Indianapolis city guide

indianapolis

Eat
+ Bakersfield Mass Ave: The restaurant we’ve visited the most. We missed a certain couple taco places in St. Louis, and this comes very, very close in goodness! The pastor and short rib tacos are my favorite. The chips + queso is a must. (And the sangria is quite delicious.) [Mass Ave]

+ BRU Burger Bar: A higher-end burger joint. Their location on Mass Ave is beautiful, and their burgers were pretty dang good. They’re big — not little dinky things. Fries are two dollars extra, but they’re worth it. And the house made, slightly sweet ketchup was delicious. [Mass Ave]

+ Napolese: A higher-end pizza joint. Napolese and the next two restaurants by the same owner were recommended to us over and over again upon moving into the neighborhood. We weren’t totally  impressed with the service we received at the Meridian-Kessler location (it was a really, really busy night), but the pizza was great! The downtown location takes reservations! [Downtown, Broad Ripple, Keystone]

Petit Chou/Patachou: My favorite omelette in Indianapolis! The Everyone’s Favorite Omelette. Get it. I’m lumping these together, as their menus have  fair amount of overlap. Patachou is a breakfast, brunch, and lunch place with multiple locations. Petit Chou is open all day (except for dinner on Sundays and Mondays), and their breakfast and lunch offerings seem to overlap Patachou quite a bit. I prefer the more cozy, quiet feel of Petit Chou, but Patachou is fantastic, as well. Petit Chou takes dinner reservations. [Downtown, Broad Ripple, Keystone, Carmel]

+ Delicia: The best ambience I’ve found. I’ve become a bit of a decor snob, and I’m not proud of it. Don’t be fooled by the outdoor resemblance to a video store — it used to be — Delicia is beautiful, and it makes me feel like I’m at a swanky resort in Latin America. We got dessert the first time… I recommend the tres leches cake! We brought a friend back for dinner and had tamal corn cakes, ancho peach pork, and enchiladas de pato. [Broad Ripple]

+ Bluebeard: Sophisticated bar food. Bluebeard uses bread from the bakery within their location, as well as many locally-sourced foods. They’ve got another winning ambience with stained glass windows, old books, school-style bar stools, globes, typewriters, and lots of rustic wood. The drinks are delicious, and the food was great! [Fountain Square]

+ BRICS: Oh, BRICS. My love for this ice cream continues to grow. First I was a French silk pie in a sugar cone girl. Now I’m a yellow cake batter in a waffle cone girl. It’s all so delicious, and their location is perfect for sitting outside next to the Monon trail. [Broad Ripple]

Do
+Indianapolis Museum of Art: Free (besides $5 for parking)! The original LOVE sculpture is here, near the parking lot. Inside, we’ve been impressed by the array of collections and especially the large number of modern and contemporary pieces.

+ 100 Acres: My favorite outdoor spot in Indianapolis. The combination of art and the outdoors is so good for my soul. We’ve taken most of our Safe Families kiddos here, and they have loved it, too. There are wide, easily walkable paths or more narrow, hidden trails. We saw a deer last time! We love the yellow benches, the swings, and the gorgeous visitor’s pavilion.

+ Canal Walk: Perfect place to take a walk, go for a run, or rent a paddleboat. I was excited to learn Indianapolis had this downtown waterway. We recently rented a paddleboat, which was much cheaper than the gondola I originally had my heart set on. There are great murals and art installations along the way. [Downtown]

+ White River State Park: Lots of green space. There’s some outdoor art here, as well, with part of the canal and different cultural attractions (zoo!) all within the grounds. [Downtown]

Buy
Silver In the City: Oh, this store. It has everything you love. Candles, jewelry, journals, planners, kids’ books, owls, mugs, greeting cards, home decor, and really cute Indiana shirts. It was voted the #1 gift store in Indianapolis for good reason! I made it out of there with only a few purchases. [Mass Ave]

Mass Ave Toys: A modern toy store. The shelves are packed, and you just have to smile at all the bright colors as you walk in. They have a wide range of books and toys for infants through teenagers. I even spotted some Rifle Paper Co. notebooks! [Mass Ave]

Crimson Tate: A cute independent fabric shop. I wanted badly to replace the blinds on our doors with cute curtains, and I found the perfect fabric here. The employees were extremely friendly and helpful. [Mass Ave]

The Fashion Mall: My favorite Indianapolis mall (despite its pretentious name). We visited when driving through Indianapolis during Dan’s interview season, and oh, the joy I felt. There’s Pinkberry! And Madewell! And West Elm! I could live on these three places alone. [Keystone]

  • You are so very sweet and thoughtful to post this! I hope I get to visit some on your list. ALSO, we have a lot in common, according to my first glance at your bio (social worker, adopting from Africa, to name a couple). Would love to connect with you next week 🙂

  • What a great list! I live close to Indy (Richmond) but hardly ever make it there. Definitely want to check out Silver in the City!

    • You will love Silver in the City. Great store with lots of unusual items and silver jewelry too. Enjoy.

  • Margaret

    Bakersfield is the best! I love their Conchinita Pibil and Margaritas! Another great pizza place is Bazbeaux’s, maybe you’ve been there. When your babies come home or when you have another Safe Families placement you have to go the Children’s Museum, it’s so great, as is Christmastime at the Zoo.

  • ahhh! this is SOO fabulous! i hate going to cities and eating at chain restaurants– I always want to see the local places, eat the local food and REALLY just soak up the city. Going to Influence, and definitely going to keep ALL of these in mind. 🙂

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  • Jen

    The IMA isn’t free anymore 🙁