The 3 Best Neighborhoods in Indianapolis

Moving to a new city is always challenging. And a large part of that challenge is looking for a place to live. There are so many things to consider when weighing your options-house styles, neighborhood safety, quality of schools, the convenience of location-it all can be quite overwhelming. That’s why we’ve researched the 3 best neighborhood in Indianapolis for you, so you don’t have to (and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhop—your friendly Indianapolis movers).

We’ve examined what it’s like living in each of these highlighted neighborhoods. And we’ve created in-depth guides with insider scoops on close-by, popular destinations. Soon, you’ll be living like a local. Check out the 3 best neighborhoods the city of Indy has to offer. 

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A Little About Indianapolis and its Neighborhoods

This large mid-western city has made it onto the map of great places to live for a number of reasons. Extremely eclectic while friendly and inclusive, Indianapolis has won over the hearts of nearly one million people. Its large population is nothing compared to its size. The city spreads over nearly 375 square miles smack-dab in the middle of Indiana. 

Out of all the cities we’ve visited, Indianapolis emits some of the strongest city pride. Its creative culture is clearly seen in the city’s gorgeous and historic architecture, strong arts scene, and unique events. The city runs on a long list of interesting jobs related to the arts and the city’s culture. You’ll find anything from health care and philanthropy to quirky business ownership and Indy Car manufacturing. 

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Indy’s community focus outdoes many other cities in the country. Its welcoming and walkable streets are lined by one-of-a-kind, local-owned businesses where residents can enjoy a bit to eat and a cocktail with friends. The city is driven by active locals and leaders who have shown clearly how much they care about their community. Struggling neighborhoods and their communities have been carefully and thoughtfully rebuilt. And city-wide events support and promote the local economy.

Indianapolis is full of amazing places to live, like the cozy and friendly Herron-Morton neighborhood, Bates-Hendricks where the HGTV show Good Bones was based, or Lockerbie, downtown’s first historic district. With dozens of growing and popular Indy neighborhoods, you may be wondering where you should buy or rent. Look no further. Below we’ll describe the 3 best neighborhoods in Indianapolis to get you started on your search for your new home.

Fountain Square

In the 1950s, hoards of inner-city dwellers moved out of the city and into the suburbs, leaving Fountain Square nothing much more than an empty shell. Soon after, the area gained a reputation as an unsafe neighborhood. Despite its great location, just five minutes from the heart of Indy’s downtown, locals began to refer to Fountain Square as “a lost little valley.” 

But a few decades later, local merchants from throughout the city saw a vision for Fountain Square. They began moving their one-of-a-kind business visions into the area. The city leaders improved the infrastructure of the neighborhood, adding a school, a library, and safe green spaces. Fountain Square transformed from down and out to up and coming, and today, the neighborhood has become a burgeoning arts community. 

Now, this quirky neighborhood well deserves a place at the top of our list. The area is full of galleries, laid-back eateries, indie music venues, and craft cocktail bars. Today, Fountain Square is a favorite among local Indianapolis residents. The area is very livable and safe, and real estate investors have moved in, purchasing and rehabbing many of the homes in the area. 

Fountain Square residents enjoy their walkable access to a range of local restaurants. Modern Mexican hubs sit a few blocks away from neighborhood smokehouses. Live music, comedy clubs, and retro dance nights at the Fountain Square Theater offer locals plenty of nightlife options. Local shops sell house-made chocolates, comic books, and vinyl records. 

Located just southeast of downtown, this funky neighborhood is bordered by Fletcher Place and Holy Rosary. Constantly evolving, Fountain Square is an ideal place for living and working.  

Working artists sell musical instruments, clothing, fresh-cut flowers, and mead in their one-of-a-kind stores. 

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Some have compared it to a European village (thanks to its own town square and central fountain). Others have noted that Fountain Square is anything but square. All in all, quirky Fountain Square’s enticing entertainment, local food, and unique shops make it a great place to call home. 

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Old Northside

Sitting just a mile north and a few blocks east of downtown, Old Northside reins with aged elegance. This admired historic district is beautifully revitalized and preserved. In the late 1800s, this neighborhood emitted a sense of affluence and prestige. Politicians neighbored social, religious, and educational leaders throughout Old Northside. Residents have included figures like former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison. 

Old Northside saw its peak around 1913. But soon after, the world wars brought hardship to the area, and Old Northside saw a major decline. Half of its original houses were demolished, and the neighborhood didn’t see much help until the late 1970s. Revitalization efforts brought in new brick sidewalks. Many of the Victorian-era homes were renovated. New construction was designed to historically fit in and compliment the older homes. 

Today, this historic district still celebrates its rich past but through its current active and urban community. A blend of classic charm and urban edge has made Old Northside one of the most envied neighborhoods in the city. The neighborhood is full of historic and vibrant public spaces, art, and culture. Single-family homes sit a block away from cozy neighborhood apartments. Its location near the center of the city allows for its residents to enjoy easy commutes to the Circle. 

Old Northside is home to loved places like the Morris-Butler House Museum. This house hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year. In 1855, Butler University also made its beginnings here under the name North Western Christian University. Charming historic homes, Italianate and Queen Anne mansions fill each block. These beautiful homes and tree-lined streets are all part of Old Northside’s signature look.

Warm and inviting, Old Northside residents participate in local historic district social gatherings. Their location allows them to enjoy the city’s proudest amenities as well. Nearby, theaters, stadiums, museums, art galleries, sports arenas full the city’s downtown. This ideal location allows Old Northside residents to feel like an integral part of Indianapolis, making it naturally one of the best neighborhoods in Indianapolis.

Meridian Kessler

Meridian Kessler is located just four miles north of downtown Indianapolis. This historic neighborhood had its beginnings in the early 1890s. The area is both racially and socio-economically diverse. It offers a vast range of housing options, from smaller homes and vintage apartments to mansions. 

Today, nearly 18,000 people live in Meridian-Kessler. The area is incredibly foot-and-pup-friendly. Residents can be seen on sunny days going for jogs. Locals ride their bikes and walk the dog past friendly neighbors sitting on their front porches. Throughout the neighborhood, lawns are well-kept and homes are well-loved and maintained. 

Schools in the area offer friendly staff, talented teachers, and challenging programs. Many residents have reported that they’ve seen noticeable academic growth in their children. The neighborhood is known throughout the city for its unique housing variety and diversity. But locals also get to experience the area’s family-friendliness, nightlife, health and fitness, and easy commute.

With Meridian-Kessler’s great location, you’ll never be more than a few minutes away from some of the city’s greatest offerings. Family-friendly places sit closeby, like the Children’s Museum and the Indianapolis Zoo. Nearby amenities range from White River State Park to the Indianapolis Opera. The neighborhood offers several nearby parks. Holliday Park, Holcombe Gardens, Monon Trail, Canterbury, and Tarkington Park offer residents dozens of acres of green space, playgrounds, and miles of picturesque hiking trails.

A quick walk or bike ride can get locals to anything they’d need, which makes it not only one of the best neighborhoods in Indianapolis, but one of the most convenient. Meridian-Kessler is home to a variety of coffee shops, butcher shops, grocery stores, banks, and bakeries. Places like Next Door America Eatery, Upland Brewing, Cafe Patacou, and Kincaid’s Meat Market are some of the top picks in the area for dining and drinking. Residents don’t go hungry here, and they’d have to work hard to find themselves bored on a weekend. 

There you have it: the 3 best neighborhoods in Indianapolis!

Whether you enjoy the eclectic attitude of Fountain Square, the history behind Old Northside, or the convenience that Meridian Kessler brings – it’s easy to see why these are the 3 best neighborhoods in Indianapolis. We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhop. As we said, we coordinate local and long-distance moving services in Indianapolis, and we would love to help.

Harrison Stevens