Best Fun things to do in West Bloomington, Minnesota is one of the Twin Cities’ busiest suburbs. Located just south of Minneapolis, Bloomington is home to some of the area’s most popular attractions, and is known for its convenient proximity to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport. The area known as West Bloomington offers the same convenience and entertainment as greater Bloomington, but without the commercial hubbub that centers around the Mall of America and airport hotels located on the east side. This makes West Bloomington a great option if you’re planning a weekend in the Twin Cities, or even if you have a long layover. So if West Bloomington is on your list, here are a few fun things to do in West Bloomington area.
The History of Bloomington
With the Minnesota River running along its southern border, West Bloomington was home to Mdewakanton Sioux starting in 1839. Shortly after the band arrived, European settlers came to the area, along with missionaries. These settlers developed the Bloomington Ferry in 1849 to enable crossing of the Minnesota River, further opening up the area. In 1851, the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux allowed further settlement in the area, and more settlers moved in. The groups that moved in focused on farming, flour milling and blacksmithing, opening up several trading centers which are still retail hubs in the city today. Soon after, infrastructure, schools and industry helped further development in the area.
West Bloomington Today
The city of Bloomington as we know it today got its start as one of the busiest suburbs after the post World War II housing boom. Now, its western side is known as an upper-middle-class residential area, with a number of lakes, parks and green spaces to enjoy. Surrounded by three major motorways, as well as the Minnesota River along its southern border, West Bloomington is a convenient place to live for those who commute into Minneapolis or St. Paul for work. Today, Bloomington as a whole is the fifth largest city in Minnesota.
Fun things to do in West Bloomington
Minnesota’s most populous city supplies a ton of fun things to do. Take a look at some of the highlights below:
Arts, Theatre and Museums in West Bloomington
- West Bloomington is home to a number of different theatres and arts organizations, including the Bloomington Center for the Arts. Located in the city’s civic plaza, you’ll find several art galleries with displays by local artists, as well as a number of performance art exhibitions.
- Another option for fine arts in the area is the Sidekick Theatre, located in the Ives Auditorium. This is a small, nonprofit theatre company which puts on a mix of new and contemporary performances for audiences of all ages. Here you can catch an intimate show experience you might not be able to get at one of the larger theatres in Downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul.
Restaurants in West Bloomington
- If you’re looking for a classic tavern dining experience, Northstar Tavern is your spot. Serving up classic American fare, with a vast beer list, you can try a number of local Minnesota and midwest brews.
- In the mood for Italian? You’re in luck. Ciao Bella features some delicious pizzas, pastas and Italian entrees, plus a wide selection of wines available by the glass or bottle, all served in a swanky locale.
- A local favorite for a good cup of coffee and some light fare is the West Side Perk. Locally owned and operated, it’s a perfect stop to start your morning off right.
Outdoor Recreation in West Bloomington
- West Bloomington is known for its abundance of green space. One of its largest and most popular is the Hyland Lake Park Reserve. It is a 2,565-acre complex with activities for all seasons, including biking, hiking, disc golf, camping, boating and skiing.
- Another popular location in the area is the Dwan Golf Course. A 18-hole, Par 68 and 70 course, the greens are a great spot to spend an afternoon outdoors.
- If you’re looking for a quiet spot to spend an afternoon, be sure to check out Normandale Community College’s Japanese Garden. Opened in 1972, this 2-acre peaceful oasis features a number of water features, architectural elements and of course beautiful plants and shrubs.
Other Entertainment in West Bloomington
- If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to add the Gideon and Agnes Pond House to your to-do list when in West Bloomington. Visit the home, located in the Pond-Dakota Mission Park, to step back and see what life was like in Bloomington when the first settlers and missionaries came to the area.
- Team with the top flight crew in West Bloomington, Inflight Pilot Training and fly an airplane (under direction of a professional flight instructor, of course). With their Discovery Flight offering, you get the chance to take control of the yoke yourself and explore the Twin Cities metro area from thousands of feet above.
Do you want to become a licensed pilot?
Whether you want to experience flying before signing up for lessons or you’re ready to start training today, our certified instructors will help you experience the joys of becoming a pilot. We have hundreds of hours of flying under our collective belts, and specialize in private pilot licensing throughout the Minneapolis metro area. Find out what it’s like to work with our team and explore the skies at the helm of an airplane — contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.