13 Things You Should Experience in Indy in 2016

(Originally posted on erlooney.wordpress.com)

Indiana is more than just a fly over state; ask a few of the 6.5 million people who live there and you’ll hear some amazing stories. We’ve all had our moments where we would do anything to “get out of Indiana,” but we always find our way back home. Read on for 13 amazing things you can do in Indiana’s bicentennial year, specifically in the beautiful capital city of Indianapolis!

1. Support a nonprofit! Hoosier hospitality runs strong through the streets of Indianapolis, especially through the nonprofit events you can attend and organizations you can love. Are you an art lover? Check out Big Car. Are you passionate about Indianapolis and the environment? Learn more about Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. This article on Buzzfeed is an excellent starting point to learn more about excellent Indianapolis nonprofits!

2. Attend a Yelp! Event — Libraries aren’t just for reading! Yelp’s Totally Bazaar combines over 150 Indianapolis small businesses and eateries in one space for you to explore. Buy your Christmas gifts next year from this event that typically happens in early December, and feel good about your contributions going right back into your town.

White Night on Monument Circle

In the summer time, grab a seat at the White Night on Monument Circle with some of your best friends! It’s free to attend; all you need to do is wear white and BYOF (bring your own food) or buy from some of the vendors! Plus, what’s better than some complementary beverages on the circle downtown?

3. Take the IndyGo bus system. If you haven’t heard about the mass transit changes coming to Indianapolis in the next few years, you should check out Indygo.net to learn more. Take a look at the Red Line; it will run from Broadripple to Greenwood, helping you avoid carbon emissions one ride at a time.

4. Attend the 100th running of the Indy 500. When in Indianapolis — participate in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing! The Indy 500 one of the biggest and fastest racing events in the world; just imagine what its 100th running is going to look like. While you’re buying your tickets, brush up on your Indy 500 and racing facts here.

Monday, May 16-Sunday, May 29
Friday, May 27: Coors Light Carb Day ft. Journey
Sunday, May 29: 100th running of Indy 500
See the full schedule here.

5. See Indianapolis by foot — The One America Mini Marathon 40th running is on May 7, 2016. Get your steps in by running or walking the 13.1 mile mini marathon or the Finish Line 5k. Either way, you’ll participate in the largest mini marathon in the nation while also running around landmarks such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis Zoo! Sign up to run or walk with 40,000 other participants on the website.

6. Rally around Indiana Sports. Indianapolis has a ridiculous amount of sports teams, including hockey (Indy Fuel), soccer (Indy Eleven), baseball (Indianapolis Indians), football (Indianapolis Colts), men’s basketball (Pacers), women’s basketball (The Fever), and more! On top of the semi-pro and professional sports teams, Indiana boasts amazing high school (IHSAA) and college athletics!

7. Go on a nation-wide tour of craft beer! On October 15, 2016, America on Tap will take place with Indianapolis, IN, featuring over 150 local and national craft favorites. Love music, food, and craft brews…what could be better than that?

8. Donate to Smiley Morning Show’s Make a Wish Foundation 36 hour Request-A-Thon. This typically takes place in early December. It’s impossible to explain the happy tears and ugly crying faces I have when I listen to the request-a-thon… and the Smiley Morning Show (WZPL 99.5) crew takes the crying, sleep deprivation, and donations like champions!

9. Attend one (or all) Indianapolis’ amazing festivals!

  • Vintage Indiana Wine & Food Festival
  • Strawberry Festival — June 9, 2016
  • Italian Street Festival — June 10, 2016
  • Indiana State Fair — August 5–21
  • Monument Circle Oktoberfest — September 16, 2016
  • Indy Irish Fest — Sept. 16–18

10. See discounted movies on the big screen on the lawn of the IMA in the summer, or in a cozy winter series!

11. Take an Indianapolis Cultural Trail Tour in the spring! In April 2016, you can sign up for tours around the beautiful city and learn more about the historical landmarks and stories in Indianapolis’ streets.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

12. Attend a Rooftop event. You can attend house parties anywhere, but how about you try seeing life from new heights? Check out some of the rooftop events around the city, such as in Fountain Square or Rooftop Thursdays on top of the Chase building!

13. Drinks, Apps, Dinner, and Dessert on Massachusetts Avenue. Are you tired of eating out at the same restaurants and fast food chains over and over? Indianapolis has an exploding food and drink scene, and I am personally tired of hearing about them and not experiencing them. While it’s not an official program, what sounds better than drinks at a local bar, an appetizer down the road, dinner at a local favorite, and a decadent dessert close by. It sounds like a perfect summer date to me! I want to try cocktails at the Ball & Biscuit, appetizers at Mesh on Mass, dinner at Union 50, and dessert at Yogulatte!

What else are you looking forward to exploring in Indianapolis this year? Make it one of your New Years Resolutions to become a tourist in your own city and learn to love the place you are in!