With Scandinavian roots and a life-long, self-diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter in Indianapolis tends to be a mixed bag for me. I’m crazy about the snow, but I struggle with the dark. Which is to say that I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to cope with the often sunless Indiana days of January through March.
The first thing that I cannot stress enough is how much happier you’ll be if you just dress for the weather. Wear an actual winter coat. Heavy socks and good shoes or boots. Hat. Mittens. Real pants. And never turn up your nose at long underwear.
The second thing is that you’ve got to get your Vitamin D. I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but I feel good about this suggestion because these guys are. Anyway, your mom probably already told you about that, so we’ll move on to the fun stuff.
Three Green Places to Go
Garfield Park Conservatory – This is exactly where you should go if you’re desperately in need of something green and fresh oxygen. It’s not enormous, but this botanical garden’s crammed with interesting plants and tiny koi ponds and benches. Total winter oasis.
Indianapolis Artsgarden – This glass dome lined with live trees is best enjoyed when the sun is shining. I like to grab a book or a friend and a snack from the Circle Centre Mall food court and pretend like I’m outside.
White River Gardens and Indianapolis Zoo – To be 100% honest, the Garfield Park botanical gardens are better, but this place is still really nice–and perfect if you’re also planning to head over to the Zoo’s desert biome. That exhibit is extra warm all year long and includes meerkats.
Three Indoor Spots to Stretch Those Legs
Central Library – Both reading rooms in the original portion of the library have a fire place with real fire! And there are a hundred other awesome nooks and crannies that are worth discovering. Also, they’ve got an unbelievably good selection of movies and TV shows.
Indianapolis Museum of Art – This place is gorgeous. Not to mention there’s a little greenhouse on the grounds, and the cafe sells beer and wine. Plus, in addition to normal operating hours, the museum stays open until 9 p.m. every Thursday night.
Soldiers & Sailors Monument on Monument Circle – Take the stairs! Then stretch your legs. This monument is really kind of too hot to deal with in the summer, so winter’s the perfect time to check out the incredible view at the top. (Yes, there’s an elevator.)
Three Cozy Bars to Grab a Drink
Ball and Biscuit – With killer cocktails and an ever-so-slightly elevated room with sleek leather seating and minimal natural light, this bar makes winter almost seem luxurious.
Nicky Blaine’s – It’s in a basement, which means you might actually forget that it’s winter. And since Blaine’s is practically on Monument Circle, you might consider this stop after climbing all those stairs.
Red Lion Grog House – The dark wood and deep red throughout the bar make it the perfect place to eat that oh-so-good comfort food that I assume everyone dreams about when it’s cold outside.
Three Spicy Dinners for a Bit of a Kick
Yats – If you haven’t been, stop reading this post and go. They’ve got locations all over town, so quit with the excuses.
Siam Square – Unless you’ve burned off all your taste buds, I would avoid the Thai Hot. Otherwise, order away. This food is fantastic.
Spice Box – These guys have a roving food truck and a place in the Indianapolis City Market. Personally, the Chicken Tikki is my favorite, and it’s double my favorite when I get to eat it at Black Acre Brewing.
Obviously, these aren’t comprehensive lists, but you get the idea. Dress warm. Get your Vitamin D. Find green stuff wherever and whenever you can. Move those legs. When you drink, drink with nice people in good, winter-friendly bars. Eat spicy food.
Okay! Now, go call a friend, put your coat on, and get out of the house.