Indianapolis

820,445 (city), 1,756,241 (metro)

Eastern

Humid continental climate (rainy spring and summer; spring and autumn pleasant if unpredictable; cold winters)

Inside Tips About Indianapolis

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The name Indianapolis was coined in the 1800s by Jeremiah Sullivan. A judge of the Indiana Supreme Court, he combined the name Indiana with the Greek word polis, meaning city. The city itself was designed by Alexander Ralston, who had apprenticed to French architect Pierre L’Enfant. Ralston helped him on the design of Washington, D.C. Indianapolis hosted the country’s first common rail passenger terminal. By the turn of the 20th century, Indianapolis was a big enough manufacturing city for cars to rival Detroit. With roads leading out of Indianapolis in all directions, the city became a transport hub, which explains the nickname, “The Crossroads of America”. The first Indianapolis 500 was on May 30, 1911, making the city an important auto racing town. During the 1970s and 1980s, like so many urban centers, Indianapolis suffered from urban blight. Revitalization has reversed that trend. Indianapolis now ranks among the country’s best downtowns. The Unigov system of government combines the city and county systems. The cost of living is very low for a city of Indianapolis’ size and stature.

Neighborhoods

Living In and Around Indianapolis

Another designated cultural district is historic Indiana Avenue. In its heyday, Indiana Avenue was an African American cultural center. Prominent figures like Madame C.J. Walker and Freddie Hubbard got their starts here. After a decline, Indiana Avenue is on the rebound. Also a designated cultural district is Fountain Square, a big part of theatre in Indianapolis. Housing includes big, old mansions and arts & crafts era homes. The once elegant Victorian mansions of the OldNorthside are gradually being rehabbed to their former glory. Cottage Home and Lockerbie Square offer small homes that are easy to renovate, and progressives are moving in here as well. Near South neighborhood Fountain Square has bigger old homes and has been popular with families and artists wanting studio space. Industrial buildings on the edge of downtown are being turned into lofts. Perry Township holds some appeal for big families, with its big homes and big lots. If a cross-cultural neighborhood holds appeal, Pike Township has residents from all kinds places and backgrounds. Many doctors and university professors here commute to downtown or to campus. The rural charm of Pike Township is also freeway-close to the city.

Bates-Hendricks is a redeveloped neighborhood southeast of downtown. Walking and bike trails span this tight-knit community that has great schools and affordable housing. Broad Ripple Village is one of Indianapolis’ designated cultural districts. About six miles north of Downtown, Broad Ripple is known for being a diverse, vibrant and progressive community. You’ll find art galleries, boutiques and specialty retail. The motto there is “we’re open if you are,” which seems to refer to both the prevailing attitudes as well as the late closing hours for many the of the bars. Butler-Tarkenton, home to private Butler University, is a diverse and growing neighborhood with a range of nice homes, condos and apartments. Garfield Park really is about living in a park. The neighborhood is going through a revitalization effort. The park itself is 128 acres, is Indianapolis’ oldest park, and offers tennis courts, ball fields and horseshoe pits. Upper-middle-class Meridian-Kessler has the flavor of farmland turned residential, with big yards and some older homes.

Carmel is probably the city’s best-known suburb. High-income households, high-profile public arts projects, and a $24-million community center give you an idea of why CNN/Money has called this fast-growing town one of the country’s best places to live. Fishers is another fast-growing community with high desirability scores. The town has a dozen parks and over 85 miles of trails. Brownsburg is also a high-scoring community with CNN/Money. Another fast-growing town, the schools here are excellent. Nearby Eagle Creek Park has a 1,400-acre lake for watersports, and 3,900 acres of forest for recreation. Greenwood is a well-to-do suburb with a small-town vibe. Also considered one of the best places to live in the state. Notable is the Greenwood Park Mall anchoring an impressive array of shopping and dining along Highway 31. Zionsville is known for its historic downtown, excellent schools and high property values. Rounding out this bevy of growing communities with small-town ambiance, Westfield is revitalizing its quaint downtown, and has built a 400-acre youth sports campus.

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