Indianapolis City Guide: Neighborhoods & Things to Do
Indianapolis is home to many iconic sites, like the largest children’s museum in the world and the third-largest cemetery in the world. The Slippery Noodle Inn – where you can enjoy “food, booze and live blues – is not only one of the most popular bars in Indianapolis, but it was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. This city is full of history and beautiful parks and neighborhoods. It’s a big city with a small-town feel with an economy that’s thriving. With nearly 865,000 people calling Indianapolis home, the state capital is the 15th largest city in the U.S. Being home to 60 automakers, Indianapolis rivals Detroit as the center of the auto industry. People who live in the city are friendly and appreciate the diverse community with multiple languages spoken here. If you’re ready to make the move to Indianapolis (and why wouldn’t you be with the low cost of living and job opportunities?), make sure to check our Indianapolis city guide to find your dream apartment.
Indianapolis city highlights
Being a resident of a great city like Indianapolis provides you with the inside scoop regarding all the fun activities, events and attractions in the city. Here are just a few that make the city worth visiting – and some you’ll want to visit regularly as a resident of Indianapolis.
- White River State Park: This is one of the top-ranked parks in Indiana. It covers over 250-acres and is full of walking and jogging trails. You’ll also find beautiful, peaceful areas to simply relax or have a picnic with friends. The Canal Walk is a three-mile loop across the waterfront. It’s a lush oasis where you can meditate, do some journaling or simply do some deep breathing.
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum: One of the things Indiana is famous for is its racing. If you’re a fan of auto racing, you need to take a trip to this museum, the speedway of which hosts the Indy 500. The museum is a National Historic Landmark. It houses a huge collection of racing vehicles, in addition to other racing memorabilia.
- The Lucas Oil Stadium: This stadium hosts Indianapolis Colts games, Indy Eleven soccer events and even some big-name concerts. If you’re so inclined, you can even take a guided tour of the stadium grounds, which are offered on various days of the week. Within the stadium, you’ll find several gift shops and eateries, too.
- Holliday Park: This Park spans 94-acres. In it, you’ll find an arboretum, as well as a nature center. There’s a playground for the kids, as well as walking trails throughout. The Park has designated picnic and barbecue areas. You’ll also get to see the ruins of a New York skyscraper that was moved to Indianapolis and turned into a work of art.
- The Indianapolis Art Center: This is one of the biggest artistic community centers in the state. There are three galleries that showcase some of the best art in the region. You’ll also find an incredible library that is home to over 5000 different titles. The Center also houses 11 classrooms where you can experience exhibits and workshops. There’s also an auditorium for live performances of all types.
Indianapolis city guide to the best neighborhoods for renters
What’s the first thing you should do when you decide to move to Indianapolis? The first step is finding a neighborhood that fits your needs and personality. Here are a few of the top neighborhoods with apartments for rent in Indianapolis.
Over 22,000 people live in Downtown Indianapolis, also called Mile Square. The neighborhood is popular with young professionals, which makes sense since this is the business hub of the city. Nearly 80% of the residents rent their homes with the median rental costs being just slightly above the national average. Residents in the area also enjoy walking along the canal or riding a boat on it, as well as listening to live music, and enjoying the abundance of restaurants in the area.
East Side has nearly 12,500 residents. The neighborhood is made up mostly of young families. Schools in the area range from average to above average. The neighborhood is impressive for its diversity, both economically and ethnically. Rental costs in the area are below the national average by a few hundred dollars, which is a nice break for families on a tighter budget. Residents say it’s convenient to get to public transit stops and grocery stores and restaurants are easily accessible in the neighborhood.
Looking to move to a laid-back neighborhood where you can let your free spirit roam, well, free? Then, you need to move to Broad Ripple Village. Amenities in this neighborhood are incredible with lively brewpubs, hip nightclubs, global eateries and cozy cafés. You’ll also have access to shops that sell handicrafts, records and vintage clothing. Head over to The Vogue to listen to big-name and emerging musicians. The Monon Rail Trail is popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists – it’s a great way to spend some time outdoors while fitting in a workout.
If you like laid-back with a splash of quirkiness, Fountain Square might be the hood for you. The neighborhood is full of art galleries, casual restaurants and even a vintage duckpin bowling alley. If you’re into nightlife activities, you’ll get to enjoy a great mix of comedy clubs, indie music venues, burlesque clubs and craft cocktail bars. You can even attend one (or more!) of the retro dance nights hosted by the Fountain Square Theatre.
Another lovely neighborhood with stunning historic architecture is Irvington. Here you’ll find Edwardian and Victorian architecture. For example, the Bona Thompson Memorial Center is a former library built in 1903. Now, it displays artifacts and art from the Irvington Historical Society. Another early-1900s building – the Irving Theater – hosts numerous events, including open mic nights, comedy acts and experimental musical experiences. The neighborhood is full of casual restaurants, along with a brewery taproom. Of the nearly 17,000 residents in the neighborhood, most are young professionals or families.
Over 30,000 call the Near Eastside neighborhood home, most of whom are young families. The neighborhood has a sparse suburban feel to it. Nearly 60% of residents rent in the area. You’ll find that most of the rentals in the area are single-family homes – definitely a plus for families since having a yard for kids and pets is ideal. The median rental price is below the national average. Residents say they like the diversity in the community as well as the redevelopment projects that have happened in recent years. In those areas, new businesses are moving in, which is helping to grow the local economy.
Over 15,000 people live in the St. Vincent/Greenbriar area – mostly young families and professionals – and it has a dense suburban feel. Schools in the area rank above average per the parents in the neighborhood. Most residents rent, with rental costs averaging below the national average. It is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Indianapolis, both ethnically and economically.
This is a popular neighborhood for families and young professionals, with over 16,000 people living in the area. Residents say the neighborhood is friendly, quiet and very family-oriented. There’s easy access to grocery stores, restaurants, learning opportunities, shops and drugstores. The neighborhood is easily walkable, though residents lament that there’s not enough sidewalk access. Residents in the area take pride in their homes, which are well-maintained with nice yards.
This dense suburban neighborhood is great for families. The schools are excellent, with 13% more students getting their high school diplomas than the national average and achieving test scores that are over 30% higher than the U.S. average. Overall, the cost of living here is lower than the national average, which makes it a great fit for young families and professionals who are just starting out.
Eagledale ranks high for its economic and ethnic diversity. It’s a suburban neighborhood that’s located on the west side of Indianapolis. It consists mostly of single-family ranch-style homes that were built in the 1950s and 1960s. The majority of the 25,000+ people who live in the area are young families. They appreciate having multiple parks in the area. They’re great for letting the kids burn off some energy, weekend family picnics and nature workouts.
Nearly 8000 people live in this neighborhood, most of whom are young professionals. And it’s no wonder since Downtown Indianapolis is only five miles away. Residents love that there are plenty of sidewalks, which make it easy to go on a walk or run some errands on foot.
Massachusetts Avenue, also casually known as Mass Avenue, which is one of four original diagonal streets in the city, runs directly through this neighborhood. If you love historical neighborhoods, you’ll enjoy strolling past the beautiful, well-kept Victorian houses and cobblestone streets. Are you a writer? Do you love poetry? Then, you’ll probably visit the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home which has the poet’s possessions on display. It’s a great place to spark your imagination and get those creative juices flowing. Other landmarks in the area include German Gothic-style structures and the Bavarian restaurants that help preserve the city’s German heritage.
White River State Park is an urban park that covers 267 acres. It’s situated on the western and eastern banks of the White River. As a resident of this neighborhood, you’ll have access to major attractions like Victory Field (where you can watch the Indiana MLB team play), an IMAX Theater and the Eiteljorg Museum. To get some exercise – or just enjoy some quiet time after a long day at work – take the historic Canal Walk, which is one-and-a-half miles of convenient trails and beautiful scenery.