The holiday season is here and Bloomington offers both locals and visitors plenty of cheerful ways to celebrate. Here's a few of the seasonal activities you may want to check out in this special holiday roundup of things to do.
The Nutcracker at the Musical Arts Center
Singing Hoosiers present the Chimes of Christmas
The Singing Hoosiers will be putting on their annual holiday concert, Chimes of Christmas on Dec. 2 in the IU Auditorium at 1211 E. Seventh St. The concert will include contemporary songs, carols and classical choral arrangements. Showtimes will be at 2 and 7:30 p.m. with tickets ranging from $11 to $33.
Straight No Chaser 'Sleighin' It' at IU Auditorium
The a cappella group Straight No Chaser will perform pop and holiday classics at the IU Auditorium as a part of their 2023 Sleighin’ It tour. The show will be Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and ticket prices for the event range from $29 to $89.
Art Fair and Bazaar at Unitarian Universalist Church
The annual Art Fair and Bazaar sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at 2120 N. Fee Lane. The art being featured includes paintings, watercolors, textiles, ceramics, jewelry and mixed media. The event will also include baked goods and books for sale.
Winter hikes along Bloomington-area trails
Bloomington offers multiple areas where people can go on a winter hike. At Griffy Lake Nature Preserve, there are easy hiking trails such as the Wetlands, Griffy Creek and Lanam Trails which are great for hikers of all abilities, and difficult hiking trails such as the West and East North Shore Loops for more experienced hikers.
Good for winter hikes too: Here are 7 places near Bloomington that aren't Brown County State Park
Fuel up at Bloomington bakeries and restaurants
Bloomington offers hundreds of restaurants to choose from this holiday season. From cozy bakeries such as The Inkwell, Crescent Donut and Rainbow Bakery to sit down restaurants like Big Woods Bloomington and Uptown Cafe. Bloomington’s Fourth Street is also lined with authentic international food including Thai, Indian, Greek, Korean, Cajun and Tibetan.
Gingerbread House workshop at the IMU
Gingerbread House Workshops will be 1-4 p.m. Dec. 9 in Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union to craft gingerbread cookie houses. Admission is $75 for your first gingerbread house and $30 for each additional house. For pre-assembled houses, it is $90 for your first house and $45 for each additional house. For those who would rather build a gingerbread house in the comfort of their own home there is an option for take-home gingerbread house kits. People interested in this option can pick up their kits from Sugar & Spice in the Indiana Memorial Union on Dec. 2 and 16.
Holiday cheer in a glass at Cardinal Spirits and Bloomington breweries
Bloomington’s only distillery, Cardinal Spirits pours delicious cocktails made with craft-distilled liquors. Breweries including Bloomington Brewing Company, Metal Works, Switchyard Brewing Company, The Tap and Upland Brewing Company offer wide selections of drinks for people to try as well. Don't forget Bloomington's Friendly Beasts Cider Company along the B-Line Trail.
Lesser known places to stay in Bloomington
Visit Bloomington's website lists several vacation rentals for friends, relatives and visitors to stay during the holidays. These rentals include houses, penthouses and lodges. The rentals are located throughout Bloomington, but a more secluded option, the Red Rabbit Inn, located only 15 minutes from the IU Bloomington campus, is a cabin that can sleep up to two guests. It can be found on Airbnb.
The Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center at 3655 S. Snoddy Road offers three retreat yurts and several retreat rooms that are ideal for spiritual retreats or people seeking solitude and reflection. Call 812-336-6807 to learn more.
Need a place to host the whole family? Consider Scenic View Lodge, an 8-bedroom, 5.5 bathroom, 4,000-square-foot rental that sleeps 22. There's a living space, full kitchen, game room and it's right next door to Scenic View, a brunch spot open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's at 4600 South Ind. 446. Email Jenny Bell at email@example.com for booking information.
For more holiday happenings, check out Visit Bloomington's list at https://www.visitbloomington.com/blog/post/tis-the-season-holiday-events-in-bloomington/.
This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: What to see and do in Bloomington, Indiana, in December