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Indy frugalosity

The city of Indianapolis has so much for you to see and explore while you’re a student at the University of Indianapolis! But living on a college-student’s budget can leave you with empty pockets. So check out these free or inexpensive things to see and do while you’re in Indy. Weekends are a great time to check out the city, and with so much going on, you’ll be able to find something to do every weekend!

Things to do

Downtown Indianapolis offers many free activities year-round. A place to start: head right into the center of downtown and snap a few photos next to the landmark Monument Circle—then climb the stairs of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The monument rises high over the Circle (it stands just 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty), and offers you some awesome views.

Next, walk a few blocks northeast to visit the unique shops and galleries of nearby Massachusetts Avenue. Affectionately known to locals as “Mass Ave,” it’s one of six designated cultural districts in Indianapolis. One of the city’s best meal bargains can be found at Yats, where a typical Cajun entrée costs just over $6. With all of the extra money you’re saving, you can grab a treat at the famous Flying Cupcake, which features unusual flavors such as Pretty in Pink and Bart Simpson.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art offers world-class art in a stunning building with beautiful grounds (great for walking or biking). The IMA’s exhibitions include works by the masters, and decorative art, textiles and fashion arts, and contemporary art from all over the world. The best part: admission is free.

In the mood for a flick? Cinemark Movie Theater in Greenwood, just south of campus, offers recently released movie tickets for just $2.

Rather spend some time enjoying the outdoors? The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation maintains 206 parks in Marion County, ranging from six large regional parks to community and neighborhood/mini-parks. Visit the IndyParks website to find the park nearest you. On the list is the city’s first, nearby Garfield Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and includes a conservatory and sunken garden.

Places to eat

A few short miles south of campus is a vintage ice cream stand. Mrs. Curl offers great munchies, including hot dogs, burgers, and fries. But it’s most famous for its frozen treats. With a wide array of cones, treats, shakes, and malts, there’s something for everyone. And Mrs. Curl is priced for the college student budget—ice cream cones start at under $1 and hot dogs and fries are just $3. If it’s fresh food you’re looking for, the Indianapolis City Market is just minutes from campus and has been a downtown staple since 1886. Its Farmers Market is available all year long for farm-fresh produce and much more.

Modes of transport

You can have a car on campus if you like (for free), even for freshmen. But maybe you’re planning to be car-free. Wondering how to get to your destination?  Ride the bus and save on parking and gas! A day pass on the IndyGo bus system is just $4. And the bus stops right on campus on Hanna Avenue, just steps from any of the residence halls on campus. Or even better, bring your bike, and make use of the growing number of bike trails around the city, including one that leads from campus through artsy Fountain Square to downtown!