Despite having the surface level appearance of just another midwestern gas stop, Indianapolis—or “Naptown” as the locals affectionately call it—has molded itself into a gathering place for some of the most genuine people in the country. Thinking about living at the Crossroads of America? Here are 25 Things to Consider Before Moving to Indianapolis…
1. It’s where the players play (sorry Atlanta)
It’s 100% true: Indiana loves basketball. Indianapolis has been the cradle of many current NBA players, including Mike Conley Jr., Jeff Teague, and Eric Gordon. Hall of famers Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, and coach John Wooden paid their dues in Indy, too. “Hoosiers” the legendary basketball movie based on the 1954 Milan High School team picture above is required watching for any heartland transplant. Cue slow clap.
2. Central location
Indianapolis is at the intersection of six major interstates and has hosted mass events such as the Superbowl, The NCAA Final Four, The NFL Scouting Combine, and GenCon, the world’s largest LARPing convention, making Indy a rare Mecca for both jocks and geeks.
3. Colts QB Andrew Luck isn’t the only one who’s lucky
Indianapolis is consistently rated by Men’s Health as the most sexually satisfied city in the nation. If your love life is disappointing then hop on Interstate 69 and head straight for Indianapolis.
4. The only time drinking and driving mix
Twice a year, racing fans descend upon the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and chug liquefied barley until their vision is driving in circles. Most locals are sick of hearing about the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400, but that doesn’t stop 500,000 other people from cheering on the fastest cars in the country.
5. Broad Ripple is bangin’
One of the country’s most vibrant local art districts, Broad Ripple boasts comedy clubs, live music venues, bars, and breweries galore. “We’re Open If You Are” not only describes the neighborhood’s progressive attitude, but venues’ 3:00 A.M. closing time as well. Someone call Rob Thomas.
6. It’s a bad boys club
Legendary rebel Steven McQueen and bank robber Jon Dillinger both grew up in Indianapolis. Both probably still make more money than you posthumously. Crime pays.
7. You can be a kid again
The Indianapolis Children’s Museum is the world’s largest of its kind. The museum is famous for its landmark dinosaur specimens and interactive exhibits that are intriguing to the whole family; except Uncle Sly, who still has nightmares years after watching Jurassic Park.
8. People stay there after they die
“Naptown” is so nice, a lot of people tend to stick around there even after they’ve passed on. Central State Hospital is a defunct insane asylum where snoopers are said to still feel cold spots and hear the screams of tortured patients from the great beyond. You’ve been warned.
9. Tons of (legal) drugs
Pharmaceutical giant Eli-Lily employs over 37,000 people worldwide, many of whom are at the company’s headquarters in Indy. Never heard of them? You’ve almost definitely heard of their most uplifting products: Cialis and Prozac.
10. Tons of (illegal) drugs
Indianapolis ranks as one of the top 10 Murder Capitals in the U.S. due to the high rate of gang activity and drug related violence. You’ve almost definitely heard of Indy Crime’s most uplifting products: crack cocaine and marijuana.
11. You can get schooled
If you’re stuck in between the intense college rivalry of Indiana or Purdue, Indianapolis has “IUPUI” (pronounced “oo-ey poo-ey” by locals), for Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis. Apparently, when you mix an Indiana Hoosier with a Purdue Boilermaker, you get a Jaguar. If you’re looking to root for an easier school to explain to your friends, there’s Butler University, the perennial NCAA mighty mouse famous for busting brackets during March Madness.
12. You can get pooled
The Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI (we still don’t understand it, either) is known as one of the fastest pools in the world. Over 100 records have been set in this pool and it’s been the home for the Swimming and Diving Olympic Trials multiple times. All the greats have swam here, including gold medalist Michael Phelps. That’s some wet water!
13. Naptown is just a name
The city’s park district touts one of the largest municipal parks, Eagle Creek, at over 3,900 acres of land complete with trails, lakes, and a high ropes course pictured above. Canals on the White River line downtown, prompting many** to call Indianapolis, “The Poor Man’s Venice”.
14. The Slippery Noodle Inn
The oldest bar in Indiana, and the only place where you can share a beer with a ghost, The Slippery Noodle was opened in 1850 and serves as a great hub for live blues and live beer today. It was used as a safe place during the Underground Railroad and consistently tops Indy’s “Most Haunted” list.
15. Nearby getaways
Indianapolis is in the smack-dab center of Indiana, putting it within two hours of gorgeous state parks, lively college towns, and country oddities. For a unique experience, drive three hours to the Indiana Dunes, an island-like haven accented by the cerulean blue, refreshing waters of Lake Michigan. Yes, we promise you this is Indianapolis.
16. Kurt Vonnegut
Perhaps one of Indianapolis’ favorite sons, veteran and author Kurt Vonnegut is famous for penning Slaughterhouse Five, likely the only book you enjoyed reading in high school. The local Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library hosts an annual VonnegutFest in Indianapolis and contains doodles, manuscripts, and memorabilia from Vonnegut’s life. And So it Goes.
17. Carmel is sweet
While it’s technically a suburb, Carmel has consistently been ranked as the best place to live in the US due to its walkability and free summer events. Also, it’s definitely pronounced Car-mel. Never call it Car-a-mel. Never.
18. It’s a fair state
The Indiana State Fair annually draws over one million people, about one sixth of the state’s population. If it’s edible, they’ve fried it.
19. It knows its roots
The Eitlejorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art provides a stunning array of artifacts and perspectives from indigenous American peoples. Middle school field trips everywhere have begrudgingly raved, “Yeah, it was better than going to class.”
20. Indianapolis Intensity
This Indianapolis Intensity is the city’ Major League Quidditch team. We weren’t kidding about the jock/nerd Mecca thing.
21. No labels
When describing oneself as a local, no one uses Naptowner, Indianapolitan, or Indiananan. Just say your name and say you live in Indianapolis. That or call yourself a Hoosier. Don’t expect to be able to explain what a Hoosier is or looks like, though. If you do a Google Image search for ‘Hoosier’, you get a 50/50 split of cabinet pictures like this, and tires. According to IUPUI, combine one of these with a boilermaker, and you get a large species of cat who’s a perfectly logical mascot for your school.
22. The jazz is cheap
And the drinks are, too! Check out Chatterbox Jazz Club for live Jazz seven nights a week. This spot is the perfect, friendly dive with a great patio for people watching. Heads up, there’s a $7 cover on the weekends, but it all goes to the top-notch troubadours who are in town.
23. Time travel
Indiana used to be one of two states that didn’t observe Daylight Saving Time. In 2006, Mitch Daniels jumped on the bandwagon and decided Indiana needed to observe DST. Now, the entire state has to switch clocks twice a year, in addition to the fact that you can drive down the western edge of Indiana and change time zones twice: Eastern to Central and back again, no Delorean required.
24. Indy’s balls are properly inflated balls
The Indianapolis Colts know an NFL football should be properly inflated to 12.5-13.5 pounds per square inch. That’s an NFL rule. It’s really pretty simple.