indianapolis not a fly over
I had been wanting to visit the midwest for awhile now. Really anything considered a "fly over." It seems like the more you travel these types of stereotypes become of interest to visit. Sort of an antisipated curiosity to grab one's own experience and perspective. And what I experienced, with an easy pop-in, really opened my eyes to a very impressive city. Having finished major investments around the city for a smooth and enjoyable walk or bike experience, and the opening of the industrial reuse of the Bottleworks District, it was time to visit Indianapolis.
So after a quick ride from the very easy airport, and polished I'll add, you arrive in historic downtown. Much of the area is made up of the classic brick and concrete relics renovated and reused as modern hosts for hotels, restaurants and the such. Like my hotel for the evening Le Méridien with a vintage sheik industrial vibe and a great eatery. But that'll have to be for breakfast because right next door you have St. Elmo Steak House for dinner. This is a very historic experience, expensive yes, but really a fantastic way to start Indy. At the least, take a seat at the bar and have a drink with their shrimp cocktail. It will blow-your-mind. Seriously. And with that a step away back to the hotel for some shut-eye.
The morning started fantastically with a fresh biscuit, egg-n-bacon breakfast sammy. Not on the menu, ask for it, and washed down with some fresh coffee of course. You gotta love old cafe style hotel eateries, with large open windows facing the streets, tiled and cold and yet still cozy with the sound and smell of early breakfast. Puts a pep-in-your-step and you're off to walk the city after checkout and a bag hold. Time to put the leather slip ons to the test. From this spot you simply head north up Meridien St. through the historic Monument Circle, University Square, World War Memorial and the American Legion Mall. All in a straight lines walk just beautiful historic architecture and grounds to start the morning. Then you hang a right on the cultural trail over to the canal. The canal walks you back south with a very zen-like atmosphere along the waters edge.
At the end of the canal you reach the Museum and park area to browse if you choose. I continued on further south into the hardworking Old Southside where I had targeted my lunch spot. Shapiro's Delicatessen is still standing as a classic push-your-tray and grab your meal cafeteria. Another historic spot that is truly nostalgic of a simpler time. And a mouthwatering sandwich I should add. After lunch it was time to head back north to the hotel, grab my bag and on to my next spot for the evening. The entire square area of the cities cultural trail, and city life, could easily be explored in a single day with a bike. But I was sectioning it off with stays in each area as I do. So my next stay was just a quick ride southeast to Fountain Square. What a vintage-cool kinda setup. Its not for everyone but if you like a vibe thats a bit grittier and less dollars influenced this is a great stop.
It begins with a room at the historic Fountainview Inn thats more of a bnb room approach. The rooms are very well maintained while still feeling like your visiting a relative in the 80's. And the rest of the building is home to a vintage style bowling lane, game room, bar and eatery. Another nostalgic experience that is really very cool. The small Fountain Square area is just a nook of independent business supporting the areas vibe. Its all heart. And after settling-in, and resting a bit, I washed-up and took a walk in the area. The sun was setting behind the line of small historic buildings as I passed the assorted indie shops and eateries. I was headed on a short walk north to Taper's Arcade Bar. Yet again another extremely nostalgic experience. A cocktail buys you endless play to all the classic arcades your retro heart desires. After It was already into the evening returning to the square, and it had been a long walking day, so I grabbed some wine and take-out from the eatery bar downstairs. That evening I enjoyed my dinner and wine in my 80's style room with the windows open to hear the life of the square below.
The next morning I was really looking froward to having breakfast in the area at Milktooth but no-go. My visit was strangely happening at the beginning of the week so many must-do's weren't open. So I actually took a walk a bit further to Yolk City in the Alexander Hotel, which is a fantastic contemporary style hotel if that's more your taste. After I said my farewell's to the square and grabbed a short ride north to my final stop. The industrial reuse of the Bottleworks District is what caught my eye and brought me to Indianapolis. And for good reason. The entire grounds of the original Cocacola bottling plant have been repurposed into a swanky industrial vintage style playground. And at the helm is the Bottleworks Hotel. Vintage swank at its absolute best and the entire surrounding entertainment and dinning is all flawless. It takes an hour just to get to your room because there's so many fine details to appreciate. But when you do, geeze enjoy.
So before you dig into the district you're positioned to cover the last sections of town. Just south down the street is really the main entertainment stretch before the district opened. With fantastic eateries, bars etc. And a short walk north theres a great industrial housed collection of art galleries, drinks and more. I mean the areas just loaded with things to explore. But my evening was dedicated to the district this trip. And although there is a handful of very good dinner choices around, including the hotels sleek industrial asian joint, I planned for the districts Garage Food Hall. Lets be clear, this is not like any other food court. Its sleek industrial, with a bar and fantastic grub choices. I went simple and local and continued with nostalgic. Clancy's burgers are historic in the area. The cleanest tasting chicken burger I've eaten and deservingly washed down with some bubbly.
After, although there is an array of desert choices and gaming activities, I opted for an XL popcorn, another glass of bubbly and a lounge chair all to myself for a movie at Living Room Theaters. It had been a long while since I'd grabbed a flick and a damn comfortable way to return to it. The next morning I was up early for breakfast at the hotels Blue Collar Coffee. Fantastic coffee and another fine breakfast sammy. And that was it. A short ride to the airport thinking how on earth could a place like this be considered a "fly over?" Go figure...
ProTip: If you have the extra time definitely get out to see track area. And also a nice drive north will land you at the Bottleworks sister hotel.
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