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Indianapolis 101: Neighborhoods

Highlights some Indianapolis activities, neighborhoods, and resources for new Butler students and their families

Introduction to: Cultural Districts

Did you know that Wonder Bread of Indianapolis was the first to publicly market sliced bread? That an Indy native, Albert Von Tilzer, wrote Take Me Out to the Ball Game? Those are some fun facts but Indianapolis culture is more than fun. Popular cultural sites include the Landmark For Peace Park,  the Canal Walk, and many a monument - "Indianapolis has more historic monuments and memorials than any city in the United States (outside of Washington, D.C.)."

Visit Indy provides a great list of the various cultural districts located in the Indianapolis area. Visit Indy shares that "these neighborhoods offer the best of Indy." These are some of the most popular and well-known cultural districts found in Indianapolis:

  • Broad Ripple Village
  • The Canal and White River State Park
  • Fountain Square
  • Indiana Avenue
  • Mass Ave
  • Bottleworks District
  • The Wholesale District 

Featured below is information about four most visited areas by Butler students!

Broad Ripple Village

Broad Ripple Village

Located about 10 minutes from Butler’s campus, you can stroll, jog, find food, stores, and other attractions and events in this Indianapolis Cultural District. An urban design blog calls Broad Ripple "the most widely known neighborhood in the city."

The Broad Ripple Village Association  coordinates a variety of events and promotes this area. Its site has interesting meeting minutes about concerns and future planning.

The Broad Ripple Gazette is a free publication available in many stores and online, and includes an events calendar, features, links to other area resources, photos, and back issues.


The Broad Ripple Villlage Association spotlights neighborhood art galleries.

The Indianapolis Art Center conducts classes, spotlights artists work, and each hosts the annual outdoor Broad Ripple Art Fair.


Broad Ripple Music provides a list of spots to see live music, buy music, and other venues that host music gigs. Sites like Visit Indy,, Yelp, and Zomato provide opinions and locales as well. Additionally, Renaissance Studios conducts classes.

Outdoor Activities 

The Monon TrailIf you are looking for a nice place for a walk or run, the canal path is beautiful and historic, and runs behind Butler’s campus, in Holcomb Gardens, and beyond - including Broad Ripple. Check out this video from Visit Indy and you'll get the idea.

Broad Ripple Park- The 61 acre space includes an outdoor pool, tennis courts, a bark park, a family center for classes, a playground, and a pretty outdoor space that borders the White River. 

Optipark is a small park near the Indiana Writers Center and Indianapolis Art League. It includes a baseball diamond, playground, picnic shelter, and sometimes hosts events such as a story-telling festival.

Broad Ripple has fine dining, fast food, and a range of eateries - American, Mexican, Indian and more! 

Zomato (Urban Spoon)- An organized look at the different restaurants of Broad Ripple. Search by cuisine type, popularity, establishment type, and other filters. Shows ratings by visitors and estimated price range.

Yelp- The site says the Best 10 Restaurants, but it lists more than that. It organizes the restaurants by their overall ratings by regular people. Rather than just providing a rating, Yelp also allows viewers to read the reviews and determine their validity and whether or not the complaints would deter them as restaurant-goers.

Trip Advisor- Trip Advisor offers various restaurant options when searching the term Broad Ripple. Searches are customizable by features, type of cuisine, and even reservations.

Fountain Square

Maybe you've seen HGTV's 2016 Indianapolis show, Good Bones, featuring a mother-daughter renovation-realty duo working in their neighborhood, Fountain Square? Less than two miles from downtown Indianapolis, Fountain Square was the first commercial historic district in Indiana, and it retains some great architecture and historical tidbits. Today, it's among several Indianapolis Cultural Districts and is linked to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail bike and pedestrian path.

VisitIndy's website explains the flavor of Fountain Square. From duckpin bowling to neon theater life, there is something for everyone here.

Afar magazine calls the area "Indy's hippest neighborhood."

Discover Fountain Square offers a downloadable Visitors Guide and map with restaurants, stores, arts and entertainment highlights - and an even larger selection on its web site; you also can discover events and photos on the organization's facebook page.  

Enter the search term Fountain Square in Yelp's Restaurant Guide, and tailor your results to your liking.

Discover Fountain Square's food & drink photos and listings with address and phone numbers simplify planning.

For those who like to eat and then stroll, or stroll and then eat, VisitIndy lists some Fountain Square restaurants and other attractions, such as Maialina Italian Kitchen + Bar and Thunderbird.

Bottleworks District

The Bottleworks District was recently renovated in 2020 and is now one of Indianapolis' hot spots to visit. This historic district housed the Indianapolis Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, which was originally built in 1931. This plant became the "largest bottling plant in the world!" However, all of the bottling operations moved to Speedway, Indiana in 1968, leaving this historic site behind. After the revitalizing construction efforts, the Bottleworks District brings the historical site to the present.

The Bottleworks District creates a "one-stop shop to stay, play, and dine." From bowling at Pins Mechanical to watching movies at the Living Room Theater, the entertainment options are endless. The Garage is one of Indianapolis' first food halls! This dining experience offers 26 local food vendors and various cuisine options in a collaborative and fun eating experience.

Massachusetts Avenue

This neighborhood hit the National Register of Historic Places list in 1981, but it's been near and dear to Hoosiers for much longer.

Hoosiers History Live offers various historical features of Mass Ave, which dates back to the 1800s.

Visit Indy highlights the arts district's art galleries, boutiques, eateries, theaters, etc.

USA Today's 10 Best describes this area as "affectionately referred to as 'Mass Ave.' It's a funky neighborhood with a smattering of art galleries, theaters, independent restaurants, shops and nightspots."

The area has a Facebook presence as Mass Ave INDY - Facebook

Do 317 offers various suggestions for restaurants, shopping, and events on Mass Ave.

Neighborhood eateries in the Massachusetts Ave. area can be narrowed down from Yelp's Restaurant Guide by limiting your search to "Mass Ave Restaurants." From there you can further limit by cuisine type, price, editor's pick, and more.


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