The best places to live in Indianapolis

Indianapolis boasts a wonderful sprawl of neighbourhoods for just about every taste and budget. Those keen on a bustling urban environment should opt for one of the zones in the vibey downtown area, while families more inclined to some peace and quiet should look at the tranquil environs towards the leafy outer edges of the city. Below are a few areas that newcomers and expats may find agreeable.

Recommended neighbourhoods in Indianapolis

Downtown Indy. Chris Bowman. Flickr. 13990589584_cfbbb22e05_oDowntown

As in many major US cities, Indianapolis’s downtown area is rather expensive. The trade-off for the often exorbitant rental costs is that one has easy access to all manner of amenities and hot spots. Restaurants, cultural landmarks, sports stadiums, museums, bars and nightlife spots are within walking distance, and there's also great access to public transport. The Wholesale District is probably the most popular and exclusive, but there are multiple neighbourhoods in the downtown area, offering a variety of options, including luxury apartments in high-rise buildings, trendy lofts and lavish condos.

Fountain Square

Just south-east of downtown, the ethnically and socially diverse Fountain Square is a haven for artistic types, so new arrivals and expats of that inclination will fit in here really well. With something of a small-town feel in a big city, the little neighbourhood resembles a European village to an extent with its town square and central fountain. It’s a vibrant suburb, with eclectic eateries, striking architecture and a range of attractions and entertainment, particularly visual, literary, and performance art. Virginia Avenue is a stunning walk particularly for foodies looking to indulge in a variety of cuisines. Fountain Square also has easy interstate access for commuters.

Bates-Hendricks. Nyttend. Wikimedia CommonsBates-Hendricks

East of downtown lies the exciting and up-and-coming neighbourhood of Bates-Hendricks. The little suburb is in a great location; close enough to downtown for a walk or short bike-ride, but also just far enough to eliminate most of its noisy bustle. Characterised by turn-of-the-century homes, unique buildings, and a strong sense of community, Bates-Hendricks boasts everything from modest single-family bungalows to two-story living. Young professionals have been flocking to this growing suburb over the last few years, mainly owing to its reasonable rental prices and relatively low cost of living. Its proximity to downtown attractions and restaurants makes it an appealing option for newcomers and expats looking to get by without a car. Bicycle lanes also make for easy commuting about town.

Broad Ripple

Popular among millennials, Broad Ripple is a fun neighbourhood in the north of Indianapolis. Dotted with many unique and varied restaurants, cafés, and bars, the suburb also has an artistic feel to it that attracts young and old. Young families and professionals new to Indianapolis will find plenty of housing options in the forms of single-family bungalows, smaller, older apartments, and lofts. Small local businesses abound, and newcomers will find breweries, comedy clubs and bars around every corner.


To the north-east of downtown Indianapolis nestles the verdant little neighbourhood of Riverside. As you may have guessed, a large portion of Riverside has frontage on the White River, and the suburb predominantly consists of bungalows and American foursquare-type homes (square, boxy-designed homes, usually two-and-a-half stories high, with four large, boxy rooms on each floor, a centre dormer, and a large front verandah with wide stairs). It’s a recreational neighbourhood, with an abundance of greenery including golf courses, fields, and a rolling eighty-acre park. While mostly residential, the southern portion of Riverside is a mixture of commercial and industrial properties. It’s also steeped in history with many landmarks, including Indianapolis’s oldest golf course (Riverside Golf Course), its first zoo, and the Riverside Amusement Park.

Woodruff Place. Nyttend. Wikimedia commonsWoodruff Place

A mile east of downtown is the stunning suburb of Woodruff Place. New arrivals and expats in Indianapolis looking for more space and bigger homes will want to browse here. The neighbourhood is known for its breathtaking Victorian-era homes and other classic and charming architecture. It’s the perfect area for those who like walks and bicycle rides in lush surrounds, but who’d also like easy accessibility to the restaurants and other attractions of downtown.