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Home to Indiana University (IU), Bloomington has a breezy and bookish air. Bicycles race down the streets. Record shops and student pubs advertise their bargains. Guitars twang in cool-cat theaters. And this is surely the globe's only town where famous architects, famous Tibetans and famous sex researchers meet on common ground.
IU's campus is the focal point. I.M. Pei designed the Art Museum, known for its African collection and European expressionists. The famed Kinsey Institute features a gallery of nooky-related art amassed as part of its sex studies. Prayer flags flutter from the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, founded by the Dalai Lama's brother, who taught at IU for many years.
Downtown's 4th Street offers a smorgasbord of Tibetan momos, Burmese curries and Turkish kebabs among its global eateries. Wine bars and vegetarian cafes throng Courthouse Square. The North Side pours on brewpubs and gastropubs. Kirkwood Avenue is chockablock with bakeries and sandwich shops near campus. Everyone works it off by cycling or horseback riding in hilly Hoosier National Forest.