Whether you are a Stranger Things fan or not, travel to the Upside Down and stay awhile through a Bloomington portal in the middle of Kirkwood Avenue.
This article first appeared in the Indianapolis Monthly. Written by Amy Lynch.
YOU WON’T FIND Hawkins on any legitimate Indiana map, but it is possible to access the Upside Down through a Bloomington portal in the middle of Kirkwood Avenue. The Graduate Bloomington unveiled its two-room Stranger Things suite last fall designed by the brand’s in-house team after scouring eBay and local thrift stores for decor.
Hardcore fans of the show—and guests of a certain age—will find quirky Easter eggs galore throughout the adjoining accommodations, from walkie-talkies and a Clash cassette in the working tape player to Nancy’s Trapper Keeper school folder and a nail-studded baseball bat for battling any demon dogs that might appear. Collector room-key cards depict Hopper, Dustin, Barb, and other iconic characters from the show.
Room 320 has been painstakingly reimagined as Joyce Byers’s living room decked out with Christmas lights, Will’s monster drawings sprawled across the walls, and retro crocheted afghans on the love seats. Eleven’s pink dress, Will’s purple Dungeons and Dragons cape, and Steve’s Scoops Ahoy uniform all hang in the wardrobe for The Graduate Hotel guests who want to cosplay. In keeping with the overall vibe, a small Sears television sits in the corner. (It doesn’t work, though, so plan on signing into Wi-Fi if you want to watch anything via streaming service on your own devices while you’re there.)
Room 318 next door holds a wood-paneled Wheeler basement replicated right down to the quilt-tented hideout, shelves full of old-school board games, and a Hawkins pennant. Just be forewarned, the spider-like shadow figure that hovers above the king bed might disrupt solid sleep. Staying in here feels like a sleepover in your best friend’s basement rec room circa 1983, although the king bed is way more comfortable than a sleeping bag on the floor. The full bath is the only hint of modern style, but the one in 320 features slightly dizzying red penny-tiled walls—a nod to Eleven’s frequent nosebleeds?
Mind flayer slayers gotta eat. If the triple-decker, candy-sprinkled Eggo Extravaganza sandwiched with whipped cream sounds like a little too much sugar to stomach, there’s also an Upside Down burger, a Scoops Away sundae with locally sourced Chocolate Moose ice cream, and a strawberry Demogorgon smoothie to consider at the ground-level Poindexter cafe (along with the regular menu of sandwiches, coffee, and breakfast fare).
The Graduate Hotel’s Stranger Things suite stays start at $359 for midweek visits and includes passes to Wonderlab, bike rentals, and the use of a Polaroid camera to document your visit. Might want to book yours now before reservations fill up ahead of the Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 1 release on Netflix on May 27, or book for Volume 2 coming later, on July 1. 210 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, 812-994-0500, graduatehotels.com/bloomington