Famous for racing, basketball and as Peyton Manning’s former home, Indianapolis is a beacon of the national sports scene. Yet for all of the big events of which it has recently played host – from the NFL Super Bowl to the NCAA Final Four – Indy has enjoyed a rise in profile without losing its Midwestern charm. Its city center is one of our Top 10 Best Downtowns with growing pockets of neighborhood nightlife in its nearby suburbs. Indianapolis has become more than just “The Crossroads of America” – it has become a destination for both for tourists and permanent residents alike. If you're looking to relocate outside the downtown, here are some great options.
Located due north of Indianapolis, Carmel is perhaps the best-known Indianapolis suburb. Carmel (pop. 83,889) boasts a median household income of $103,607 and has recently undertaken massive public projects like the Arts and Design District and the Carmel Center of Performing Arts. Residents find plenty of things to do in Carmel. Major companies (CNO Financial Group, Delta Faucet and more) make national headquarters in the city and a $24.5-million Monon Community Center has expanded family fitness activity options. The center connects to the 15.6-mile Monon Trail/Greenway that travels as far south as the west side of Indianapolis’ downtown district. The best restaurants in Carmel offer stylish menus and comforting creations.
Another suburb to the north, Fishers has experienced extreme growth in the past two decades. Now rivaling that of nearby Carmel, Fishers offers many of the same benefits of its Hamilton County neighbor. Schools in Fishers are considered some of the best in the state. Hospitals in Fishers provide state of the art care and have continually added services. Fishers housing options range from apartment communities to multimillion dollar properties that line the shore of the town’s Geist Reservoir. Fishers has a thriving arts and cultural scene. The nearby Klipsch Music Center draws top concert acts to the large open-air venue all summer long, while the Connor Prairie Interactive History Park recreates daily 19th-century Indiana life. Top restaurants in Fishers draw diners from across the region.
This Hendricks County town (pop. 21,285) shares a border with Indianapolis’ northwest corner – about 20 driving minutes from downtown. It features top-notch schools that routinely score well above the state average in graduation. The tight-knit community has recently seen an influx of companies in the motor sports industry and looks primed for continued growth. To the east, Brownsburg borders Indianapolis’ Eagle Creek Park that offers a 1,400-acre lake for fishing and sailing plus 3,900 acres of forest for hiking, birding and even zip lines.
Greenwood sits due south of Indianapolis. It’s the home to the Greenwood Park Mall that anchors a sprawling shopping and dining corridor along US Highway 31. Recently, the city has grown its job base as a hub for warehousing and fulfillment industries that are taking advantage of its location along Interstate 65. Greenwood is also the closest Indy suburb to Southern Indiana destinations like Brown County State Park, as well as the sprawling Camp Atterbury that serves as the training base of the Indiana National Guard.
Perhaps the Indy suburb with the most small-town vibe thanks to its historic downtown, Zionsville (pop. 14,160) serves primarily as a bedroom community just eight miles from Indianapolis city center. Every school in the town’s public school corporation has received a Four Star designation, and more than 45 percent of the town’s households have children under 18. A Saturday farmers market in the historic downtown village has been popular for nearly 20 years.
Continuing the theme of Indianapolis’ booming suburban growth, Westfield now serves as home to more than 30,000 residents to the north of Indianapolis. The city has been aggressive with annexation to build its borders and is currently engaging in a revitalization of its quaint downtown. Westfield is also nearing completion of Grand Park, a massive 400-acre youth sports campus geared to attract 1.5-million visitors a year. With urban shopping and dining to its south and rural areas to its north, Westfield offers something for any lifestyle.