Indianapolis facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
|City of Indianapolis and Marion County|
"Indy"; "Circle City"; "Crossroads of America"; "Naptown"; "Racing Capital of the World"; "Amateur Sports Capital of the World"
|Founded||January 6, 1821|
|Incorporated (town)||September 3, 1832|
|Incorporated (city)||March 30, 1847|
|City-county consolidation||January 1, 1970|
|• Body||Indianapolis City-County Council|
|• Consolidated city-county||372 sq mi (963.5 km2)|
|• Land||365.1 sq mi (945.6 km2)|
|• Water||6.9 sq mi (17.9 km2)|
|Elevation||715 ft (218 m)|
|• Consolidated city-county||820,445|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||1st in Marion County
1st in Indiana
3rd largest State Capital
14th in the United States
|• Density||2,273/sq mi (861/km2)|
|• Urban||1,487,483 (US: 33rd)|
|• Metro||1,756,241 (US: 33rd)|
|• CSA||2,372,530 (US: 26th)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||317 and 463|
Indianapolis (pronounced), is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. It is in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States. With an estimated population of 853,173 in 2015, Indianapolis is the second most populous city in the Midwest, after Chicago, and 14th largest in the U.S. The city is the economic and cultural center of the Indianapolis metropolitan area, home to 2 million people, the 34th most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. Its combined statistical area ranks 26th, with 2.4 million inhabitants. Indianapolis covers 372 square miles (960 square kilometres), making it the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.
Founded in 1821 as a planned city for the new seat of the government of Indiana, Indianapolis was platted by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1-square-mile (2.6 km2) grid adjacent to the White River. The city grew beyond the Mile Square, as completion of the National Road and advent of the railroad solidified the city's position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. Indianapolis is within a single-day drive of 70 percent of the nation's population, lending to its nickname as the "Crossroads of America". Anchoring the 26th largest economic region in the U.S., the city's economy is based primarily on business services, transportation and logistics, education, financial services, hospitality and tourism, and distribution services. Indianapolis has developed niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing. The city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world's largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500.
The city's philanthropic community, led by the Lilly Endowment, has been instrumental in the development of its cultural institutions, including The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Zoo, and Indiana Landmarks. The city is notable as headquarters for the American Legion and home to a significant collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war dead, the most in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C. Since the 1970 city-county consolidation, known as Unigov, local government administration has operated under the direction of an elected 25-member city-county council, headed by the mayor. Indianapolis is considered a "high sufficiency" global city.
In 1816, the year Indiana gained statehood, the U.S. Congress donated four sections of federal land to establish a permanent seat of state government. Two years later, under the Treaty of St. Mary's (1818), the Delaware relinquished title to their tribal lands in central Indiana, agreeing to leave the area by 1821. This tract of land, which was called the New Purchase, included the site selected for the new state capital in 1820.
The availability of new federal lands for purchase in central Indiana attracted settlers, many of them descendants of families from northwestern Europe. Although many of these first European and American setters were Protestants, a large proportion of the early Irish and German immigrants were Catholics. Few African Americans lived in central Indiana before 1840. The first European Americans to permanently settle in the area that became Indianapolis were either the McCormick or Pogue families. The McCormicks are generally considered to be the town's first permanent settlers; however, some historians believe George Pogue and family may have arrived first, on March 2, 1819, and settled in a log cabin along the creek that was later called Pogue's Run. Other historians have argued as early as 1822 that John Wesley McCormick, his family, and employees became the first European American settlers in the area, settling near the White River in February 1820.
On January 11, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly authorized a committee to select a site in central Indiana for the new state capital. The state legislature approved the site, adopting the name Indianapolis on January 6, 1821. In April, Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham were appointed to survey and design a town plan for the new settlement. Indianapolis became a seat of county government on December 31, 1821, when Marion County, was established. A combined county and town government continued until 1832, when Indianapolis incorporated as a town. Indianapolis became an incorporated city effective March 30, 1847. Samuel Henderson, the city's first mayor, led the new city government, which included a seven-member city council. In 1853, voters approved a new city charter that provided for an elected mayor and a fourteen-member city council. The city charter continued to be revised as Indianapolis expanded. Effective January 1, 1825, the seat of state government relocated to Indianapolis from Corydon, Indiana. In addition to state government offices, a U.S. district court was established at Indianapolis in 1825.
Growth occurred with the opening of the National Road through the town in 1827, the first major federally funded highway in the United States. A small segment of the ultimately failed Indiana Central Canal was opened in 1839. The first railroad to serve Indianapolis, the Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, began operation in 1847, and subsequent railroad connections fostered growth. Indianapolis Union Station was the first of its kind in the world when it opened in 1853.
During the American Civil War, Indianapolis was loyal to the Union cause. Governor Oliver P. Morton, a major supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, quickly made Indianapolis a rallying place for Union army troops. On February 11, 1861, president-elect Lincoln arrived in the city, en route to Washington, D.C. for his presidential inauguration, marking the first visit from a president-elect in the city's history. On April 16, 1861, the first orders were issued to form Indiana's first regiments and establish Indianapolis as a headquarters the state's volunteer soldiers. Within a week, more than 12,000 recruits signed up to fight for the Union.
Indianapolis became a major logistics hub during the war, establishing the city as a crucial military base. Between 1860 and 1870, the city's population more than doubled. An estimated 4,000 men from Indianapolis served in 39 regiments, and an estimated 700 died during the war. On May 20, 1863, Union soldiers attempted to disrupt a statewide Democratic convention at Indianapolis, forcing the proceedings to be adjourned, sarcastically referred to as the Battle of Pogue's Run. Fear turned to panic in July 1863, during Morgan's Raid into southern Indiana, but Confederate forces turned east toward Ohio, never reaching Indianapolis. On April 30, 1865, Lincoln's funeral train made a stop at Indianapolis, where an estimated crowd of more than 100,000 people passed the assassinated president's bier at the Indiana Statehouse.
Following the Civil War—and in the wake of the Second Industrial Revolution—Indianapolis experienced tremendous growth and prosperity. In 1880, Indianapolis was the world's third largest pork packing city, after Chicago and Cincinnati, and the second largest railroad center in the United States by 1888. By 1890, the city's population surpassed 100,000. Some of the city's most notable businesses were founded during this period of growth and innovation, including L. S. Ayres (1872), Eli Lilly and Company (1876), Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company (1910), and Allison Transmission (1915). Once home to 60 automakers, Indianapolis rivaled Detroit as a center of automobile manufacturing. The city was an early focus of labor organization. The Indianapolis Street Car Strike of 1913 and subsequent police mutiny and riots led to the creation of the state's earliest labor-protection laws, including a minimum wage, regular work weeks, and improved working conditions. The International Typographical Union and United Mine Workers of America were among several influential labor unions to be based in the city.
Some of the city's most iconic architecture and events were established at the turn of the 20th century. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, dedicated on May 15, 1902, would later become the city's unofficial symbol. Ray Harroun won the inaugural running of the Indianapolis 500, held May 30, 1911 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapolis was one of the hardest hit cities in the Great Flood of 1913, resulting in five known deaths and the displacement of 7,000 families.
Indianapolis served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and up to the time of the Great Migration in the early 20th century, the city had a higher black population (nearly 10%) than any other city in the Northern States. Led by D. C. Stephenson, the Indiana Klan became the most powerful political and social organization in Indianapolis from 1921 through 1928, controlling City Council, the Board of School Commissioners, and the Board of County Commissioners. More than 40% of native-born white males in Indianapolis claimed membership in the Klan. Race relations would continue to be problematic throughout the 20th century. Though Indianapolis abolished segregated schools before Brown v. Board of Education, the later action of court-ordered desegregation busing by Judge Samuel Hugh Dillin proved controversial. While campaigning in the city on April 4, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy delivered one of the most lauded speeches in 20th century American history, following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Under the mayoral administration of Richard Lugar, the city and county governments restructured, consolidating most public services into a new entity called Unigov. The plan removed redundancies, captured increasingly suburbanizing tax revenue, and created a Republican political machine that dominated Indianapolis politics until the 2000s. Unigov went into effect on January 1, 1970, increasing the city's land area by 308.2 square miles (798 km2) and population by 268,366 people. It was the first major city-county consolidation to occur in the United States without a referendum since the creation of the City of Greater New York in 1898.
Amid the changes in government and growth, the city invested in an aggressive strategy to brand Indianapolis as a sport tourism destination. Under the administration of the city's longest-serving mayor, William Hudnut (1976–1992), millions of dollars were poured into sport facilities. Throughout the 1980s, $122 million in public and private funding built the Indianapolis Tennis Center, Major Taylor Velodrome, Indiana University Natatorium, Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium, and Hoosier Dome. The latter project secured the 1984 relocation of the NFL Baltimore Colts and the 1987 Pan American Games. The economic development strategy succeeded in revitalizing the central business district through the 1990s, with the openings of the Indianapolis Zoo (1988), Canal Walk (1989–2001), Circle Centre Mall (1995), Victory Field (1996), and Conseco Fieldhouse (1999).
During the 2000s, the city continued investing heavily in infrastructure projects, including two of the largest building projects in the city's history: the $1.1 billion Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal and $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium, both opened in 2008. A $275 million expansion of the Indiana Convention Center was completed in 2011. Construction began that year on DigIndy, a $1.9 billion project to correct the city's combined sewer overflows (CSOs) by 2025.
Indianapolis is located in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States, in central Indiana. According to the United States Census Bureau, the Indianapolis (balance) encompasses a total area of 368.2 square miles (954 km2), of which 361.5 square miles (936 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) is water. The consolidated city boundaries are coterminous with Marion County, with the exception of the autonomous municipalities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport, and Speedway. Indianapolis is the 16th largest city by land area in the United States.
Indianapolis is situated within the Tipton Till Plain, a flat to gently sloping terrain underlain by glacial deposits known as till. The lowest point in the city is about 650 feet (198 m) above mean sea level, with the highest natural elevation at about 900 feet (274 m) above sea level. Few hills or short ridges, known as kames, rise about 100 feet (30 m) to 130 feet (40 m) above the surrounding terrain. The city lies just north of the Indiana Uplands, a region characterized by rolling hills and high limestone content. The city is also situated within the EPA's Eastern Corn Belt Plains ecoregion, an area of the United States known for its fertile agricultural land.
Topographic relief slopes gently toward the White River and its two primary tributaries, Fall and Eagle creeks. In total, there are about 35 streams in the city, including Indian Creek and Pogue's Run. Major bodies of water include Indian Lake, Geist Reservoir, and Eagle Creek Reservoir.
Indianapolis is a planned city. On January 11, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly authorized a committee to select a site in central Indiana for the new state capital, appointing Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham to survey and design a town plan for Indianapolis. Ralston had been a surveyor for the French architect Pierre L'Enfant, assisting him with the plan for Washington, D.C. Ralston's original plan for Indianapolis called for a town of 1 square mile (2.6 km2), near the confluence of the White River and Fall Creek. The plan, known as the Mile Square, is bounded by East, West, North, and South streets, centered on a traffic circle, called Monument Circle (originally Governor's Circle). Four diagonal streets radiated a block from Monument Circle: Massachusetts, Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana avenues. The city's address numbering system begins at the intersection of Washington and Meridian streets. Before its submersion into a sanitary tunnel, Pogue's Run was included into the plan, disrupting the rectilinear street grid to the southeast.
Noted as one of the finest examples of City Beautiful movement design in the United States, the seven-block Indiana World War Memorial Plaza Historic District began construction in 1921 in downtown Indianapolis. The National Historic Landmark includes the Neoclassical American Legion and Central Library buildings, Depew Memorial Fountain, several sculptures and memorials, and open space, hosting many annual civic events.
After completion of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, an ordinance was passed in 1905 restricting building heights on the traffic circle to 86 ft (26 m) to protect views of the 284 ft (87 m) monument. The ordinance was revised in 1922, permitting buildings to rise to 108 ft (33 m), with an additional 42 ft (13 m) allowable with a series of setbacks. A citywide height restriction ordinance was instituted in 1912, barring structures over 200 ft (61 m). Completed in 1962, the Indianapolis City-County Building was the first skyscraper in the city, surpassing the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in height by nearly 100 ft (30 m). A building boom, lasting from 1982 to 1990, saw the construction of six of the city's ten tallest buildings. The tallest is Salesforce Tower, completed in 1990 at 811 ft (247 m).
Indiana limestone is the signature building material in Indianapolis, widely included in the city's many monuments, churches, academic, government, and civic buildings.
- See also: List of Indianapolis neighborhoods
The city is divided into 99 community areas for statistical purposes, though many smaller neighborhoods exist within these areas. Indianapolis' neighborhoods are difficult to delineate because the city lacks historical ethnic divisions, like in Chicago, or physical boundaries, seen in Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. Instead, most neighborhoods are subtle in their distinctions. The Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission recognizes several neighborhoods as historic districts, including: Central Court, Chatham Arch, Golden Hill, Herron-Morton Place, Lockerbie Square, Old Northside, and Oliver Johnson's Woods. Expansion of the interurban system at the turn of the 20th century facilitated growth of several streetcar suburbs, including Broad Ripple, Irvington, University Heights, and Woodruff Place.
The post–World War II economic expansion and subsequent suburbanization had a profound impact on the physical development of the city's neighborhoods. From 1950 to 1970, 97,000 housing units were built in Marion County. Most of this new construction occurred outside Center Township, expediting out-migration from the city's urban neighborhoods to suburban areas, such as Castleton, Eagledale, and Nora. Between 1950 and 1990, over 155,000 residents left Center Township, resulting in urban blight and disinvestment. Since the 2000s, downtown Indianapolis and surrounding neighborhoods have seen increased reinvestment attributed to nationwide demographic trends, driven by empty nesters and millennials. By 2020, downtown is projected to have 30,000 residential units, compared to 18,300 in 2010. Renewed interest in urban living has been met with some dispute regarding gentrification and affordable housing. According to a Center for Community Progress report, neighborhoods like Cottage Home and Fall Creek Place have experienced measurable gentrification since 2000.
Typically, summers are hot, humid, and wet. Winters are generally cold with moderate snowfall. The July daily average temperature is 75.4 °F (24.1 °C). High temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 18 days each year, and occasionally exceed 95 °F (35 °C). Spring and autumn are usually pleasant, if at times unpredictable; midday temperature drops exceeding 30 °F or 17 °C are common during March and April, and instances of very warm days (80 °F or 27 °C) followed within 36 hours by snowfall are not unusual during these months. Winters are cold, with an average January temperature of 28.1 °F (−2.2 °C). Temperatures dip to 0 °F (−18 °C) or below an average of 4.7 nights per year.
The rainiest months occur in the spring and summer, with slightly higher averages during May, June, and July. May is typically the wettest, with an average of 5.05 inches (12.8 cm) of precipitation. Most rain is derived from thunderstorm activity; there is no distinct dry season, although occasional droughts occur. Severe weather is not uncommon, particularly in the spring and summer months; the city experiences an average of 20 thunderstorm days annually.
The city's average annual precipitation is 42.4 inches (108 cm), with snowfall averaging 25.9 inches (66 cm) per season. Official temperature extremes range from 106 °F (41 °C), set on July 14, 1936, to −27 °F (−33 °C), set on January 19, 1994.
|Climate data for Indianapolis (Indianapolis International Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1871–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||71
|Average high °F (°C)||35.6
|Average low °F (°C)||20.5
|Record low °F (°C)||−27
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.66
|Snowfall inches (cm)||8.6
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||12.1||10.0||11.9||12.0||13.1||11.1||10.5||8.5||8.1||8.6||10.8||12.5||129.2|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||7.5||5.4||2.5||0.4||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||1.2||6.3||23.5|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)|
The U.S. Census Bureau considers Indianapolis as two entities: the consolidated city and the city's remainder, or balance. The consolidated city covers an area known as Unigov, coterminous with Marion County, except the independent municipalities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport and Speedway. The city's balance excludes the populations of 10 semi-autonomous municipalities that are included in totals for the consolidated city. These are Clermont, Crows Nest, Homecroft, Meridian Hills, North Crows Nest, Rocky Ripple, Spring Hill, Warren Park, Williams Creek, and Wynnedale. The city's consolidated population for the year 2012 was 844,220. The city's remainder, or balance, population was estimated at 834,852 for 2012, a 2% increase over the total population of 820,445 reported in the 2010 U.S. Census. As of 2010[update], the city's population density was 2,270 persons per square mile. Indianapolis is the most populous city in Indiana, containing 12.8% of the state's total population.
|Black or African American||27.9%||27.5%||22.6%||18.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||9.6%||9.4%||1.1%||0.8%|
Of the 42.42% of the city's residents who identify as religious, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, at 11.31%. The second highest religious group in the city are Baptists at 10.31%, with Methodists following behind at 4.97%. Presbyterians make up 2.13% of the city's religiously affiliated population, followed by Pentecostals and Lutherans. Another 8.57% are affiliated with other Christian faiths. 0.32% of religiously affiliated persons identified themselves as following Eastern religions, while 0.68% of the religiously affiliated population identified as Jewish, and 0.29% as Muslim. According to the nonpartisan and nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas, 22% of residents identify as religiously "unaffiliated," consistent with the national average of 22.7%.
Indianapolis is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, based from Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. In October 2016, Pope Francis announced that current archbishop Joseph William Tobin, C.Ss.R., would be created cardinal in November 2016, making him the first sitting archbishop of Indianapolis to serve in this role. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis also operates Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary, affiliated with Marian University, while the Christian Theological Seminary is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Indianapolis is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, based from Christ Church Cathedral. The Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church are also based in the city.
Culture and contemporary life
In 1999, Indianapolis designated six cultural districts to capitalize on cultural institutions within historically significant neighborhoods unique to the city's heritage. These include Broad Ripple Village, Canal and White River State Park, Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Mass Ave, and Wholesale. A seventh cultural district, Market East, was designated in 2014. After 12 years of planning and six years of construction, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick officially opened in 2013. The $62.5 million public-private partnership resulted in 8 miles (13 km) of urban bike and pedestrian corridors linking six cultural districts with neighborhoods, IUPUI, and every significant arts, cultural, heritage, sports, and entertainment venue downtown.
Indianapolis is home to dozens of annual festivals and events showcasing local culture. Notable events include the "Month of May" (a series of celebrations leading to the Indianapolis 500), Circle City IN Pride, Indiana Black Expo, Indiana State Fair, and Historic Irvington Halloween Festival.
Founded in 1883, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) is the ninth oldest and eighth largest encyclopedic art museum in the U.S. The permanent collection comprises over 54,000 works, including African, American, Asian, and European pieces. In addition to its collections, the museum consists of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park; Oldfields, a restored house museum and estate once owned by Josiah K. Lilly, Jr.; and restored gardens and grounds originally designed by Percival Gallagher of the Olmsted Brothers firm. The IMA also owns the Miller House, a Mid-Century modern home designed by Eero Saarinen located in Columbus, Indiana. The museum's holdings demonstrate the institution's emphasis on the connections among art, design, and the natural environment.
The Indianapolis Art Center, located in Broad Ripple Village, was founded in 1934 by the Works Project Administration. The center opened at its Michael Graves-designed building in 1996, including three public art galleries, 11 studios, a library, auditorium, and ArtsPark along the White River. The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art was established in 2001, and is located in The Murphy Art Center in Fountain Square. In 2014, the museum opened a second public gallery in The Alexander Hotel at CityWay in downtown Indianapolis.
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art opened in 1989 at White River State Park as the only Native American art museum in the Midwest. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) contains the Herron School of Art and Design. Established in 1902, the school's first core faculty included Impressionist painters of the Hoosier Group: T. C. Steele, J. Ottis Adams, William Forsyth, Richard Gruelle, and Otto Stark. The university's public art collection is extensive, with more than 30 works.
Indianapolis' most notable performing arts venues are located in the Mass Ave cultural district or Downtown. Located on Monument Circle since 1916, the 1,786-seat Hilbert Circle Theatre is the current home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The Indiana Theatre opened as a movie palace on Washington Street in 1927, currently housing the Indiana Repertory Theatre, a regional repertory theatre. Madame Walker Theatre Center also opened that year on Indiana Avenue, in the heart of the city's African American neighborhood. The theater is named for Madame C.J. Walker, an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist who began her beauty empire in Indianapolis.
Mass Ave is home to the Old National Centre, Phoenix Theatre, and the Athenæum (Das Deutsche Haus). Old National Centre at the Murat Shrine is the oldest stage house in Indianapolis, opened in 1909. The building is a prime example of Moorish Revival architecture and features a 2,600-seat performing arts theatre, 1,800-seat concert hall, and 600-seat multi-functional room, hosting approximately 300 public and private events throughout the year. The nonprofit Phoenix Theatre focuses on contemporary theatrical productions. The Athenӕum, houses the American Cabaret Theater and Young Actors Theater.
Other notable venues include the Indianapolis Artsgarden, a performing arts center suspended over the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets, Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler University campus, and The Emerson Theater in Little Flower.
Indianapolis is home to Bands of America (BOA), a nationwide organization of high school marching, concert, and jazz bands, and the international headquarters of Drum Corps International (DCI), a professional drum and bugle corps association. Annual music events include the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Midwest Music Summit, and Indy Jazz Fest. The Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis International Film Festival, Indianapolis Jewish Film Festival, Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, and the Indianapolis Alternative Media Festival are annual events held in the city.
Indianapolis was at the center of the Golden Age of Indiana Literature, from 1870 to 1920. Several notable poets and writers based in the city achieved national prominence and critical acclaim during this period, including James Whitcomb Riley, Booth Tarkington, and Meredith Nicholson. In A History of Indiana Literature, Arthur W. Shumaker remarked on the era's influence: "It was the age of famous men and their famous books. In it Indiana, and particularly Indianapolis, became a literary center which in many ways rivaled the East." A 1947 study found that Indiana authors ranked second to New York in the number of bestsellers produced in the previous 40 years. Located in Lockerbie Square, the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962.
Perhaps the city's most famous 20th century writer was Kurt Vonnegut, known for his darkly satirical and controversial bestselling novel Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). Vonnegut became known for including at least one character in his novels from Indianapolis. Upon returning to the city in 1986, Vonnegut acknowledged the influence the city had on his writings: "All my jokes are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis. My adenoids are Indianapolis. If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis." The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library opened in 2010 in downtown Indianapolis.
Indianapolis is the current home to bestselling young adult fiction writer John Green, known for his critically acclaimed 2012 novel The Fault in Our Stars, set in the city.
Museums and monuments
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest of its kind in the world. In total, the museum has 472,900 square feet (43,933.85 m2) of floor space. The museum has a collection of over 120,000 artifacts, divided into three collections: Natural World, Cultural World, and American. The museum's collection includes the Broad Ripple Park Carousel, a National Historic Landmark. Because of its leadership and innovations, the museum is a world leader in its field. Child and Parents magazine have both ranked the museum as the best children's museum in the United States. The "institution is considered the gold standard of museums for children." The museum is one of the city's most popular attractions, with 1.2 million visitors in 2014.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum (in Speedway) exhibits an extensive collection of auto racing memorabilia showcasing various motorsports and automotive history. The museum is the permanent home of the Borg-Warner Trophy, presented to Indianapolis 500 winners. Daily grounds and track tours are also based at the museum. The NCAA Hall of Champions opened in 2000 at White River State Park housing collegiate athletic artifacts and interactive exhibits covering all 23 NCAA-sanctioned sports.
Indianapolis is home to several museums and organizations relating to Indiana history, including the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, Hook's Drug Store Museum, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau, Indiana State Museum, Indiana Medical History Museum, Indiana Landmarks, and the Indiana World War Memorial Military Museum. The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, located in the Old Northside Historic District, is open for daily tours and includes thousands of books and memorabilia relating to the 23rd President of the United States. The city contains the largest collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war dead in the country, outside of Washington, D.C. Notable sites include:
- Crown Hill National Cemetery
- Indiana World War Memorial Plaza
- Landmark for Peace Memorial
- Medal of Honor Memorial
- Project 9/11 Indianapolis
- Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument
- USS Indianapolis National Memorial
Food and drink
Indianapolis has an emerging food scene as well as established eateries. Founded in 1821 as the city's public market, the Indianapolis City Market has served the community from its current building since 1886. Prior to World War II, the City Market and neighboring Tomlinson Hall (since demolished) were home to meat and vegetable vendors. As consumer habits evolved and residents moved from the central city, the City Market transitioned from a traditional marketplace to a food court, a function it retains today. Opened in 1902, St. Elmo Steak House is well known for its signature shrimp cocktail, named by the Travel Channel as the "world's spiciest food". In 2012, it was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as one of "America's Classics". The Slippery Noodle Inn, a blues bar and restaurant, is the oldest continuously operating tavern in Indiana, having opened in 1850. The Jazz Kitchen, opened in 1994, was recognized in 2011 by OpenTable as one the "top 50 late night dining hotspots" in the U.S.
In 2016, Condé Nast Traveler named Indianapolis the "most underrated food city in the U.S.," while ranking Milktooth as one of the best restaurants in the world. Food & Wine called Indianapolis the "rising star of the Midwest," recognizing Milktooth, Rook, Amelia's, and Bluebeard, all in Fletcher Place. Several Indianapolis chefs and restaurateurs have been semifinalists in the James Beard Foundation Awards in recent years. Microbreweries are quickly becoming a staple in the city, increasing fivefold since 2009. There are now about 50 craft brewers in Indianapolis, with Sun King Brewing being the largest.
For some time, Indianapolis was known as the "100 Percent American City" for its racial and ethnic homogeneity. Historically, these factors, as well as low taxes and wages, provided chain restaurants a relatively stable market to test dining preferences before expanding nationwide. As a result, the Indianapolis metropolitan area had the highest concentration of chain restaurants per capita of any market in the U.S. in 2008, with one chain restaurant for every 1,459 people—44% higher than the national average. In recent years, immigrants have opened some 800 ethnic restaurants.
Parks and recreation
- See also: List of parks in Indianapolis
Indy Parks and Recreation maintains nearly 200 parks covering 11,246 acres (4,551 ha). Eagle Creek Park is the largest and most visited park in the city and ranks among the largest municipal parks in the U.S., covering 4,766 acres (1,929 ha). Fishing, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming are popular activities at Eagle Creek Reservoir. Recreational trails, including the Canal Walk, Pleasant Run Trail, and Monon Trail, are used for walking, running, and cycling, accommodating 2.8 million users in 2012. There are 13 public golf courses in the city. Military Park was established as the city's first public park in 1852. By the 20th century, the city enlisted landscape architect George Kessler to conceive a framework for Indianapolis' modern parks system. Kessler's 1909 Indianapolis Park and Boulevard Plan linked notable parks, such as Brookside, Ellenberger, and Garfield, with a system of parkways following the city's waterways. In 2003, the system's 3,474 acres (1,406 ha) were added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Two state parks are located in Marion County: Fort Harrison in Lawrence and White River downtown. Encompassing 250 acres (100 ha), White River is the city's major urban park, home to the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens. As of 2015[update], the zoo was home to nearly 1,400 animals of 214 species and 31,000 plants, including many threatened and endangered species. The Indianapolis Zoo is the largest privately funded zoo in the U.S. and is one of the city's most visited attractions, with 1.2 million guests in 2014. Indianapolis lies about 50 miles (80 km) north of two state forests, Morgan–Monroe and Yellowwood, and one national forest, Hoosier. Crown Hill Cemetery, the third largest private cemetery in the U.S., covers 555 acres (225 ha) on the city's north side and is home to more than 250 species of trees and shrubs.
According to the Trust for Public Land's 2016 ParkScore Index, Indianapolis ranks 95th of the 100 largest U.S. cities in accessibility to public parks and open space, with some 68% of residents under served. The city's vast land area and low public funding contributed to the ranking.
Indianapolis has six sister cities and two friendship cities as designated by Sister Cities International.
- Campinas, Brazil (since 2009)
- Cologne, Germany (since 1988)
- Monza, Italy (since 1993)
- Northamptonshire, United Kingdom (since 2009)
- Piran, Slovenia (since 2001)
- Taipei, Taiwan (since 1978)
Images for kids
Perry K. Generating Station produces steam for the city's district heating system.
The Indiana Statehouse, seat of state government.
Tea Party protests in 2007. The city has a history of political conservatism.
Central Library is the hub of Indianapolis Public Library's 23-branch system.
Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company was founded in the city in 1876.
Hinkle Fieldhouse, "Indiana's Basketball Cathedral"
Indianapolis Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.