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Downtown Indianapolis facts for kids

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Downtown Indianapolis
Downtown Indianapolis skyline in 2016
Downtown Indianapolis skyline in 2016
Nickname(s): 
"Downtown Indy"
Location of Downtown within Indianapolis–Marion County, Indiana
Location of Downtown within Indianapolis–Marion County, Indiana
Country  United States
State  Indiana
County Marion
Township Center
City  Indianapolis
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 22,412
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
46202, 46203, 46204, 46225
Area code(s) 317 / 463

Downtown Indianapolis is a neighborhood area and the central business district of Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. Downtown is bordered by Interstate 65, Interstate 70, and the White River, and is situated near the geographic center of Marion County. Downtown has grown from the original 1821 town plat—often referred to as the Mile Square—to encompass a broader geographic area of central Indianapolis, containing several smaller historic neighborhoods.

Downtown Indianapolis is the cultural, political, and economic center of the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Downtown Indianapolis anchors the city's burgeoning tourism and hospitality sector, home to nearly 8,000 hotel rooms and several of the city's major sporting and event facilities. Downtown contains numerous historic districts and properties, most of the city's memorials and monuments, performing arts venues, and museums. Since its founding in 1820, the seats of Indianapolis's local administration and Indiana's state government have been located Downtown. Downtown Indianapolis is also home to the highest density of commercial office space and employment in the state of Indiana.

History

Indiana State Capitol Market St
Indiana State House and West Market Street
See also: List of tallest buildings in Indianapolis

Indianapolis's downtown has undergone a transformation from a place of vacant storefronts and little activity to that of a dynamic urban district.In the 1970s, the city suffered from the problems that affected other Rust Belt cities, such as decreased economic activity, white flight, and racial tension.The City of Indianapolis dealt with these issues and came up with solutions to revitalize the city's downtown.

OneAmerica Tower, Aug. 2006
OneAmerica Tower

Modern skyscrapers were constructed in the area during the 1980s, including Salesforce Tower (built 1990). Revitalization of the Central Canal followed. This, along with plans for a new downtown mall, basketball arena, and new attractions such as museums, helped to revitalize Downtown Indianapolis.

Thirty-six apartment buildings in downtown Indianapolis are listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the Apartments and Flats of Downtown Indianapolis Thematic Resources.

Tourism

Tourism is a large part of the economy of Downtown Indianapolis, due in large part to the presence of the Indiana Convention Center. White River State Park attracts tourists with its many offerings: the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indianapolis Zoo, the White River Gardens and the Central Canal, which connects the park to other parts of downtown. Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse host professional sports as well as music concerts and other events. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument and the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza are two historical landmarks in Downtown Indianapolis.

Infrastructure

Education

See also: List of schools in Indianapolis
Campus Center - IUPUI - DSC00526
IUPUI Campus Center

Downtown is home to Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the third largest campus in the state based on enrollment, with 30,105 students. IUPUI contains two colleges and 18 schools, including the Herron School of Art and Design, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, School of Dentistry, and the Indiana University School of Medicine, the largest medical school in the U.S.

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is headquartered Downtown in the John Morton-Finney Educational Service Center. As of 2016, IPS was the second largest public school district in Indiana, serving nearly 30,000 students.

Located Downtown, the Indianapolis Public Library's Central Library is the hub of the public library's 23 branch system, which served 4.2 million patrons and a circulation of 15.9 million materials in 2014.

Healthcare

See also: List of hospitals in Indianapolis

Downtown's northwest quadrant is home to the largest cluster of healthcare facilities in the region. Located on the IUPUI campus, the Indiana University Health Medical Center encompasses the Indiana University School of Medicine, University Hospital, and Riley Hospital for Children. This area is roughly bounded by 10th Street (north), Michigan Street (south), University Boulevard (east), and Riley Hospital Drive (west). Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, the largest facility in the state, is located on 16th Street, immediately outside Downtown in the Near Northside neighborhood area. The city's primary public medical centers, Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, are situated immediately west of the Indiana University Medical Center in an area bounded by 10th Street (north), Michigan Street (south), Eskenazi Avenue (east), and Porto Alegre Street (west).

Transportation

IndyGo Red Line opening 05
An IndyGo Red Line battery-electric bus arrives at 9th Street Station

Downtown Indianapolis has been the regional transportation hub for central Indiana since its establishment. The first major federally funded highway in the U.S., the National Road (now Washington Street), reached Indianapolis in 1836, followed by the railroad in 1847. Indianapolis Union Station opened in 1853 as the world's first union station. Citizen's Street and Railway Company was established in 1864, operating the city's first mule-drawn streetcar line. Opened in 1904 on West Market Street, the Indianapolis Traction Terminal was the largest interurban station in the world, handling 500 trains daily and 7 million passengers annually. Ultimately doomed by the automobile, the terminal closed in 1941, followed by the streetcar system in 1957.

Two of the region's four interstate highways (Interstate 65 and Interstate 70) form an "inner loop" on the north, east, and south sides of downtown Indianapolis. I-65 and I-70 radiate from downtown to connect with the "outer loop," a beltway called Interstate 465.

IndyGo operates the city's public transit network, with downtown Indianapolis serving as the region's hub and spoke origin. In 2016, the Julia M. Carson Transit Center opened as the downtown hub for 27 of its 31 bus routes. The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) is a quasi-governmental agency that operates three public buses from the Julia M. Carson Transit Center to employment centers in Plainfield and Whitestown.

Downtown Indianapolis continues to be the city's intercity transportation hub. Amtrak provides intercity rail service via the Cardinal, which makes three weekly trips between New York City and Chicago. Union Station served about 30,000 passengers in 2015. Three intercity bus service providers stop in the city: Greyhound Lines and Burlington Trailways (via Union Station), and Megabus (via City Market).

The Indianapolis Airport Authority operates the Indianapolis Downtown Heliport, which opened for public use in 1979.

Utilities

AES Indiana, the city's electricity provider, is headquartered on Monument Circle. Citizens Energy Group's Perry K. Generating Station burns natural gas to produce steam to provide heat and hot water to 200 customers in Downtown's district heating system.

Attractions

Indianapolis Massachusetts Avenue
Massachusetts Avenue, downtown Indianapolis.

Developments in Downtown Indianapolis include the creation of the Cultural Trail throughout downtown, construction of new mid to high rise buildings, and the enlargement of the convention center.

Cultural districts

Six of the seven designated Cultural Districts of Indianapolis are in or adjoining downtown. They ar Canal and White River State Park, Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Market East, Mass Ave, and the Wholesale District. These areas have held historic and cultural importance to the city. In recent years they have been revitalized and are becoming major centers for tourism, commerce and residential living.

C4241-Indianapolis-Canal
The skyline of downtown Indianapolis from the Indiana Central Canal with the Medal of Honor Memorial and Indiana State Museum on the sides.

Georgia Street in downtown was renovated to serve as Super Bowl Village during Super Bowl XLVI, and as an outdoor event space after the Super Bowl.

White River State Park is considered America’s only urban cultural state park with attractions like Indiana State Museum and IMAX Theater, the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, National Collegiate Athletic Association Headquarters and NCAA Hall of Champions, the Medal of Honor Memorial, Victory Field as home of the Indianapolis Indians Baseball, Military Park, and an outdoor concert area called the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn.

Night life

The downtown's main nightlife is located on Meridian Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The night clubs and bars are located on Meridian Street between the Monument Circle and Lucas Oil Stadium. Massachusetts Avenue is a diverse location with multiple European bars and restaurants and is often considered as a hip and cosmopolitan neighborhood of the downtown. Some of the night clubs and bars near Meridian Street include Bartinis, Cadillac Ranch, Sensu, Ice Ultra Lounge, 6 Lounge, Blu, Subterra Lounge, Ugly Monkey, Slippery Noodle Inn, Howl at the Moon, Tiki Bob's, Claddagh Irish Pub, Kilroy's Bar and Grill, Hard Rock Cafe, Jillian's, Scotty's Brewhouse and a cigar lounge called Nicky Blaines. Mass Ave bars include Front Page Grill, Bazbeaux Pizza, Old Point Tavern, Bu Da Lounge, Chatterbox, Mesh on Mass, FortyFive Degrees, and Metro. Mass Ave also has various European bars that include MacNiven's (Scottish), Chatham Tap (English), and The Rathskeller (German). There are many other bars located around the Downtown area.

Cultural Trail

Complete in 2013, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an urban bike and pedestrian path that connects the city's five downtown Cultural Districts, neighborhoods, and entertainment amenities, and serves as the downtown hub for the entire central Indiana greenway system. The trail includes benches, bike racks, lighting, signage and bike rentals/drop-offs along the way and features local art work.

Venues

Downtown Indianapolis has three venues. Lucas Oil Stadium is the home of the NFL Indianapolis Colts and also hosts concerts and other sporting events including college basketball and it hosted Super Bowl XLVI. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is the home of NBA's Indiana Pacers and WNBA's Indiana Fever and it hosts concerts and other sporting events. Victory Field is the home of Indianapolis Indians.

NCAA Hall of Champions

NCAA Hall of Champions
NCAA Hall of Champions building in Indianapolis

The NCAA Hall of Champions is a museum, exhibition center, and conference center located adjacent to the national office of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in White River State Park. The building was designed by architect Michael Graves.

Monument Circle

At the center of Indianapolis is Monument Circle, a traffic circle at the intersection of Meridian and Market Streets, featuring the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. Monument Circle is depicted on the city’s flag. It is in the shadow of Indiana's tallest skyscraper, the Chase Tower. Until the early 1960s, Indianapolis zoning laws stated that no building could be taller than the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Each Christmas season, lights are strung onto the monument and lit in a ceremony known as the Circle of Lights, which attracts tens of thousands of Hoosiers to downtown Indianapolis on the day after Thanksgiving.

War Memorial Plaza

Indiana World War Memorial exterior
The Indiana World War Memorial

A five-block plaza at the intersection of Meridian and Vermont surrounds a large memorial dedicated to Hoosiers who have fought in American wars. It was originally constructed to honor the Indiana soldiers who died in World War I, but construction was halted due to lack of funding during the Great Depression, and it was not completed until 1951. The purpose of the memorial was later altered to encompass all American wars in which Hoosiers fought.

The monument is modeled after the Mausoleum of Maussollos. At 210 feet (64 m) tall it is approximately seventy-five feet taller than the original Mausoleum. On the north end of the War Memorial Plaza is the national headquarters of the American Legion and the Indianapolis Public Library's Central Library.

Monuments

Monument Circle, Indianapolis, 1907
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument c. 1907

The city is second only to Washington, D.C., for number of war monuments inside city limits.

Murat Centre

Murat Centre 1
Murat Shrine full view

The Murat Shrine, now officially known as Old National Centre and originally known as the Murat Temple and Murat Centre, is an entertainment venue in Indianapolis, Indiana, owned by the Murat Shriners of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. It is the oldest stage house in downtown Indianapolis that is still standing, the only Shrine temple in the world with a French-originating name, and the largest Shrine temple in North America.

Other attractions

Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral
Scottish Rite Cathedral on Meridian Street

Other attractions in Downtown Indianapolis include:

Public art

The first instances of permanently installed public art begin in the early 1970s and include the following artworks:

  • Obos by George Tsutakawa (1971)
  • Untitled by Peter Mayer (1972)
  • Untitled by Roland Hobart (1973)
  • Color Fuses by Milton Glaser (1974)
  • Quaestio Librae by Jerry Sanders (1975)
  • The Runners by James McQuiston (1975)
  • Snowplow by Mark Di Suvero (1968) first installed in 1977

Today there are many more public artworks in downtown and all around the city.

Economy

Downtown is the densest employment cluster in the state of Indiana. According to Downtown Indy, Inc., in 2021, there were about 154,500 workers. According to Colliers International, the central business district commercial office market contained 11.8 million square feet (1,100,000 m2) of office space, with a direct vacancy rate of 16.9 percent in 2017. Downtown Indianapolis is home to two of the city's three Fortune 500 companies: health insurance company Anthem Inc. and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company. Other prominent companies based Downtown include: Cummins Global Distribution Headquarters; media conglomerate Emmis Communications; financial services holding company OneAmerica; the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); local newspaper The Indianapolis Star; and fast food restaurant chain Steak 'n Shake.

Tourism

Edificio en Indianapolis, Indiana, EUA
JW Marriott Indianapolis houses the most hotel rooms in the city, with 1,005.

The hospitality industry is an increasingly vital sector to the Indianapolis economy, especially Downtown. According to Visit Indy, 28.2 million visitors generated $4.9 billion in 2015, the fourth straight year of record growth. Indianapolis has long been a sport tourism destination, but has more recently relied on conventions. The Indiana Convention Center (ICC) and Lucas Oil Stadium are considered mega convention center facilities, with a combined 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of exhibition space. ICC is connected to 12 hotels and 4,700 hotel rooms, the most of any U.S. convention center. In 2008, the facility hosted 42 national conventions with an attendance of 317,815; in 2014, it hosted 106 for an attendance of 635,701.

According to Downtown Indy, Inc., there are 34 hotels with a total of 7,839 hotel rooms. Most hotels are clustered in the blocks immediately adjacent to the Indiana Convention Center in Downtown's southeast quadrant. Notable hotels include:

  • The Columbia Club
  • Conrad Indianapolis
  • Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Downtown
  • Hilton Indianapolis
  • Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
  • JW Marriott Indianapolis
  • Le Méridien Indianapolis Hotel
  • Marriott Indianapolis
  • Omni Severin Hotel

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