Discover Cottage Home: a historic neighborhood in the heart of Indianapolis.

Exterior of houses in the Cottage Home neighborhood

Photo courtesy of IndyHub

The very first time I visited Cottage Home was when I toured the house that I now live in! My husband and I had previously rented a little bungalow in Fountain Square, just southeast of downtown Indianapolis. And we knew we wanted to remain close to downtown when we were ready to buy our first home. I also wanted to live in an old home that was well-loved and—of course—affordable, even in the city. 

As we arrived for our showing, our future neighbor was outside, happily sweeping the sidewalk of the house next door. Their home was nearly identical to the one we were touring but painted bright colors, with whimsical landscaping and cheerful garden ornaments. Seeing the beautiful neighborhood, I knew this was going to be our home before we even stepped inside the house. 

Once we finished the tour, we made an offer on the spot, even though I knew practically nothing about the neighborhood. I just knew that the community immediately felt like home! So, that night, I did a deep-dive Internet search and fell even more in love with my new neighborhood.

​Cottage Home is one of Indianapolis’ historic neighborhoods.

In my late-night research, I learned that Cottage Home has history! The area that we now know as Cottage Home was officially incorporated into the City of Indianapolis in 1870. Over the next few decades, the neighborhood quickly grew as a home for working class families due to its proximity to the railroad and industrial sites. By 1915, most of the construction in the area ended. So, the majority of the houses in Cottage Home were built in either Queen Anne or Folk Victorian style cottages.

Naturally, that’s where our neighborhood gets its name! Many of the homes and buildings here hold historical significance and have been carefully protected over the past century. My personal favorite is the Dorman Street Saloon—or “the hog”—one of the oldest bars in Indianapolis and a place that always feels like home. Rumor has it that John Dilinger even planned one of his bank heists there!

Cottage Home residents are serious about preserving our history.

Here in Cottage Home, we take historic conservation seriously. Two weeks before we moved in, Cottage Home hosted a neighborhood Home and Garden Tour. So, I was able to explore other homes in the neighborhood and see how well they have been cared for. 

There’s a home on Dorman Street that the owner—a well-known restaurant owner and caterer in Indy—bought through a tax sale for a nominal fee decades ago. (I think it was only like $500!) And I was delighted by how beautifully they had restored the house. They infused it with so many cozy, quirky elements that really preserved the character of their home. Personally, I think Dorman Street is a hidden gem and the most charming street in all of Indianapolis.

Join a community that’s passionate about home restoration.

Aside from the colorful facades of Dorman Street, I’ve also been recently following a blog written by my neighbors. My fellow Homies have been restoring their home for the last few years, and I get major heart eyes every time I see how well they’ve restored their home and maintained its charm! The kind of love they put into their home is the kind of love I think Cottage Home puts into our neighborhood.

For us, our house had its centennial year back in 2018, the year we bought it. Like many others in the neighborhood, our house has been well-cared for and restored over the last few decades. And now, we’re part of that legacy in caring for our historic home!

Cottage Home

Fun Facts

The Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission has recognized Cottage Home as a historic neighborhood and conservation district.

The one exception to the neighborhood’s cottage-style houses is the Ruskaup-Ratcliffe House, a brick mansion built in 1892.

The Cottage Home Neighborhood Association hosts a block party every fall, which NUVO has called the best block party in Indy.

Photo courtesy of IndyHub

Photo courtesy of IndyHub

Cottage Home is a community where neighbors come together.  

There are lots of organized community events in Cottage Home, but the fact is that people here just genuinely care about each other! There are so many long-time residents who have established Cottage Home as the vibrant, diverse, and friendly neighborhood that it is today. 

Since we moved in, I’ve developed a great relationship with my neighbors. We drop baked goods on each other’s front steps, their son helps with our dog, and they check my door to make sure it’s locked when I’ve left the house and forgotten to check. So, whenever I’m able to attend neighborhood events, it genuinely feels like everyone there is old friends with one another.

Host your own community events right in your neighborhood.

One of the unique things about Cottage Home is its fantastic community space. Our neighborhood has a picnic table shelter, a firepit, a playground, a vibrant mobile library filled with donated books, and even garden spaces for rent! The community playground was first added in 2017 as more families wanted a space for the kids to play close to home, and the neighborhood spent years raising the funds to build the shelter space for the residents. 

You can even rent the community space for an amazingly low rate—with an extra discount if you’re a Cottage Home Neighborhood Association (CHNA) member. We’ve seen some pretty charming weddings and events in the space, and I’m always trying to think of excuses to host an event there. Someday, I’ll make my dreams come true!

Celebrate at the annual Cottage Home Block Party.

Speaking of the CHNA, Cottage Home has one of the most active neighborhood boards in the city—where they do everything from raising funds to maintain our beautiful brick sidewalks, to representing the neighborhood in larger Indy initiatives, to planning events like the annual Cottage Home Block Party. 

Across the region, our neighborhood block party is widely known as the most epic block party in all of Indianapolis! Every fall, the residents of Cottage Home gather to decorate Dorman Street and the community garden with paper lanterns, handmade ghosts made by the local kiddos, hay bales, and string lights. And it is magical! 

Local artists and food, beer, and wine vendors all line the streets in their tents and food trucks, selling delicious food and beautiful arts and crafts—all while two live bands entertain the crowds for a night of fun and music for all tastes. It truly is my favorite event of the year. And I actively schedule around it so that I will never have to miss it!

Cottage Home offers convenient access to Indy’s greatest hotspots.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Cottage Home’s incredible location. We might not geographically be in the city’s center, but from my experience, Cottage Home is the place to be. Ever since we moved here, the areas around our neighborhood have been booming—both with new attractions and new residents.

Discover beautiful parks and breathtaking sites in every direction.

Firstly, I’ll highlight one of my favorite spots in the city: Highland Park. Just a few blocks south of Cottage Home is a beautiful grassy park with an incredible view of downtown and a great playground for the kiddos. It also faces west, and there’s nothing better than watching the sunset over the city. While you’re walking back, I’d recommend grabbing a beer at Rad Brewing in their incredible, dog-friendly outdoor space. Then, you can order a margherita pizza at King Dough—one of the best pizzas in the city.

To the north, you’ll find the Circle City Industrial Complex, a rapidly growing and evolving district with many local artisans. The area is lined with cute parks that are perfect for a picnic as well as great spots like the 8th Day Distillery and Center Point Brewing (which are both dog-friendly venues!)

On the east side of Cottage Home is Arsenal Tech High School, which boasts a stunning historic campus. And on the other side of the school is Woodruff Place, a breathtaking old neighborhood. Woodruff Place is full of whimsical fountains and statues, esplanades, and large, historic homes. Taking a walk through Woodruff Place is a must-do activity if you live in Indianapolis, and their annual flea market in the spring is another must-attend event for me every year.

Cottage Home is right next door to Indianapolis’ cultural districts.

Finally, saving the best for last, Cottage Home is next to the Mass Ave Cultural District. Mass Ave is the perfect spot for a day out on the town with dozens of incredible bars, restaurants, and shops to explore. Some of my favorite spots are Gordon’s Milkshakes, FortyFive Degrees (a sushi restaurant owned by a former Homie!), and The Ball & Biscuit—Indy’s original craft cocktail bar.

At the end of Mass Ave, you can also find the new Bottleworks District which opened in early 2021. Bottleworks is a mixed development inside of a historic Coca Cola bottling plant, an impressively preserved Art Deco style building. Now, it boasts attractions such as a boutique hotel, a hip food hall with a ton of local vendors, a posh movie theater, and space for many more shops and businesses in the future.

Walk Score

73

Bike Score

90

Nearby
Schools

  • Arsenal Technical High School 
  • Paramount School of Excellence Cottage Home
  • Herron High School 

Local
Restaurants

  • Dorman Street Saloon 
  • King Dough Pizza
  • Gordon’s Milkshakes

Local
Shops

  • Midland Arts & Antiques Market
  • Homespun: Modern Handmade
  • Badger and the Mouse Emporium

Nearby
Attractions

  • Monon Trail
  • Bottleworks District
  • Circle City Industrial Complex

Airport
Commute

  • 15 Miles from Indianapolis Airport
  • 20 Minute Drive 

Nearby
Dog Parks

  • Cottage Home Community Park
  • Highland Park
  • Polk St. Dog Park

Explore a walkable neighborhood in close proximity to downtown Indianapolis.

All of these spots are less than a 20-minute walk from my house—and easy to access no matter where in Cottage Home you live! Most of them are even closer, within ten minutes of our neighborhood.

We’re also only a short walk away from the center of downtown Indianapolis, which is home to many fast-growing companies and an exciting variety of things to do. The downtown area offers a bustling nightlife, world-class sports games, national conventions, and amazing concerts featuring both local and global performers. I’ve worked downtown ever since I’ve lived in Indianapolis, and most days I walk or bike to work as long as the weather is nice. 

Cottage Home is interconnected and easily accessible.

If walking isn’t your jam, we’re also a quick bike ride or drive away from literally anything else in Indianapolis. You can easily hop onto the I-465 interstate loop to travel in any direction, and the Indianapolis Airport (which is consistently rated as one of the best airports in the country) is less than 20 minutes away. From Cottage Home, you can also explore The Cultural Trail or the Monon Trail, which connects you with the rest of the region. Those paths will easily take you anywhere from Fountain Square to Broad Ripple or even up north to cities like Carmel.

And truly, everything I’ve shared just brushes the surface of the attractions nearby Cottage Home—by foot, bike, or car. After all, one of the perks of living in the Crossroads of America is easy accessibility to Indianapolis and all the amenities the city has to offer.

Photo courtesy of IndyHub

Cottage Home is a genuine neighborhood made for caring people.

As you can see, the things I learned about in my initial research have all become exciting, memorable experiences since we’ve lived in Cottage Home! I’ve gotten to explore the neighborhood and truly become part of the community. I could walk around for hours admiring the whimsical, eclectic gardens that line the street. And I can’t imagine a better place to be than Cottage Home. 

Here, I get to live in a beautiful, historic neighborhood with my own century-old, cottage-style home. We’re surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city, and I’m in walking distance from my downtown job. But Cottage Home never feels like you’re living in a crowded city. At its heart, our neighborhood is a genuine community full of kind, creative, and welcoming people who make this place feel like home.