A Perfect Day Holiday Shopping in Downtown Indianapolis

The holidays are one of the best times to take a walk around Downtown Indianapolis. There is so much to enjoy, here is a quick guide to how you can spend the day!

Start in the Wholesale District

You can start your trip by parking in or around Circle Center Mall. Take a quick trip to Carson’s to see what holiday deals they have and then pop on over to TJ Maxx. They have amazing deals on just about everything. You can always find something there.

Once you’re done, take anything you’ve bought and drop it off to the trunk of your car. Don’t put it in the backseat, you’re asking for your car to get broken into. It’s not a dangerous area, but I’m from the Eastside of Indy, and well, I expect my car to get broken into. So, play it safe and put it in your trunk. And be conscious if people are around.

Food, Drink or Snack Break!

From there, you can take a break to enjoy a drink. There are Starbucks locations all around. One of the prettiest locations is on Monument Circle, but it does get busy. The Circle is amazing this time of year and you can take a picture with friends and family with the gorgeous 240 foot tree behind you.

You can also pop into the South Bend Chocolate Company on the Circle as well. They have a variety of hot beverages, sweets, desserts and ice cream. In the mood for lunch? You can get a soup or sandwich right there at Au Bon Pain, Soupremacy or at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

Head to Mass Ave.

From here, you’re going to head north to Mass Ave. If you don’t know where it is, just plug my first location idea (below) into your smart phone. Mass Ave. is where you can find some of the city’s best local places for personal gifts.

Once you get there, the Mass Ave Toys can be the first stop. It is a great place to find the perfect gift for the kids (both adult and children) in your life.

After you get done with the toy store, cross the street and head into Silver in the City. This place has the perfect gifts that you didn’t even know you needed to buy. From jewelry and clothing to hysterical ideas, they have it all.

For other unique or Indianapolis themed gifts, check out Homespun, which is just down the street. It has such a variety of great items, including local home goods and art that you can’t find anywhere else.

If you are looking for a gift for the pets in your life, towards the north end of Mass Ave. is City Dogs. They have  a variety of food, snacks, treats and clothing for both cats and dogs. You’ll love their selection of adorable cookies and treats.

Food and Drink Ideas

If you parked towards Circle Center Mall, you have a ways a way to walk back. Why not stop and grab some dinner on your way back up from a long day of shopping?

Mass Ave. has a variety of great dining options. Bakersfield has great tacos and margaritas,  MacNiven’s Restaurant and Bar has great Scottish cuisine, Salt on Mass provides upscale dining options, or grab pizza at the iconic Bazbeaux Pizza. If you’re a fan of beer, stop in The Tap for a variety of beer and great food.

Mass Ave. has a TON of great shops, more than just what I included. Check out the Mass Ave. directory for all options. Happy shopping!

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.

Indiana Pacers Bikeshare: Quick Way to Get Around Downtown

Indiana Pacers Bikeshare

One of the biggest complaints I hear about any downtown is trying to find parking and getting around.

Since we live here and can park here, that is not an issue for us.

However, in the past three years we have lived here, depending on the weather, we can’t always walk far. Or sometimes it gets a little exhausting walking across town for a restaurant or whatnot.

We prefer to walk around and once we are home though and walk wherever we need to go.

Except now, we’ve made a change and recently got a membership to the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare.

De-Bunking the “Cons”

“But Tracey, why don’t you just buy a bike?”

Well, buying a bike would mean I would have to store one. And I have no where to put it.

“But Tracey, isn’t it annoying that you have to check it in every 30 minutes?”

Not really, actually. I was afraid of that too. When we tried it for the first time, we really enjoyed it to get us somewhere fast. So we aren’t necessarily in it to ride. It is really a means of getting from point A to point B. And there are so many docks all over the city, it really isn’t an issue at all. Plus, there is an app on your phone you can get so if you’re running close on your time, you can quickly find a station to go to all along the city’s Cultural Trail and beyond.

Indianapolis Canal

The downtown Indy canal is a great way to spend an afternoon on bikes!

The Basics

The Indiana Pacers Bikeshare was pretty simple to use. You can pay $8 for a 24 hour period or $80 for an annual membership.

Every half hour you have to check your bike in. You don’t have to re-dock it, but just stop by a kiosk and hit a few buttons. If you go over your 30 minutes without checking in (up to one hour), it’s an extra $2. Then it is $4 for each additional 30 minutes after that.

So, end of the day, just check the bike in. You’ll be by a station anyway, it really wasn’t a hassle.

It’s easy to get the bikes out and dock them back in.

You can check out bikes from 5 a.m. to 3 .m. (so if you’re looking to get yourself home on a bike after the bars close, don’t bank on the bikeshare in this instance).

Just by all means make sure you dock the bike. It’s all on your credit card, so if you leave the bike somewhere for hours, you are paying for it. We once saw a bike chained to a pole for DAYS once. That is not a fun credit card bill to get. So just make sure you get it back safe and sound.

More Info & Final Thoughts

All in all, this is a good option for us, but not for everyone. If you are into long term bike riding–stick to your own bike. But if you are looking for a fun way to quickly get across the city, then the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare is something to consider. Yeah, it costs money. So if you are into spending it, great. And if not, then don’t.

It never even crossed my mind until we tried it on a whim a little while back. We hadn’t gone to Fountain Square and wanted to check something out, and got there so fast. Then later that day we also went to the far end of Mass Ave, which we also normally never do.

So thanks to some generous birthday money I received, we decided this would be a great use for it.

For more info on the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare, check out their website.