campus all you can do is take the bus somewhere. The best part is that it is FREE. Yes, FREE! If you go to ISU like I do then your student ID lets you ride the buses for free, and in the store(s) of your choosing you do not have to buy anything either.
This is a great option for ISU students again but anyone can bowl! ISU has their own bowling and billiards center and it is definitely cheaper to go there if you are a student compared to a normal bowling alley. Bowling alleys have late night hours. During those hours they turn off the regular lights, turn on party lights, and turn up the music.
Grady’s Family Fun Park is a small family amusement park located in Bloomington. They have a golf course, batting cadges, and go karts! It is located outdoors so it is closed during the winter due to the weather. It is not the most cost effective date but it definitely worth a splurge date.
Let us know what you think about Bloomington-Normal in the comments below!
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Hey! I am Natalie Alfeo I am currently a freshman at Illinois State University. I have lived in Bloomington-Normal my whole life so I know my way around town. I love everything fashion and beauty!