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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This weekend I went to Indianapolis for the second time. The first time I went there I had only been there for three hours, so I tried not to judge it before since I was there for only a short time. This time I spent two days there and felt more comfortable talking about this trip. The city I must say is a disappointment. I left the city not really liking it. There were more cons than pros, but every city has those so first the bad.

CONS:
1. This city has absoultely no streetlife. The weather was absolutely beautiful on Saturday and it was so dead. There was nobody. It honestly looked like a ghostown. Madison which has half the population has more streetlife, and when I went to Madison it was in March and in the low 40's.

2. The Mall in downtown. Okay, the mall was really nice, but I think this is what is hurting the streetlife in Indianapolis, or at least in downtown. This mall sits smack in the middle of downtown, and there had to be more people in that mall than there was outside on downtown's streets. If you elimnated that mall, and put all the stores that it has spread all over downtown, I am positive that downtown Indy would be so much more vibrant.

3. The city lacks any urban feeling. This city is way too spread out, and I told my sister when we drove in a neighborhood that was very close to downtown, that I could easliy mistaken this as a small town. It really does not feel like you are in a larger city. Not that Indy is big, but it is not small either.

4. Other than being in downtown, it seems you have to drive everywhere to get around.

PROS

1. The city has some beautiful memorials. I can't remember all the names, but they were all beautiful. Especially the memorial that had a circle drive. You can't even find anything like that in Chicago. I also love all the fountains that were around the memorials, simply beautiful.

2. The canals are way cool. Some dense housing surrounds the canal, which gives it a more urban feeling. Also you actually see people walking, as opposed to the rest of the city. Whoever came up with the idea of the canal simply did a good job.

3. As much as I don't like how spread out everything seems to be, there is a lot of green, which makes the city beautiful naturally. We drove around many neighboods around the city, and some were so beautiful.

If you are looking for a city that gives you an urban lifestyle, Indianapolis is not for you. If you are looking for a laid back city, that has a small town feel then it is for you. Personally I am a city guy, love the density and all that good stuff, so let's just say I don't think I would ever want to live there, but agian, different strokes for different folks, so to some people it might be exactly what they are looking for.
 

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everything you mentioned is well known about indy and anyone who has ever been there will agree. except for con number one. downtown indy is very vibrant. much more vibrant than most midwestern downtowns. it's the one area where indy seriously kicks some ass. all of those retail establishments, restaurants and attractions don't stay in business because the city is dead.

i dont know you so i cant tell whether you have an agenda or if it really was dead. if it truly was dead then it was a very unusual day indeed. maybe since it was the first nice weekend day of spring, people were doing yardwork and such instead of spending time downtown. as for the twenty thousand that live downtown, who knows?

as for congratulating the people that came up with the idea for the canal and building it, theyve all been dead for over one hundred and twenty years.
 

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chikid said:
If you elimnated that mall, and put all the stores that it has spread all over downtown, I am positive that downtown Indy would be so much more vibrant.
no, indy had that in the seventies and eighties when downtown really was dead. granted the mall isnt responsible for the thousands of people roaming downtown on any given day but it is responsible for providing the spark and vitality that brought the hundreds of other establishments that are responsible for downtowns vibrancy.

in fact most of the people that i know that routinely journey to downtown indy dont ever step foot in the mall. its everything else that downtown has to offer that is the real draw. i think that the mall is primarily conventioneers and other visitors. to be totally honest, the last time that i was in the mall, i made sure to keep my hands at my side so that i didn't accidentally make a gesture that could be misconstrued as a gang sign and get me shot.
 

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If I may, I actually had the opposite impression of Indy re: being dead.

I was there for a few days prior to New Year's, never ventured outside of downtown, and found it vibrant on late December non-weekend evenings. It could have been a function of the holiday season, but it stayed busy even after the retail had closed.

Not quite like Rush/Division around here in Chicago, but more like where State/Rush come together (like by Melvin B's).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well the first time I went it was super dead, and that was during the day in september on a saturday as well. But I was only in Indy for a few hours that time so i tried not to pass judgement. I mean I saw people, but in downtown it was pretty bad in my opinion. Going to cities like Madison, St. Louis, Milwaukee I found their to be a lot more people on the streets with more life, and these are smaller cities. You do have to admit though, outside of downtown it looks like a ghost town, esp, around Riley Towers.

Don't get me wrong, its not that I don't like Indy, I was just a little disappointed. I thought it would have more. Its simply just not a city for me.
 

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I honestly never ventured outside of downtown. My hotel was on the circle and I did all my boozing, eating, shopping, and working (in order of importance ;)) within the major downtown area.
 

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chikid said:
Going to cities like Madison, St. Louis, Milwaukee I found their to be a lot more people on the streets with more life, and these are smaller cities.
For the record, St. Louis is not a smaller city than Indianapolis. Indy has 1.5 million in its metro, STL has 2.8 million. Indy just has ridiculously large physical city limits, so its numbers are skewed to make it a "larger" city. But it's really a big suburb. Nobody bases anything on city population anymore anyway. St. Louis, by all accounts, is a much bigger market. Milwaukee, though about the same size metro as Indy, is a lot more urban too.

I have always held the same opinions. Indianapolis does not feel like a city to me, it feels more like a big town.
 

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As I read your list I found myself nodding in agreement and saying yep, sure, okay, and of course.

Except for the "dead downtown" part. That one absolutely floored me. That is the one thing that downtown Indianapolis is not. Having been to the downtown areas of Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, and having read many a thread about them all here on SSC, your comment about Indy being deader than the other two had me raising my eyebrow. If you want to talk about brick rowhouse neighborhoods then Indy had better get in the back of the bus. But downtown vibrancy? Come on, Indy's a winner in that competition. Believe me, I'm from Columbus, and I spent a week in downtown Cincinnati one day. I know from dead downtowns. :D
 

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On second thought after re-reading your reply and how you made a point to head off any counter responses in stating that you'd been in downtown Indy before in a different time of year and it was also dead at that time, I think I've seen the light, and now realize that this thread wasn't some abstract, innocuous, friendly critique, but rather a calculated stab.

So forget my previous serious response. You got me. I stepped right in it. I had forgotten what this message board was really about.

I understand the guy from St. Louis, but come on you're supposedly from Chicago! Indy could keep booming like it has for another hundred years and still not catch Chicago. What do you care?

I know that Columbus hasn't experienced quite the boom of Indianapolis, but if any of you feel threatened by Columbus and therefore need to knock it down a peg to make your city seem better, please let me:

The city government in Columbus is thinking about importing tumbleweeds downtown at night and on weekends to really bring the full effect home. We are a very suburban city with huge city limits due to an insatiable need to annex everything that can't run away. The rich suburban conservatives run everything, and our many large corporations get whatever they want handed to them on a silver platter. We spend half of our time at OSU sporting events and the other half driving out to the zoo, so as long as you love the Buckeyes and Jack Hanna you'll fit in just fine. But you know what? I love this city. I could live anywhere and I choose the Short North. And if our superior growth rate were to make someone else jealous, tough! Get over it.

I know what this board is about and I choose to come here anyway, so I shouldn't let it get to me. But it's late at night and I'm tired and irritable so I went on a rant. I'm sure that I'm going to read this tomorrow and realize that I went overboard so I'll just apologize now. I just don't understand why people have to be that way.
 

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VanillaVille said:
I'm sure that I'm going to read this tomorrow and realize that I went overboard so I'll just apologize now.
You obviously haven't seen overboard. ;)


Well, my thoughts on Indy:

It was a nice town. Definitely a car town, though. Lots of beautiful houses. A nice and vibrant downtown (I was there on the weekend of the big ten basketball tournament, though, so I can't know what its usually like), and I was very endeared to the monument circle drived. Downtown Indy is too isolated from the rest of Indy, though, and thus it didn't leave much opportunity for exploring by foot.

I was actually impressed with Indy, since I wasn't expecting much of anything down there, and actually saw a fairly vibrant town.
 

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chikid said:
1. The city has some beautiful memorials. I can't remember all the names, but they were all beautiful. Especially the memorial that had a circle drive. You can't even find anything like that in Chicago. I also love all the fountains that were around the memorials, simply beautiful.

Stephen A. Douglas Tomb in Chicago


The Illinois Centennial Monument
Logan Square, Chicago



;)
 

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Not all of DT Indy is vibrant, basically everything north of the circle around the War Memorials is dead (since it is almost completly offices). Almost all of the retail, restaurants, bars etc. is on the southern part of downtown.

Circle Centre has much more pros than cons, I can see where you're coming from there. What the mall has done is sparked rebirth downtown, especially on the southern part of downtown. The mall is pedestrian friendly, which is a plus compared to other downtown malls.

This city is way too spread out, and I told my sister when we drove in a neighborhood that was very close to downtown, that I could easliy mistaken this as a small town.
Just out of curiosity, what side of town was that?

Yes, Indy is a car town. You can thank that on our shitty bus system and city leaders getting rid of the inner-urban (thanks GM!).
 

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I'm going to go ahead and agree with the dead downtown statement.

My friend and I drove into downtown Indy around 1:30am (close to bar close) on St. Patrick's Day and parked by that monument you mentioned (the one with the roundabout surrounding it). Problem one: you couldn't park in the roundabout or within two blocks of it between 9pm and 6am - which means you can't park downtown Indianapolis at night. Huh? Problem two: I saw five people in the circle. Five!

But in reality, I know that I must've just caught it at the wrong time. Granted, it was bar close on St. Patrick's Day and there's really no reason for that to have happened, but still. For all I know bar close isn't at 2:00am in Indy.. maybe it's at midnight.
 

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You all knew it was coming. Now it's my turn to step in and defend my city.
chikid said:
1. This city has absoultely no streetlife. The weather was absolutely beautiful on Saturday and it was so dead. There was nobody. It honestly looked like a ghostown. Madison which has half the population has more streetlife, and when I went to Madison it was in March and in the low 40's.
I tend to disagree with you. Indianapolis' downtown (most of it)is more vibrant and alive than most Midwest cities. The vast majority of out-of-towners are extremely impressed with our downtown (for example, Final Four).

2. The Mall in downtown. Okay, the mall was really nice, but I think this is what is hurting the streetlife in Indianapolis, or at least in downtown. This mall sits smack in the middle of downtown, and there had to be more people in that mall than there was outside on downtown's streets. If you elimnated that mall, and put all the stores that it has spread all over downtown, I am positive that downtown Indy would be so much more vibrant.
Once again, I disagree. It was the mall itself that helped to revitalize the Downtown and attract business. Besides, there are much more business outside the mall. Thousands of people live downtown, so I am sure that it wasnt as "dead" as you describe it.

3. The city lacks any urban feeling. This city is way too spread out, and I told my sister when we drove in a neighborhood that was very close to downtown, that I could easliy mistaken this as a small town. It really does not feel like you are in a larger city. Not that Indy is big, but it is not small either.
So this is not urban?













None of these are from Downtown, by the way. ;)
What neighborhood did you drive in? The entire Center Township is urban in character. Some parts remind me of Chicago, like along Meridian from 38th to the Circle for example.

4. Other than being in downtown, it seems you have to drive everywhere to get around.
I agree on this one. Indianapolis has the worst transit of any major city, which is my biggest peeve of the city.

Of course you are entitled to your opinion, which is why I am impressed by the fact that you presented it in a non-arrogant way (I refer to style515). But these are some opinions from someone who actually lives here.
 

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DOA downtowns, that's most cities in our region.

American cities, after freeway expansion and suburban sprawl took over Post-WWII, baby boom, 1950s-1960s , gutted downtown of any pulse. Not much life twitches once 5:30pm on a weekday happens, much worse on the weekends. The condo housing craze (1990s-today) is helping a bit
in every city, but it's definitely not going to make American city life downtown anywhere near as vibrant as Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the densities just aren't there.


There are pockets of pedestrian activity in every city, but overalll most downtowns
are dead on the weekend. :(


Hopefully, rising interest rates, and America's rising debt won't curb the thirst for more and more empty nesters, and first time home owners buying downtown area condos.
 

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Indy is not Chicago, so you are not going to get the level of street activity here as you would there.

I live in Indy, have somewhat of a bias, but I am also very well-traveled and when it comes to mid-sized cities, Indy pisses on most, especially in the midwest! Only Chicago and MSP can boast a better core. Indy's core in fact, is quite compact, one thing that MANY people comment on, so I don't know where you went to think it was too spread-out. ALSO, yes, Indy has large city limits, but the old limits prior to consolidation are that of a 400,000 person city developed prior to the auto. So, anywhere in Center township is going to resemble most large cities.

I agree that this was a polished attempt at a knock on the Circle City.
 

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UWMilwaukeeJay said:
Does indy have any colleges downtown,...milwaukee and madison bring in alot of streetlife with marquette/matc/uwm & UW
YES, the 30,000 student IUPUI, which includes IU's Law & Medical Schools.
 

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cwilson758 said:
YES, the 30,000 student IUPUI, which includes IU's Law & Medical Schools.
Thanks, ive been around indianapolis, i have relatives in danville...unfortunatly never made it to the CBD. To increase streetlife also takes alot of events and festivals. Milwaukee has major events practically throughout the summer...i just wish (well some people argue for & against) the brewers played near downtown. I am not one to say if indy has none or has some...(im sure they have enough) but i just used milwaukee as a reference as to how we bring people downtown. A big disadvantage to indy is their is no lake michigan, no mississippi river, no milwaukee river, no chicago river..you get the point. Indy is unique in that it has really no signifigant geological feature, yet it still manners to prosper to the max
 
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