The state capital of Indiana and 2nd largest state capital by population. The largest city in Indiana and 12th largest in the U.S. (790,000 and another million in the suburbs). The 3rd largest Midwest city by population (after Chicago and Detroit) and largest by land area. It’s very Midwestern. What else can I say? It is not exactly a city for urban enthuseists. It is very dull and lackluster by most standards, especially when comparing it to either coast. It will never be able to compete with nor have a profile like San Fran, New York, Washington DC, Phily, Chicago, Seattle or Boston. Instead, it ranks along the same tier of cities like Louisville, Columbus or Cincinnati. It’s not really a city at all, but more like a large town. Boring and very unhurried are accurate in describing this town. It was, for many years, considered a Rust Belt city and “NapTown” until recently. It faced the challenges of a declining population to the townships and suburbs, the erosion of jobs and lack of an identity. But some of that has changed for the better.
OK, here’s the good: An affordable cost of living (perhaps due to the overall lack of high-paying jobs in the area) and the most affordable of any “large” metro area. Its low cost of doing business is enabling companies to expand in Central Indiana and create more high-paying jobs—slowly but surely. It is a nice place to live if you have family or want to raise children. Indy is hosting more and more events all the time. It has a vibrant downtown compared to many cities. There is always something going on and it is generally safe to walk around downtown at night including FRI or SAT nights. It has come a long way in reinventing itself. Over the past dozen or so years, Indy has built the Circle Center Mall, Conseco Fieldhouse, the Conrad Hilton Hotel among others, White River State Park, the Monon Trail, attracted numerous amateur sports organizations to the city, became the new home to the NCAA, is building Lucas Oil Stadium and a brand new Midfield Terminal at Indianapolis International Airport. It is going the right direction in general.
Unfortunately there’s a lot of bad and persons from either coast may have a ligitimate reason to poke fun of the place: It's very Midwestern. No mountains, not even hills. Nothing but corn not far from the city (typical of the Corn Belt). No water. No beaches. No oceans. No diversity. No culture (its numerous transplanted Kentuckyans don’t count). No nightlife. Forbes Magazine ranked Indy the worst American city for singles based on this sad fact. Not many opportunities to get out and enjoy nature. No sidewalks, bikepaths or greenspace. Therefore, too many people are fat and unhealthy. The people are too antiquated and narrowminded to accept changing ANYTHING in the area, and that includes possibly getting lightrail, even if it is for the good of the area. No public transportation due to the exessive use of automobiles by residents. The city only has a mediocre bus-only system with few routes and no evening service. People cannot take direct routes because they have to “transfer” downtown. No mass transit or lightrail. Forget about getting it. It will never happen. The poor maintanence of roads is also a problem. Many heavily used city streets are too narrow and needed to be widened years ago. Too many potholes. As freeway congestion increases, the city has done next to NOTHING in relieving the stress. At most one can expect added travel lanes, HOV lanes or extra freeway exits, but that’s it. The city can have poor air quality created by too many polluting cars on the raod and a lack of hybrid engines by its city and school buses. No street lamps. A high number of foreclosures but not as bad as in the Sun Belt. A slumbering skyline that has gone nowhere since 1990, when the Chase Tower was completed.
Indy, for some reason, calls itself a world-class city but has NOTHING to support the claims. It wont be world-class ‘till Cincinnati, Louisville and Columbus are. In fairness, Indy has come a long way in reinventing itself but needs to be much more aggressive in its efforts to be more more lively. It has a “Naptown” image because it has not marketed itself very well. Until that happens it will forever deserve its Naptown image.
Indianapolis is a nice place to raise a family and live but is not cosmopolitan in profile and will never compete with the coasts for world-class status. NEVER.
Prices shown in USD.
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