Here’s why Indianapolis is cool(er than you think)

Here's why Indianapolis is cool(er than you think) - header

Indianapolis is cool.

Here's why Indianapolis is cooler than you think

Yeah, I said it: somewhere in Indiana is cool! And I’m not the only one that thinks Indianapolis is cool.

Indy’s star is on the rise in a serious way. Named one of the 30 best places to visit this summer by Conde Nast, Indy has been lauded as “the most underrated food city in the U.S.” with the usual suspects named as the places to be. (In fact, Fletcher Place’s Milktooth was declared one of the best restaurants in the world!) This city is forcing people to say “yes, Indianapolis“!

So here are a few reasons why, to me, Indianapolis is cooler than you think!

Fountain Square Indianapolis

There’s a neighborhood for everyone

Do you fancy a night of theater, great food, and artisanal cocktails? No problem! Wander Mass Ave. Are you a dedicated hipster, riding on a fixie, growler in hand? Perfect! Head down to Fountain Square and you’ll be set. How about a young college kid, looking for vibrant nightlife at reasonable prices? Awesome! Broad Ripple is calling your name.

No matter who you how, how you like to spend your free time, or what activities you like to do, Indy has a neighborhood just for you. Promise.

Check out my Indy neighborhoods guide for easy ideas on what to do in each neighborhood.

The city is made for biking and walking

From the Monon to the Cultural Trail to the White River Trail and many more, Indianapolis is 100% made for easy access. (Oh, and don’t forget the Canal Walk for a perfect summer stroll!) No matter where you are in the city, you’re not far from a gorgeous trail and instant fun.

Even if you don’t love the idea of exercising just for fun, the trails connect Indy’s neighborhoods. If the idea of a craft cocktail at the end of your walk/ride doesn’t motivate you… well, I’m not sure what to do with you.

Craft brew is king

Visit Indy’s breweries page lists 36 breweries located within the city. I know for a fact this isn’t even the correct number as new breweries pop up what seems like every other day. If you like locally-produced craft beer, Indianapolis is the place for you.

From the massive Sun King complex to the tiniest taproom imaginable, there’s something for everyone. My personal recommendations are Sun King (I’m not a huge fan, but it’s an Indy staple), Indiana City Brewing, Books & Brews, and Fountain Square Brewery.

Coffee hipsters are here practicing their craft

Everyone knows the true mark of coolness is how many hipster-y, minimal coffee shops a city has. Well, Indy wins easily in that way. I may not love caffeine as much as them, but those coffee snobs all over Indy make a damn good coffee.

Try Quills, Mile Square Roastery (in the City Market), the Thirsty Scholar, Bee Coffee Roasters, and Hubbard & Cravens just to start.

My personal favorite? The slightly off-the-beaten-path Coalyard Coffee in Irvington. A garage turned art studio turned coffee shop, the space still has a ton of local art to admire along with your caffeine fix.

Indy Street Art: Fountain Square

Public art is a priority

Public art runs rampant in Indianapolis. Both the city itself and local art-minded organizations have made it a priority to bring accessible art to Indy’s public. Here are some places/ideas to have a look for yourself:

  • Visit the ArtsGarden next to Indianapolis’ downtown mall.
  • Walk the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and appreciate the art integrated into the 8-mile trail.
  • Curated by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, CityWay features more than 60 works of art in public spaces.
  • See a full list of public art here.

The ultra-cool farm-to-table is alive and well in Indy

It’s no surprise that a farming-heavy state like Indiana has produced some amazing farm-to-table experiences.

For a full meal, try and snag a table at Cafe Patachou. Public Greens and Locally Grown Gardens are also two great places conveniently located just off of the Monon Trail. If you’re looking for a quick sandwich or local ingredients, Goose the Market north of downtown is your place.

For a high-end experience, head a bit north to the Loft at Traders Point Creamery. It’s the state’s only organic dairy farm and a definite must for Sunday brunch. Almost all the ingredients were grown and produced just a few feet from the kitchen.

Are you convinced that Indianapolis is cool? Ready to come and hang out with me in Indy? Then tell me: in your mind, what makes a city cool?
  • I’m planning a road trip (especially if Anton comes with me) around the USA. You totally have me hooked on visiting Indianapolis. I feel like the city is a lot like Cleveland. Unfortunately, there isn’t any good coffee or craft beer in Ufa 🙁
    Jasilyn recently posted…Offbeat Moscow: 3 Unusual Places to VisitMy Profile

  • Cool! We have been looking into a lot of smaller US cities, and it is surprising how cool some of them are!

  • Great post! Adding all these places to my list of things to do/eat some day in Indy. I have reservations at Traders Point Creamery soon…I’m really excited to check it out!
    Adrienne recently posted…Swimming with the Biggest Fish in the SeaMy Profile

  • Ray

    36 breweries now? It was only 28 when I was in Indy for the 500 earlier this year. Will have to check out Books & Brews and Fountain Square Brewery the next time I am in town as I’ve already been to Sun King and Indiana City Brewing. Sun King was my favourite, but I appreciated the hospitality at Indiana City Brewing and how they support the local artist collective. Bought a painting of Trump that they made while I was there: http://bit.ly/29JTuth