My Downtown Indy 2017 Wishlist

Downtown Indianapolis is growing at a rapid pace. When we moved down here four years ago, so much has popped up and it just keeps expanding. Today, everywhere you go it seems like there’s a new restaurant, store or apartment complex going up. As a resident, I love all of these new things. However, since moving here…there’s been a few other things I’ve wished we could get.

Maybe 2017? Here’s to wishful thinking…..

Beauty store

It’s always perplexed me that Circle Centre Mall doesn’t have a Sephora. I’m an Ulta person just because the points work out better for me there, so I would absolutely hands down be happier with that, but I feel like even Sephora would do so well here! There’s a market I think could really be covered here, first with the general traffic in the mall (which has been growing too lately and I’m impressed) and then people that live around the downtown area that don’t want to drive all the way to the north, south or west side to pick up their beauty products.

Kroger

I know. There is a Kroger down here on 16th Street. It’s so small though! The variety isn’t that great. I’ve been there a few times to pick up Kroger-necessities (the cat demands their basic unscented cat litter…I mean at least she’s budget-friendly with her diva-esque ways). But usually, I just run in Marsh. I love that Marsh. But Marsh can really do some damage on your wallet and no body has time for that. I know they’ve decided not to renovate that Kroger. I wish they would though. Or build another one. Even Fountain Square is even a great place. I don’t need (or frankly want), a marketplace Kroger. But just a normal sized one? With a good selection? Till then, I’ll continue driving to the southside. I don’t mind it. But I also wouldn’t mind having a Kroger here, either.

Target

There is some open space left in Circle Centre, or they keep talking about postponing the Whole Foods in the new Market Tower…PUT IN A TARGET. I feel like this one is a no-brainer. (Although, this is just me sitting at my computer in my apartment. I’m sure someone at some point in time has looked into this and not found it a good idea). But as a resident, it would be nice to be able to walk to Target and pick up food, eye make-up remover, decorations…etc. I know we have a bunch of wonderful local stores here and I don’t want to draw away traffic from them. But I would love me some Target if there was one close by. I think it might draw in the outer areas too. Bonus for free parking.

Apple Store

I honestly wouldn’t shop there much because I don’t have that kind of money, but I feel like an Apple store would be a knock out of the park in downtown Indy as well. Think about it… People will drive to the northside and stand in line forever in that crowded, anxiety-driving store for however long it takes. It’s our only option. So for all of you on the southside especially, that is a LONG drive. The experience is great with the Apple team, but standing in the store itself is so crowded. I think it’s time to expand Indy’s Apple offering and open up a store downtown. Circle Centre would be a great place for it. OMG CIRCLE CENTRE! Just having the Apple store there alone would drive traffic. I’m sure people would choose to come to a downtown Apple store over driving to the crowded northside one any day if it was laid out correctly. That’s the key… we need some breathing room. K?

Condos/Homes for Sale

When we moved downtown, we chose to rent to see if we liked living downtown before we committed to something. And here we are… four years later… in the same building. Despite all of the downs, downs, some ups and then downs, our location is great. It is really what keeps us here. We’re close to our favorite restaurants and we are connected to everything. Long term though this won’t probably work and I want to buy something. There’s an okay selection out there. However, apartments are booming and real estate…is staying the same from what I’ve seen. I could be wrong. But there aren’t really any houses up for sale or new condominiums going up. We’ve looked around and while we aren’t ready yet, I hope that when we are, there is more available.

Mexican Restaurant

I’ve wondered if my husband and I are bad luck for El Rodeo. When we lived in Greenfield, probably four months before we moved it burned down. Ironically, this wasn’t the first time for that franchise to lose a building in a fire. Strange… well there used to be one downtown on Meridian Street. It was great. Awesome. Fabulous. We were regulars and the staff knew us. It was the first place down here that we became “regulars” of. Service was great and it was cheap. Then probably a year ago (or longer), it shut down. Who knows why… I’ve heard rumors about that franchise. Regardless, we got great service and it was always busy. And now it’s gone and there isn’t anything like it. There are Mexican restaurants downtown, but they are pricey. If I want to just get a couple tacos, rice and cheap margs, we have to go to Fountain Square. Sure, there is Aculpoco Joe’s or Adobo Grill but Aculpolco Joe’s is something you have to be in the mood for and Adobo is pricey. Fountain Square is fine in the summer when we feel like a 15-20 minute bike ride. Any other time it isn’t happening because it’s no fun to go get margs and drive because, well, you can’t drive. So it just doesn’t happen. Long story short, bring back El Rodeo! The space is empty, it was wonderful and I miss it so much.

Here’s so some advancement on some of my wish list items for the new year!

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Grocery Shopping in Downtown Indy and Beyond

Since moving to downtown Indianapolis, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is where I grocery shop. It’s complicated. Well not really, but it’s not what you’d think. I’ll share where I go and what other options there are for downtown residents.

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-9-26-21-pmMarsh

When it comes to downtown grocery stores, Marsh dominates. They have two locations. One is a small location Mass Ave. at 320 N. New Jersey St. This was formally known as O’Malia’s. The second is at 227 W. Michigan St. It is located in the Axis retail complex, which has apartments above it and also includes a Chinese restaurant.

You can park for free at both locations. I love the Axis complex because it’s closer to home for me, and it is huge. I don’t do my weekly shopping there but it is great for a few things if I have to pick them up. They also have a great grab n’ go food selection for lunch or dinner. They also have a large alcohol selection. I hate going to the grocery but love going in there. It’s fun, check it out.

Kroger

Downtown Indy is home to a Kroger, located at 524 E. 16th St. is in the Herron-Morton Place. Conveniently, you can also park for free here. It’s a cute area. I don’t shop here but if you’re looking for a quick in and out, it works. It is a really small location.

I do shop at Kroger every week, but not this location. Lately I have been driving to the Kroger at Southport and Bluff. It is about five miles away and the trip down really doesn’t feel like you’re in the city. It feels like you’re in the middle of the country, and is a really pretty drive. It starts bordering the White River and then you also pass by quite a few large fields and even a farm with horses. That Kroger is pretty big and has a Starbucks if that’s your thing.

In the past I have also gone to the Kroger at Madison and Edgewood, which is also close. There are also Kroger Marketplaces at Beech Grove and Greenwood.

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Other Local Stores

If you are looking for local stores to grab groceries at, there are a few other choices. I personally haven’t been to these, but would hope to stop by one in the future!

First is Angelo’s at 201 S. College. My husband came across this when working at a apartment nearby. They describe themselves as a third generation salvage and grocery store.

Next is Wildwood Market in Fountain Square. It is located at 1015 Virginia Ave. I’ve passed by this place before and have also wanted to go in. It’s small and definitely has a local feel. They provide a variety of local meat, cheese, produce and more.

Last, try the City Market. I love the City Market! I don’t get to go often, but it’s a treat if I do. The best time to go are weekdays. You can find a variety of local meats and produce. You can also eat there are many different small eateries. And while we’re on the topic of markets, don’t forget about the Farmer’s Market.

The Indy Winter Farmers Market used to be in the downtown City Market location but moved over a year ago. They are now located at 1125 E. Brookside Ave. on the northside of Mass Ave. It is a larger location with more parking. It is open every Saturday through April 29 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I love their selection of local produce and other food.

Need a Vet in Downtown Indy? Mass Ave. Animal Clinic is the Place

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When we lived in Greenfield, we had a great vet. We used Noah’s at the corner of Brandywine and State Road 9. They were great and understanding of my cat…who to put it nicely, hates social situations that involve other people.

So… when we moved downtown four years ago, I quickly had to find a new place. I chose Mass Ave. Animal Clinic, located at 625 East Street in Indianapolis.

Over the last few years, they have been fantastic. I say that coming from a pet owner with a difficult pet. I don’t know why but she just doesn’t do well with other people. If you met her, you know that and are thinking to yourself “oh yeah, she’s evil.” She’s not evil. She just doesn’t like people, haha. Except for us. She is the sweetest with us. So when it comes to her diva attitude in public, it doesn’t phase our vet at all and they are beyond accommodating.

Everyone at Mass Ave. Animal Clinic knows the both of us by name and they truly care. I have to get her prescription cat food to keep her from getting urinary infections and the prices aren’t bad. They always have some in stock and I enjoy popping in to see them.

Even better, they do everything they can to make the environment as calm as they can for Chloe. Chloe gets STRESSED OUT when having to go to the vet. They recommended Feliway to me awhile back for stressful situations and it works great. You can buy it through diffusers or in a spray. They also don’t pressure me to buy anything through them and have let me know where I can get that and other products and lower prices.

The most recent time I had to take her in for her annual exam, I had picked up some of the Feliway spray beforehand that I sprayed in the bag that I carry her in. Then they actually sprayed down the entire room too before I got there. It was a very calm visit for her which is amazing because my cat gets so scared. No matter how crazy she gets, they are incredibly patient.

I also love how much they genuinely care. Recently Chloe hurt her foot. I’m not sure how, but she was crying and limping for a week. I called the vet after a couple days to see what I needed to look out for and if I needed to bring her in. They let me know what to watch for and then without me even mentioning who I was when I called, or that Chloe was the one having issues, they called and emailed me a couple days later to check in.

Last, I have to give a shoutout to the office cat, Maac. He is such a sweet boy that is super friendly. I mean you have to go there alone just to meet him. He’s also super nice to my Chloe and makes her feel welcome. She doesn’t really understand, but he means well.

It’s Friday!! Time to relax with friends:) #maacthecat

A photo posted by Mass Ave Animal Clinic (@massaveac) on Nov 4, 2016 at 1:58pm PDT

 

So if you are in the downtown area looking for a vet, I highly recommend them. They have locations on Mass ave and then also in Fountain Square. They offer probably every service you would ever need and are beyond accommodating. The entire area over there on Mass Ave. is super pet friendly too. It is next to Henry’s on East Street, a cute coffee shop that has cute dogs sitting outside, and water dishes for them.

Mass Ave. Animal Clinic also has Furr Pet Spa and Wellness if you need grooming services. I don’t think my cat can handle that… but I’m sure the services are great.

Image at top from the Mass Ave. Animal Clinic Facebook page

Guide to Traffic and Parking in Downtown Indy

When we moved downtown, it’s rare we get visitors. Parking is intimidating. I get it. It was our choice to move here and I understand it can be a hassle to people.

Don’t Panic About Traffic

For one, many people avoid downtown thinking the traffic is nuts.

Not the case though.

Usually when people come downtown, it is for an event and traffic is crazy. It’s like that with anything, anywhere though. The other 90% of the time, traffic isn’t an issue at all. To be completely honest, one of the biggest things I love about living downtown is dealing with less traffic. We are smack in the middle of everything so it takes the same amount of time to get to any side of town. Plus when going to work, everyone is always coming in when we are going out (and vice versa).

Then for traffic in general, there really is not much. It gets busy during week days when people are here for work, and I really wish more people were here in the evenings. Being downtown really is not as busy as you would think.

If you are looking to come here for dinner or to go out, the south Meridian side of downtown gets busy on Friday and Saturday nights, so if you park a little out and walk in, you really won’t have to deal with traffic.

And sure–if there is a Pacer or Colts’ game, concert or other event, that area where the event is will be busy. But I’ll be honest. I sat in so much more traffic in the suburbs. Way more than I ever have downtown.

IMG_4792.JPGParking Isn’t That Difficult, I Promise!

When parking in Downtown Indy, it really isn’t too bad. If parallel parking doesn’t totally freak you out, prices aren’t bad at a meter. You just have to pay from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and you can park for a couple hours for about $2. On Sundays and national holidays, you don’t have to pay at meters at all. Plus if you get the Park Indy app, you can add more money to your meter without having to actually walk back to the meter. You have to add in your license plate number, so get the app before you park unless you aren’t in a time crunch after parking.

If it’s your first time using a meter, simply see what the number is for your parking spot (there are arrows that help you), then walk to the nearest pay station. Type in your number, put in your credit card or money and then voila. You are done. And if you get lucky, the person before you might have money left!

As far as garages go, the Circle Center parking garages have good pricing. You can park for couple hours for $2.50. Plus if you park in the mall, you can get to several places inside using the skywalk. Keep this in mind during the winter because even when the mall closes, you can still walk through it if you have parked in the garages. We have walked through the mall at like 12 a.m.

I would recommend if you are trying to park downtown, you can take advantage of great pricing at a meter or at the mall. If you go to some of the surrounding lots for events, you are looking at paying anywhere from $10-$20. This might be worth it if you plan on being somewhere for hours and hours, but it is pricey. Because keep in mind, you don’t have to pay for metered spots after 9 p.m.

Also, if you don’t mind walking, there are certain areas on the outer areas of downtown or in Fletcher Place where you don’t have to pay to park.

It might take  little patience and using your map on your phone to get where you are going, but I promise. It is not as intimidating as you think.

My Love for the City

When I say I live downtown, I get a mix of reactions. Some people think it’s so cool. Parents tell me they wished they lived downtown, but they have kids, so it isn’t an option. Other people snarl.

Let’s rewind about 25 years. I’m four or five years old. Out of our second story window in the front of our home I get a small glimpse of the Chase tower, which then, was the Bank One tower. I think.

Also that year, or around that year, was the first memory I have of watching the fireworks for the First of July. My mom had taken me at what was then a McDonald’s on Michigan or New York Street right before you pass I-65 into downtown.

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That was the year I ate a glowstick. I remember looking up and seeing particles of the glowstick all around me in the backseat of her red Dodge Lancer. It was on the red felt ceiling, door panels, seats, etc. There were many other downtown Fourth of July trips that didn’t include me eating things I shouldn’t have. We would always sit on the hood of the car, eating our soft serve ice cream cups from McDonald’s. We’d also pass through downtown the many times we went to the Tibb’s Drive In.

When I was in the third grade, Circle Center Mall opened. It was the newest thing downtown and we took a school field trip to tour the new mall. Shortly after, I went to my first concert in the third grade too. For my ninth birthday I went to see Celine Dion at the old Market Square Arena. It was the year Titanic came out, so you can only imagine how epic that was.

On an off growing up I’d always loved the city. I grew up just a few miles away on the east side at 10th and Emerson.

My love for downtown Indianapolis grew when I went to college at IUPUI. For those that don’t know the lingo, IUPUI stands for Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Basically, my degree says Indiana University but I didn’t pay as much as I would have if I would have gone to school in Bloomington.

I spent five years at IUPUI and love every single minute of it. Even the traffic going into it. It felt like home and I really enjoyed walking everywhere. I would intentionally spend hours I didn’t have to on campus just because I loved it. I loved being around the people and I just loved being in the city.

When I started dating my husband, he lived in Greenfield. Greenfield is about 30-45 minutes away from downtown Indianapolis on I-70. I moved in with him after we had been dating for about eight years. Greenfield is a lovely place. The people are nice and everything you need is there.

But it wasn’t me. It was a great place, but it wasn’t “home.”

However, never in a million years did I think my husband, then boyfriend, would go for living downtown. He wasn’t a big people person. We really hadn’t gone downtown together all that much.

After we traveled to New York City for the second time in 2012, things changed. I had always had a love for the city but hadn’t talked about it much with him. Shortly after those trips, he brought it up to move downtown. I was ecstatic. And with two incomes, it was doable.

The year we decided to move downtown, we really weighed our options. We looked at every option available and settled on The Block. It was connected to everything and is rich with history. It’s also just down the street from Monument Circle, which have some of the most gorgeous views of the entire city.

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We’ve been here for over four years and downtown is home. It doesn’t even “feel” like home because it is home. I can’t explain the rush I get when driving into the city and seeing the beautiful styling with the Chase Tower and One America building.

In fact, when we got married, our goal was to find a place downtown and stumble home. We ended up choosing the Skyline Club in the One America Building because their pricing was incredible. I never thought I could get married in a place like that. We didn’t even need to decorate because the views were breathtaking on the 36th floor. And when the night concluded, we stumbled home with some of our closest friends and family.

I love living downtown because I can walk anywhere. On weeknights and weekends, I park the car and don’t use it again really unless I’m going to the grocery. This year we purchased passes to the Pacers Bikeshare which has enabled us to quickly get to the further ends of Mass Ave or Fountain Square. Also, I love the noise. It is not super loud here, but I love the sounds of the city. It makes me feel safe. I know, it’s weird.

Also, I love being around people. I had never lived in an apartment and love being in a place with people around me. We originally chose an apartment just because we wanted to make sure it was the right decision before we bought. Here we are, still renting four years later. It is backwards a bit but oh well. And for an apartment, sound isn’t an issue in this place, so I’ve never had to experience that. It also feels safe. We live off the ground, so going from a home where you had to worry about break-ins to living up high, it feels good knowing people can’t easily get into your home.

There is so much to explore around here. Downtown Indianapolis is super walkable. There are so many different districts and things to explore. I absolutely love it. You can often find yourself if certain areas in downtown that don’t feel like you’re in the heart of the city, which is super cool. I also enjoy seeing so many different people of different races and cultures. I’m inspired to learn a lot.

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Living downtown has taught me a lot. I feel like growing up the right thing to do was find a husband, get married and have a family somewhere in the ‘burbs. I’m almost 30 and my husband is 34. Yes, I do want kids, but didn’t want to rush into it. We love city life. It is SO MUCH FUN to just walk to a restaurant, have a few drinks each and walk home. There is ALWAYS something to do and see. I absolutely love sitting on my couch and starring out my front (and only) set of windows at the Chase Tower. I love the history of the building I live in, and the buildings around me.

Downtown Indianapolis is home. The Eastside of Indianapolis and Irvington will also always be home to me, but this feels right. And when we do decide to have kids, I hope we stay. A lot of people give me funny looks when I tell them we live downtown. I get asked “what are you going to do when you have kids?” quite a bit.

A child!? IN THE CITY!?

Believe it or not, I see tons of parents here. There are quite a few in my building and a bunch all over downtown.

My husband and I just go with the flow. This might be strange for me because I plan a lot…. except for this. When we have kids, we’ll figure it out. That’s how we are. We just figure it out. Maybe when we have kids, downtown just won’t be right. But I’m not ruling it out. There are a ton of great schools around here, even if we have to drive a little bit. I’m not going to just throw in the towel and move to the ‘burbs because “it’s just what you do.”

What I love matters to me. I don’t settle for less. I just don’t and neither should you.

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I recently made a difficult decision to change jobs just because the job wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to settle for an “okay” job. I had to move on to something that aligned with my career goals. Also, to be frank, I wanted to work downtown.

So, flash forward from that four year old looking at the downtown Indianapolis skyline to today. I’m 29. I live in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. I work just a few miles away. Things are good. I absolutely love it here and wouldn’t have it any other way. I encourage you to do the same. Even if you have kids, if you want to live downtown, there are places with yards. I’m still learning about schools but you have options. You don’t have to throw in the towel. Live a little. I am.

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