Fountain Square: Anything but square

It’s funky. Artsy. Retro.

The Fountain Square cultural district, barely 10 minutes from campus, is an unusual area that’s an amazing setting for adventure for Indianapolis residents and UIndy students alike. The Fountain Square neighborhood is the oldest commercial historic district in the state, and Indy’s pedestrian- and bike-friendly Cultural Trail passes right through. A short stroll showcases its two fountains, a wide range of cuisines, a diverse array of artwork, and a plethora of unique shops.


Retro chic

And if you’re looking for something to do, you can see a concert or a show, do some old-time duckpin bowling (the bowling balls are a bit bigger than softballs), or even give swing dancing a try. UIndy does offer a swing dancing club, after all.

The University is involved in Fountain Square in several ways, too. UIndy formed a partnership with its Wheeler Arts Community years ago, helping to convert an old carburetor factory into exciting and creative spaces. The WAC houses a community theatre, a student painting studio, and classrooms, in addition to providing affordable housing for local artists. UIndy students and professors also use this space often for classes, readings, and theatre productions.

UIndy provides free transportation to the WAC and Fountain Square on First Fridays. On the first Friday of every month, art galleries around the city open their doors to the public, and this event provides students a chance to see the works created by artists at the WAC, the Murphy Building, and all around Fountain Square for a fun evening with friends.

Edible adventures

And don’t forget to try something new at one of the many exceptional restaurants located in Fountain Square—many of them quite reasonably priced.

“There are tons of great restaurants,” one student, a Fountain Square veteran, says. “Santorini’s Greek Restaurant, Peppy’s Grill, Maria’s Pizza, and [classic 50s-style diner] Smokehouse on Shelby, which serves great barbeque.”

Other must-try restaurants include the Cultured Swirl (a gourmet frozen yogurt shop where, among many other popular add-ons, you can drizzle on your own warm Nutella topping), Red Lion Grog House, Calvin Fletcher’s Coffeehouse, and B’s Po Boy—where you can eat while trying your hand at bocce, the trendy Italian lawn bowling game.

But don’t think these are the only reasons to visit Fountain Square. You can also get involved in the community by volunteering with nonprofit organizations such as Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Fletcher Place Community Center, and Southeast Community Services. Students involved in UIndy’s PT, OT, and nursing programs may also have the opportunity to intern or do clinical experiences at various locations in the neighborhood.

Character study

Most students love the character of Fountain Square. It’s historic and artsy and features small businesses owned and supported by locals. With so much to explore, you can hardly see it all by going just once. Visit and you’ll agree with the Fountain Square slogan: it’s “anything but square!”