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.
FOUNTAIN SQUARE/FLETCHER PLACE
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.
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.
Jon McLaughlin, singer
Carrie Newcomer, singer
Nancy Noel, painter
Ambre Ashley Crockett, creator and owner of Ambre Blends
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