It's been said this city has the nation's fifth largest per capita population of same-sex couples, and it is certainly one of the most socially and politically progressive cities in the Midwest region.

But for a city that prides itself on being open and welcoming to all people there is surprisingly little rainbow flag waving. The one specifically gay club, the Thursday-Sunday Back Door has weekend dancing, drag events and Sunday karaoke, but gay life here mixes seamlessly with the wider community. Rachael’s Café, an inclusive, all-ages downtown cafe and bar, is one popular hangout. Like Ann Arbor Michigan, another liberal college town, this may be the model for the future.


Getting here, getting around

Indianapolis International Airport is the closest place to fly into. The Go Express Bloomington Shuttle trip takes from 70 to 100 minutes (depending on which of 5 stops in Bloomington you use) and costs $18 with online purchase.
The Courtyard Marriot Hotel, and IU Memorial Union are two of the downtown stops with first departures at 4:40am, then every two hours after that until 8:40pm. Departures from the airport are every two hours beginning at 6:40am until 10:40pm. If not bought online, tickets can be purchased at kiosks - across from arrivals/baggage claim at the airport. All the major car rental companies are represented here too.

Bloomington Transit buses will get you around the city. Revolution Bike & Bean offers bike sales, service and rentals (at $35 for 4 hours, or by the day or week; but they close Sundays) - plus they have a full-service coffee bar.


Media & resources

Bloomington is a welcoming place no matter where you go. Visit Bloomington, into which "Visit Gay Bloomington" was folded, lists the many restaurants, shops, wineries, museums, theaters, accommodations and events around town. With the importance of the University of Indiana to this town, (the approximately 40,000 students are half the city population), the Indiana Daily Student newspaper is another good source of information. BloomingtonOnline is an alternative events and local listings site.

Blooming Out, queer radio, can be heard at WFHB 91.3 FM, or online, Thursdays from 6pm EST.

The Kinsey Institute continues it's work to advance sexual health and knowledge at Morrison Hall, on the campus of the University of Indiana. They do research, maintain a library, archives and collections of materials; also an art gallery - some of which can be seen online. See their website to participate in ongoing studies.

The Buskirk-Chumley Theater, an important local performing arts and film screening venue, is home to Pride, the LGBTQ film fest held each January; also with other events throughout the year.

The Indiana University GLBT Student Support Services welcomes potential or current students, curious friends, concerned parents, or just those who have an interest in GLBT issues on this friendly campus.

IU's intercollegiate athletics program has 24 varsity teams. The Hoosiers, members of the Big Ten Conference since 1899, have won around 160 Big Ten championships. Other non-varsity teams include ice hockey and rugby union football.

For some other local listings, including restaurants and hotels, see our maps & listings tab; also our events listings for what's happening at local museums, theaters and concert venues.

- staff - June 2014