Bloomington

From Tibetan cuisine celebrations to 21st-century opera, from stand-up comedy to standing-room-only shows at the Bluebird, events in Bloomington are diverse and energetic. Whatever you do, just get out there and make some memories.

Bring the whole family and experience a “Harry Potter” extended weekend! Experience the magic even if the series is over by visiting a wizarding world at The Old Crescent. The Old Crescent of Indiana University’s Gothic architecture gives off epic Hogwarts vibes and there’s even a Harry Potter Society on campus that hosts an incredible Yule Ball fit for the Tri-Wizard Champions. The magic of Harry Potter extends beyond the IU campus.

The Charles Deam Wilderness is by no means scary but it is made for adventure. There are 37.3 miles of trails to explore by foot or horseback. For a breathtaking view of the Indiana uplands, climb the Hickory Ridge Firetower. For the ultimate adventure, set up camp at one of the primitive campsites in the forest for a few days exploring the Hoosier wilderness. These trails are dog-friendly so you can bring your furry friends along; just make sure you have a leash and our trusty Bloomington travel water bowl. No centaur sightings have ever been reported, that we know of.

The misty mornings and evenings of Monroe Lake do display an uncanny resemblance to the Black Lake, minus surrounding mountains and all. The lake is open year-round and the perfect place for a paddle. There are plenty of places to rent a boat if you don’t have your own

Opened in 1955, the Jordan Hall Greenhouse is one of those hidden gems on campus. Steamy temps year round make it a favorite place to warm up and fantasize about being on an island. It’s a great place to take kids of all ages and explore the unique plant life from the desert to the tropics. You’ll see orchids, banana plants, giant ferns but no screeching mandrakes. The greenhouse is free and open daily.

Located in the original portion of the Indiana Memorial Union, the South Lounge is one of the most popular study spots on campus. Nook up under a window to get some studying done or curl up by the fireplace with a good book. There aren’t any fiery sconces or Professor Snape lurking but the huge windows and fireplaces give us the Hogwarts vibe.

Time is a constant character throughout the films but even more so in HP3, The Prisoner of Azkaban. Hermoine, being the overachiever she is, she needs help making it to two classes at once. Professor McGonagall gives her a time-turner to allow her to travel back in time to keep up with all of her lessons. In order to help save Sirius, she lets Harry in on her secret and they use clock tower chiming to figure out where they are in the past. On campus, the stately Student Building in the Old Crescent keeps students and locals on time thanks to chiming every quarter hour. The massive tower can be spotted from Kirkwood Avenue through the Sample Gates and makes for a beautiful photo.

The feasts in the Great Hall of Hogwarts are legendary. Roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pasties are guaranteed to make an appearance on the table as well as famous British desserts like treacle tarts and chocolate gateaus. Equally legendary is The Tudor Room in the IU Memorial Union. Its rich oak paneled walls, bright stained glass windows, and colorful banners representing the different schools on campus are definitely reminiscent of the Great Hall. Hit the Sunday Brunch Buffet in the Tudor Room and you’ll enjoy a meal fit for Hagrid. The buffet has several stations including made-to-order omelets and incredible desserts. Runner-up for the Great Hall is the dining hall in Indiana University’s Collins Dorm. Several IU alums can attest to the dorm’s love for Hogwarts celebrating with their very own Hogwarts Week.

Honeydukes in Hogsmeade is obviously popular with Hogwarts students. Quite possibly the most decadent chocolates in town, Blu Boy Chocolate should be on the list for anyone with a sweet tooth. They are famous for their handmade chocolates with unique flavors like ancho chile and blood orange but have an assortment of cookies, cakes, and monumental ice cream sundaes as well. Stock up in case you come across any dementors on your way back to campus.

Hogwarts Teachers set out a variety of riddles and puzzles to keep Voldemort from finding the sorcerer’s stone at the end of the first novel. Try your luck at Bloomington’s puzzle houses for a similar thrill with a lot lower consequence. If you want to try some of the hardest puzzles in town or play a game of chess, check out the game collection at the Game Preserve downtown.

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