A Day in Indianapolis: The Insider’s Guide

HYPERLOCAL

When it comes to travel, it’s nice to have an insider’s perspective. Here at Blueprint, presented by CBRE, we are fortunate to have an expansive network of local colleagues around the globe who are not only real estate experts, but also local tastemakers. We have asked them to give an insider’s perspective to some of the best, most iconic cities across the globe. Today we explore Indianapolis, Ind. 

City: Indianapolis

Country: United States 

Nicknames: Circle City, Indy, the Crossroads of America

Population: 852,380

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What is your favorite public space? Why?

Monument Circle. Built in 1888, in tribute to Hoosiers that fought in the American Civil War, this iconic landmark has become a defining symbol of downtown Indianapolis. You can get a one-of-a-kind view of the city from the observation deck, and events happen here all year round, including the spectacular Circle of Lights tree-lighting ceremony during the holidays. 

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Where can you find the best view of the city?

Salesforce Tower. The best views often come from the highest vantage points, and that’s what you get on the 44th floor of this impressive complex, which is the tallest tower in the state of Indiana and the 44th-tallest building in the United States.

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You are going for a bike ride. Where do you go? 

The Monon Trail. Started in the 1990s, this “rails-to-trails” project now extends from Marion up to Hamilton County, and spans more than 18 miles. Pieces of the original railway have been combined with modern development to create a beautiful biking path. 

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What is the best place to discover local music?

The Slippery Noodle Inn, Indianapolis’ oldest bar. This hot spot is the place to go to hear top-notch blues music seven days a week. This 170-year-old space has had many names over the years, but none as memorable as its current moniker. The reasoning behind the bar’s unique name? The owner says: “Slippery Noodle: Once you heard it, you know you’d remember it.” 

What is the “don’t judge a book by its cover” restaurant?

Working Man’s Friend. Burgers cooked on a flat top are the name of the game at this no-frills eatery. This place keeps it old school with a cash-only, over-21 policy. A classic dive if ever there was one. And if burgers aren’t your thing, head on down to Long’s Bakery for a piping hot dozen of their classic yeast donuts.

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Favorite place to watch a game?

While the famed Lucas Oil Stadium gets the most attention, it’s worth your time to catch a baseball game at Victory Field, home to the Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The park is hands down one of the nicest venues in minor league baseball, and its affordable ticket prices make it fun for the whole family.

If you have the time, take a trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University. This historic basketball arena, nicknamed “Indiana’s Basketball Cathedral,” remains one of the oldest sports arenas of its kind still in use. Home of Butler’s basketball program, the arena was named a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1987.

Best public transportation experience?

Pacers Bike Share. Short trips downtown are now a breeze with the Pacers Bike Share program. With 29 stations throughout the city, you can access plenty of Indianapolis’ sights and attractions. Get a day pass and experience the city at your own pace.

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Favorite place to unwind?

The Canal Walk. One of the best ways to unwind in the city is to take a stroll along the Central Canal. Whether you’re walking along the water, riding in a paddleboat or even enjoying an Italian-style gondola ride, there is something calming about being near the water. Take time to stop at one of Indianapolis’ many museums along the way. Highlights include the Indiana State Museum, NCAA Hall of Champions and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

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Favorite place to be inspired?

Indianapolis Cultural Trail. This path provides access to the city’s entertainment and cultural districts. (Be on the lookout for the ever-changing art installments along the trail.) With so much packed into this district, you are bound to find something new and interesting along the way. 

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Favorite place to be alone?

Holcomb Gardens at Butler University. This 20-acre garden houses local flora and exotic plant species. In additional to its abundant plant life, the garden also features a pond and fountain. It’s also home to the Holcomb Carillon Tower. 

There’s also Garfield Park, the oldest park in the city, and home to the 10,000-square-foot Garfield Park Conservatory, as well as hundreds of tropical and exotic plants. The grounds are a perfect place to take a long walk and smell the roses. 

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Best place to feel like you’re not in your city?

Eagle Creek Reservoir. Just 10 miles from downtown, visitors can enjoy boating, kayaking, fishing and more at Eagle Creek Reservoir, one of the largest municipal parks in the country. Outdoor dining at Rick’s Café Boatyard is a must when the weather is nice. 

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Best insider place to take the kids?

It’s hard to pass up a trip to the Children’s Museum, the largest in the world. With five floors and nearly half a million square feet of exhibit space, you can easily spend an entire day here and still have more to see. Be sure to check out Dinosphere, one of the museum’s most popular exhibits.

Best independent shopping venues?

The shops on Mass Avenue. One of four diagonal streets, originally laid out in 1821 and leading directly to downtown, Mass Ave. has found new life as home to a plethora of boutique retailers, art galleries and restaurants. Local favorites include Silver in the City, Arts A Poppin and Indy Reads Books.

Best hidden gem museum?

The City Market Catacombs Tour. Underneath City Market’s Whistler Plaza lies 20,000 square feet of passageways and pillars, as well as the remains of the burned-down Tomlinson Hall. The tour showcases a great piece of Indianapolis history in a unique and unexpected way. 

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Best place to get a local specialty?

Try the shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s. The cocktail sauce at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse packs a serious punch that keeps locals and visitors coming back time and again. Rumor has it they sell 500 orders of the stuff every Friday and Saturday night.

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