Road Trip: Indiana
Posted: Monday April 16, 2007 5:53PM; Updated: Tuesday April 17, 2007 3:03PM
Some call it a blue oasis in the middle of a red state. I use the more traditional name, Bloomington, home to Indiana University. Like most college towns, there are two Bloomingtons -- one during the school year, loud and full of energy, and one during the summer, mellow and ungodly humid.
And if you're interesting in making a road trip to a town that er, knows how to celebrate, you'll want to stop by. In 2004, Playboy Magazine said: "ranking Indiana University among party schools is like putting the Yankees in the Little League World Series." As much as I regret comparing anything I like to the Evil Empire, even I can appreciate that compliment.
Best place to celebrate a Hoosier victory
It's tradition for the student population to flock to Kirkwood Avenue after a triumphant Hoosier victory. After Indiana reached the Final Four in 2002 there was such a large celebration on Kirkwood that Ferris Bueller was rumored to have performed on a giant float.
Kirkwood is home to some of Bloomington's best bars -- Kilroys, Nicks, and Uncle Festers to name a few -- and also happens to be about a three-iron away from IU's campus. But no trip to Kirkwood is complete without a late-night visit to the trusty hot dog vendor, who is usually parked right in front of the bars.
Best weekend to visit
It's been called the best college party weekend in the nation, and it just so happens to be this weekend. Every April, students party for an entire week and celebrate The Little 500, a bike race that loosely mimics the Indy 500 and is known as the greatest spectacle in racing. The race itself is large, but it doesn't compare to the celebration. It's kind of like Mardi Gras, in the sense that everyone celebrates it but no one knows exactly what they're celebrating. Or maybe that's just me.
Best place to get a steak
You'll have to stray from IU's campus and head to downtown Bloomington to feed your steakhouse hunger at Janko's Little Zagreb. Unfortunately, the best steaks in town are also one of the most expensive meals in town, so save your money!
Best place to kill time
Like most schools, the student union is the place to lounge between classes. The Indiana Memorial Union provides the perfect hangout. They have the typical college dining (Burger King and Pizza Hut), the typical places to sleep (leather couches, armchairs, floor) and plenty of games to play that you don't have time for in between classes (bowling, billiards, video games).
Best thing to wear to a basketball game
The traditional cream and crimson just won't cut it anymore for the dedication at Assembly Hall. Many fans, who are known as the Sampsonites, have taken to dressing like the Hoosiers' coach, Kelvin Sampson, who wears a blue dress shirt and red tie to every game.
Even alumni have taken to the student trend, wearing blue t-shirts with a tie printed on them, a la Sampson. Maybe Jay-Z was speaking to Hoosier fans when he said: "I don't wear jerseys, I'm 30 plus."