Live Downtown? Work Downtown? Just plain love Downtown? No matter which category you fit into, here is my Downtown Indy Summer Bucket List – Part 1. Let the fun begin!
1. Cruise around in a Pacers Bikeshare
One year and 100,000 rides later, the Pacers Bikeshare program is a shining success story in Downtown Indy. After just five months, Pacers Bikeshare sold 21,844 all-day passes. By comparison, Denver in 2010 sold 15,374 24-hour passes in the first six months. For Downtown workers like myself, navigating the city is much more convenient via Bikeshare. Not to mention, the roomy baskets (two of them!) fit large purses and totes (my dad calls my purse “luggage”) quite nicely. Convenience, ease-of-use, fun – riding a Bikeshare is a summer no-brainer.
2. Run on the Canal
We don’t have an ocean. We don’t even have a lake. But Downtown Indy has the Canal and to residents, visitors and families, it’s one of our city’s best gems. The Canal Walk, stretching north through White River State Park to 11th Street, serves as a waterside promenade for walkers, runners and bikers. Skip the boring dreadmill, pop in your headphones (or go technology free) and take in the scenery of the Canal: the sculptures, vibrant murals, green spaces and outdoor gardens. Tip: after your run, treat yourself to a cup of roasted coffee at Quills, an industrial-cool coffee shop tucked away off the Canal.
3. Eat shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse
Is it weird to crave St. Elmo‘s World Famous Shrimp Cocktail at spontaneous times during the week? Perhaps slightly, but thankfully most born and bred Hoosiers can relate. While eating St. Elmo shrimp cocktail is not necessarily a summer bucket list item, no Indy bucket list would be complete without it. The five shrimp are jumbo sized and the hot horseradish sauce is so fiery it makes even the toughest men cry (I have witnessed this first hand). The famous shrimp cocktail will put you back $18, but it’s worth it. Truly, nobody does it better.
4. Cheer on the “boys in blue”
Don’t let summer pass without attending an Indy Eleven game. There are 13 home games left in the season, all played at IUPUI’s Carroll A. Stadium. Know before you go: buy your tickets early (most games sell out), don Indy Eleven attire (the scarves are crazy cool) and stay in your seat for the halftime performance (the bubble soccer balls and Frisbee catching dogs are worth watching). Last season, Indy Eleven played to sold-out crowds at every home game, solidifying Indy’s reputation as a sports mecca. Indy’s love affair with professional soccer is alive and well.
5. Go on a cocktail tour
I am somewhat of a gin & tonic and Moscow Mule fanatic. These are simple cocktails that don’t require a mixologist’s arsenal to prepare them and taste great with pretty much everything. But sometimes one wants to get fancy. This summer, take your love of craft cocktails to the next level at the inaugural Mixture – An Indianapolis Cocktail Tour, taking place June 19 & 20. Start on Georgia Street, pick up your passport and then make your way to the 20 locations (think: Harry & Izzy’s, Plat 99, Severin Bar, Libertine, Bluebeard, Thunderbird) serving drink samples in four Downtown districts – Wholesale, Mass Ave, Fletcher Place and Fountain Square. Cheers to that!
6. Listen to live music… outside
The concert season at The Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park officially kicks off May 30 and runs through the end of September. This picturesque setting in White River State Park surrounded by 250 acres of green space is the ideal place to enjoy your favorite big-name band. Some names on my list this summer: Barenaked Ladies, Alt-J and the Beach Boys with the Temptations. Kick back and sip on a cold beverage of choice, lay out a blanket or upgrade to those fantastic reserved VIP seats (worth it!) and enjoy good jams and the scenery of White River State Park.
7. Shake what your mama gave you on the Boardwalk
Wednesdays are instantly elevated when you can get a (free) workout in during lunchtime. Pack your gym bag on Tuesday night and head to Georgia Street from noon – 12:45 p.m. for Workout Wednesdays. Andre Davis from the YMCA leads free classes every week – so skip the pizza and soda (so tempting, I get it) and head outside for fresh air and an energizing hump day workout. Classes alternate between Zumba (June and August) and Hip Hop (May and July). Good beats streaming from the Georgia Street sound system, a fun and motivating instructor and a healthy calorie burn sounds like the perfect lunch break to me.
8. Eat, drink and be merry on Bluebeard’s patio
It wouldn’t be right to have a summer bucket list and not include at least one Fletcher Place restaurant: from Milktooth to Siam Square to Rook, Downtown Indy’s scene has never been more vibrant. Bluebeard is no exception. Spend your summer evenings dining on Bluebeard’s intimate outdoor patio and everyone goes home happy. Pick multiple items and share with the table (the cheese platter and Brussels sprouts are always winners). Before you leave, take a photo next to the bench just outside the patio that is etched with the Vonnegut quote: “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” With Bluebeard, I couldn’t agree more.
9. Shop the Original Farmers Market
Every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., the Original Farmers Market offers open-air opportunities for shoppers to purchase local produce and meat and local products like maple syrup and fresh-cut flowers. If you’re like me, you attend the market weekly, stocking up on everything from fresh cut wildflowers for the office to vibrant radishes from South Circle Farms for snacking (so good, I kid you not). Even if you don’t work Downtown, this is a summer must-do. Don’t forget the many food options inside City Market’s walls.
10. Do yoga on the Indiana War Memorial
Perhaps one of my favorite ways to enjoy yoga in the summer is Outdoor Yoga at the Indiana War Memorial with Invoke Studio. Instructors lead a one hour all-levels Vinyasa class on a monthly basis on the promenade. The skyline views are spectacular and the combination of blue skies, sunshine on your skin and fresh air make the poses that more revitalizing. The first session is on Saturday, May 16 at noon and is donation-based with proceeds supporting the Indiana War Memorial.