I know I’ve got one paragraph to convince you this isn’t some run-of-the-mill “Why [Insert City]” blog post. So, let me be clear. This isn’t a post about our attractions, restaurants, bars and nightlife. If you’re looking for that, check out this recent article from Bloomberg saying we’re home to some of the “most exciting food in America.” Or Conde Nast saying we’re “one of the best cities in America.” Or Travel + Leisure citing us as one of “America’s favorite places.”
This is a post about living in Indy. And frankly, why – especially if you’re considering a move – you should give us a closer look.
I chose Indianapolis. I wasn’t born here. It wasn’t a job, love interest or serendipitous accident that brought me to this place. I picked it, and now, after moving to Indianapolis more than a decade ago, this city continues to reveal itself every day as uncommonly exciting, full of some of the most interesting and driven people you’ll ever meet, and a place where – regardless of who you are, how old you are or where you come from – you can have a seat at the table (whether it be at a world-class restaurant, a nonprofit that is lifting people up and revitalizing communities, a brainstorming session for the next big tech innovation, or a boardroom where we’re shaping the city’s future).
Simply put, you’re not going to find another city like Indianapolis. And while this list only scratches the surface of what makes Indy special, you can reach out to learn more. And if you end up giving us a shot, IndyHub is here to help get you connected, get involved and find your place at one of those tables I mentioned above.
1. Indianapolis is one of the most affordable big cities in the country, and it’s flush with extraordinary neighborhoods.
Whether you want to live in the heart of downtown, in a thriving close-in neighborhood that’s walkable to great food and nightlife or you’re looking for a bit more space so fido or Junior can run and play, Indy has you covered, and it will cost you a fraction of what cities like Chicago, New York or San Francisco run.
The average rent in Indy is $806, tying up just 17% of the area’s median household income. According to Forbes, that makes us “the cheapest place to rent…and the second most affordable” city in the country. For those looking to buy, Indy has the most affordable homes of the largest cities in America, and regardless of income level, we’re a city where it’s particularly easy to purchase.
Economics aside, living in Indianapolis means you’re a part of an extraordinary patchwork of neighborhoods. Our downtown is everything all at once: industry and art; history and innovation; home, work and play. The eastside is packed with neighborhood festivals, local eats and urban character. Eagle Creek is lush with trees and rich with culture. And Central North is home to Queen Annes, yoga studios and porch parties.
No matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got a neighborhood for you. Explore a bit more on our citizens’ guide, No Mean City.
2. No matter where in Indy you live, it’s an easy commute, and we’re making big investments in public transit.
Even at Indy’s farthest boundary lines, you’re never more than 25 minutes from downtown, and like every other big city, Uber and Lyft, bike shares, scooters, electric car-sharing and public transit make getting to your favorite spots (like a night of jazz at the Chatterbox, a stroll around Riverside Park, or catching a board game during Gen Con) a breeze.
Speaking of transit, a successful 2016 referendum vote means Indy is in the process making significant investments and improvements to our transit system. We’re increasing service by 70%, extending hours, ensuring buses are coming more often, and building 3 rapid transit lines. We’re a city that recognizes effective transit is a big part of quality of life and social mobility, and we’re putting our money where our mouths are.
We’re also an incredible city for biking and running, check out this great piece from No Mean City for more – Run This Town: The Cultural Trail Experience.
3. Indy is a city of doers and changemakers.
In every corner of our city – in community gardens, coworking spaces and coffee shops – there are nonprofits and civic leaders who are dreaming big and rolling up their sleeves to ensure we are a city that welcomes all, that grows vibrant communities and that lifts our neighbors up.
We’ve got initiatives like Nine13sports that promote health, wellness and exercise through an innovative bicycling-meets-technology approach; Keep Indianapolis Beautiful works with diverse communities to create vibrant public places, planting trees, developing community spaces, cleaning neighborhoods and engaging students in nature; People for Urban Progress salvages discarded materials (like the iconic RCA Dome roof) and redesigns them for public benefit, ultimately making cool goods for good. Arts for Learning provides hand-on visual arts experiences that empower children to achieve their creative and intellectual potential. And so many others.
Also, once a year, IndyHub connects nonprofits and civic organization with thousands of potential volunteers, committee leaders and members at IndyVolved. This premiere volunteer event is volunteer fair meets farmers market meets party. And it’s a testament to the fact that, in Indy, we’re serious about shaping our city for the better.
4. Indy is a great home base for the road tripper and world traveler.
There’s no reason to dance around it. Yes, we’re in the middle of the country, but loving and living Indy doesn’t limit your wanderlust. In fact, with all that money you’re saving on rent, traveling the world or spending your weekends at nearby hotspots has never been easier.
We’re known as the “Crossroads of America” – which in addition to being a great t-shirt – means that road trips to Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville and St. Louis are a straight shot. And for those who prefer weekend boulangeries to the Bourbon Trail, Indy is also home to the best airport in North America (5 years running via Conde Nast), including a new, nonstop flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
5. Plain and simple, Indy is a sports town unlike any other.
For more than 100 years, the Indianapolis 500 has been our major claim to fame. It is the largest single-day sporting event in the world, and it brings more than 300,000 fans to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Indy’s west side.
But Indy isn’t just a city devoted to fast cars – though that loyalty runs deep. We’re home to 6 professional sports teams: the Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, Indianapolis Colts, Indianapolis Indians, Indy Eleven and Indy Fuel. We’ve got the NCAA headquarters and America’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp.
Not to mention, we know a thing or two about major sporting events. We hosted Super Bowl XLVI, the Men’s NCAA Final Four in ‘10 and ‘15 and the Women’s Final Four in ‘11 and ‘16. And we’re not slowing down anytime soon. Between now and 2022, there are more than 20 sporting events on the calendar, including the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.
At IndyHub, we know that people make the city, and Indy is made up of committed neighbors and nonprofits, innovative makers and movers, all laser-focused on ensuring this the best place to live, work and make a difference. We hope you’ll come be a part of that momentum, because we’re just getting started.
Blake Johnson is President of IndyHub and an elected member of the Indianapolis City-County Council. In his spare time, Blake enjoys spending time with his wife Natalie and their two, wildly spoiled dogs, Jack and Jamison. @IndyBlakeJ