In this edition of the Euroculture City Guides, Hannah Vos (American), who recently finished her second semester at the university of Olomouc, will give you an insight into life in the American city of Indianapolis – state capital of Indiana – where she studied her undergraduate degree before Euroculture.
The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers.
Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city?
Hannah Vos (HV): Although I did not study in Indianapolis (also called “Indy”) for the Euroculture Master’s programme, I spent two years working on my undergraduate degree there. I chose Indy because, although it is the capital of Indiana, it has a great blend of small-town vs city life.
EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?
HV: One of my favorite things was hanging out in Broad Ripple, a small village north of downtown, on nice fall days. There are plenty of coffee shops, bars, and restaurants down there which are great. Possibly my least favorite part is the lack of public transportation, but right at the beginning of the coronavirus a new bus line opened, and I believe they are planning on building more in the future. So, although you have to be a little creative if you don’t have a car, all-in-all it’s a great place to be.
EM: If you were in the city for 1 day as a tourist, what would you certainly do?
HV: I would try to go to a Colts game or Pacers game depending on the season, and then go bar hopping! The Colts are in the NFL and the Pacers are in the NBA. They are both a huge part of the Indy culture, so going to those games is really great. The best place to go bar hopping is either Mass Ave or Broad Ripple, in my opinion. I would also try to visit Newfields (an art museum) and, if it’s around Christmas time, try to go see Christmas light displays around the city. But, if you’re in town during the Indiana State Fair you simply have to go there. It’s typically for a few weeks in August. I don’t think you could find somewhere with more stereotypical Midwest American culture than there…plus they have yummy food, petting zoos, and live music!
EM: Do you have recommendations on nice places in the surroundings of the city to take daytrips to?
HV: Yes! Chicago is only about three hours away. That’s a great city to visit. But my favorite by far is Brown County, Indiana. There, they have a great small town with all sorts of locally crafted treats and gifts, and an incredible national park. I highly recommend this, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing colors.
EM: What would you consider the best local dishes and which places serve them best?
HV: Well, there are all sorts of restaurants in Indianapolis. US Americans really love our breakfast, though. There aren’t really local dishes, per say, but Ripple Bagel and Deli have amazing breakfast sandwiches (like bacon, egg, cheese, and different veggies on a bagel). They have a huge menu and a list of sandwiches. Definitely go there. I also really like Broad Ripple Brew Pub! They have a great selection of food, like fish and chips, and local beer on tap. Another great place is Three Sister’s Café. They also have veg. options, and Guy Fieri actually visited and recommends that place as well!
EM: Do you have some recommendations of good restaurants for vegans and vegetarians and other special diets?
HV: Yes, there are some very yummy options for that! Most restaurants have at least some options, but if you want a dedicated place there’s Esther’s in Broad Ripple and in Fountain Square (another neighborhood) there’s Three Carrots. They’re amazing.
EM: Where would you go to have a drink or on a night out with friends?
HV: Like I previously said, the best plan is to go bar hopping on Mass Ave (downtown Indy) and Broad Ripple. You could also do that in Fountain square, but I have not personally.
EM: How do the prices of the city compare with the one you were in for your other semester? What were some of the cheaper goods and what were some of the more expensive goods? (e.g food, museums, public transport)
HV: [Because I was living with my sister it was much different, plus I was still paying a lot for school which EC people do not have to pay I imagine.]
Well, in Bilbao I rarely took public transportation. I walked everywhere unless I was with a group of friends or going outside the city. Hence, in that sense living in Indianapolis was much more expensive because I had to pay for gas and car maintenance, which really adds up. Compared with Bilbao, living was much more expensive for me as well, but that is because my sister and I had a nice apartment to ourselves, whereas in Bilbao I shared student housing with a few other people.
EM: Which websites/sources did you use to find an apartment in the city and what tips would you give to someone moving in the city?
HV:I would definitely recommend going to events on campus and making friends at bars. There are lots of different groups and clubs around Indy, so I would just recommend searching on Google, Reddit, or Meetup to try and find something to your liking (for example, language exchange).
EM: In short, to whom would you recommend choosing your city as an Euroculture semester destination?
HV: I would suggest it to anyone who would like to learn about US culture and wants to expand their comfort zone! It is a great place to live, but it will be only what you make of it.
Picture Credit: Jon Ball, Flickr