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Does your college town suck? Illinois State University

Normal is normal.

New to the line up this season: we will be examining the various college towns of Wisconsin’s opponents. We’ll be answering all of the important questions – Is it a state capital? What is the population? Does it have a Culver’s?


City: Normal, Illinois

Size: 18.38 square miles

Location: 40°30′44″N 88°59′19″W

Population: 54,891 (2019)

State Capital? No

Time zone: Central

Landmarks: Castle Gardens LLC, David Davis Mansion, Ewing Cultural Center, Normal Theater


Normal, along with Bloomington, make up the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area, which is the seventh most populated community outside of the Chicago metropolitan area, in the state of Illinois.

Founded in the early 1850s, the town was originally named North Bloomington. In 1857 the Illinois legislature passed a law that called for establishing a normal school, to train teachers in the locale that provided the best financial arrangement.

North Bloomington’s citizens and businesses were able to raise enough funds and attorney Abraham Lincoln drafted a bond to ensure that the town would meet its financial obligations.

Illinois State Normal University, which would later be renamed to Illinois State University was established the same year that legislation passed to establish a teacher training school.

The town was then incorporated in 1867 and renamed Normal. The local economy is based on the university and agriculture and luckily for them, Normal is located in Illinois’ richest corn and soybean producing area.

A popular destination in Normal is the Normal Theater. Originally opened in 1937 and restored and reopened in 1994, following the purchase of the theater by the town of Normal.

The theater shows a mix of first run and classic films.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) will be showing Jan. 7-9 and the Green Knight (2021) will be showing Jan. 13-16.

The theater is designed in the Art Deco style, which Normal stayed true to following the renovations.

Overall, Normal is just normal. Doesn’t seem like too exciting of a town and it ranks well on Normal has great public schools and is good for families. It has good housing and great nightlife, but in the crime department, that is where Normal lacks a bit, ranking with a C+.

Normal is safer than 34 percent of U.S. Cities and your chances of being the victim of a violent crime in Normal is 1 in 488, versus 1 in 239 in the state of Illinois.


Pub II is located on the Illinois State campus and features $5 pitchers and their famous cheese balls (sign me up). Pub II was established in 1974 and has been part of the ISU community ever since.

Brewe-Ha’s another bar located in Uptown Normal and it has $2.50 burger baskets... damn.

Both bars rate well on Google reviews, featuring a 4.1 star rating (Pub II) and 4.5 star rating (Brewe-Ha’s).

While there are no Culver’s in Normal, there are some located in Bloomington.


Redbird Arena is the home of the Illinois State basketball team that seats 10,200 and is located on campus.

Built in 1989, Redbird Arena is known for it’s Teflon coated roof that gives off a “glow” during night events. It houses both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the volleyball team.

Students that attend the men’s basketball games at Redbird, have been known to paint their faces red and wear red shirts, to become part of the “Red Alert,” which is the official student group of Illinois State athletics.

Does your college town suck?

While Normal does seem like a charming little town, with it’s own city-run theater and blah blah blah, but it’s in Illinois. Let’s be honest, Illinois sucks, so every city in it sucks too.

Not to mention, it’s not the safest of towns.