Indianapolis Cultural Districts
Wholesale fun

Indianapolis Cultural DistrictsWholesale district

When people think of Indianapolis, they think of Monument Circle, world-class sports arenas, maybe historic Indiana Repertory Theatre. That means that when people think of Indianapolis, the images they conjure are of the Wholesale District. What many people consider simply as “Downtown” is really one of the city’s six cultural districts, each with its own distinct personality. In the bustling heart of Indianapolis, there’s always something happening.

The most familiar spot, and a favorite among UIndy students, is Monument Circle. The Circle dates from 1902 (same as UIndy) and centers on the striking 284-foot Soldiers & Sailors Monument—just 21 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty. In October the Circle was named one of the “10 Great Public Spaces” in the country.

Today, the monument is one of the most recognizable symbols of Indy and the reason behind the “Circle City” nickname. National media invariably provide an overhead shot during broadcasts of NFL and NBA games. The Circle’s bronze sculptures, fountains, and pavers make it ideal for taking a walk and enjoying the mix of classical facades and modern skyscrapers. And it becomes a “Circle of Lights” during the holidays. Here you are minutes away from some of the best restaurants in the city—not to mention goodies from the South Bend Chocolate Company Chocolate Café right on the Circle. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performs 200 concerts a year in the Hilbert Circle Theatre, built in 1916 as a movie palace.

The Wholesale District is the place for live entertainment and features a wide range of venues where students can take in everything from live music to sporting events to theatre. The Indianapolis Artsgarden, a seven-story glass structure above the intersection of Meridian and Illinois streets, hosts more than 300 free concerts a year. It’s a premier space for a diverse mix of live music, and on any given day you can enjoy a percussion ensemble, a Broadway tribute, or a jazz band. Many of UIndy’s own musicians perform at the Artsgarden, too—which connects to big-time shopping at Circle Centre Mall.

The amazing Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Indianapolis Colts) and Conseco Fieldhouse (Indiana Pacers and Fever), are both at the top of league “best” lists. Conseco also hosts countless concerts as well as Big Ten basketball tournaments and other events. Georgia Street links Conseco to the Indiana Convention Center and is being reborn as a pedestrian-friendly event space in advance of the Super Bowl in February.

The nightlife in the Wholesale District offers its own brand of live entertainment. Crackers Comedy Club is sure to entertain visitors with its live stand-up comedy performances. Howl at the Moon, where “dueling pianos” play everything from modern hits to 80s classics to original songs, has long been a favorite night-time hangout for UIndy students.

Whether you are entertaining the family for the weekend, celebrating a special event, or just exploring with a group of friends, Indy’s Wholesale District is sure to keep you entertained.

—Abbie Howell ’12