Downtown Indy Exploration

G has been working eleven hours a day, six days a week since December, and in his “free” time has been putting some serious sweat equity into our home. Memorial’s long weekend was the perfect excuse to request him asking Saturday off work and stealing him away from the house. No work. No housework. Just the two of us. We packed one suitcase, shuffled Copper’s cage to the in-laws, and escaped to Indianapolis for a weekend of exploration.

I had initially planned to keep our destination a secret until we rolled into our AirBnb, but as G grew up near the city and I had never visited before, I ended up telling him and asking if he had any excursion requests that may require tickets. Memorial Day weekend was, after all, Indy 500 weekend and there were some awesome events happening throughout the city. So over the course of two weeks we eyed some opportunities, but ultimately decided to spend the weekend in organic exploration — and it was absolutely marvelous.

We left home after half-days of work on Friday. The city is only about three and a half hours from our little corner of Michigan, and we arrived at our AirBnb close to 6:00pm. As the weekend was one of the most popular in Indy, hotels were either completely booked or offering sky-high prices, but I had lucked out on finding an inexpensive apartment a stone’s throw away from the Children’s Museum. The owner, Boxx, is an artist who displays her talents throughout the apartment and we LOVED every corner of the experience. Isn’t she ridiculously talented? Her art was even more appreciated considering how easy she was to correspond with and the cleanliness of the space — we could not have been happier with our accommodations.

We made the most of our Friday night by driving through Downtown Indy, finding an ideal parking space on North Illinois, and walking along the canal to snag some dinner. Our walk was not incredibly long as we stumbled upon BurgerHaus. Named “Best Burger Restaurant in the State of Indiana” by TripAdvisor, BurgerHaus has made it their quest to take the great American hamburger and make it international… and G and I think they nailed it! Fricken YUM. G ordered their Mexican-inspired burger, The Cozumel, which sported a grilled pineapple slice, guacamole, and jalapenos. I chose The Vienna. Bacon, beer-braised onions, bacon jam, arugula, cheese, and mayo all on a gluten-free bun. My mouth is watering just thinking back on it. If you’re looking for an awesome burger in Indy (or throughout Indiana), I highly recommend finding the closest BurgerHaus. You will not be disappointed.

In typical fashion, we were in bed and asleep by 9’o’clock Friday night and rearing to go early the next morning. We started the morning with breakfast at Lincoln Square Pancake House. Both our meals were delicious and the staff were incredibly friendly — I guess that Hoosier Hospitality is a real thing! G ordered outside-the-box with the banana nut bread French toast and I eyed him angrily the entire time because, you know, gluten. Ugh.

We then returned downtown to pick up from where we left off the night before. My city experiences have predominately been in Chicago, so my expectations were for loud noises, crowds, and busyness. Indy was a welcome surprise though. The city has a laid-back attitude and the people you happen to bump into are kind and courteous. Being that the Indy 500 was happening on Sunday, there was a parade and festival happening in the center of Downtown, but G and I were able to bypass the chaos for the most part. We enjoyed a sleepy morning stroll along the canal, walked through the Capitol, showed our respects at Military Park, and took in the city one step at a time. I never felt rushed or inconvenienced. Instead I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The majority of the day was spent sightseeing and wandering around downtown simply to explore whatever we found. We each had a few things we aimed to find, but we did not rush the process. I had heard great things about the Indianapolis City Market, so we made our way to the original farmer’s market and grabbed some lunch. I also loved running across the numerous murals painted throughout the city.

One stop G looked forward to was the Rhythm! Discovery Center. Rhythm was an interactive museum of drums and percussion instruments, and G could have spent the entire day inside. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned it before, but G was once the drummer of a rock band called Vice. The band was known throughout their little area in Indiana and even opened for some music festivals. He has a drum set at home and nothing makes him happier than being able to create music — he says its a great stress-reliever. We were both able to play some diddies at Rhythm. It was a great way for G to share one of his passions with me!

After walking around Downtown, G and I beat the rainstorms back to the car and made our way to meet up with some of my husband’s cousins who were also in Indy celebrating a birthday. His cousin’s favorite brewery, Triton Brewing Company, was on the outskirts of the city and the group had plans for a tour of the facility, so we opted to meet them for a drink. As time seems to be flying, we realized we hadn’t seen one another since our wedding last June, and we had a great visit.

Then it was on to more food… Though we could have found something more “Indy-inspired” such as St. Elmo’s Steak House, G was dying to take me to P. F. Chang’s for dinner. We have been talking about visiting Indy since before we were married, and P. F. Chang’s has always been on the itinerary since I’ve never been to one of their restaurant’s before. And YUM! We split a dragon roll aside a bottle of Rose, and then opted for Beef with Broccoli as our entree. I thought our local Chinese restaurant (which I’ve grown up eating) did food right but Chan’s has nothing on Chang’s. Tender, sweet, and just the right amount of sauce. G was correct in his assessment that I’d be a happy camper following the meal.

The remainder of the evening was spent relaxing at the AirBnb with one another. The air conditioning was a welcome relief from the 90+ degree temperatures outside, and after walking the majority of the day watching a movie and dozing off was the best ending to a perfect day.

With plans to spend Memorial Day at one of our House friend’s homes and cookout with friends, Sunday was a lazy day of traveling back home. I let G sleep in as I watched an episode of my latest binge-worthy find: Outlander. Then we packed our few belongings, cleaned up after ourselves, and left Boxx’s abode to find some breakfast and head home to Copper and housework.

Using Yelp, we stumbled upon a quaint little restaurant called Love Handle in the art district of Indy. (Or at least what we decided to call the art district because of the various art studios, foreign terms in the business names, and numerous hipsters wandering around.) Love Handle didn’t have a lot of offerings for breakfast, but what they did list on the menu sounded amazing. G and I decided to split an order of blueberry waffles and biscuits and gravy. Neither were gluten-free but I decided to live it up before returning home. #YOLO Everything was made from scratch, and the gravy had a kick that has my husband asking me to attempt something similar at home now.

We enjoyed a cup or two of coffee and then departed, full on good food, fun memories, and the promise of more visits in the future.

So, all in all, our weekend in Indy was fantastic. I cannot wait to return to visit more of the city, especially some of the historical museums. For those who have traveled to Indy, do you have any recommendations on restaurants and/or experiences we should add to our itineraries? Please let me know.

Happy travels, friends,

 

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