As a Hoosier (not the IU kind, Boiler Up!) born and raised in Indianapolis, I have always been a proud native of the place I call home. No matter how many times I hear from others outside the lovely crossroads of America how boring, flat and isolated the state of Indiana is, I have always felt this sense of protection for the city and state that I have called home for the past 21 years. However, there have been several times when I have gone on trips and caved, thinking, “Why do I live in the great state of corn and soybean fields when I could live in the mountains of Tennessee or near the ocean and the pine trees of South Carolina?”

When junior year of college hit, the internship searching process began. Because I studied abroad in the most amazing European city of Madrid, Spain, last summer, I thought that it would be just as much fun to go somewhere else in America for the summer of 2015 – Washington D.C., Nashville, Cincinnati, Chicago, you name it. I wanted to spread my wings yet again and have another incredible summer.

That was until I found that public relations internships hardly pay for 40-hour work weeks let alone a place to live.

My dream of living in an awesome apartment in a city away from home was not going to happen. Not if I wanted to make money during the summer instead of being thousands of dollars in debt. So began my internship search in Indianapolis. Somehow looking up businesses in Indy where I was to live at home wasn’t as enjoyable as looking at the potential jobs in the US Capitol. My job search eventually came to an end and I accepted the Marketing and Communications Internship at Downtown Indy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was VERY excited to have been asked to work for this fantastic organization. I think I cried when I got the phone call. But as my friends were taking off for Boston, Cincinnati, Houston and Australia, it didn’t seem as cool at the time.

Then the internship started…

To my dismay, Downtown Indy shocked me. I’ve always liked Downtown. But working for the organization that markets Downtown Indianapolis as a great place to live, work, learn and play fostered my love for Indianapolis and its Downtown even more.

Some things I learned working here:

1.  I can’t live far from my work. I currently live 30 minutes from the Chase Tower, and the morning and evening commutes are dreadful. If I work Downtown later in life, I must live Downtown.

2.  I WANT TO LIVE DOWNTOWN. Downtown living is absolutely fantastic. Living along the Canal and being able to run down the Canal Walk is a dream of mine (I’m looking at you 9 on Canal).

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9 on Canal is a newly built apartment complex along the Canal that comes with even better views.

3.  There is always something happening on Georgia Street. From Happy Hours to American Idol auditions to a beach for the P&G Gymnastics Championships’ Road to Rio, there is always something happening on Georgia Street. If you are ever bored in Downtown (which you shouldn’t be), head over to Georgia Street and see what’s happening.

The INDY sign is located throughout Downtown and is a great spot to take a photo. #LoveIndy

Be sure to check out Workout Wednesdays, Happy Hour Thursdays and Food Truck Fridays on Georgia Street.

4.  Over the course of three months and walking all over Downtown, I found many businesses that I had no clue even existed. Downtown has an awesome workforce! Help us celebrate and appreciate Downtown employees with Downtown Indy’s Workforce Week Sept. 14-18.

5.  Monument Circle is the best place to eat lunch and people watch. Take a seat on the steps by Lady Victory or at one of the tables on Spark’s parklets lasting until Oct. 16.

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Spark activates Monument Circle with events occurring each day of the week: Mellow Mondays, Talking Tuesdays, Walking Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays, Phono Fridays, Social Saturdays and Cycle Sundays.

These are only a couple of the valuable lessons that I have learned while working at Downtown Indy, and there are many more that I haven’t even began to comprehend yet. But here is the biggest one: While I had hoped to spend my summer in some other cool city besides my hometown, I was able to spread my wings right here in the Circle City. I realized that Indianapolis is not just a boring city in the middle of corn fields, but it has one of the most beautiful and clean Downtowns in the country (check out INspired Beauty Sept. 17). Indianapolis’ Downtown has an awesome Cultural Trail that was ranked by USA Today as the fifth best urban trail in the U.S. There is great diversity – I have been able to use my Spanish several times this summer. Downtown is walkable and easy to navigate, yet with a big city feel. The food is to die for (St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail). The list goes on and on. But all of these points accumulate to this: I WANT TO LIVE AND RAISE MY FAMILY IN INDIANAPOLIS.

Downtown Indy employees pose for a picture with the "INDY" sculpture after the Mass Ave Clean Up.

The Mass Ave Clean Up held in June was one effort to beautify Downtown and to make it a clean place to live, work, learn and play.

Yes, I still have an itch to spend a couple years in another city (which is only natural for a 21-year-old); however, I am certain that I want to come back to Indianapolis and plant my roots here. And for that, I would like to thank all of the staff of Downtown Indy for making Downtown all that it is and more and allowing me to learn about myself in a way that I never have.

As I look forward to my senior year, I know that Downtown Indianapolis has a special place in my heart. With that, though, hello West Lafayette and let’s go for one last round.

 

Blog by Mary Wessel, Marketing and Communications Intern