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indianapolis city guide {UPDATE}

by Grace Bonney

Today’s Indianapolis City Guide Update comes from Leslie Bailey, a freelance writer for Indianapolis Monthly, regular contributor to the Indianapolis Star and author of the blog Lesalina.com. She lives in downtown Indianapolis with her two cats and subscribes to a preposterous number of magazines. Today she has graciously updated the Indianapolis guide (just in time for the 2012 Super Bowl) to share the wonderful new things going on in this Midwest city. Thanks, Leslie, for this great update! — Stephanie

*Photo above via Veer

Read the full guide after the jump . . .

Indianapolis is a hidden-gem kind of place. To begin, most people don’t consider it a “must-see” city, and that would be their first mistake. Whether you’re an art collector or a sports fan, a culinary connoisseur or a vintage clothing lover, it can be said with confidence that there is something within the circle city that you don’t want to miss.

The second mistake would be to spend time in “Indy” without exploring the incredible restaurants, shopping and experiences the city has to offer. From chef-owned bistros serving farm-fresh food to blocks of boutiques that will appease even the most selective shoppers, Indianapolis does not disappoint. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look.

Check out this Google Map with all the below listings marked!



8Fifteen Boutique — Indy’s premiere upscale women’s clothing boutique. In this gorgeous space complete with bar and fireplace, you’ll find clothing from lines like Helmut Lang, Rachel Zoe and J. Brand in addition to a few home goods like candles by Marianne Guedin.

Addendum — At Addendum, expect a store full of beautiful and fun accessories for the home. The selection of Jonathan Adler pillows and pottery alone is worth the trip.

Bebe Gate — High-end children’s boutique with clothing from newborn to size 7 as well as gifts, toys and accessories.

Big Hat Books — A general-interest bookstore and art gallery with creaky hardwood floors and a shop dog — just as an independent bookstore should be.

EyeMAX Cosmetics — EyeMAX is a makeup boutique offering a full line of cosmetics, spa treatments and makeup lessons.

Got Sole — Streetwear and sneakers boutique specializing in retro looks from Air Jordan high-tops to classic Vans.

Luna Music — Independent record store selling vinyl records, headphones, books, CDs, turntables and accessories.

Niche — A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, Niche brings out your rugged inner rock star.

Panda(ology) — Asian gift and home store with quirky items for children and adults. Be sure to visit the Asian market in the back, which includes fresh sushi, food and housewares.

Surroundings — One of the most magical home décor stores you ever did see. Just when you think there’s nothing more to see, it just keeps on going, from bright Trina Turk pillows to antique pheasant paintings.

Uber — Part clothing boutique, part interior design and home store. Uber infuses eclectic, chic design into it all.


3 Sisters Café — Known for their breakfast and vegetarian dishes, 3 Sisters Café is the ultimate solution for those seeking both comfort and health food.

Bazbeaux — Indy’s favorite pizza joint offers outdoor patio seating in the summer and a long list of specialty pizza pies.

Brics Ice Cream Station — Located in the historic Monon Railway Station just off the Monon Trail, Brics serves nearly 40 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream as well as hot-chocolate and locally roasted fair-trade coffees.

Brugge Brasserie — A Belgian-inspired gastro-pub popular for serving the most delicious Moules-frites.

Just Pop In! — This gourmet popcorn shop is a city snack staple. Create your own or choose from one of the specialty mixes; the cheddar/caramel “Indy Style” mix is a fan-favorite.

Mama Corolla’s — Once a 1920s California Stucco model home, now a charming Old Italian restaurant. Mama Corolla’s provides cozy “home style” seating in the colder months, with a charming garden and wrap-around porch for additional summer seating.

Naked Tchopstix — Offering eyebrow-raising sushi, like the Playboy Roll served on fire. Naked Tchopstix is a regular go-to before hitting a show at neighboring concert venue, The Vogue.

Northside Social — This restaurant oozes a casual yet chic environment with food that follows suit and a seasonally focused menu.

Petite Chou — A branch of the locally famous Café Patachou restaurants, Petite Chou serves French-inspired breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Recess — A fine-dining restaurant with an old-school (literally) urban feel. A brushed concrete floor serves as the backdrop to a beautiful four-course pre-fixe dinner that changes daily.

Taste Café and Marketplace — Taste may be a casual place to grab a leisurely weekend breakfast or a quick workday lunch, but the food goes beyond what one would hope for on either occasion.

Zest! Exciting Food Creations — As the name suggests, Zest! is all about creativity, whether it’s drawing in crayon on your butcher-paper placemat or concocting a unique special for brunch.

Do and Explore

Indianapolis Art Center — Visit three major fine art galleries and five exhibition halls, take a class at the Marilyn K. Glick School of Art or stroll through the 12-acre ARTSPARK.

ModHomeEc — Been meaning to do something with that reclaimed garage sale chair? A class at Shelly Lee’s ModHomeEc studio is undoubtedly in order. Weekend workshops are ideal for visitors.

Monon Trail — A nearly 17-mile trail beginning at 10th Street in downtown Indianapolis and ending at 161st Street in Carmel, the Monon Trail is a favorite place to walk, run, bike, rollerblade and explore.



Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company — A community coffee house with a conscience. From soups and sandwiches to tea and Boylen’s soda, all profits are donated to charitable organizations.

End of the Line Public — Honoring Fountain Square’s heritage as a streetcar turn-around, the End features hearty food and a large selection of local beers, as well as rooftop dining in the summer.

Revolucion — This cantina and tiki bar draws in crowds for their tacos and local beer.

Pure Eatery — A restaurant that lives up to its tagline, “Fresh Honest Food.” Pure focuses on local, organic and seasonal food that is both delicious and affordable.

Red Lion Grog House — Traditional English cuisine with an American flair offering everything from chicken wings to shepherd’s pie.

Santorini Greek Kitchen — An Indianapolis favorite for over 10 years, Santorini is a husband-and-wife-owned restaurant serving up the most delicious Greek cuisine, not to mention plenty of saganaki and belly-dancing entertainment on the weekends.

Siam Square — Open seven days a week, offering fresh, authentic Thai food at its best. Even non-dessert lovers will swoon over the Thai Ice Cream with Sweet Sticky Rice.

Smokehouse on Shelby — Quite literally the anchor of Fountain Square, Smokehouse on Shelby is the quintessential BBQ joint serving classic Hoosier specialties, such as the pork tenderloin sandwich.


Harloh’s — Vintage clothing and accessories ranging from the 1920s to the 1980s for men, women and children.

Heirloom Classics: Jewelry and Beads — A one-stop bead shop. Classes, repair, custom-work, tools and accessories are also available for beading enthusiasts of all ages and levels.

Indy Swank — Featuring vintage and locally created fashion, including accessories such as beaded handbags, funky suitcases, retro hats, home décor and more.

Joe’s Cycles — Sales, tune-ups, bicycle repairs . . . and coffee!

Mass Ave Knit Shop — Mass Ave Knit Shop sells yarn for knitting and crocheting in addition to group classes.

Do and Explore

Action Duckpin Bowl and Atomic Bowl Duckpin — A late 1920s eight-lane bowling hall upstairs with a 1950s seven-lane duckpin bowling alley downstairs.

Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art — The museum houses thought-provoking, original, contemporary works of art. The iMOCA gallery features a new art show every two months from local, regional and national levels.



ball & biscuit — Here, you’ll find a truly unique selection of pre-prohibition cocktails and small plates. Exposed brick walls, distressed leather chairs and vintage microphones make it the most aesthetically pleasing place to throw back raw oysters on a Thursday night.

Black Market — You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more interesting menu in the city — or possibly the entire state of Indiana — than at Black Market. The seasonal menu changes in some way or form almost daily.

Bru — Bru is the name, gourmet burgers are the game. You won’t find anything on the food menu over $11.

Chatham Tap — Cheer on your team with fellow soccer and football enthusiasts at an English-themed restaurant and pub. 

Hoaglin to Go Café and Marketplace — Hoaglin may boast Indy’s best egg salad, but any place where adults can order a “grown up” peanut butter and jelly is good in my book.

MacNiven’s Restaurant and Bar — Beer, haggis and friendly service is the focus of this Scottish American restaurant and bar.

R. Bistro — With the menu changing weekly, you’ll find nothing but farm-fresh food and local delights at this small chef-owned restaurant. 

The Flying Cupcake Bakery — Vintage farm doors and chalkboards line the walls of this shabby-chic space, but the cupcakes are the real treat. It’s been said that people will give up their first-born for the Red Velvet Elvis. Vegan and gluten-free options are also available.

YATS — Classic Cajun Creole food and a local favorite.

Yogulatte — Just like it sounds! Pop in for frozen yogurt or a latte after dinner at trendy neighboring sister sushi restaurant, FortyFive Degrees.


Arts A Poppin’ — Every item in the store is made by local, regional and national artisans that specialize in everything from glass, metal and pottery to soaps, lotion and cards.

Chatham Home — What was once an old tool and die shop is now a beautiful two-story family-owned interior store offering one-of-a-kind solid wood pieces, both new and re-purposed furniture as well as whimsical home accessories and gifts.

Crimson Tate — Quilting store offering fabrics, notions, patterns and classes.

Mass Ave Toys — I challenge anyone, child or adult, to walk into this store and not play with something. From robots to Sea Monkeys, it’s the best selection of toys this side of FAO Schwarz, New York.

Mass Ave Wine Shoppe — Over 100 different wines all under $15. What’s not to love? Oh, and a selection of craft beer and cheese, too.

Nurture — Modern baby and toddler boutique featuring handmade, organic and eco-friendly products, clothing and gear.

Sage — A boutique offering women’s clothing and accessories, from sleek dresses by Susana Monaco to upcycled clothing by local designer Liz Alig.

Silver in the City | At Home in the City — On one side of this store you’ll find beautiful silver jewelry, and on the other a home boutique with the best quirky gifts . . . in the city.

Stout’s Footwear — It’s said that when Stout’s first opened in 1886, “Grover Cleveland was President and good leather shoes sold for a dollar.” Today the oldest shoe store in the nation sells men’s, women’s and kid’s shoes from brands like Ugg Australia, New Balance, Merrell and more.

The Best Chocolate in Town — Selling premium, quality, handmade chocolates, truffles, turtles, toffees, caramels and — you get the point.

White Dog — An eclectic little shop featuring an assortment of newfangled and time-worn gifts and housewares, plus a delightful section of vintage clothing and accessories.

Do and Explore

Art Bank Gallery — A 1920s bank houses artwork from more than 30 local artists.

Earth House Collective — Community hub serving a variety of purposes from concerts, film showings, theatre performances and a 100% fair-trade/organic café.

IndyFringe Theatre — Offering regular performances and festivals, IndyFringe serves as an accessible and affordable outlet to unite arts and the community.


Nestle Inn Bed and Breakfast — This five-bedroom, family-owned bed and breakfast is literally nestled in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Within feet of Mass Ave’s dining and shopping scene, the urban B&B offers home-cooked breakfasts on the weekend and a complimentary breakfast during the week at Henry’s Coffee Bistro next door.



14 West Restaurants and Suites — 14 West houses fine dining downstairs and luxury suites for lodging upstairs. An often-overlooked alternative to higher-end chain restaurants.

Adobo Grill — This Mexican restaurant is known for their guacamole made right at your table and salsa dancing in addition to tasty, authentic Mexican food.

Bella Vita Ristorante — Tucked into the lowest level of the Circle Center mall, Bella Vita is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the mall without leaving the building.

Creation Café — Overlooking the north end of downtown canal, Creation Café is housed in Buggs Temple. A former church, Creation Café is now a colorfully decorated restaurant with a large terrace for outdoor dining overlooking the city.

Harry and Izzy’s — Sister restaurant to St. Elmo Steakhouse, Harry and Izzy’s is a slightly more casual environment with a similar menu.

The Libertine — While listed as a “Liquor Bar” first and foremost, The Libertine is actually an upscale (the kind that somehow still manages to be casual) restaurant that leans toward small plates — always with an interesting twist.

Mikado Japanese and Sushi Bar — The first Japanese and longest-running restaurant in the heart of Indianapolis. Their private rooms with traditional Japanese floor seating make any occasion feel special and intimate.

Pearl Street Pizza — Although the back-alley location is unexpected, the pizza is worth the hunt for a pie from this locally owned joint.

St. Elmo Steakhouse — St. Elmo is arguably the most famous steakhouse in the city and possibly beyond. This 100-year-old restaurant is an Indianapolis icon, known for their famous shrimp cocktail.


Circle Center Mall — Ranging from Aldo to Victoria’s Secret, Circle Center Mall is the hub of shopping in the heart of downtown.

Honeysuckle Home — Honeysuckle Home sits quietly in a residential neighborhood just north of the Wholesale District. The store has a decidedly French farmhouse feel with a focus on earth-friendly products.

Midland Arts & Antiques Market — Midland sits northeast of the Wholesale District and East of Mass Ave, unexpected in an old factory just off the interstate. The two-story building is chock-full of treasures untold.

Do and Explore

Indianapolis Arts Garden — Seventeen feet above a major intersection, the Arts Garden houses more than 300 musical performances and exhibitions every year, offering true serenity in the city.

Indiana State Museum — Sitting alongside the city’s canal, the State Museum has an ever-changing variety of exhibits, as well as core galleries that cover aspects of the Hoosier state, from “Ancient Seas” to the enterprising 1950s.


The Canterbury Hotel — The lodging lineage of this downtown boutique hotel dates back to the 1850s. While conveniently located within walking distance of the city’s best restaurants and nightlife, you may prefer to stay in the hotel and enjoy the historic ambiance of Turner’s Restaurant or afternoon tea in the parlor instead.

JW Marriott — Lose yourself in luxury at the largest JW Marriott in the world, featuring over 1,000 guest rooms as well as three restaurants: High Velocity, Tavern on the Plaza and Osteria Pronto.


Jon McLaughlin, singer

Carrie Newcomer, singer

Nancy Noel, painter

Ambre Ashley Crockett, creator and owner of Ambre Blends

Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, band

Owners of Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

Craig Dodge Lile, XM Radio Host, etc.

Erin Edds, creator of Hoosier Mama Bloody Mary Mix

Mab Graves, artist

Jason Zickler, artist

Casey Mullins, aka Moosh in Indy, blogger

Suggested For You


  • A great, great gallery to visit in Fountain Square is Big Car Gallery (www.bigcar.org). They often have concerts there too.

    Hurray for Indianapolis!

  • Oh my goodness, my little hometown looking proud! Thanks, Emma, for this great guide. I’d also add the Harrison Center for the Arts and all the other great spots that open monthly for First Friday! Also, for furniture, Form + Function in Nora is a great spot for high-end modern pieces.

    And, as someone who loves food, I’d also chime in that Santorini’s in Fountain Square & R Bistro on Mass Ave. are amazing, as are Yats (downtown and College Ave, especially), Jockamo’s Pizza in Irvington, and the many and varied “ethnic” restaurants on the 38th Street corridor. There’s a pile more, but I’ll restrain myself.

  • Okay, I’m going to do it. It’s my baby and I love it.
    form + function in Nora 1300 E 86th Street.
    We also have the best place for bagels in our plaza Bagel Shop. A few of my other musts for food are Shanghai Lil, Mikado, Taste, City Cafe.
    Don’t forget to stop by MERIDIAN at 2201 North Meridian and The Harrison Center

  • form+function HAS to be on this list. I am from Indiana and used to work here.. It is the only shop to offer Alessi, B&B, Cappellini, etc. to the area. They are a small business with wonderful owners and should be recognized!!

  • hi everybody! keep the suggestions coming, i know i haven’t nearly included all the fantastic goodness of indianapolis, but i had to put us on the d*s map! i’ll be stopping in form+function next time i’m back!

  • What a surprise to see the skyline of Indy on d*s today! You’ve put together a great list!

    I second Kirsten’s vote for Yats and also wanted to mention, when you are up in Old Town Carmel to grab a bite at Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream.!

  • A big third for Yats! I also would include MacNivens, which I have a new-found appreciation for after working up the nerve to try their vegetarian haggis.

    In my heart I know I need to check out form + function, but I’m scared for my wallet.

  • No worries about your wallet
    Come visit the store.
    You may be surprized.
    And I’ll make you a cup of espresso, no charge just remind me I offered.

  • Fantastic to see such a great list for a neglected city! I’d suggest you add White River Salvage on West 30th. They have three warehouses full of salvaged architectural elements, furniture, and antiques. It’s a fantastic place to go for inspiration and occasional bargains, and the owner will give you a tour if you share his favorite periods in art (Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau)–or probably if you ask nicely. :D

  • I love Midland so much…I go every time I come into town and find something wonderful. Another great place to eat is Three Sisters in Broad Ripple. Really great vegetarian offerings.

  • Be sure to check out Krista Bermeo’s studio in the Murphy Art Center on the second floor for amazing, beautiful handcrafted glass jewelry. I think the Murphy Art Center has open houses the first Friday of every month.

  • I’d like to second that Three Sisters is absolutely delicious.

    Does anyone know where to get unique children’s toys that are also organic, fair-trade, etc. ? Does Mass Ave Toys carry any? I need a birthday gift for my nephew who is turning two, and would like to find something unique and eco-friendly…

  • whoa… little indy on the d*s map! Don’t forget The Bungalow in Broadripple if you’re going to Three Sisters (which is absolutely delicious, you’re right)… they’ve got tons of modern furniture and cute things from your kitchen to your office! Also, the Monon Coffee Company (where I work *coughtipwellcough*) is tops!

    Also check out Sakura Urban Studio on Mass Ave! They custom design handbags, you pick the fabrics you want and everything. It started as an etsy account, and she still carries tons of etsy artists! Not to mention boygirlparty & Chilewich!!

  • Wow, I used to live in Indy! It’s great to see it represented, and there are so many places here that are new to me. I love Midland and Three Sisters. I did some design work for form+function years ago; yes, it’s definitely a high-end store, but it has fantastic sales!

  • Another great Indy find is the Teeki Hut, it is located in Broad Ripple and allows you to design your own tshirts! It has a great retro vibe and carries American Apparel. It is truly a magical place!

  • Yes. This is absolutely wonderful! Indianapolis is so many times overlooked and shunned as part of the “fly over states.” We’re on the up and up… for sure.

    And, don’t forget LUNA Records (downtown on Mass Ave and midtown on College Ave). A true Indy original and a great place to find new music. One of my favorite weekend activities is brunch at Taste Marketplace and then a walk over to LUNA for good music finds.

  • I’m so happy to see Indy on here, just like everyone else. I will always be a Midwestern girl, Viva la Heartland! We’ve got good design coming out of our ears; sometimes one just has to hunt for it.

  • I like ducks! Who else likes ducks? There is this great store called “Duckies” on the south east side of Downtown right by the canal. They have a wide assortment of embroidered duck sweatshirts and fondue pots.

  • great guide! I wish I’d seen it a month ago, when we spent a day in indianapolis and I was blown away by the beautiful homes and neighborhoods, and especially the memorials downtown.

    the kid’s museum is one of the best anywhere, for sure!

    we loved indianapolis.

  • what a wonderful job – I lOVE your site. thanks for involving us!!!! we have a ball up here in Carmel – changes every week. Don’t forget we will finish things you already have too. Recycling and high design!! the perfect combo

  • Great guide! Taste is a must to put on there for food, I agree with Nikki! So good! Sawasdee on West 86th Street is THE BEST thai food and great owners.

  • Yay! Indy! I was raised in Indy, my dad is also from Indy,have a friend at Kenyon from Indy who works at Bazbeaux, and LIVE for the food. You did however miss some of the best food in the city…YATs! Best cajun creole you will ever experience. The one on College Ave is the best. The one on Mass Ave is alright too.

  • Oh, I’m so homesick! I wish I was listening to a concert on the canal right now. Or at a sing a long at the Chatterbox. What a great city! I can’t wait to move back:)

    If anyone is planning on visiting Indy, I would recommend staying downtown or on the canal and walking over to the zoo. It’s a beautiful walk and Indy has a great zoo. Make sure you go to the botanical gardens. Also there’s two new restaurants at the end of the canal, I can’t remember the names?, that are supposed to be great. I haven’t eaten there yet but I’ve heard it’s delicious. Did anyone mention the Abby or Corner Coffee on Alabama Street? Sure, there are starbucks everywhere but going into locally owned coffee houses and listening to local musicians is soooo great.
    I could go on forever:)
    Go Colts!!!

  • The Brew Pub is definitely still there and has some of the best beer I have ever had! Also, in Broad Ripple there’s a Carribbean place that is amazing called Da Blue Lagoon. Check it out!!
    I’ve gotten caught for hours in Indy CD & Vinyle and the bagels at The Bagel Deli are unbelievable!! Both on Broad Ripple Ave in B.R.

    indy is a happy place :)

  • Great post. I’m always looking for information about Indianapolis. I write about modern design/homes for another site. It’s called Sell Modern. This isn’t shameless self promotion. I really like your content. Let me know if we share stories and images with you. Thanks again.

  • I wanted to 2nd your inclusion of Addendum…it is a wonderful store / gallery that i found by accident on day and that I am now very devoted too. If you saw something in New York or Chicago that you thought was amazing….chances are Addendums owner will have too and has it in the store!

  • Another restaurant that tops my Indy list is Barcelona near downtown. It is a great Spanish tapas place and their wine list is always changing.

    Olives Martini Bar located in the Omni Hotel is great for business drinks or just sit and relax with your special someone. I have done both their and love their list of specialty martinis.

  • having recently returned to my hometown after 12 years away i am enjoying discovering all the hidden jewels indy has to offer!

    three things i would add to this great list are:

    1) hoaglin to go on mass ave for a tasty brunch location. Au gratin potatoes!
    2.) summer nights at IMA with outdoor cinema along the river where you can bring your own wine-n-dine.
    3.) mug-n-bun on west 10th st. for a visit to an old drive in. have the frosted rootbeer and tenderloin…hoosier traditions!

    thanks for the list!

  • The Rathskeller, has to be the best Bier Garten in the nation! The beer couldn’t be better, live music, downtown skyline in view, and near the oldest basketball gym in the state. Truely a great place to go enjoy a good bier and hang out with your friends!

  • Thank you so much for including a guide of my city…Indy! So many wonderful places were mentioned here. I totally agree w/ some of the other posts here…you must add summer nights at the IMA, biking along the towpath from Broad Ripple to the IMA, the Rathskellar bier garten, etc. The curried chicken salad and pomme frites with basil aioli is the perfect lunch at Taste Cafe in Broad Ripple. I also can’t get enough of the spicy basil chicken dish at Jasmine Thai Restaurant in Fishers. Also Santorini’s in Fountain Square is the best. I can’t believe this wasn’t included on the original list! Thanks again for the city guide!

  • I second so many of the above places, but want to add a few to the list.
    -Brugge in Broad Ripple for great beer and food.
    -Central Library for an amazing view of the city
    -outdoor movies at the IMA
    -Symphony on the Prairie concerts at Conners Prairie
    -Big Hat Books in Broad Ripple
    -Chatham Tap on Mass Ave for English beers
    -The Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple
    -Giorgios Pizza on the circle downtown
    I could go on and on, Indy really is a great city!

  • Indianapolis design scene is alive and well. This guide is a nice start, but there is so much more in development — especially down Indy and the Carmel Design District. I hope this guide can be updated from time to time.

  • some of my personal favorites that i must add as a lifelong hoosier:

    1. one of my new favorite restaurants is zest. wonderful, fresh, creative bistro menu with tons of great options – you MUST try their creme brulee french toast! located just north of 54th and college.

    2. nicole-taylor’s pasta & market, right next door to zest in the same strip mall. features freshly made pasta in every flavor imaginable to take home and cook for yourself! affordable, fresh, delicious….they also offer fresh italian cheeses, pasta sauces, salamis, etc.

    3. illinois street food emporium, at illinois st. and westfield, close to butler’s campus. great sandwiches and salads, with a fully stocked bakery of cookies, scones, donuts, etc. everything on the menu is delicious and wonderful here!

    4. long’s bakery. the best donuts in the city. homemade, fresh, variety of flavors, supercheap prices. one location in southport, and one near downtown on 10th street.

    5. i second the readers who adore the girly chic boutique. it is one of my favorite shops in the city. everything is unique, the store has a great atmosphere, and they always have good sales.

    6. for the best view in the city, check out creation cafe, located on 10th street and MLK right at the end of the canal. you can sit outside, eat fresh, organic meals, order a latte from their coffee bar, and enjoy the beautiful indy skyline

    7. shapiro’s delicatessan. they now have multiple locations, including a new addition in the airport. the classic jewish deli – fabulous beef brisket sandwiches, potato pancakes, huge, homemade cheesecakes and pies….a must when you visit indy.

    8. king david’s hot dogs. huge, fresh hot dogs in every flavor imaginable, and wonderful cheese dogs. king david’s is really famous in indy, and they are only open for lunch. during lunch, many times the line will loop around the store and go out the door. located downtown at washington and pennsylvanie streets. a new location also opened up recently in the new indianapolis airport.

    9. if you are a sushi fan, naked tchopstix in broad ripple is a must. wonderful rolls, tasty crab rangoon, cheap and big-portioned lunch boxes, and an outdoor seating area have made it an indy favorite.

    10. for vintage shopping, broad ripple vintage, located right in the heart of bripple is a must. they have everything imaginable – vintage dresses, tops, posters, jewelry, sunglasses, records….you name it, and you can find it here. even if you aren’t interested in buying anything, if you are in broad ripple, check it out just for the fun of it.

    11. siam square, located on virginia ave. in fountain square, is a new thai restaurant. affordable, huge portions, wonderful pad thai, spicy and yummy appetizers.

    12. saffron – located on ft. wayne and north street downtown. the only moroccan restaurant in indianapolis. everything is freshly made and extraordinarily seasoned by the wonderful and friendly chef who will come around and chat with you after your meal. the honey-mint green tea is a must after your meal!

  • FYI….Addendum has movede from the Arts & Design Distric to Broad Ripple. The new space is much larger and much closer to my house!!! 908 E Westfield Blvd…between Chelseas and Frankeys

  • Can I get a shout out one more time for Yats! Best north of Louisiana cuisine ever! Also the best gyro place is in Broad Ripple. Literally a hole in the wall but still beats them all, The Gyro Joint.

  • Rbistro

    800 E. Mass Ave

    Small home owned fine dining. Proponents of the slow food movement. Great chef. Great staff. Great food. A must for any aficionado of food and drink.

    Goose the Market
    2401 N. Deleware

    The best little artisan deli in Indianapolis. Small batch cured meats and cheeses! Great wine and beer! Great owners!

  • Midland Arts and Antiques THE place to shop for vintage home decor and collectibles and art is having two great photography shows. One is downtown and the other in the new location in Carmel. The downtown show opens this Friday from 6-9pm as part of First Friday. The photography is done with plastic cameras, using a Diana or Olga. The Carmel show in contrast has some remarkable black and white photos of New Mexico that capture it’s spirit. Great design and great art, hope you can make the show.

  • What about City Cafe downtown? If it’s still open (I’ve been gone a year), it’s hands down the best food in the city. The chef accepts no alterations to the menu items because each one is a master piece, and affordable! Highly recommended!

  • I’ve had a bad experience at Red Rose Vintage. Instead head over to Broad Ripple Vintage it’s right down the street from RRV. Plus dont forget to go to Naked Tchopstix on College and Broad Ripple Avenue. You will eat the BEST crab rangoon you’ve ever tried!

  • I second Melissa’s Broad Ripple food and beverage pick – Brugge is definitely where to go. I suggest mussels and a glass of their famous Tripel de Ripple!

    Also, just down the road on College are two of my favorite boutiques – Uber and Be Boutique. Happy shopping!

  • I couldn’t agree more with everyone’s suggestions.
    Sadly Puck’s is no more. There is still a restaurant in IMA, but Puck’s is no longer there.
    I would also say that taking a tour at Oldsfields (the Lily Family house on the grounds of the IMA) and the gardens are a great way to spend a spring/summer afternoon.
    And Atomic Duckpin Bowling in Fountain Square is a must. It’s great for all age groups. The balls are smaller than bowling balls so it’s great for little kids and it’s harder than normal bowling so it levels the playing field a little. The lanes have a cool vintage fee; I always feel like I’ve stepped back into the 1950s.

  • I love FOUNTAIN SQUARE! While your there check out IndySWANK, a great mix of art, vintage clothing, vintage and new jewelry. Its located in the Murphy Building (which is under new ownership). Awesome! If your headed to Mass Avenue, Silver in the City always shines and a Flying Cupcake just opened, my butt is getting big just thinking about the yummy goodness.

    If your headed to Broad Ripple, check out Uber at Kessler & College, next to Binkleys. Heidi’s store is fantastic, this girl can design, She’s got great clothing and decor items.

    While in the BR area, check out the Toggery on Broad Ripple Ave between Keystone and College. The Toggery is one of the best designer clothing consignment stores in the city. I ALWAYS find something spectacular there, usually with the tags still on, love it!

  • Who do we need to talk to about getting a proper photo of Indy to be seen from the main page in city guides. It’s a generic picture of a map of the city… ugh! Thanks!

    • kate

      we’re working on an indy city guide update (and all guides written prior to 2009) so when it’s updated it will have a custom illustration from julia rothman like the other updated guides :)


  • A big ups to Siam Square in Fountain Sq (the veggie tempura and Pad Thai is not to be missed), and a big second to Saffron Cafe (the eggplant parmesan is enough for two adults!). Haven’t heard of Addendum is, but I hope it’s still there. The best architectural design firms there are Ratio, Domain, & Axis, hands down! Best general design shop is NineBark. Best building in the city? SmithGroup’s Student Center on the IUPUI campus. Skip Starbucks and try Monon Coffee in the ‘Rip. Still looking for decent live jazz on my trips back. Any help on this one? If you want a decent art fair, catch the St, James 110 miles South in Louisville, where you’ll also find 21C, Conde Nast’s top boutique hotel.

  • Hello everyone! I moved to the city about 2 years ago. People here are really friendly, but I’m still looking for a community of people who are interested in design and getting crafty. Does anyone know of any meet-ups for this type of thing?

  • I don’t think the update has been done yet but Doc’s Architectural Salvage NEEDS to be included! I absolutely love Midland but this past weekend my family discovered Doc’s and I think it’s my new Indy fave.
    37,000 square feet of architectural goodies from all sorts of houses , some of the stuff is pricey but Doc is super friendly and willing to work with you. (He gave us a brass bed for $10!)

  • Docs Architectural Salvage was formerly the aformentioned White River Salvage. Visitors to Indy should also hit up Holycowcupcakes.com (Carmel) as well as Rhythm Discovery Center. See a concert by Jennie Devoe if she’s got a gig when you’re in town (jenniedevoe.com) and check out the jewelry offered by amycornwell.com

  • I forgot to add Butterfly Consignments (Castleton) Consigning Women (Fishers) and that Holy Cow Cupcakes delivers! Also, The Wild is a great children’s book shop in Noblesville.

  • Tulip Noir Cafe is a fantastic b’fast/brunch/lunch stop. Seasonal, healthful food including daily baked scones, fresh soups and even some gluten free choices.

  • So far the list is great… I’m surprised no one has even mentioned H2O sushi or Recess/Room Four restaurants! Both near broad ripple, independently chef owned and operated (rare in Indianapolis), if you are after great food and service that rivals anywhere in the world, great wine & beer, they are the top two restaurants in Indy by far! There is the awesome winter farmers market at the city market building downtown every saturday and Black Market restaurant at the north end of Mass Ave., Goose the Market on 25th and Delaware is incredible, Rene’s Bakery in broad ripple in a tiny blue house for great baked goods. I could go on and on about food choices! I haven’t even mentioned the west side’s amazing ethnic food and in Castleton across from the mall entrance there is Taj of India, my favorite Indian food in the city because they use fresh ingredients. I could go on for days!

    I am 28 and was born and raised in Indianapolis. It really is a great city and I am so excited by all the posts. I think the shopping guide is pretty good and i’m not sure I have much to add in that department except to say that value world on 52nd and keystone is grimy but if shopped often has some great super cheap finds. Midland is a must go. I’d walk around almost every Sunday just to hang out with cool stuff. If you are looking for cute baby stuff there is a little boutique on Mass Ave called Nurture. They carry some local artists stuff as well as other unique finds.

    Great Yoga at Cityoga on 25th and Central.

    Ball and Biscuit and The Libertine are two great cocktail bars downtown if you’re feeling fancy.

    The White Rabbit Cabaret In Fountain Square is quite possibly the most fun place in the city. They have a unique type of burlesque show that changes a few times a year with classically trained dancers, a mean but hilarious clown and a mime that host bingo every other wednesday, and great indie shows. They have quickly developed a cult following.

    The downtown canal, the Monon, and 100 Acres at The IMA are especially great for walking or riding bikes. The downtown canal is also great for rollerblades and paddle boating. The 100 acres is wooded property around a great little lake among cool art installations. Entrance on 38th street just past the museum parking lot. The Monon runs north-south through the city from downtown to carmel and is always expanding… plus it’s paved.

  • Oh also, Rag ‘O Rama on Broad Ripple avenue next to Shalimar is great for trading or buying clothes (some vintage some newish- the store has a cool style overall).

  • Papa Roux (paparouxindy.com) is great for a casual, less than $10 lunch or dinner. Their catfish po-boy is out of this world. Two locations: City Market and 10th & Post.

  • Oh Yats….. How I miss thee!!! Can you send some my way? I used to live around the corner just off of Mass Ave. Great summary.

  • Another vote for Taj of India in Castleton! Also, Indy’s best Thai is Thai Orchid, just off 82nd. The grounds of the IMA are sublime – and free! The greenhouse carries a fabulous selection of native plants too.

  • Indy has come a long way from it’s old days known as “nap town” for sure. My vote for notable and very cool is the city’s commitment to (good) public works of art. Do not miss the Indiana Historical Society’s exterior sculptures by David Young and Jeff Laramore depicting all of the counties in Indiana.( The museum’s site along the White River State Park is not to be missed. ) They are wonderful, playful and amazingly executed works of art. Many of their larger pieces — the cardinal near IUPUI campus, the turtle in Broad Ripple, are gems and really make Indianapolis a class act.

  • Happy to see Indy getting this recognition … it’s a fun city and I agree with Shelly about Indy being “America’s best kept secret!” YEAH, Indy! Thank you for this feature article!

    PS: I love Design Sponge!

  • Other vintage shopping: Minx @ 16th and Penn and Reclamation on Winthrop behind Good Morning Mamas cafe

  • *Jon McLaughlin

    The dude with the “h” is super old.

    Amazing roundup of Indianapolis. L-O-V-E it! Great job.

  • If you’re in the midwest, might as well get an awesome hair cut or color while you’re there, because the price is waayy cheaper than on the east coast. Visit Marta @ Biz on Fletcher(in the Fountain Square area)–every time I go back to the midwest to visit family, I get an awesome cut and color from her. She’s fantastically skilled and creative. New Yorkers are always asking me where I get my hair done!

  • great update!! yay for indy love… i’ll just add two of my favs:

    1. napolese – amazing pizza and cozy atmosphere… perfect. (another fav -by the same owner- is petite chou but you already have that) 49th street and pennsylvania.

    2. locally grown gardens- 54th st right across from mama carolla’s. it’s an indoor (year round) farmer’s market, but also serves (the best) salmon and pulled pork sandwiches… so much fun in the summer. and the home-made pies plus italian coffee – so good. it’s rustic and cool and prefect :)

    3. oh and yes, the jon mclaughlin from indiana website … jonmcl.com

    i heart indy xx

  • Does anyone know what the building is that is the first picture in the post (not the fountain)? It’s beautiful!!

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