I moved away about 6 months ago, and it seems to be just hitting me now that I miss it. I’m not sure I’m ready to move back – there’s a big, bad world out there I’m anxious to explore – but I will always feel like returning to Indy is returning to my old stomping grounds, that I have a bit of a claim on the Circle City even if just to myself.
How would I spend a few days back in town? I’m glad you asked. Even from afar I can tell Indy is evolving at a faster clip than ever, with new restaurants, hotels, community programming and hip neighborhoods. As I search high and low for a decent omelette in Utah (no luck yet), I daydream of spending an entire day eating brunch at all of Indy’s best spots.
Let’s say I arrive in town right as friends are getting off work one Thursday evening. We’d meet for drinks at The Libertine. A Pimm’s Cup please. Maybe two.
I moved before it opened, so after drinks I’d hit Cerulean for dinner with whomever happened to be hungry after drinks. The reviews friends have posted on Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram have my tastebuds expecting the best.
Because by dessert I’m sure I won’t be in the mood to go far, I’d book a room at The Alexander. As far as luxury hotels in Indy go, the JW and Conrad are great, but they’re so last year.
Friday morning, I’d stroll through downtown over to Cafe Patachou for breakfast. I don’t care what the omelette of the day is. I’ll take it. And keep that coffee mug full.
With a full stomach, it’s off to the IMA (who have a fancy new website, I see!). If you live within two states of Indianapolis, you should be planning your trip to see Ai Wei Wei: According to What? If you live further than two states away, you should be planning your trip. The IMA has always been a classy institution – this get is major and would be the highlight of my imaginary weekend in town.
By mid-afternoon a refreshment is definitely in order, and it’s time to make my way up to Mass Ave. First stop: Chatham Tap. A favorite for years, I’d snag a table on the patio out back and enjoy a few Stellas, a plate or two of their amazing appetizer selection and the view of cyclists and dog-walkers going by on the cultural trail.
That night, I’m sure there’d be some fantastic show at the ISO – I’ve seen Amy Grant, Liza Minnelli and Pink Martini at Hilbert Circle Theatre. Of course I’d go back for whatever show might be on when I’m in town again.
I picture a Saturday morning of clear blue sky, warm temperatures and a cool breeze – perfect for a slow, quiet morning at a table outside Henry’s. Throw in a Rabbit Bagel (check the special’s board!), an americano, a good book or a few friends to catch up with and I’ll be there till lunchtime (which would most definitely be at Yats. Extra bread.). After which, there’s got to be an Indian’s game to catch at Victory Field. Play ball and pass me a Sun King! I’ll Instagram the view of the downtown sunset at dusk. After the game, I’d have to head north to Landmark Theatre – see a great movie and see about reclaiming my Foursquare mayorship. Oh, and a chance to check out the newly-renovated Fashion Mall – I hear it’s swanky!
Sunday morning, I’d give in to my cravings for great diner food and head up to my old neighborhood for brunch at Good Morning Mama’s. It may not be the most refined breakfast spot in town, but the coffee is hot, the service is friendly and the food is like something your grandma would cook up, Spam optional. I’d walk the Monon up to the Indianapolis Art Center, wander the grounds for a bit, maybe find the motivation to scribble out a journal entry while I’m there. As the weekend comes to a close, I’d gather friends at The Brass Ring in Fountain Square – one last drink or two before heading back to…wherever I flew in from.
And those are just the highlights I’m dreaming of on my make-believe visit back. I didn’t even fit in tacos at Bakersfield or sushi at Naked Tchopstix, a game of duckpin bowling in Fountain Square, a stroll around the Zoo, a pizza at Bazbeaux’s or Jockamo’s or Napolese, the hummus and a cocktail at Ball & Biscuit, thrifting at Goodwill and Value World, window shopping on Mass Ave and Virginia Ave, a concert at White River State Park, a crepe at City Market, a Colts game. I could go on…and on…
The time was right for me to move on from Indianapolis, and I’m excited to see where I land next – what new neighborhoods I can discover, the new favorite places I can claim as a local. In the meantime, though, I wouldn’t turn down a few action (and food!)-packed days in my old neck of the woods. Indy has a lot to offer, whether you’re discovering it for the first time or going back to enjoy old favorites. Maybe I’ll start looking into flights…