Fast As You Can

Appears in the April 2022 issue.

If you hop in your car after breakfast, you can arrive in Bloomington, Indiana. by lunchtime. “If you are running a little late, you’re definitely in time for happy hour,” says Erin White, director of leisure marketing and media for Visit Bloomington. “It kind of sets up that perfect two- to three-day getaway.”

One of the biggest annual events in Bloomington is the Little 500, a bicycle race hosted by the Indiana University Student Foundation. Inspired by the Indy 500 and made famous by the movie Breaking Away, the event runs April 22–23. Student cyclists compete in teams on a quarter-mile-long track on campus. 

To learn who’s who in the race, grab a free Little 500 guide published by the IU campus newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student. “It’s fun to pick a team you want to root for,” says Andrea Hardisty, director of the Indiana University Student Foundation. 

Both the women’s race (April 22) and men’s race (April 23) conclude in time to catch dinner in town. “There are a lot of great restaurants in Bloomington,” Hardisty says. The Uptown Cafe (102 E. Kirkwood Ave., 812.339.0900, and Upland Brewery Co. (350 W. 11th St., 812.364.2337, are two of her personal favorites. 

Newly opened in January, Small Favors (402½ W. 6th St., serves wine, wine-based cocktails, and snacks such as sausage-stuffed fried olives and leek croquettes with caviar and crème fraîche. Cardinal Spirits (922 S. Morton St., 812.202.6789, is Bloomington’s first and only craft distillery, located right on the B-Line Trail, a three-mile bike and pedestrian trail that connects downtown with surrounding neighborhoods. Take a distillery tour, linger on the sweet patio, and grab some canned cocktails to take home. About 15 minutes north of downtown Bloomington, Oliver Winery (200 E. Winery Road, 812.876.5800, offers picnic packages with advanced reservations.

The newest hotel in town is Graduate Bloomington (210 E. Kirkwood Ave., 812.994.0500,, offering free bike rentals and a rooftop terrace. House rentals near Monroe Lake, the largest lake in Indiana, are also an option.  

Photo courtesy Visit Bloomington