What neighborhood of Indianapolis should I live in?
April 27, 2010 7:48 PM   Subscribe

What neighborhood of Indianapolis should I live in?

Male- 27- professional, currently living in downtown San Diego, What areas of Indianapolis are cool to live in? I'm looking for nice apartments, cool coffee shops, bars, restaurants all within walking distance. Are there any areas you would recommend? If you've ever been to San Diego, I'm looking for someplace like the Gaslamp district, except with less douches, lol. Hope to get some Hoosier help, Thanks in advance!
posted by weiler63 to Travel & Transportation around Indianapolis, IN (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Since this is Indianapolis we only have about 4 coffee shops so the list of neighborhoods that meet your criteria is pretty small.

Broad Ripple to the north is mostly college kids with the usual bar scene. The Monon Coffee house is in Broad Ripple, close to the Monon bike/pedestrian trail that runs from downtown to the northern white-flight suburbs. Lots of student housing.

Henry's on East is close to Mass Ave and the artsy walking/shopping area downtown. There is a range of housing available within a mile or two of here, from upscale apartments/condos to dirt cheap houses. Mojo's is also also downtown, closer to IUPUI. I live in a neighborhood adjacent to downtown and I find it quite delightful. If you want big city amenities you have to live downtown.

Joe's Cycles in Fountain Square serves coffee and ice cream, in addition to bicycles. Fountain Square has been up and coming for the past twenty years but it is getting there and it has the best art scene in Indianapolis. Not a lot of real nice apartments, mostly cheap old houses and converted artist lofts.

I don't know the name but I'm sure there is a coffee shop in Irvington, on the east side. They have a small walk around shopping area but not really a "hip" bar scene.

Indianapolis has a lot of nice small named neighborhoods around these areas but they tend to not support their own restaurants, bars, or coffee shops.
posted by ChrisHartley at 8:17 PM on April 27, 2010

I live in Indianapolis. I'd suggest:

- Broad Ripple - This would be my first choice. Lots of bars, some good coffee shops (e.g. Hubbard and Craven's), very high density of recommended restaurants. This is the most likely place for cool new things to open up (e.g. an Indiana brewery just opened their first tasting shop in Broadripple). It's the most likely place people will choose to gather.
On Preview: There are a good number of college kids, but they tend not to mix with the professionals. At least, I find them easy to avoid (or not avoid, if you may prefer). Many of my friends live in that area. For reference, I'm Male, 27 and I work as a software consultant.

- Massachusetts Avenue - Particularly near the Rathskellar. The Murat gets a lot of concerts, lots of good restaurants in the area, though I don't know as much about the bars down there. I rate this second because the density is lower, but it has the advantage of being close to downtown where a lot of events occur (e.g. Final Four).

I'm happy to provide more details or information on specific neighborhoods. Ask'em if you got'em.
posted by systematic at 8:22 PM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: Awesome, thanks for the quick responses, I've been looking on Google Maps, is Monument Circle considered the middle of downtown? I noticed a bunch of bars on Meridian St., how would this area rank?

Broad Ripple sounds like Pacific Beach in San Diego- mostly bars and drunk younger kids, I'm looking for the area that people move a few years after that- mid 20's to mid 30s. Keep the good advice coming!
posted by weiler63 at 8:43 PM on April 27, 2010

In my mind downtown ends at Washington Street - south of that and you start getting into Eli-Lilly chemical land. What block of Meridian are you looking at? North of I-65 and you are in to the Old Northside, nice old historic houses but not a commercial area. You may want to check out the Canal that runs from 10th to Military Park along West Street, it is a good walking/jogging area that seems to have nice apartments on either side. There are some efforts to get restaurants, etc in along the canal but I don't think there is anything yet.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:02 PM on April 27, 2010

I have no real "grownup" knowledge of neighborhoods, but my aunt used to live there and my first impression of Indianapolis (contrary to what many people think) was that it was a gorgeous and cultured place :)

She first lived on Buckingham, near Butler, and I thought that was a really great area. (Might be a little more established than you're looking for right now, but worth a look.) Then she had a little cottage off of the 6800 block of Westfield, right on one of those manmade ponds, which was ridiculously charming. That's just north of Broad Ripple, but still very nice. Maybe not walkable to quite as much (nearer to more apartments, not necessarily coffee shops), but certainly close.
posted by Madamina at 9:13 PM on April 27, 2010

I'd go a bit farther than ChrisHartley in defining downtown. Indianapolis was originally laid out as a square one mile on a side, and the borders of the original mile square are, logically but unimaginatively, named North, East, South, and West streets. "Downtown" to me includes at least everything within the mile square, and probably a bit beyond that. (FWIW, I grew up here, went out of state for college & grad school but then moved back.)

Anyway, as to your main question, I don't have much to add to what's already been said; both Broad Ripple and Mass Ave. would seem to fit. My impression of the bars in Broad Ripple is that those along the main strip (Broad Ripple Ave.) tend to be those which cater to the college-age and very-recently-graduated crowd, but you can find more age-diverse bars if you go off of Broad Ripple Ave. just a bit. And it does have many good restaurants and shops. Mass Ave. has some shops and bars along it—fewer than Broad Ripple right there, but you also have access to all of downtown within walking distance if you define "walking distance" broadly enough.

I live way out in the suburbs, but that's not a strategy I'd recommend for someone who likes to have things within walking distance.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:59 PM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: Devils, when you say "access to all of downtown" does this mean a highly trafficked area? I work from home (The not-for-profit from a previous post) So a cool park, or people watching from a coffee shop are the things that would keep me sane during the day. Still think Mass. Ave would fit the bill? --Thanks
posted by weiler63 at 10:18 PM on April 27, 2010

You've got park-like areas both to the north and south of the Indiana War Memorial which might fit the bill.

I'm not much for coffeehouses myself, so other people can probably answer that part of the question better than I can. There used to be one I liked called The Abbey on Mass Ave. & College, but it moved to N. Pennsylvania Ave. a few years back when its original site was torn down & redeveloped, and apparently has since closed. (I never went to its new location. I guess not many other people did either.)

The city recently completed a beautiful expansion of the central library branch on St. Clair St. just east of Meridian (which may or may not be within "walking distance" of Mass. Ave depending on your tolerance for walking, the weather, etc.) Great views from the upper floors. May be another place to consider "keeping sane."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:55 PM on April 27, 2010

I'd waste time typing the same things as the folks above; instead, let me offer my Flickr Sets of Indy.
posted by pjern at 11:36 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Awesome pics Pjern, what kind of setup were you using? I really like the ones with the reflections in the canal... So I'm kinda leaning towards around the Mass. Ave area, between NY and St. Clair. I'll have my road bike with me, so, weather permitting, I'll be able to get around fairly easily. Any more tips would be greatly appreciated, thank you all for helping me narrow this down, and thank you Metafilter for allowing this kind of exchange to happen!!
posted by weiler63 at 11:54 PM on April 27, 2010

Well, I do cheat, and use a camera :) (Nikon D50 and D80, mostly)

I just wanted to share some of the stuff I find beautiful about my (soon to be our) city. We have meetups here once in a while, too :)
posted by pjern at 3:03 AM on April 28, 2010

Really Massachusetts Ave. is the only spot that fits your criteria in my opinion. I actually really like Indianapolis, but I'd prepare yourself for quite a dramatic shift in the city dynamic to which you are accustomed.
posted by highfidelity at 5:04 AM on April 28, 2010

When I was your age, I lived at Riley Towers Apartments downtown (hi-rise) and loved the walk-ability, amazing views, and amenities. You're a couple blocks from Mass Ave which everybody is recommending. It's easy, urban bachelor living.

I now live in Irvington which is getting more and more cred among young singles/couples/families. If you like the idea of winding streets, lots of trees, picket fences, and 5mi proximity to downtown, you should check it out. They just re-opened a great historic apartment building across the street from Starbucks, although Lazy Daze coffee house is the real deal.
posted by tfmm at 8:40 AM on April 28, 2010

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