How cool is it that Indiana has been hosting the entire NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament? What other city has the infrastructure to support a giant, multi-week, multi-facility sporting event with this sort of ease?
Maybe there is one. I don’t know. I’m a homer. I think Indy’s a great place to live and a fun place to visit.
So a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little song and recorded it with the help of the lovely and talented Mina Keohane and Amanda Gardier. And we created a little video with some help from our friends at Earshot Audiopost and Scofield Digital Storytelling—and an assist from the fine folks at Visit Indy, who lent us access to their photo library.
And to go along with that, I decided I’d imagine you were spending a week in Indy and the itinerary I’d suggest you consider. Here’s my list:
A Week in Indianapolis
You just got here. Chill out. Walk around downtown a little and have dinner somewhere nice. Napolese, maybe?
Start with brunch at Garden Table on Mass Ave. Then take a stroll around downtown Indy and check out the public art and the parks and monuments: the Indiana War Memorial, University Park and Obelisk Square, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on Monument Circle, and others. If you’re so inclined, the Central Library is a beautiful structure and a great place to hang out for an hour or two, and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, home of America’s 23rd and only Hoosier president, is just a short walk up Delaware Street. Finish up with a walk through Indy’s historic near northside neighborhoods—St. Joseph and the Old Northside and Herron-Morton—and have dinner at Tinker Street (my favorite). Cab it back to your hotel—or, if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on an e-scooter or the Pacers Bikeshare.
You like sports, right? There’s no better place to experience sports than Indy. The play at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever play at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. The Indianapolis Indians play at Victory Field—one America’s most beautiful ballparks. The Indy Eleven play at Carroll Stadium on the IUPUI campus. Depending on the weekend you’re here, there might be a big race. Pick a place on Georgia Street to do your pregaming. If you have time before or after the game, check out the NCAA Hall of Champions. And if you still can’t get enough sports, have dinner at St. Elmo Steak House. You never know what big-time sports celeb you’ll see in there.
Wow. You had a busy weekend. Sleep in a little. Lots of places are closed on Mondays, but one that isn’t is one of the best: Milktooth in the historic Fletcher Place neighborhood, a short walk or bike ride from the middle of town. They open at 10 a.m., and you’ll want to get there early. After breakfast, stroll down to Fountain Square and spend a little time watching the world go by at The Idle. Indulge your inner musician by browsing at Square Cat Vinyl and Arthur’s Music Store. Maybe quaff a beer at Upland or a cocktail at the Brass Ring or a cup of coffee at Bovaconti or Calvin Fletcher’s. And please stop in and see us at Well Done Marketing. With a bit of luck, we’ll be free for dinner at one of our great Fountain Square-area restaurants.
You’ve been doing some walking, haven’t you? Today, grab a treat at Gallery Pastry Bar and hitch a ride up north to the world-famous Children’s Museum of Indianapolis—great fun for the whole family, including adults without kids—and the The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Newfields. Maybe take a spin through the beautiful campus of Butler University. Since you’re up that way, anyway, finish the day in Broad Ripple, Indy’s midtown shopping, dining, and entertainment mecca, with opportunities and amusements too numerous to name here.
Let’s do downtown again today. Have breakfast at Café Patachou on Washington Street across from the Indiana State Capitol, then make the quick walk to the Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Take a stroll along the Central Canal—or maybe hire a paddleboat or a gondola to enjoy the canal from the inside. Get dinner at Bru Burger Bar or Chatham Tap or somewhere else along the renowned Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Then treat yourself to a show: Music at the HI-FI or Slippery Noodle or Chatterbox Jazz Club—or the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Hilbert Circle Theatre; a play at Indiana Repertory Theatre or the Phoenix Theatre or—honestly, just consult the Visit Indy current event calendar. You’ll find something amazing.
What have you not done that you need to do today? Maybe have breakfast at Love Handle and spend some time ducking in and out of all the quirky shops along Mass Ave. Maybe take in the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library or the Rhythm! Discovery Center or the amazing Indianapolis Zoo or a matinee at The Living Room at Bottleworks. Check out the awesome new food court—the Garage—up there, too. Or: Have you made it to Shapiro’s, one of the Midwest’s best Jewish delis? Don’t spoil your dinner: It’s your last night, so make it special. Consider Bluebeard in Fletcher Place or start with a cocktail at Plat 99 and head downstairs for dinner at Nesso.
Getaway day! But you don’t have to run away so fast. Get a ginger latte and a croissant at Coat Check Coffee. Consider grabbing a sandwich from Wildwood Market on your way out of town. Don’t be a stranger.
Yeah, we’re not perfect; we did some things awfully wrong as recently as today. If you want to talk about politics and justice and equity, we can have a very long and passionate conversation.
And we know our environment is not blessed with sandy beaches or rugged mountains or even rolling hills. But you know what we’re good at? Helping you feel at home. Making it easy for you to get here and easy to get around when you do.
And earnestly working on the things we need to fix to make this place even better for even more people.
I’ve only missed thousands of things you can do for fun in Indianapolis. I’ve lived here for more than 30 years, and I’ve never run out.