A guide to group travel: Exploring Indy’s cultural scene
With so much to do in Indy, it’s difficult to know where to start, but the one thing we can tell you is that a group trip to Indianapolis will be the highlight of your year. Culturally, this city is as important to artists, musicians and writers as New York or Washington. So what’s the first stop on your list? Explore Indy’s cultural scene with these iconic locations, all available to fly to today.
Indy boasts one of the best museums dedicated to art in the whole of Indiana, the IMA, the eighth most significant art museum in the USA. The permanent collection houses over 53,000 pieces of original art and design.
Nearby is the Virginia B Fairbanks Art and Nature Park; designed to correctly display large art installations, the park is part of the IMA. Located along White River is the Indianapolis Art Centre, housing mainly original works from Indiana and the Midwest region. Famous artists such as George Rickey have permanent exhibitions on this site.
Music and theatre are as popular today as they have always been, and Indy has no shortage of venues. Situated in the Mass Avenue cultural district along with some downtown locations, the Indiana Theatre or the Indy Rep must feature high on your list. The Murat Shrine is the home to the oldest stage house, built in 1909. Visiting this site is a must for any culture vulture; it seats an audience of 2,600.
Other notable venues include Clowes Memorial Hall and the Melody Inn, known as “The Mel”, which has seen headliners like Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s and The Brain Surgeons. In response to the recent resurgence of indie music, The Mel holds an indie night every Saturday.
Indianapolis was at the centre of all things literary from 1870 to 1920, when poets and writers alike based themselves in the city. The James Whitcomb Riley Museum is your one-stop-shop for writers and critics alike. The city’s most famous writer is Kurt Vonnegut, author of 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Today, Indy is home to best-selling author John Green; his book The Fault in Our Stars is all about the city and its residents.
There’s no doubt Indy is a cultural destination – all the arts are here – but music, in particular jazz and indie, are the best reason to visit Indy.
Musical tour of Indy
There are six cultural districts which have been designated in order to highlight the historical significance of the city: Broad Ripple Village, the home of the Vogue Theatre; White River State Park; Fountain Square, housing the GC Murphy building, an art centre known as “The Murphy”; Indiana Avenue; Market East; and finally Wholesale.
Indianapolis has a symphony orchestra that plays out of the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Wholesale. However, no trip through any hall of fame would be complete without listing the famous musicians born and raised in Indy – John Mellencamp and The Zoo Crew, Latex Novelties and Joint Chiefs of Staff, to list just a few. Indy is famous for its hardcore music scene; derived from punk music, today this term incorporates hip-hop and even some gospel.
If you’re an indie music fan or looking to explore the cultural roots of a genre that’s shaped so much of the modern music culture we know and love today, then there’s no better way to do it than a tour of all the cities where these iconic bands and musicians hail from.
But before you leave, you must go on a brewery tour.
Craft beer and food
Another famous industry in Indianapolis is craft beer, and while not strictly cultural, it’s an essential part of any tour. The craft beer industry has taken off at a gallop in the last few years with The Sun King Brewery and Deviate Brewing offering some of the best beer around. Tours are available at all these breweries, and some also sell food.
Talking of food, we couldn’t write an article about Indy without mentioning the food and drink, could we? And it appears “Hoosiers” (people from Indy) love comfort food: beef or chicken with noodles, pork tenderloin, chilli – of course, chilli and craft beer are a match made in heaven. Sweetcorn in every possible form is always on the menu, along with country-fried steak and fried chicken. Ever tried the breakfast dish biscuits and gravy? It’s not a sweet biscuit, but an oatmeal pancake or scone accompanied by meat gravy and usually served with a side of bacon or sausage. And finally, sugar cream pie Isn’t an expression of endearment, but a dessert, and all we can say is it’s not light on calories.
The editorial unit