by Rebecca Baumann & Erika Dowell, Co-Chairs, Local Arrangements
Hello, RBMS friends, and welcome to Local Arrangements’ second blog post, in which we tell you a bit more about how to get to Bloomington and where you might be staying.
First of all, please remember that you are traveling to Bloomington, Indiana, not Bloomington, Illinois. We know that the flyover “I” states just kind of merge into one big blurry cornfield in the minds of some of our coastal friends (it’s okay—we get it!), and you would be surprised how many people over the years have called us, very confused, from Bloomington, Illinois!
Bloomington is in the mid-southern part of Indiana, about an hour south of our capital, Indianapolis. It is about 3 hours and 50 minutes from Chicago, 1 hour and 50 minutes from Louisville, and 2 hours and 30 minutes from Cincinnati.
Bloomington does not really have its own airport, so you will want to fly into the Indianapolis Airport (IND). Although it is the largest airport in the state, it is not a big hub, so most of you will find that you have to have connecting flights. We have already heard a few comments that flights are more expensive than expected, so you will want to book your ticket as soon as possible. On the plus side, it is a very nice airport, and has won numerous awards for being the best airport of its size (rated Best Airport in North America serving 5 to 15 million passengers by the Airports Council International for seven years in a row). If you are also attending ALA, you will probably find it cheaper to fly back out of Chicago.
To get from the Indianapolis Airport to Bloomington, your cheapest option is to ride the Go Express Shuttle ($24 one way). Check the link to see the schedule—it runs hourly on some days but not others. You will want to make a reservation in advance, with so many librarians coming into town, plus the usual student traffic, the buses will likely fill up. Go Express also offers limos and ride shares if you want to book something a bit more fancy. You can also catch an Uber or Lyft from the airport and take it all the way down to Bloomington. Shuttles, Ubers, and Lyfts all pick up on the lower level of the airport. Just follow the signs to the car rental/ground transportation area, walk outside, and you will see signs for all of your options. There is also a Go Express station near the car rental area if you did not book your ticket in advance.
Hotel options are listed on the conference page. The Biddle Hotel is connected to the Indiana Memorial Union, where most conference programming will be. If you are looking to keep your walking/driving to a minimum, this is definitely the place to stay, and it is quite lovely. You will have easy access to campus and will be within walking distance of downtown. Amenities include free parking, 24-hour fitness center, and breakfast.
If you don’t want to be in the IMU all the time, try our other conference hotel options, The Graduate Hotel (about half a mile from the IMU) or Hyatt Place Bloomington (about 0.8 miles from the IMU). We have heard that the Graduate Hotel is quite charming. One thing to note, however, is that they do not serve alcohol due to their proximity to a church. If you want to read more about the archaic complexities of Indiana liquor laws (though we do sell on Sundays now!), you can see this recent article. Being downtown, you will be close to plenty of bars though. We will be providing more information about restaurants and bars in future posts. Hyatt amenities include a pool and fitness center; they are also pet-friendly if any of you are bringing furry friends.
Finally, Bloomington is a very walkable and bike-friendly city (unsurprising as the home of the famous Little 500 bike race). Many streets have bike lanes and there is a bike share program if you would like to rent a bike. We also have those electronic scooters that people like to shake their fists at. During the summer, both the Lime and Bird scooters will be available, and you can easily find them all around town. Parking in Bloomington is tricky but not so bad in the summer since our student population is down. You can see parking options on the Bloomington parking website. Most in-town parking is metered. Parking on campus is difficult without a pass. More information, including parking on campus for visitors with disabilities, is available on the IU Parking website.