Why Visit Indianapolis?

After my trip to Milwaukee I was feeling pretty keen on the Midwest, so when Visit Indy invited me to come out and visit Indianapolis, I got pretty psyched. Why? I don’t know. The only thing I really knew about the city was that it’s home to the Indy 500, something I could not possibly be less interested in.

Actually that’s not true. I also knew that one of my all time favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, is from Indianapolis, and that alone was enough to make me curious. I also had been wanting to take a solo trip before the wedding, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore a new city on my own.

What I discovered is that Indianapolis is actually a pretty cool place. So here are 5 reasons to visit Indianapolis that have nothing to do with race cars:

It’s an Art City

Everywhere you go in Indianapolis there is art on display, from the gorgeous Alexander art hotel to the abstract sculptures dotting the canal. Indy hosted the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, and in commemoration the city commissions 40 public murals that are spread throughout the city. My favorite? Kurt Vonnegut of course.

Then there’s the Indiana Museum of Art, a gorgeous and surprisingly thorough museum with the adjacent 100-acre Woods sculpture garden which features giant climbable skeletons, sinking ships and an artist in residence.

Farm to Fork is the Norm

Food! Food is a driving force everywhere I go, and Indianapolis was no different. As Morgan from Visit Indy told me “we were doing farm to fork food BEFORE it was trendy.” It makes sense that with so much fertile farmland nearby that the chefs in town would take advantage of fresh produce.

While in Indy I visited some amazing restaurants that really presented local food in an innovative way (spicy beet carpaccio anyone?). I’ll be writing more on this later, but check out my list on Answers.com for inspiration.

Literary Associations

Kurt Vonnegut isn’t the only famous other to call Indianapolis Home. James Whitcomb Riley and Boot Tarkington are from Indianapolis (so are Larry Bird, Dan Quayle and Brendan Frasier, not that that has to do with anything).

The writer John Green is also an Indy local, and often incorporates places around the city into his books. The Fault in Our Stars, one of my favorite books from last year, took place in Indianapolis and I even visited the Crazy Bones sculpture featured in one of the scenes.

Biking

Indianapolis is one of the fastest growing urban areas in the United States, and as such the city is highly invested in urban renewal and increasing the live-ability of the city. The most visible example is the Indianapolis Cultural Trail which winds all around the downtown area. It takes you past many important Indianapolis landmarks and through all the major cultural districts. Many of the hotels will lend you a bike so you can see for yourself.

Midwestern Hospitality

Maybe I’m a jaded East Coaster, but the friendliness in the MidWest just kills me! Walking down the street people smile, wave and say hello. I went out to dinner on my own several times and each time I ended up chatting with the table next to me.

I’m starting to get the feeling that the Midwest is an entirely underrated travel destination…

Have you been to Indianapolis?

I visited Indianapolis as a guest of Visit Indy, all midwest-a-phile opinions are my own.

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indygal
indygal

I grew up in Indy and still live here. I’m friends with the family that lives in Kurt Vonnegut’s old house in Broad Ripple. Proud to say I’ve seen it and been inside! Glad you had fun.

GaryBo
GaryBo

Indy:Know before you go.

Double check what’s going on downtown with your hotel and Visitindy.com and maybe DoitIndy websites and others. Indy has transformed into a convention destination city. Downtown can be swamped with people.

I would highly recommend the CT (cultural trail) urban bike system the goes to many of the cool districts(Fountain Square, MASS Ave/Chatham Arch, Wholesale District and Broad Ripple are my favorites) in the central city. Better yet, hook up with Active Indy Tours for a walk, run or bike tour. They are locate in the central bike hub in the City Market.

Hogga
Hogga

never thought of indianapolis as a destination

Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
Scott - Quirky Travel Guy

Indy is one of the last Midwest cities I haven’t made it to, so I’m looking forward to my visit in two weeks. I have some of these places on my radar already. The Vonnegut library should be cool!

Beth @ Besudesu Abroad
Beth @ Besudesu Abroad

Indy is definitely an underrated city (as is practically everywhere in the Midwest).

And maybe I’m biased because I’m from the Midwest, but people here do seem friendly than those I’ve met on the East Coast!

Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5
Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5

Yes! Both Josh and my family live in Carmel (Just north of Indianapolis) and we love Indy! It’s a great city and so many people don’t stop by! Loved to hear you were there and had great reviews!

Lauren Meshkin
Lauren Meshkin

Yup, you had me sold after looking at that food picture. But then you mentioned Kurt Vonnegut and John Green… I must take a trip to Indianapolis now.

Great post! Happy travels 🙂

courtney
courtney

I’ve never been to Indy, but that breakfast looks like reason enough!

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