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Indianapolis

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Indianapolis…really?  What’s so exciting about Indianapolis?  As an ambassador of the American Midwest to the world I have to tell you that Indianapolis, or Indy, is a gem of a city to visit.  It’s not a New York, or a Boston, but it’s a representation of the culture that makes up the Midwest.  I wouldn’t expect any other way; and to compare it to those cities is akin to comparing apples to oranges.   For my fellow Philadelphians, there is life in that black hole in the middle of the country.

Indianapolis is a small town, but boast a lot of character.  Indy does not pretend to be a large city, and does not try to misrepresent itself as anything else.  It is a slice of the complex American landscape.   Located in the plains, downtown Indianapolis boasts several pieces of great outdoor art, is home to the Indy 500, one of the premier road races in the world, and home to the NCAA hall of fame. I visited Indy a couple of weeks prior to the Indy 500, and the city was alive in anticipation of the event. I stumbled upon a free outdoor concert featuring Gavin Degraw and local artist Jon McLaughlin.

In the middle of downtown is Monument Circle.  Located a couple of blocks from the state capitol building, the circle is the cities main gathering point and is home to several coffee shops, restaurants and local businesses.   The most notable structure in Monument circle is the massive Soldiers and Sailors monument.  The monument was designed by German architect Bruno Schmitz and completed in 1901.  It was built to honor Hoosiers (nickname for Indianans) who died for our country from the American Revolution the Civil War.  You can pay a couple of bucks and take the elevator up 284 feet to the top for expanded views of the city.

Midwesterners are very friendly and laidback.  I’ve lived in Philly for a while now, and I am often amused when I see the clash of the east coast and midwest cultures.  While taking photos in Monument Square, I met local photographer Servando Gomez (http://www.circlecityscene.com).  We ran into each other as I was setting up for a shot; I was rather impressed with his Leica camera. Servando showed me his midwestern friendly hospitality and filled me in on the local spots to get a good photo.

Indy is very walk-able, set up by its city planners in a square with north-south and east-west streets.  This is photo of the Depew Fountain, depicting children playing in the water among frogs and fish, and a toga-wrapped woman on the top tier.  A graceful, happy piece of art, the fountain was gifted to the city in 1919.

Indy is home to the Indians, the AAA affiliate of the Pittsburg Pirates.  I love minor league baseball.  The guys who play at this level are motived to make it the major leagues and give it all they have in order to get that one shot in a million to get to the next step.  And the baseball clubs make it worthwhile for the spectators, making the game very affordable and fun.  I paid $15 to sit behind home plate!  Victory stadium, where the Indians play, is a first class stadium and is located between downtown, White River State Park, and the convention center.

The crown jewel of downtown Indy is the Central Canal. The canal runs all the way to the White River and is filled with runners, bikers, and walkers. Snaking through downtown and lined with art and sculptures, the canal is worth a stroll, especially at sunset when light reflects off the still waters.  This walk is a great way to end your day exploring Indy.

Indy Top 5

  1. Victory Field
  2. Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum
  3. Soldiers and Sailors Monument
  4. Central Canal
  5. White River State Park

Written by Chris

July 15th, 2013 at 9:22 pm

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