If you’re thinking about moving, consider Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis is rich in history and has plenty of shopping, arts and entertainment and educational museums, plus an abundance of beautiful natural sites. The city, home to over 867,000 people as of 2018, is also full of family attractions and has accumulated a long list of dining destinations. See what opportunities await you in Indianapolis.
The History of Indianapolis
Shortly after founding Indiana in 1816, the government wanted a capital that was closer to the center of the state. So, they founded Indianapolis in 1821 to fulfill this need and watched as the new capital continued to grow. However, before Indianapolis became the new capital, many mound-building cultures and tribes lived, hunted and traded there. But after the government obtained the 1818 Treaty of St. Marys, the land was open for European American settlement.
The General Assembly recruited Alexander Ralston in the spring of 1821 to help plan the state’s new capital city. Ralston had the experience, as he helped Major L’Enfant survey what is now known as Washington, D.C. Just a few months later, in October, land sales began, and the city was officially established.
As the population grew, the government looked for new transportation methods. After a failed attempt to link the Wabash and Erie Canal, workers successfully built a railroad in 1847 that could get people to and from town. Five years later, Indianapolis was home to seven different railroad lines.
As the economy grew, the mid-19th century saw the introduction of street railways and rail cars, which led to the boost in automobiles in the early 20th century. Indianapolis had more than 15 auto parts and automobile makers by 1909, and workers continued to move quickly. Today, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a reminder of the city’s early years as a leader in automobile production.
Soon after the auto age boom, residents put more focus on recreational spaces around the city, and sports became more popular. Indianapolis also has strong artistic roots, home to places like the John Herron Art Institute and the Walker Theatre, and still maintains these roots through numerous arts and entertainment opportunities around the capital.
Although Indianapolis wasn’t platted and didn’t have available land for sale until 1821, many trace its formation back to the year before, as families starting building cabins along Fall Creek and commissioners were searching for the ideal land. Therefore, Indianapolis will start celebrating its bicentennial anniversary beginning in June 2020, going through May 2021.
Shopping, Art and Museums in Indianapolis
Indianapolis has a wide range of shopping, art and museums to offer its visitors. If you move to Indianapolis, you’ll never run out of things to do:
Why live in Indianapolis? The shopping. Everybody needs to engage in some retail therapy from time to time. Indianapolis boasts plenty of shopping centers, so you can have peace of mind knowing that you can still enjoy all of your favorite stores around the city.
Consider shopping centers, like:
- The Fashion Mall at Keystone: The Fashion Mall at Keystone is home to more than 120 stores and is the perfect destination for any of your shopping needs. From common mall staples to upscale luxury stores, this mall has it all and can be your only stop for anything you need when you move to Indianapolis.
- Circle Centre Mall: Conveniently located in downtown Indianapolis, the Circle Centre Mall has more than 100 retailers so you can shop ’til you drop. Plus, the mall has more than 25 dining options, including more than ten different sit-down restaurants, such as Harry & Izzy’s Steakhouse and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, so you can have a fun family night out or a romantic date night. The mall also connects to 12 different hotels, the Indianapolis Artsgarden and the Indiana Convention Center.
- Glendale Town Center: The Glendale Town Center is home to large retailers such as Target, Staples and Lowe’s, Landmark Theatres Glendale 12 and plenty of restaurants. If you need only a few things, make Glendale Town Center your convenient location for a quick, easy shopping trip.
You’ll also want to consider visiting one of Indianapolis’ various arts and entertainment spots to start learning more about the city’s culture. Whether you crave the live theater experience, enjoy looking at art or want to enroll in classes and create your own artwork, you can do all that and more.
Here are just some places you need to add to your must-visit list if you’re an avid art and entertainment lover:
- The Garfield Park Art Center: Originally known as the Community House, the Garfield Park Art Center — part of Indy Parks and Recreation — was officially born after a 2016 remodel. Now, the Garfield Park Arts Center is an 8,000 square-foot building that hosts a performing arts space, a recording studio, an exhibition hall, art classrooms, a rehearsal room and a literary arts library.
- Indiana Repertory Theatre: For more than 40 years, the Indiana Repertory Theatre has produced entertaining theatrical productions for the whole family to enjoy. The theatre also offers classes, workshops and internships to aspiring student actors. After you visit the theatre, be sure to stop at the gift shop for locally made gifts and books.
- Gallery 924: Inside the Arts Council of Indianapolis is Gallery 924, a non-profit gallery space, hosting solo and group exhibitions and holding opening receptions. Each year, Galley 924 hosts ten exhibitions highlighting local Indiana artists as they work to bring Indianapolis’ art scene to the forefront.
Another great reason to live in Indianapolis is all the museums. Museums are an excellent way to bring history to life in a way that textbooks fail to. When you move to Indianapolis, don’t miss out on visiting the various museums around the city. Who knows, it might make you even more excited to explore your new home.
Consider visiting the follow Indianapolis museums for an immersive, educational experience:
- Eiteljorg Museum: The Eiteljorg Museum focuses on the art and heritage of North America’s indigenous peoples and the American West. The museum is the Midwest’s only museum to showcase both Western and Native American culture, art and history. In addition to the museum’s numerous permanent exhibitions, you can also visit limited-time exhibits to keep up with what’s new. After a day of exploring, visit the museum cafe for a quick bite and the museum store to take home a souvenir.
- Indiana State Museum: Indiana State Museum is home to various exhibits and hands-on experiences teaching visitors everything they need to know about Indiana.
- Indianapolis Museum of Art: The Indianapolis Museum of Art offers immersive exhibitions, like the Infinitely Kusama mirror room and plenty of other mesmerizing art. Whether you enjoy classic Picasso pieces or more contemporary works, the gorgeous viewing galleries offer something for everyone.
Family-Friendly Attractions in Indianapolis
Moving to Indianapolis with family? We understand how vital it is that there are fun resources for every member of your family — from the youngest to the oldest. Make memories as a family in the new city you call home and visit the plethora of family-friendly attractions around Indianapolis. From the largest children’s museum in the country to gorgeous natural resources complete with activities for all ages, there’s something nearby for everyone:
1. Rhythm Discovery Center
Even if you’ve never played the drums before, your entire family is sure to enjoy Rhythm! Discovery Center, a museum and interactive experience all about rhythm and percussion. This unique center looks at how rhythm and percussion have helped shape art, communication, music, performance and society. The Percussive Arts Society founded the center in 2009, which has since grown an impressive collection of historic percussion artifacts and exhibits.
2. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is undoubtedly one of the city’s most popular kid-friendly attractions. The 481,00 square-foot museum is the largest children’s museum in the world, sitting on 30 acres. From March through November, the museum has outdoor exhibits and experiences, like the Avenue of Champions, which commemorates famous athletes, and activities like racing, football, golf and tennis.
Inside, your family can enjoy exhibits such as Dinosphere or Beyond Spaceship Earth or see a production at the Lilly Theater all year round. You’ll never run out of things to do at the world’s largest children’s museum, so start planning your visit now.
3. Conner Prairie
Consider taking the kids to Conner Prairie, a historic site just about a half-hour drive away from Indianapolis. Conner Prairie has more than 1,000 acres of things to do both indoor and out.
Take children ages nine or younger to the Discovery Station, where they can build, climb, explore, pretend and play all year round, or enroll your littlest ones in Playtime on the Prairie classes, so everyone has something to do. Older children and teens can create in one of Conner Prairie’s workshops. Your family can also enjoy the immersive Prairietown experience or even fly high in a hot air balloon.
4. Indianapolis Zoo
No matter your age, everyone can enjoy a trip to the zoo. The Indianapolis Zoo has a plethora of exhibits, events and experiences that may require a multi-day trip. Luckily, if you make the move to Indianapolis, you and your family can visit as often as you’d like. From animals that roam the forest to the creatures that swim in the oceans, the zoo is home to many different animals.
You can pet sharks at the nation’s largest shark touch pool, hang out at the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center or even swim with dolphins. The Indianapolis Zoo also hosts family overnight adventures, so you could even spend the night and enjoy special activities, such as an after-hours zoo tour, then enjoy a full breakfast in the morning.
5. Holliday Park
You’ll also need to visit Indianapolis’ Holliday Park on your next family excursion. The park has 94 acres of picturesque nature views, more than 400 different species of plants and more than 200 species of birds, just six miles from downtown Indianapolis. Observe animals in their natural habitat as you hike along the more than three miles of trails, or take your children to the nature center.
Restaurants and Dining in Indianapolis
Indiana is full of plenty of locations to grab a drink or a bite. As Indianapolis is the capital of Indiana, you can rely on the city to have plenty of options sure to satisfy your cravings whenever they strike. Grab some drinks for an evening visit with friends or enjoy a full meal in one of the city’s many restaurants for a family meal or a date night out:
Sometimes a night out or a meet-up with friends turns into hours of conversation. Luckily, Indianapolis is booming with awesome spots to grab a drink, so here are just a few of those to consider the next time you make plans:
- Tappers Arcade Bar: Grab a beer or signature cocktail and play more than 60 classic arcade games or 25 pinball games for a night of fun and nostalgia.
- Sun King Brewery: Choose from more than 20 different beer options from Indiana’s second-largest beer brewer at one of two Indianapolis locations.
- Howl at the Moon: Share a bucket with your friends and sit back and enjoy the show for some all-night entertainment.
- Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company: Get your caffeine fix and choose from a variety of high-quality coffee blends while supporting a good cause.
For a Full Meal
Sometimes you need something a little more filling than a beer or a latte, so sit down and enjoy a nice meal with friends or family around Indianapolis. Here are just a few different ideas to get you started:
- Bakersfield: Satisfy your taco craving with 11 different options to choose from, along with other authentic Mexican street food and signature cocktails to keep you full for hours and hours.
- St. Elmo’s Steakhouse: Treat yourself to a fine-dining experience at one of Indianapolis’ favorite steak spots in the city.
- Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre: Try something new and enjoy a buffet dinner prepared by an in-house chef, accompanied by a live theatrical production.
- Conner’s Kitchen and Bar: Enjoy pancakes or chicken and waffles for breakfast or brunch, and other American favorites like cheeseburgers or baked mac and cheese for a hearty meal.
Visit Giordano’s in Indianapolis
One of the top reasons to move to Indianapolis is Giordano’s. Even with the city’s abundance of dining options, you won’t find a better pizza anywhere else in the city. At Giordano’s, we prepare all of our stuffed pizzas with love and care, just like Mama Giordano used to.
Our deliciously delightful pizzas are carefully crafted, starting with our flaky crust cooked to perfection. Then we add our toppings, cheese, another thin layer of crust and sauce on top, creating our iconic stuffed pizzas our customers have grown to love since opening our first location more than 40 years ago. Order online from one of our two Indianapolis locations on 4110 E 82 St. or 43 N Illinois St. or stop in and see us today.