Things to Do in Uptown Normal
Despite the name, Normal, IL is anything but commonplace–there are a lot of fun and unique things to do in Uptown Normal, and it’s even a great place to run errands, with the conveniently located post office, a bike repair shop, a kitchenware store, and more. Check out our guide for our favorite places to visit and walk around the Uptown Circle.
Unique Shopping in Uptown Normal
- The Garlic Press: The Garlic Press is a fun store for the kitsch- or kitchen-obsessed. They have kitchen gear, linens, and quirky gifts, as well as cooking classes and a wedding registry!
- Vitesse Cycle Shop: While you’re riding on the Constitution Trail, stop and have your bike tuned up, or get equipped with more cycling gear to get ready for summer!
- Midwest Diving Specialists: You can enroll in scuba diving courses to get certified, get gear, go on local diving trips, or sign up for diving vacations!
- Graham Crackers Comics: This beloved comic book store has locations throughout Illinois, so if you are in Uptown Normal you can get your fix of comics, fandom merch, events with authors and artists, as well as the annual Free Comic Book Day in May!
Record Stores in Uptown Normal
- Waiting Room Records: Thumb through the collection of vinyls, CDs, and DVDs there, or shop the band posters and vintage clothing. Ask about special orders and rare records!
- North Street Records: North Street Records is a must-visit for any vinyl fanatics. Get great recommendations from the knowledgeable staff, and find anything from Duke Ellington to Judas Priest.
- Mother Murphy’s/Shockwaves Skateboards: Walk up colorful stairs to Mother Murphy’s, a counterculture hub that started in 1968, selling incense, tapestries, and tons more gifts alongside the records. Get your skate gear at Shockwaves in the same building.
Children’s Discovery Museum
The Children’s Discovery Museum is a fun hands-on science and technology museum for children of all ages, with exhibits, an Innovation Station, early childhood programs, summer camps, and more. You can even have birthday parties here!
Admission is free for anyone under 2 years old, and $7 for ages 2 and up.
Food and Drink in Uptown Normal
- Coffee: The Coffee Hound and the Coffeehouse & Deli are the best coffee shops in Uptown Normal. Be sure to check out more recommendations for the best coffee in Bloomington!
- Medici: This is the place to go for a celebratory dinner, a date, or any craving for upscale Italian food. It even has a giant Mulberry tree inside reaching past the second floor!
- Bars: Maggie Miley’s is a long-established sports bar for locals and students alike. Pub II and Brew-Ha’s are just half a block away on Linden St, so you have plenty of choices.
Festivals in Uptown Normal
- Sugar Creek Arts Festival: In Mid-July, stroll through Uptown Circle to check out the fine arts and crafts of local artists, and find out which artists take home prizes for their work.
- Medici Craft Beer and Jazz Festival: In late July in front of the Discovery Children’s Museum, sample over 50 types of craft beer–mostly local to Central Illinois, and listen to live music. You can even take home a commemorative tasting glass.
- Sweet Corn Blues Festival: At the end of August every year, enjoy 50,000 + ears of sweet corn, live music street vendors, and more in Uptown Normal.
Explore the Area with BMW of Bloomington
Whether you are visiting Illinois State University or Illinois Wesleyan University, or you live near Pekin, there are tons of places to explore in the area. Check out things to do in Bloomington and more with BMW of Bloomington!
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