Indiana’s capital, Indianapolis, is the state’s largest city and it ranks 13th in the country for size. It sits near the convergence of the White River and Fall Creek. Recently, Forbes ranked Indianapolis as having one of the best downtowns in the country because of its appealing appearance as well as amenities like movie theaters, museums, art galleries, parks, retail shops and entertainment. Indianapolis has experienced moderate growth in the last few years, and currently has a population of nearly 840,000 residents.
Indiana was admitted to statehood in 1816 and the U.S. Congress donated four portions of federal land in order to establish a seat of state government. In 1818, the Delaware tribe (known as the Lenape) relinquished their land, in exchange for an annuity of $4000. This area of land, called the New Purchase, became the site chosen for the new state capital in 1820. The early settlers of the area that was to become Indianapolis were predominately of northwestern European descent. Many of the settlers were Protestants, but a large portion of the immigrants were Irish and German Catholics. The first families to settle in the town of Indianapolis were the McCormicks and the Pogues, sometime around 1820. Indianapolis officially became a town in 1832, and it became incorporated as a city in 1847. January 1, 1825, the seat of state government was moved to Indianapolis and the Indiana General Assembly’s first session in the state capital began on January 10, 1825.
Indianapolis experiences four distinct seasons. Summers tend to be warm and humid, with average July temperatures of about 76°. However, summer temperatures are known to reach 90° (typically, 18-20 days a year). The Spring and Fall are usually pleasant, though somewhat unpredictable. It isn’t uncommon for several warm days (80° daily high temperatures) to be followed within a couple of days by snowfall. Winters are cold in Indianapolis, with average daily high temperatures around 28°, but they drop to below 0° an average of 5 nights per year. The wettest months are in the Spring and Summer, with May being the rainiest. There is really no dry season in Indianapolis. Average rainfall is 42 inches and snowfall is 26 inches.
Getting Around Indianapolis
With so much to see and do in downtown Indianapolis, you will want to take your time there. The downtown area is best navigated on foot, as the streets are busy and parking isn’t always easy to find. Outside of downtown, you’ll need a car to get around. There is also a very clean and efficient bus system in Indianapolis, however, the routes are complicated and big potions of the metropolitan area do not have service. Taxis are available in the downtown area and at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND), but you won’t be able to flag one down in other parts of the city, you will need to call ahead. The city has an Amtrak station, which includes two service lines that travel to and from Cincinnati, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York.
Commuting in Indianapolis
Indianapolis has the nickname, “Crossroads of America”, and it’s easy to see why. The city acts as a hub where all of the Indiana interstates come together. The interstates (I-65, I-69, I-70, and I-74) are joined by the 465 Metro Loop that goes around the city. In addition, there are several well-maintained U.S. Highways and State routes to make getting around the city and to other Indiana cities easy. Workers in Indianapolis spend an average of 22 minutes commuting to work each day.
The Indianapolis Star is the only daily newspaper serving Indianapolis, but there are several popular weekly publications including: NUVO, Indianapolis Recorder, and the Indianapolis Business Journal. There are 77 radio stations in the Indianapolis area, and the city is home to The Bob & Tom Show, a popular nationally syndicated program on WFBQ.
In Indianapolis, if you are a sports fan, you are in luck. The city boasts many sports-related venues and activities. There is a lot to do if you love history, art, and the outdoors as well (in the warmer months, of course!). Here are some of the highlights the city has to offer:
Indianapolis is known for its devotion to honoring the country’s fallen soldiers. The city dedicates more acreage than any other U.S. city to doing so, and is second only to Washington D.C. in the amount of war memorials. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is at the heart of downtown, the center of the city and the collection of many other war memorials. You can take tours of this civil war memorial, as well as many others.
Things to do in Indianapolis
In addition to all of the war memorials, Indianapolis has a lot to do. Here are just a few of the places that you can go for sporting events, arts and culture, and family fun. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a great destination that is the world’s largest racetrack and home of the Indianapolis 500, while Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home to the Indiana Pacers, give an outlet for the sports fans around town. If you're looking for art and culture for the kids, you might consider heading out of the Indy apartment for a day at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. For fun outdoors you might consider a trip to White River State Park or Fort Harrison State Park.
The Indianapolis 500 Festival is a community festival that celebrates the historic Indianapolis 500. The event happens at the end of each May and has nearly 50 events and programs. At least half a million people visit the festival each year, making it Indianapolis’ biggest festival of the year. The Eitejorg Museum’s Indian Market and Festival is a celebration of Native American cultures that has taken place every June for the last 20 years. The festival includes art from more than 160 Native American artists, dance performances, Native American food, and lots of family activities.Every September since 1999, the Indy Jazz Fest celebrates the jazz and arts scene with 10 days of concerts, master classes and panel discussions.
Indianapolis Vacation spots
There are some great vacation spots near Indianapolis that won’t require much in the way of travel time. The city of Chicago is a less than 3-hour drive north from Indianapolis. You will find an abundance of things to do in the “Windy City.” Likewise, St. Louis, Missouri is just under 4-hours by car. There you can visit the Gateway Arch and many other attractions. Nashville, Tennessee, the country music capital of the world, is just a 4-hour car drive away. If you are a country music lover, this is the perfect destination for your vacation.
Where to move in Indianapolis
Whether you are a young professional looking for a place to live in Indianapolis, or a family looking for a neighborhood with children, you can find the perfect place to live. Lockerbie Square, Broad Ripple Village, Mass Ave Arts District, and Canal & White River State Park District are all popular neighborhoods for young professionals. They have vibrant nightlife, music and arts, and a younger demographic. Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville are neighborhoods that are safe, filled with parks and great schools. They are perfect for families with children. Indianapolis, Indiana is a great place to visit, with lots of sporting and cultural events that appeal to everyone, but it is also a great place to live for year-round activities and fun.