Exploring Indy: Fountain Square

It's really looks more like the outline of Ohio than a square.

It’s really looks more like the outline of Ohio than a square.

Exploring Indy: Fountain Square

Thus far, we’ve been all about the “roving,” but not so much the “recluse”-ing. Sometimes Caitlyn and I (and especially Jackson) are just as content sticking around our hometown of Indianapolis than hopping in the Prius for a road trip.

If you’re not from Indy, then you’re probably like we were prior to moving here in 2009: Isn’t the only thing to do there to go to the racetrack? Well, yes, that is one thing, but, as I’ve learned over the years, what the travel guides and brochures say is true: Indy has a small-town feel but all the amenities of a big city.

We live in one of the Indy’s five cultural districts, Fountain Square. Located just southeast of downtown, the area has been undergoing a rebirth the last few years, as the hipsters have moved into the area, meaning more fedoras, bicycles and craft beers. We are only “one-quarter” hipster, but we still find Fountain Square interesting and are proud to call it home. Here are some reasons why you should come to Fountain Square to get your hipster (or non-hipster) on:

Food:

The Fountain Square Theatre is home to two duckpin bowling lanes, End of the Line Public House and Smokehouse on Shelby and a theatre that hosts swing dance lessons on "Frist Fridays."

The Fountain Square Theatre is home to two duckpin bowling lanes, End of the Line Public House and Smokehouse on Shelby and a theatre that hosts swing dance lessons on “Frist Fridays.”

End of the Line Public House  Formerly the Shelbi St Diner, this revamped restaurant in the lower level of the Fountain Square Theatre building, offers delicious comfort food, pizzas and burgers. TIP: Pony up the extra dough for the pretzel sticks, which come with beer and dill cheese dipping sauces.

Pure Eatery – Locally and organically sourced (when available), this establishment’s menu lives up to its name, delivering healthy, guilt-free dishes. Find it in the old Murphy Arts Building off Virginia Avenue. You know it’s trendy because the locals just call it “Pure.” TIP: The Southwest bean wrap is amazing.

Maria’s – The pizza is good but it takes a while to come out to your table, so don’t go here if you’re in a hurry. Located off Prospect, just east of the two fountains. TIP: Make sure to also get some breadsticks with garlic butter (can you tell I like bread in stick form?).

Shops:

The prices aren't that swanky, contrary to the store's name.

The prices aren’t that swanky, contrary to the store’s name.

IndySwank – This store’s popularity is backed up by a new, second store in Circle Centre Mall in downtown Indy. Chances are, if you’re a hipster, you dig cute T-shirts or can pull off skinny ties, then you’ll fit right in at this trendy boutique, which sells vintage and new clothing and accessories. It’s located by Pure Eatery.

Rogue Décor – The new kid on the block, Rogue Décor is the place to go for artwork or interesting conversation-starters that will make that wall or table look less vacant. A giant six-foot-tall sock monkey greets customers in the front window off Virginia Avenue and might also look good next to a vacant table or wall …

Mass Ave Knit Shop – If you’re into knitting (and what respectable hipster isn’t?), this is a great place to pop in for some knitting needles or miscellaneous items for a project. Located off Virginia Avenue (contrary to the store’s name), just south of the I-65/I-70 interchange.

Entertainment:

Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary ArtMake sure to visit on “First Fridays,” which, un-coincidentally, is the first Friday of each month where galleries and music venues have exhibition openings, many of them free. iMOCA is free all the time and located in the old Murphy Arts Building off Virginia.

Duckpin bowling – The Fountain Square Theatre Building is home to not one, but two duckpin bowling alleys. What is duckpin bowling, you ask? Imagine someone stepped on traditional bowling pins, squishing them down to the size of garden gnomes. Swap out a traditional bowling ball for a bocce-sized ball and tack on a third roll per frame and you have duckpin bowling. TIPS: You will likely suck at this your first time, even if you’re a 300 bowler. Grab a coupon online and book your lane in advance, especially for Action Bowling, the cooler alley of the two.

Take in a free short film on "First Fridays."

Take in a free short film on “First Fridays” at Truly Moving Pictures.

Truly Moving Pictures – Also on First Fridays, Truly Moving Pictures, which puts on the annual Heartland Film Festival, shows short films for free in its viewing room. Film lovers can even purchase popcorn and beer before the film.

Lastly, we’re not cool enough to have gone to Radio Radio and White Rabbit Cabaret, located across Prospect Street from one another, but have been told both make for a fun late-night music date.

Next post: The Windy City: Hidden Gems

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