Jason is a co-owner at Songbird Media Group in Indianapolis. He has lived on the Southside of Indianapolis for almost 20 years and loves exploring the beautiful sites and amenities around Garfield Park. In his free time, Jason co-hosts a podcast called Vinyl Ventures and sees live music as often as possible.
Welcome to the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood on the Southside of Indianapolis.
Just south of downtown Indianapolis, Bates-Hendricks is a neighborhood nestled comfortably between the hustle and bustle of Old Southside to the west and Fountain Square to the east. The neighborhood is named in honor of Hervey Bates, the first Sheriff of Marion County, and Thomas Hendricks, an Indiana Governor who became the United States Vice President. And the historic Bates-Hendricks House still stands as an architectural landmark.
Unlike many downtown neighborhoods, Bates-Hendricks is a largely residential space, with street after street lined with one- and two-story houses. As you walk through the neighborhood, you’ll see that the homes here are strikingly unique, and no two houses look quite the same. We may not have a major cultural district or shopping center. But Bates-Hendricks is located in the heart of it all.
When we bought our home back in 2004, I was not cognizant of neighborhood trends or statistics—not in Indy and certainly not anywhere else. All I knew was that our two-bedroom cottage was a diamond in the rough, a place that felt like home even in the heart of the busy city. I loved that house, the sights from the street, and all the genuinely welcoming and friendly neighbors. Little did I know that we’d still be here almost 20 years later—and still love our neighborhood.
Bates-Hendricks is a convenient neighborhood for those on the go.
Commute time is always an important consideration when choosing a home, and one of the most attractive things about Bates-Hendricks is how centrally located it is. Our neighborhood offers the perfect balance of residential living within minutes of the city’s busiest communities. From your front yard, you can easily walk, bike, or drive to downtown Indianapolis and all of its amenities.
And we’re located right on the intersection between I-70 and I-65, giving you quick interstate access wherever you’re heading. They don’t call Indiana the Crossroads of America for nothing, and our close proximity to I-465 loop makes your commute through the Indy region convenient and seamless.
My wife and I love the opportunity to do so many things in and around the neighborhood. And because we’re so close to the city center, we have plenty of options for what to do, where to go, and how to get there. We’re just a short bike ride away from Lucas Oil Stadium and tailgating with friends before a Colts game. A quick drive, and we’re in Fountain Square for a shopping trip and dinner date. And we can even hop on electric rental scooters to get to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and see the Pacers.
Bates-Hendricks is a growing neighborhood on the move.
Around the city, Bates-Hendricks is known for having an active neighborhood association committed to revitalization and beautification. Many of the neighborhood’s older homes along New Jersey, Alabama, and East Street have been in need of some tender, loving care. But the revitalization efforts have restored their historic beauty and transformed Bates-Hendricks into a bright, bustling community.
The HGTV show Good Bones has actually featured a great deal of this revitalization. You can watch hosts Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk remodel and rehabilitate the old homes around Indianapolis. And they’ve put their money where their mouths are and opened a business here in Bates-Hendricks. Their home furnishings store Two Chicks District Co. offers home decor, apparel, and a variety of other goods as well as a store-front bistro to dine in.
The community’s efforts to not only drive revitalization but also encourage economic development have made Bates-Hendricks an even better place to live. In the past, Bates-Hendricks has received the national Keep America Beautiful Award and ranked third in Neighborhoods USA’s Best Neighborhood in the Nation list. Now, our neighborhood is a prime candidate for people wanting to move closer to downtown Indianapolis.
In 1821, the neighborhood’s first land sale took place, eventually establishing the Bates-Hendricks House Estate. This site is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.
In the 1890s, a large German population began to settle in what is now the Bates-Hendricks Neighborhood. This prompted churches, grocery stores, and small businesses to follow suit.
In 1900, John Hook opened the first Hook’s Drug Store at the corner of South East and Prospect Streets. Hook’s flourished into a chain of more than 50 stores and eventually was acquired by CVS Pharmacy.
Get a taste of Bates-Hendricks at our local restaurants.
While our neighborhood is mostly residential, we do have a number of restaurants tucked between our historic homes. These small businesses are local favorites here in Bates-Hendricks and great places to grab a bite with friends.
For lunch options, Tex Mex Taqueria is the way to go! Don’t let it fool you just because it shares its property with a gas station. Tex Mex is an unpretentious and delicious mexican restaurant and grocery store, specializing in tacos, tortas, and other mexican favorites. They may be carry-out only, but we’re all used to that these days.
For a quick snack and a cup of coffee to get you through the day, the Lincoln Lane Coffee Co. features beans roasted by Calvin Fletcher’s and baked goods from Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse. At the intersection of Lincoln and East Street, Lincoln Lane is a quaint little coffee shop that offers an array of drinks and pastries at a great price.
And if you’re still hungry later on, Indy All Night has you covered. Indy All Night is an eatery that specializes in delivering food to Indianapolis and the surrounding area. Menu items range from salads to appetizers and sandwiches. So, if you’re craving a fresh pizza after midnight, as the name says, they’re open all night.
Grab a drink after work at our bars and pubs.
The 1718 Bates-Hendricks Housebar is exactly what the name says—a bar located in a 120-year-old house. At first glance, the bar and restaurant blends right in to the surrounding neighborhood. But from the outside, you can see people eating and drinking on their heated patio space. The bar offers a wide array of wines, beers, and cocktails as well as at least 50 whiskeys to choose from. And a limited selection of soups and sandwiches rounds out the menu at this quirky and unique establishment.
Just across the way, you’ll find the Bowhaus Tap Bar. This “dive bar” was renovated back in 2020, but it still retains its heart, soul, and style. The bar openly welcomes both first-time customers and their motorcycle-riding regulars to come in and grab a beer. With friendly folks, affordable drinks, and a hip local atmosphere, the Bowhaus Tap is a great place for karaoke nights or a quick drink after a long day.
- James A. Garfield School 31
- SENSE Charter School
- Bowhaus Tap Bar
- Indy All Night
- 1718 Bates-Hendricks Housebar
- Two Chicks District Co.
- Lincoln Lane Coffee Co.
- Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens
- Indianapolis Cultural Trail
- MacAllister Amphitheater at Garfield Park
- 10 Miles from Indianapolis Airport
- 20 Minute Drive
- The Dog Park at Immanuel
- Garfield Park
Explore the beautiful parks and trails around Bates-Hendricks.
Throughout the neighborhood, you can find many trails and pathways to connect you with the city. The Pleasant Run Greenway is a seven-mile pedestrian and bike trail that runs alongside Pleasant Run Creek. The trail begins up at Ellenberger Park in the Irvington Historic District, runs through Christian Park on the Southeast side of Indianapolis, and concludes at the beautiful Garfield Park.
My wife and I have spent many mornings and afternoons biking and walking along this scenic trail. Because it follows the same path as Pleasant Run Parkway and their namesake creek, the trail’s twists and turns make for a great workout and an invigorating nature-filled stroll.
A few miles north of Bates-Hendricks, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail connects all six of the city’s cultural districts, making it easy to explore downtown Indy. The Cultural Trail is an eight-mile multi-use trail and one of the city’s most iconic amenities. You can hop on a bike in Fountain Square and travel all the way to the north end of Mass Ave.
Tours of The Cultural Trail are offered on Saturdays between April and October, and they are a fantastic way to explore what Indy has to offer, while enjoying many public art pieces along the way.
Garfield Park is a hidden gem just south of Indianapolis.
Just half a mile south of Bates-Hendricks sits Garfield Park, one of the true gems of Indianapolis. Visiting the park is one of our favorite things about living here, and I highly recommend that you check it out whenever you’re in the area.
The park first opened as Southern Park back in 1876, but it was re-named for President James Garfield after his assassination. With over a century of history, the park’s 128 acres of gardens and amenities have been carefully preserved and protected for decades.
Garfield Park is a beautiful destination for active adults and families alike, offering many activities for all of its visitors. One of the main attractions at Garfield Park is the Sunken Gardens, European-style formal gardens originally designed by renown landscape architect George Kessler. These three acres of greenspace are replanted three times a year to delight visitors with its seasonal displays.
On the park grounds, the MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts hosts a variety of plays, concerts, and performances during the warmer months. You can walk through the rainforest at the Conservatory, featuring tropical plants and a 15-foot-tall granite waterfall. And the Arts Center offers exhibitions and classes for the local community.
The park also boasts an outdoor pool, picnic shelters, tennis courts, and a walking trail. So, if you’re looking for things to do outside, Garfield Park is a must-visit destination!
Explore beautiful pockets of greenspace throughout the neighborhood.
Bates-Hendricks is also home to small parks nestled between the neighborhood’s city streets.
Downtown Indianapolis’ first ever off-leash dog park is located right here in the neighborhood, offering a much-needed place for our four-legged friends. The Dog Park at Immanuel was created through a unique partnership between Indy Dog Park Co. and the Immanuel United Church of Christ. Now, you can access the park for a nominal yearly fee and bring up to three dogs out to play.
Hendricks Park is a small park on the western edge of the community built back in 2002. The park offers a pavilion for small events and a taste of nature for those times when heading to one of the larger parks in the area is not an option. You can also admire Lars Jonker’s abstract sculpture “Play” while you visit.
Meanwhile, the tiny Ringgold Park is a spot of greenspace right next to the interstate. This mini-park was originally built in the early 1900s and was relocated to make way for the construction of I-65. In 2015, a Keep Indianapolis Beautiful project began to help revitalize the park’s playground equipment and create a habitat for native flora and fauna.
Bates-Hendricks is a neighborhood that invests in its community.
As I reflect on the time that we’ve spent living, growing, and learning in Bates-Hendricks, I realize it’s no accident that my wife and I are still here. Our neighborhood allows us to be close to downtown Indianapolis while still retaining the small community feel we want in a home.
We love being a part of a diverse neighborhood, particularly in the face of so much revitalization and economic development. Over the years, it has been a delight watching Bates-Hendricks transform into a vibrant community of like-minded individuals. The changes here have managed to seem both constant and invisible. But it takes so much work, commitment, planning, and money to improve a neighborhood on this scale.
If you’re looking to be a part of a community that builds community—a neighborhood that looks out for its own and takes pride in its ascent, then look no further than Bates-Hendricks.