By Molly Hammond,

Indianapolis, Ind., may be the be-all end-all for racing, but anyone ready to deem this Midwestern capital city as “flyover” territory has another thing coming. Want amazing food, access to arts and culture, and unparalleled hometown pride? Check out some of the things that make living in Indianapolis great.


Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Photo by momentcaptured1

Of course, the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (a.k.a. Indy 500) is the first to come to mind when someone mentions the city, and for good reason. “The Race” is held over Memorial Day Weekend and is a boon for the area’s economy, as visitors pour in for the festivities. Also, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the qualifying rounds and race are held, is one of the highest-capacity sporting arenas in the world. Some locals may not love the Indy 500 association with their hometown, but plenty view race culture and the events that surround “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” as another perk of calling Indianapolis home.


Indiana's State Flag
Photo by Kurt and Becky

Indianapolitans or Indianans? Nope! The proper name for someone hailing from the state of Indiana is “Hoosier,” and they’ve got pride to spare for the mascot of Indiana University and the movie inspired by Milan, Indiana’s 1954 State Basketball Champions. Debate continues over the exact origins of the nickname, but Indiana has officially been “The Hoosier State” for more than 150 years.


Colts Stadium
Photo by Alberto Cabello

Indianapolis is home to professional football and basketball teams, as well as rugby, hockey, and AAA baseball teams. Allegiance runs deep for the two-time Super Bowl champion Colts (even for Denver-departed Peyton Manning). In fact, the only athlete Indianapolis might love more than the former Colts QB is Reggie Miller, the shooting guard who spent his entire career with the Pacers. Respect Reggie (and his retired number 31), and you’re well on your way to acting like a native Hoosier!


Sculpture on IUPUI Campus
Photo by Alan Levine

Indianapolis is a stone’s throw from some serious collegiate contenders. Most sports-minded Indianapolis residents harbor a passion for Purdue, Notre Dame, Butler, or IU, and good luck convincing them that one of the others is better than their chosen team. Of course, there’s more to these universities than NCAA wins, and these are only four of the many higher education opportunities in and around the city, including Indy’s own University of Indianapolis and IUPUI. Butler University is highly ranked among Midwest colleges and gives Indianapolis the impressive Holcomb Observatory. Purdue, known for its engineering programs, draws students from across the country, and Notre Dame was ranked 16th overall in the most recent U.S. News & World Report. So you’ve got quite the list of universities, should you choose to attend school in Indianapolis.


Fountain Square - Indianapolis
Photo by Steve Baker

Indianapolis is anything but boring, and that’s evident in the city’s Fountain Square district. You’ll find the Fountain Square Theatre, a gorgeous venue for weddings, events, and monthly swing dance nights, as well as Duckpin bowling and billiards. Fountain Square is also home to the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, a board game library called Game Paradise, and Heartland Film.


Walker Theatre in Indiana
Photo by Collin Anderson

Indianapolis isn’t short on performance venues. Fountain Square holds the DO317 Lounge/Hi-Fi and White Rabbit Cabaret, both of which host live entertainment from nationally-known acts like The Lumineers to local artists. The historic Walker Theatre, named for Madame C.J. Walker, offers live music, movie screenings, and speakers. Indianapolis also boasts its own symphony orchestra with traditional offerings and more contemporary engagements—like their live accompaniment of Casablanca this Valentine’s Day. But no list of Indianapolis venues would be complete without The Slippery Noodle Inn. Billed as Indiana’s oldest bar, The Slippery Noodle is a cultural mainstay in Indianapolis and the best place to go for live jazz and blues. The bar has hosted tons of amazing performers and tops many Hoosiers’s lists for best music venue.


Skywalk Indianpolis
Photo by Rain0975

Indianapolis can have brutal winters and muggy summers. But the city features a skywalk system that allows people to navigate some of the city’s biggest attractions without stepping outside! The climate-controlled walkways can get people to and from hotels, Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center, Circle Centre Mall, and more. In other words, you never have to worry about sun or snow.


Hamburger Pizza
Photo by Christopher Page

Like any city worth its salt, Indianapolis is home to delicious and polarizing pizza places. Bazbeaux and Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza most lists as the best place for a bite, but there’s something to be said for Arni’s and HotBox pizza. Pizza King is a chain, but with its roots in Indiana, plenty of people would take a Pizza King pie, too. The only way to go wrong with options like these is to skip the pizza altogether!


Jelly-filled donut
Photo by certified su

Long’s Bakery has been serving up donuts, cakes, and pastries for more than 50 years, so it’s pretty clear they’re doing something right. They’ve even won Indy A-List’s “best bakery” and “best donuts” award multiple times. If donuts aren’t for you, check out Taylor’s Bakery, an equally-storied Indianapolis bakery specializing in cakes and ice cream. For a Hoosier’s favorite frozen yogurt, look no further than Indianapolis’ own PEARings or Cultured Swirl (Keep in mind that the latter closes for the winter).


Pork Tenderloin in Indiana
Photo by Richard Schwier

You can get a killer Reuben at Shaprio’s or Tie Dye Grill, but the main event in the Indianapolis sandwich world is definitely pork loin. An Indiana pork tenderloin is easily identified: the meat is bigger than the bun. Much bigger. Past that, there are tons of variations on this breaded, pounded, pork sandwich—and, of course, everyone has an opinion on which is the best. Rick Garrett, an Indianapolis resident, has even made it his mission to taste every pork tenderloin the state has to offer, cataloging the culinary journey every step of the way. There are plenty of places to grab a great tenderloin, but it’s such a special subject that keeping our mouths shut seems safer!

What else makes Indianapolis a great place to live and visit? Let us know in the comments!


If you’re moving to Indianapolis, IN, and need storage space to help with the transition, view’s directory of storage units in Indianapolis.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons

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