The Midwest and golf go hand in hand. And Bloomington does not disappoint; it was ranked by Golf Digest in 2005 as one of the five best places in the USA to play golf. Although only one major national competition is reguarly held in the Bloomington area (see below), local courses frequently host statewide competitions. In addition to several private clubs, there are a number of public courses in the area to choose from.

The Den at Fox Creek , located at 3002 Fox Creek Road, is an 18 hole, par 72 course. Bent-grass tees, greens, and fairways at featured at this course.

Highland Park , located at 1613 S Main Street, is an 18 hole, par 70 course. This course features creeks, three lakes, sand traps, and tree-lined fairways.

Prairie Vista , located at 502 Sale Barn Road, is an 18 hole, par 72 course. The course features 16 water hazards and a wave bunker.

Additionally, Bloomington's sister city of Normal operates a public course, Ironwood, and Illinois State University opens its course to the public. There are also several public courses in suburban areas.

The area operates extensive youth leagues in soccer, football, and baseball/softball. Bloomington-Normal is especially well-known for its men's and women's softball teams, and national and international competitions are held here. The various local high schools are very competitive. As of this writing, local teams dominate their league and one local school is ranked #1 in the Illinois 6A football rankings. Local high schools are very competitive in minor sports, including swimming, tennis, and ice hockey. One local high school has been the state golf champion for four straight years now.

At various times throughout the year, state high-school championship competitions draw visitors to Bloomington-Normal. In December, the State Farm Holiday (basketball) Classic is one of the state's major high school competitions. State Farm Insurance, headquartered in Bloomington, also sponsors a major WPGA event at the nearby The Rail public golf club. This event is nationally televised, and attracts the best female professional golfers from around the world.

There are competitive adult leagues for softball, basketball, tennis, golf and cricket.

Public recreation programs operate multiple facilities for swimming, tennis, and indoor ice skating, and private clubs and organizations operate indoor swimming pools, as do many local hotels. The area was among the first in the midwest to establish a public trail system, which today comprises over 30 miles of trails linking parks and neighborhoods throughout the city, and using the system is considered very safe. The area's terrain is flat, and the city is generally surrounded by agricultural fields, but there are a few rolling and timbered areas near the city, including Moraine View State Park, which offers swimming, cannoing, horseback riding, and hiking trails. Less than an hour north is Starved Rock State Park, which is now developing as a resort area with miles of hiking trails. Both Lake Bloomington to the north and Clinton Lake to the south offer ramps and facilities for small boats and fishing.

If watching sports is more your thing, then consider catching a game at Illinois State University located in Normal. The university fields good NCAA 1AA teams in football, basketball, and baseball, as well as many minor sports. Both men's and women's teams have been nationally ranked; currently, ISU's football team (Gateway Conference) is ranked #3 in the nation. Whether you want to see the  Redbirds play football, tennis, basketball, volleyball, or soccer, there's a good chance you can catch a game if your travels to the area occur during the school year.

In NCAA division 3, Illinois Wesleyan University is generally competitive in football, basketball and baseball in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). The "Titans" teams play in more intimate surroundings, including the modern Shirk Center for basketball.

Professional indoor football and ice hockey minor-league teams play at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in downtown Bloomington. In the spring and summer, 8-9 home indoor football games are staged by the Bloomington Extreme. From October through April, the Bloomington Prairie Thunder plays approximately 38 ice hockey home games. If you have a free night in the Bloomington area, check the schedule at the family-friendly U.S. Cellular Coliseum, which also hosts major concerts.