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.
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.
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.
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.
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.