Visit Downtown Indy | Local Lisa, Feb. 2012

A Day Downtown

Circle the city with my picks for exploring Indy

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Local LisaBack in college, I was a “goody two shoes”: didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t swear. (Stop rolling your eyes.)

I DID, however, cut class a few times. (Stop it. This was a big deal for me.)

I looked out the window the other day and realized that I hadn’t “cut class” in a long time.

Being a grown-up means emails, meetings, projects, car pool and figuring out dinner. Ugh.

But if I had the chance to drag a friend away from daily responsibilities, here’s what our Downtown Day would entail.

(By the way, all of these places are within walking distance of downtown. OK, it might be a bit of a longer walk, but it will give you more time to talk with your truant friend.)

8:30 a.m. | Breakfast at City Café
Stepping into City Café just feels like hometown Indiana. The staff is warm and friendly, and almost everyone is a “regular” for good reason. Farm-fresh eggs, locally grown produce, homemade granola and clever breakfast combinations are served up daily.

Yum.

Head left out of City Café for some shopping.

10 a.m. | Mass Ave Shopping
Bundle up and hit one of the most historic streets in Indy: Mass Ave.

Quaint shops, unique stores and an eclectic mix of things to do.

My faves? Mass Ave Toys and Silver in the City.

Shoes? Check out Stout’s Footwear and see the nostalgic way each order is “delivered” to the cash register.

Hungry? Bazbeaux Pizza. No question.

Not in the mood for pizza? I’ve got an idea.

Noon | City Market
Another historic landmark, the City Market has a rich history. Ask one of the vendors to tell you about it as you walk up and down the aisles and aisles of amazing offerings. My favorite is Circle City Soups. Homemade wonderfulness.

Alright. You’re warm. You’re full. Let’s hike off lunch. Head up Pennsylvania to my oasis: The Central Library.

1:30 p.m. | Central Library
Take it all in. The windows, the architecture, the historic section in the front and the grandeur of the main building. This is my utopia.

Get a map. Grab a bag. Get to gettin’ as my friend Tina would say.

Once you’ve found some good afternoon reading material, head up to the big tables and chairs at the back of the second floor with the yellow wall (see photo above).

Sink in. Enjoy.

Head south down the steps and out onto St. Clair. Turn right to Meridian and head south toward Monument Circle. This is our next stop.

4:30 p.m. | Climb the Soldiers and Sailors Monument
This was a blast when I was a kid. It still is. Although I swear they’ve added more stairs!

Best view in the city and a fabulous museum below.

Do it to say you’ve done it. You get the bragging rights.

Feeling like dinner? Here are my suggestions.

6 p.m. | (option A) Giorgio’s Pizza
Right off the Circle is one of the most authentic pizza joints in town. By the end of the evening, you’ll have made friends with the owner and his staff.

6 p.m. | (option B) Saffron Café
OK. Now we’re talking. Who says Indianapolis is just cows and corn? Chef Anass Sentissi brings Morocco to the Circle City.

Everything, and I mean everything, is made with passion. Be prepared to sit and stay; Chef will treat you like a treasured guest.

Ask him about the importance of saffron. And definitely ask him about his studies in music. An evening you won’t soon forget.

6 p.m. | (option C) Creation Café
In the beginning, a little piece of epicurean heaven was created in yet another historic treasure.

One of my favorite restaurants resides at the north end of the White River canal.

Everything is splendid. But, whatever you do, get dessert. SO worth it!

Did you enjoy dinner? Then let’s end the night with some fun! How ’bout some music? Really, really good music. Follow me.

8 p.m. | Slippery Noodle Inn
One of the oldest bars in Indy, the Slippery Noodle has live blues music every night of the week.

Chock full of intriguing folklore and history, ‘The Noodle’ (that’s what all the cool kids call it) is a fabulous place to end the night.

Thanks for “cutting class” with me!

I love this city. Can you tell? I hope you enjoy exploring every nook and cranny and fall in love with it as well!

If you have any favorite places or activities, let me know –– I’m always looking for reasons to take a personal day!

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