5 Great Neighborhoods in Indianapolis

Find out why these communities, from Fountain Square to Broad Ripple Village, are the most popular with locals.
By: Susan McKee
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Indianapolis has a range of neighborhoods. Those used to big-city life gravitate Downtown — especially if they’re single or empty-nesters. Walking to work or the theater is easy, and the Cultural Trail circles the core of the city with a landscaped bicycle route.

NEAR NORTH

Like most urban areas, the central city is again attracting residents. First it was the elegant Victorian mansions of the Old Northside. Once the homes of the city's wealthiest, these mostly frame homes had been subdivided into apartments in the mid-20th century and was the first area of downtown Indy to see gentrification at the turn of the 21st century. The current owners see themselves as pioneers: wealthy enough for the renovation required and progressive enough to outlast the final challenges of the neighborhood, which is still surrounded by substandard housing. Other downtown neighborhoods have joined the rehab bandwagon. Cottage Home and Lockerbie Square, with their inexpensive and easy-to-renovate small frame houses, are the favorites of empty-nesters and GLBT couples.

NEAR SOUTH

Families and artists needing studio space gravitate to the neighborhood of Fountain Square, where the existing homes are larger. Young professionals love the downtown lofts carved from the former factory and warehouse buildings on the eastern and southern edges of downtown.

SOUTH

Once the location of dozens of truck farms owned by German immigrants, Perry Township, on the far south side of Indianapolis, remains a haven for those with large families. Both the homes and the lots are spacious on this side of the city, which merges seamlessly into the town of Greenwood, in Johnson County.

NORTHWEST

Pike Township has an eclectic mix of nationalities and backgrounds. Physicians and professors — many of whom come from the Indian subcontinent, Europe or South America — often work downtown or on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. They prize not only the ease of access via I-65 but also the rural character of the area, which includes Eagle Creek Park.

NORTH

Butler-Tarkington centers on Butler University, a private liberal arts college with a full schedule of cultural events open to the public. To the east side of Meridian Street, Meridian-Kessler offers stately brick homes with ample private yards.

A bit trendier is Broad Ripple Village. The houses are smaller than in Meridian-Kessler, and there’s much more of a community vibe. On the weekends, the best nightlife in Indy happens in the bars and nightspots on Broad Ripple Avenue.

Corporate nomads, who tend to change jobs every few years, gravitate even farther north, to the suburbs in Hamilton County. FishersCarmel and Noblesville are the fastest-growing towns in Indiana, and it's said that 10 percent of the houses turn over every year. New money also sets down its roots here, planting McMansions in former cornfields. Many of the lots are large enough for horse barns.

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