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Indianapolis, Indiana
State capital and consolidated city-county
City of Indianapolis and Marion County
Flag of Indianapolis, Indiana Official seal of Indianapolis, Indiana
"Indy", "Circle City", "Crossroads of America", "Naptown", "Racing Capital of the World", "Amateur Sports Capital of the World", "Railroad City"
Location within Marion County
Location within Marion County
Indianapolis, Indiana is located in Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Location in Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana is located in the United States
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Location in the United States
Indianapolis, Indiana is located in North America
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Location in North America
Country  United States
State  Indiana
County Marion
Townships Center, Decatur, Franklin, Lawrence, Perry, Pike, Warren, Washington, Wayne
Founded January 6, 1821
Incorporated (town) September 3, 1832
Incorporated (city) March 30, 1847
City-county consolidation January 1, 1970
 • Type Strong mayor–council
 • Body Indianapolis City-County Council
 • State capital and consolidated city-county 367.93 sq mi (952.95 km2)
 • Land 361.64 sq mi (936.64 km2)
 • Water 6.29 sq mi (16.30 km2)
718 ft (219 m)
 • State capital and consolidated city-county 887,642
 • Rank 15th in the United States
1st in Indiana
 • Density 2,454.50/sq mi (947.69/km2)
 • Metro
2,111,040 (33rd)
Demonym(s) Indianapolitan
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 317 and 463
FIPS code 18-36003
GNIS feature ID 2395423

Indianapolis, colloquially known as Indy, is the state capital and most-populous city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the consolidated population of Indianapolis and Marion County in 2020 was 977,642. The "balance" population, which excludes semi-autonomous municipalities in Marion County, was 887,642. It is the 15th most populous city in the U.S., the third-most populous city in the Midwest, after Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio, and the fourth-most populous state capital after Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and Columbus. The Indianapolis metropolitan area is the 33rd most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S., with 2,048,703 residents. Its combined statistical area ranks 28th, with a population of 2,431,361. Indianapolis covers 368 square miles (950 km2), making it the 18th largest city by land area in the U.S.

Indigenous peoples inhabited the area dating to as early as 10,000 BC. In 1818, the Delaware relinquished their tribal lands in the Treaty of St. Mary's. In 1821, Indianapolis was founded as a planned city for the new seat of Indiana's state government. The city was platted by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1-square-mile (2.6 km2) grid next to the White River. Completion of the National and Michigan roads and arrival of rail later solidified the city's position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. Two of the city's nicknames reflect its historical ties to transportation—the "Crossroads of America" and "Railroad City". Since the 1970 city-county consolidation, known as Unigov, local government administration operates under the direction of an elected 25-member city-county council headed by the mayor.

Indianapolis anchors the 29th largest economic region in the U.S., based primarily on the industries of trade, transportation, and utilities; professional and business services; education and health services; government; leisure and hospitality; and manufacturing. The city has notable niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing. The city is home to three Fortune 500 companies, two major league sports clubs (Colts and Pacers), four university campuses (IUPUI, Butler, Martin, Marian), and several museums, including the world's largest children's museum. However, the city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world's largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500. Among the city's historic sites and districts, Indianapolis is home to the largest collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war casualties in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C.


Greater Indianapolis ;the history, the industries, the institutions, and the people of a city of homes (1910) (14803447463)
A depiction of 1820 Indianapolis
AmCyc Indianapolis - State House
The Third Indiana Statehouse (1835–1877)

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.

Camp Morton 1
Confederate POWs at Camp Morton in 1864.

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.

Child workers in Indianapolis
Child labor in an Indianapolis furniture factory, 1908.

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.

La course d'Indianapolis 1911
The inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.

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.

Downtown Indy at night from canal walk
The downtown Canal Walk in 2009.

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 Skyline Sunset from Crown Hill Cemetery
View of Indianapolis from Crown Hill Cemetery, elevation 842 feet (257 m).

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.


A 1914 panorama of downtown Indianapolis. The Indiana Statehouse (far left), Washington Street (center), and the Union Station clock tower (far right) are visible.
A 2016 panorama of downtown Indianapolis. White River State Park, Victory Field, and JW Marriott Indianapolis (left), Indiana Convention Center (foreground), and Union Station clock tower (far right).
Plat of Indianapolis by Alexander Ralston
Alexander Ralston's "Plat of the Town of Indianapolis," today known as the Mile Square.
Veterans Memorial Plaza HDR Vertical Panorama
Salesforce Tower, the tallest building in the city, overlooks the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza.

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.


Arch and Broadway in Indianapolis
Chatham Arch, one of the city's earliest neighborhoods, was platted starting in 1836.

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.


Fall foliage (left) and a late-winter snow (right) on the Butler University campus.

Indianapolis is in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfa) using the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm, experiencing four distinct seasons. The city is in USDA hardiness zone 6a.

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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,695
1850 8,091 200.2%
1860 18,611 130.0%
1870 48,244 159.2%
1880 75,056 55.6%
1890 105,436 40.5%
1900 169,164 60.4%
1910 233,650 38.1%
1920 314,194 34.5%
1930 364,161 15.9%
1940 386,972 6.3%
1950 427,173 10.4%
1960 476,258 11.5%
1970 744,624 56.3%
1980 700,807 −5.9%
1990 731,327 4.4%
2000 781,926 6.9%
2010 820,445 4.9%
2020 887,642 8.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
Racial composition 2020 2010 1990 1970
White (Non-Hispanic) 50.1% 58.6% 75.2% 80.9%
Black or African American 27.6% 27.2% 22.6% 18.0%
Hispanic or Latino 13.1% 9.4% 1.1% 0.8%
Asian 4.2% 2.1% 0.9% 0.1%
Mixed 4.2% 2.2%

The U.S. Census Bureau considers Indianapolis as two entities: the consolidated city and the city's remainder, or balance. The consolidated city is coterminous with Marion County, except the independent municipalities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Southport, and Speedway. The city's balance excludes the populations of ten 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. An eleventh town, Cumberland, is partially included. In 2018 estimates, the city's consolidated population was 876,862 and its balance was 867,125. At the 2010 Census, the city's population density was 2,270 people per square mile (880/km2). Indianapolis is the most populous city in Indiana, containing nearly 13% of the state's total population.

The Indianapolis metropolitan area, officially the Indianapolis–Carmel–Anderson metropolitan statistical area (MSA), consists of Marion County and the surrounding counties of Boone, Brown, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Morgan, Putnam, and Shelby. In 2018, the metropolitan area's population was 2,048,703, the most populous in Indiana and home to 30% of the state's residents. With a population of 2,431,361, the larger Indianapolis–Carmel–Muncie combined statistical area (CSA) covers 18 counties, home to 36% of Indiana residents. Indianapolis is also situated within the Great Lakes Megalopolis, the largest of 11 megaregions in the U.S.

Race and ethnicity 2010- Indianapolis (5560477952)
Map of racial distribution in Indianapolis, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)

According to the U.S. Census of 2010, 97.2% of the Indianapolis population was reported as one race: 61.8% White, 27.5% Black or African American, 2.1% Asian (0.4% Burmese, 0.4% Indian, 0.3% Chinese, 0.3% Filipino, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Vietnamese, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Thai, 0.1% other Asian); 0.3% American Indian, and 5.5% as other. The remaining 2.8% of the population was reported as multiracial (two or more races). The city's Hispanic or Latino community comprised 9.4% of the city's population in the 2010 U.S. Census: 6.9% Mexican, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.1% Cuban, and 2% as other.

In 2010, the median age for Indianapolis was 33.7 years. Age distribution for the city's inhabitants was 25% under the age of 18; 4.4% were between 18 and 21; 16.3% were age 21 to 65; and 13.1% were age 65 or older. For every 100 females, there were 93 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90 males.

The U.S. Census of 2010 reported 332,199 households in Indianapolis, with an average household size of 2.42 and an average family size of 3.08. Of the total households, 59.3% were family households, with 28.2% of these including the family's own children under the age of 18; 36.5% were husband-wife families; 17.2% had a female householder (with no husband present) and 5.6% had a male householder (with no wife present). The remaining 40.7% were non-family households. As of 2010, 32% of the non-family households included individuals living alone, 8.3% of these households included individuals age 65 years of age or older.

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2007–2011 American Community Survey indicated the median household income for Indianapolis city was $42,704, and the median family income was $53,161. Median income for males working full-time, year-round, was $42,101, compared to $34,788 for females. Per capita income for the city was $24,430, 14.7% of families and 18.9% of the city's total population living below the poverty line (28.3% were under the age of 18 and 9.2% were age 65 or older).

Based on 2015 estimates, the Indianapolis metropolitan area had the 18th highest percentage of LGBT residents in the U.S., with 4.2% of residents identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

In 2015, Brookings characterized the Indianapolis metropolitan area as a minor-emerging immigrant gateway with a foreign-born population of 126,767, or 6.4% of the total population, a 131% increase from 2000. Much of this growth can be attributed to thousands of Burmese-Chin refugees who have settled in Indianapolis, particularly Perry Township, since the late-1990s. Indianapolis is home to one of the largest concentrations of Chin people outside of Myanmar (formerly Burma), with an estimated population ranging from 17,000 to 24,000.


Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral (Indianapolis, Indiana), interior, nave view from the organ loft
Interior of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis

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%.

SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary and Marian University are affiliated with the archdiocese. Christian Theological Seminary is another seminary located in the city, affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Christ Church Cathedral, the city's oldest house of worship, is pro-cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. The Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is also based in Indianapolis. Religious denominations headquartered in the city include the Free Methodist Church and Lutheran Ministerium and Synod – USA.

Culture and contemporary life

Race to Indy!
Part of the "Month of May" celebrations, the 500 Festival Parade is one of the nation's largest, regularly drawing 300,000 spectators.

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.

Visual arts

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.

Performing arts

Madame Walker Theatre Center
Madame Walker Theatre Center opened on Indiana Avenue in 1927 as a cultural center for the city's African American community.

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.


"My Affair with Kurt Vonnegut"
My Affair with Kurt Vonnegut, mural by Pamela Bliss (2011) on Mass Ave.

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

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"Bucky," a juvenile Tyrannosaurus specimen on display at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

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.

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The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is an iconic symbol of Indianapolis, depicted on the city's flag.

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:

Food and drink

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St. Elmo's "World Famous Shrimp Cocktail"

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

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Kayaks at Eagle Creek Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S.

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, 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.

Sister cities

Indianapolis has six sister cities and two friendship cities as designated by Sister Cities International.

Sister cities

Friendship cities


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest industries by employment in the Indianapolis metropolitan area are trade, transportation, and utilities; professional and business services; education and health services; government; leisure and hospitality; and manufacturing, respectively. The region's unemployment rate was 1.2 percent in December 2021. The city's major exports include pharmaceuticals, motor vehicle parts, medical equipment and supplies, engine and power equipment, and aircraft products and parts.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Indianapolis metropolitan area was $147 billion.

Three Fortune 500 companies are based in the city: health insurance company Anthem; pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company; and agricultural chemical company Corteva. Other companies based in the city include Allison Transmission, Barnes & Thornburg, Calumet Specialty Products Partners, Duke Realty, Emmis Communications, Finish Line, Inc., Herff Jones, Lids, OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc., Republic Airways Holdings, Simon Property Group, and Steak 'n Shake.


Distribution and logistics

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FedEx Express cargo plane at Indianapolis International Airport

Indianapolis' central location and extensive highway and rail infrastructure have positioned the city as an important logistics center. According to the Indy Chamber, the region was home to some 4,300 establishments employing nearly 110,000 in 2020.

Amazon has a major presence in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, employing 9,000. Indianapolis is home to FedEx Express's National Hub which employs 7,000 workers in sorting, distribution, and shipping at Indianapolis International Airport. Other logistics companies in the region with large workforces include Ingram Micro (1,300) and Venture Logistics (1,150).


Historically, manufacturing has been a critical component of Indianapolis' economic landscape; however, deindustrialization since the mid-20th century has significantly impacted the city's workforce. Indianapolis is typically considered part of the Rust Belt, a region of the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. beleaguered by industrial and population decline. Between 1990 and 2012, approximately 26,900 manufacturing jobs were lost in the city as it continued diversification efforts and transitioned to a service economy. RCA and Western Electric formerly employed thousands at their Indianapolis manufacturing plants.

Once home to 60 automakers, Indianapolis rivaled Detroit as a center of automobile manufacturing and design in the early-20th century. Indianapolis was home to several luxury car companies, including Duesenberg, Marmon, and Stutz Motor Company; however, the automakers did not survive the Great Depression of the 1930s. Detroit's Big Three automakers maintained a presence in the city and continued to operate in various capacities until the 2000s: Ford Motor Company (1914–1942, 1956–2008), Chrysler (1925–2005), and General Motors (1930–2011).

Indianapolis is home to Allison Transmission's headquarters and manufacturing facilities, employing 2,500 in design and production of automatic transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems. Rolls-Royce North America dates its local presence to the establishment of the Allison Engine Company in 1915. Its Indianapolis Operations Center has a workforce of 4,000 in aircraft engine development and manufacturing. Other major manufacturing employers include Allegion (1,300) and Raytheon Technologies (1,000). In 2016, Carrier Corporation announced the closure of its Indianapolis plant, moving 1,400 manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Carrier later negotiated with the incoming Trump administration to save some jobs. The company's local workforce numbers 800 in gas furnace production.


The hospitality industry is an increasingly vital sector of the Indianapolis economy. According to Visit Indy, 29.2 million visitors generate $5.6 billion annually, supporting 82,900 jobs. Indianapolis has long been a sports tourism destination, but has more recently relied on conventions. From 2010 to 2019, average annual attendance for conventions was 494,000, an increase of 26% from the previous decade.

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. Resident conventions annually hosted in the city include FDIC International, National FFA Organization Conference, Gen Con, and Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show.


Indianapolis ranks among the fastest high-tech job growth areas in the U.S. The metropolitan area is home to 28,500 information technology-related jobs at such companies as Angi, Appirio, Formstack, Genesys, Hubstaff, Infosys, Ingram Micro, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Salesforce has the largest workforce of local tech firms, employing about 2,100 in Indianapolis.


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Lucas Oil Stadium during Super Bowl XLVI. The stadium is home to the Indianapolis Colts.
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Gainbridge Fieldhouse, home to the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever since 1999
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A Butler Bulldogs men's basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse

Two major league sports teams are based in Indianapolis: the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL) and the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Originally the Baltimore Colts, the franchise has been based in Indianapolis since relocating in 1984. The Colts' tenure in Indianapolis has produced 11 division championships, two conference championships, and two Super Bowl appearances. Quarterback Peyton Manning led the team to win Super Bowl XLI in the 2006 NFL season. Lucas Oil Stadium replaced the team's first home, the RCA Dome, in 2008.

Founded in 1967, the Indiana Pacers began in the American Basketball Association (ABA), joining the NBA when the leagues merged in 1976. Before joining the NBA, the Pacers won three division titles and three championships (1970, 1972, 1973). Since the merger, the Pacers have won one conference title and six division titles, most recently in 2014.

Founded in 2000, the Indiana Fever of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) have won three conference titles and one championship in 2012. The Fever and Pacers share Gainbridge Fieldhouse, which replaced Market Square Arena in 1999. The Indianapolis Indians of the Triple-A East are the second-oldest minor league franchise in American professional baseball, having been established in 1902. The Indians have won 26 division titles, 14 league titles, and seven championships, most recently in 2000. Since 1996, the team has played at Victory Field, which replaced Bush Stadium. Established in 2013, Indy Eleven of the United Soccer League (USL) plays at IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium. Indy Fuel of the ECHL was founded in 2014 and plays at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

Butler University and IUPUI are NCAA Division I schools based in the city. The Butler Bulldogs compete in the Big East Conference, except for Butler Bulldogs football, which plays in the Pioneer Football League FCS. The Butler Bulldogs men's basketball team were runners-up in the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship Games. The IUPUI Jaguars compete in the Horizon League.

Traditionally, Indianapolis's Hinkle Fieldhouse was the hub for Hoosier Hysteria, a general excitement for the game of basketball throughout the state, specifically the Indiana High School Boys Basketball Tournament. Hinkle, a National Historic Landmark, was opened in 1928 as the world's largest basketball arena, with seating for 15,000. It is regarded as "Indiana's Basketball Cathedral". Perhaps the most notable game was the 1954 state championship, which inspired the critically acclaimed 1986 film, Hoosiers.

Indianapolis has been called the "Amateur Sports Capital of the World". The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the main governing body for U.S. collegiate sports, and the National Federation of State High School Associations are based in Indianapolis. The city is home to two NCAA athletic conferences: the Horizon League (Division I) and the Great Lakes Valley Conference (Division II). Indianapolis is also home to three national sport governing bodies, as recognized by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee: USA Football; USA Gymnastics; and USA Track & Field.

Indianapolis hosts numerous sporting events annually, including the Circle City Classic (1983–present), NFL Scouting Combine (1987–present), and Big Ten Football Championship Game (2011–present). Indianapolis is tied with New York City for having hosted the second most NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championships (1980, 1991, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2010, 2015, and 2021). The city will host the men's Final Four next in 2026. The city has also hosted three NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championships (2005, 2011, and 2016). Notable past events include the NBA All-Star Game (1985), Pan American Games X (1987), US Open Series Indianapolis Tennis Championships (1988–2009), World Artistic Gymnastics Championships (1991), WrestleMania VIII (1992), World Rowing Championships (1994), World Police and Fire Games (2001), FIBA Basketball World Cup (2002), Super Bowl XLVI (2012) and the College Football Playoff National Championship (2022).

Indianapolis is home to the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the largest half marathon and seventh largest running event in the U.S. The mini-marathon is held the first weekend of May as part of the 500 Festival, leading up to the Indianapolis 500. As of 2013, it had sold out for 12 consecutive years, with 35,000 participants. Held in autumn, the Monumental Marathon is also among the largest in the U.S., with nearly 14,000 entrants in 2015.

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An Indy car crosses the "Yard of Bricks" practicing for the 2012 Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis is a major center for motorsports. Two auto racing sanctioning bodies are headquartered in the city (INDYCAR and United States Auto Club) along with more than 500 motorsports companies and racing teams, employing some 10,000 people in the region. Indianapolis is a metonym for auto racing, having inspired the name "Indy car," used for both the competition and type of car used in it.

Since 1911, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) (in the enclave of Speedway) has been the site of the Indianapolis 500, an open-wheel automobile race held annually on Memorial Day weekend. Considered part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, the Indianapolis 500 is the world's largest single-day sporting event, hosting more than 257,000 permanent seats. Since 1994, IMS has hosted one of NASCAR's highest attended events, the NASCAR Cup Series Brickyard 400. IMS has also hosted the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pennzoil 150 since 2012 and the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis since 2014. From 2000 to 2007, the circuit hosted Formula One at the facility's road course.

Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, in nearby Brownsburg, is home to the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) U.S. Nationals, the most prestigious drag racing event in the world, held annually each Labor Day weekend.


Primary and secondary education

Marion County contains eleven K–12 public school districts, nine of which serve Indianapolis residents: Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Franklin Township Community School Corporation, Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township, Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township, Metropolitan School District of Pike Township, Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Metropolitan School District of Washington Township, Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, and Perry Township Schools. Two state-supported residential schools located in the city are the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Indiana School for the Deaf.

IPS is the largest district in the city with an annual enrollment of 23,000 students attending 60 schools. In 2015, IPS began contracting with charter organizations and nonprofit school managers to operate failing district schools as innovation schools. About 37% of IPS students are enrolled in 20 innovation schools, which are run independently but accountable to the Board of School Commissioners, with the remaining 63% of students attending 39 neighborhood or magnet schools. About 18,000 students are enrolled in tuition-free Mayor-Sponsored Charter Schools (MSCS), as authorized by the Indianapolis Mayor's Office of Education Innovation and Indianapolis Charter School Board.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, about 75 private, parochial, and independent charter schools operate throughout Marion County. Roman Catholic and Christian parochial primary and secondary schools are most prevalent.

Higher education

Aerial view of the Butler University campus in Indianapolis, Indiana
Aerial of Butler University campus

Indianapolis' higher education landscape is dominated by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), a public university formed in 1969 after the branch campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University merged. IUPUI is classified as an urban research university, enrolling 30,000 students in 450 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs offered by 17 schools. Notable schools include the Herron School of Art and Design, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Kelley School of Business, and the Indiana University School of Medicine, among the largest medical schools in the U.S.

Indiana's statewide community college system, Ivy Tech, enrolls some 21,000 full-time students at two full-service campuses, one learning site, and the Automotive Technology Center in the Indianapolis service area. Other public institutions with satellite campuses in the city include Ball State University's R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning and Vincennes University.

Two secular private universities are based in Indianapolis. Founded in 1855, Butler University serves an enrollment of about 5,000 from its Butler–Tarkington campus. Martin University, Indiana's only Predominantly Black Institution, was founded in 1977 and is located in the Martindale–Brightwood neighborhood. Indiana Tech maintains a branch campus in the city. Two seminaries are based in the city: Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary and Christian Theological Seminary. Three religiously affiliated universities based in the city are Indiana Bible College, University of Indianapolis, and Marian University. Indiana Wesleyan University operates a satellite campus in Indianapolis.

More than 40 collegiate fraternities and sororities are headquartered in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, the largest concentration in North America.


Founded in 1873, the Indianapolis Public Library includes Central Library and 24 branches throughout Marion County. Central Library houses a number of special collections, including the Center for Black Literature & Culture, the Chris Gonzalez LGBT Collection, and the Nina Mason Pulliam Indianapolis Special Collections Room. The public library serves about 280,000 cardholders with a circulation of nearly 10 million materials annually.



Indianapolis's transportation infrastructure comprises a complex network that includes a local public bus system, several private intercity bus providers, Amtrak passenger rail service, four freight rail lines, four primary and two auxiliary Interstate Highways, two airports, a heliport, bikeshare system, 115 miles (185 km) of bike lanes, and 110 miles (177 km) of trails and greenways. Private ridesharing companies Lyft and Uber as well as taxicabs operate in the city. After negotiations with city officials, Bird and Lime electric scooter-sharing launched in September 2018.

Absent a comprehensive regional public transit system in combination with urban sprawl, Indianapolis residents drive more vehicle miles per capita than any other U.S. city. According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 83.7% of working residents in the city commuted by driving alone, 8.4% carpooled, 1.5% used public transportation, and 1.8% walked. About 1.5% used all other forms of transportation, including taxicab, motorcycle, and bicycle. About 3.1% of working city residents worked at home. In 2015, 10.5 percent of Indianapolis households lacked a car, which decreased to 8.7 percent in 2016, the same as the national average in that year. Indianapolis averaged 1.63 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.

Streets and highways

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Interstates 65 and 70 run concurrently on the eastern perimeter of downtown Indianapolis.

Four primary Interstate Highways intersect the city: Interstate 65, Interstate 69, Interstate 70, and Interstate 74. The metropolitan area also has two auxiliary Interstate Highways: a beltway (Interstate 465) and connector (Interstate 865). A $3 billion expansion project to extend Interstate 69 from Evansville to Indianapolis is in progress. The Indiana Department of Transportation manages all Interstates, U.S. Highways, and Indiana State Roads within the city. The city's Department of Public Works maintains about 8,175 miles (13,156 km) of street, in addition to 540 bridges, alleys, sidewalks, and curbs.

Walking and bicycling

Reliance on driving has impacted the city's walkability, with Walk Score ranking Indianapolis as one of the least walkable large cities in the U.S. However, city officials have increased investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in recent years. About 110 miles (180 km) of trails and greenways form the core of the city's active transportation network, connecting into 115 miles (185 km) of on-street bike lanes. Trails and greenways include the Fall Creek Greenway, Pleasant Run Greenway, and Monon Trail. The Monon is notable as a rail trail and part of the United States Bicycle Route System. The privately managed Indianapolis Cultural Trail provides 8 miles (13 km) of separated bike and pedestrian corridors and operates Indiana Pacers Bikeshare, the city's bicycle-sharing system, consisting of 525 bicycles at 50 stations. Indianapolis is designated a "Bronze Level" Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.


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Indianapolis International Airport Colonel H. Weir Cook Terminal Civic Plaza

Indianapolis International Airport (IATA: IND) sits on 7,700 acres (3,116 ha) approximately 7 miles (11 km) southwest of downtown Indianapolis. IND is the busiest airport in the state, serving more than 9.4 million passengers annually. Completed in 2008, the Colonel H. Weir Cook Terminal contains two concourses and 40 gates, connecting to 51 nonstop domestic and international destinations and averaging 145 daily departures. As home to the second largest FedEx Express hub in the world, IND ranks among the ten busiest U.S. airports in terms of air cargo throughput. The Indianapolis Airport Authority is a municipal corporation that oversees operations at five additional airports in the region, two of which are located in the city: Eagle Creek Airpark (FAA LID:EYE), a relief airport for IND, and the Indianapolis Downtown Heliport (IATA: 8A4).

Public transit

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An IndyGo battery electric bus approaching a Red Line station

The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, doing business as IndyGo, operates the city's public bus system serving 9.2 million annual passenger trips in 2019. IndyGo's Julia M. Carson Transit Center opened in 2016 as the downtown hub for 27 of its 31 bus routes. In 2017, City-County Council approved a voter referendum increasing Marion County's income tax to help fund IndyGo's first major system expansion since its 1975 founding. Local taxes and federal grants will fund systemwide improvements, including the creation of three bus rapid transit lines, battery electric buses, sidewalks, bus shelters, extended hours and weekend schedules. Of the three bus rapid transit projects, the Red Line began service on September 1, 2019 and construction began on the Purple Line on February 25, 2022. Groundbreaking on the Blue Line is anticipated in 2024.

The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) is a quasi-governmental agency that organizes regional car and vanpools and operates three public workforce connectors from Indianapolis to employment centers in Plainfield and Whitestown.

Intercity bus

Several private intercity bus service providers stop in the city. Greyhound Lines operates a bus terminal at Union Station and stop at Indianapolis International Airport's Ground Transportation Center. Barons Bus Lines, Burlington Trailways, and Miller Transportation's Hoosier Ride also stop at Greyhound's Union Station bus terminal. Megabus stops at the corner of North Alabama Street and East Market Street near the Indianapolis City Market. GO Express Travel manages two shuttle services: GO Green Express between downtown Indianapolis and the Indianapolis International Airport and Campus Commute between IUPUI and Indiana University Bloomington. OurBus began daily service between Indianapolis and Chicago, with stops in Zionsville and Lafayette, filling a gap left after Amtrak's Hoosier State was discontinued in July 2019.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides inter-city rail service to Indianapolis via Union Station, serving about 30,000 passengers in 2015. The Cardinal makes three weekly trips between New York City and Chicago. Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops, in the enclave of Beech Grove, serve as its primary heavy maintenance and overhaul facility, while the Indianapolis Distribution Center is the company's largest material and supply terminal.

About 282 miles (454 km) of freight rail lines converge in the city, including one Class I railroad (CSX Transportation), one Class II railroad (Indiana Rail Road Company), and two shortline railroads (Indiana Southern Railroad and Louisville and Indiana Railroad). Indianapolis is a hub for CSX Transportation, home to its division headquarters, an intermodal terminal, and classification yard in the suburb of Avon.


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LifeLine at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, the largest medical center in the state

Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, a municipal corporation, was formed in 1951 to manage the city's public health facilities and programs, including the Marion County Public Health Department and Eskenazi Health. Eskenazi Health operates 11 primary care centers across the city, including its flagship medical center, Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital. The hospital includes an Adult Level I Trauma Center, 315 beds, and 275 exam rooms, annually serving about 1 million outpatients. The Veterans Health Administration's Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center is Indiana's tertiary referral hospital for former armed services personnel, treating more than 60,000 veterans annually. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration oversees the NeuroDiagnostic Institute, a 159-bed psychiatric hospital which replaced Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital in 2019.

Indiana University Health, a nonprofit hospital network, operates three teaching hospitals in Indianapolis: University Hospital, Methodist Hospital, and Riley Hospital for Children. The medical centers are anchored by the Indiana University School of Medicine's principal research and education campus, the largest allopathic medical school in the U.S. Riley Hospital for Children is among the nation's foremost pediatric health centers, recognized in all ten specialties by U.S. News and World Report. The 430-bed facility also contains Indiana's only Pediatric Level I Trauma Center. In 2020, IU Health detailed plans to consolidate University and Methodist hospitals and replace Methodist with a new $1.6 billion medical center, to open in 2026.

Other private and nonprofit healthcare networks with a presence in the city include Ascension (St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital); Franciscan Health (Franciscan Health Indianapolis); and Community Health Network (Community Hospital East, Community Hospital North, and Community Hospital South).


Aerial view of Geist Reservoir and surrounding housing developments in Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, Indiana
Geist Reservoir in the Geist neighborhood area of Indianapolis

AES Indiana provides 3,000 megawatts of electricity to more than 500,000 customers. Citizens Energy Group, the only public charitable trust formed to operate utilities in the U.S., provides residents with natural gas, water, wastewater, and thermal services. Citizens' Perry K. Generating Station produces steam for the downtown Indianapolis district heating system, the second largest in the U.S.

The city's water is supplied through four surface water treatment plants, drawing from the White River, Fall Creek, and Eagle Creek; and four pumping stations, providing water supply from groundwater aquifers. Additional water supply is ensured by four reservoirs in the region, the largest being Geist Reservoir.

Eleven solid waste districts are managed by one of three garbage collection providers: the city's Department of Public Works Solid Waste Division, Republic Services, and Waste Management. Residential curbside recycling is a subscription service provided by Republic Services and Ray's Trash Service. Recycling drop-off sites located throughout the city are provided free of charge by the Department of Public Works Solid Waste Division. Covanta Energy operates a waste-to-energy plant in the city, processing solid waste for steam production.

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