Sadah is a local performer and resident of Fountain Square. When they aren’t putting on a drag show as BeelzeBabe or checking out the latest events, they’re still keeping busy! During the week, Sadah works in exotic animal medicine and does activities such as aerial hoops and yoga. And at the end of the day, you can find them cooking at home with fresh products they found right in their neighborhood!
Fountain Square is a hub of creativity and culture in Indianapolis.
Photo courtesy of Indy Hub
When you want to experience life in the city without the downtown bustle, Fountain Square is the place to be. Fountain Square is a neighborhood just south of downtown Indianapolis and one of the city’s six cultural districts. I’d describe my home as a welcoming hive of lights and activities with places you will fall in love with around every corner.
On my days off, I enjoy taking a morning walk up and down the quiet streets before the shops have a chance to open. You’ll see young professionals on their way to work and dedicated pet owners taking their dogs on their morning runs. Then, as stores around the neighborhood begin to flip their signs to open, the locals start to emerge.
Fountain Square is a great place to spend a day in the city. There are so many opportunities to support local businesses, enjoy live events, or just explore a bike trail! And this part of the city thrives on its nightlife community. Weekends and weekdays alike, there is always something to do after the sun goes down. Residents here love to take advantage of the surrounding amenities as often as they can!
Fountain Square is in the heart of Indianapolis.
Here in Fountain Square, we enjoy being able to complete our mid-day errands all in one place. The shops in our neighborhood are diverse—from local farm sources to handmade goods made by artisans who live in Indy! As you walk down Virginia Avenue, you can see the iconic buildings of the Indianapolis skyline straight ahead.
Virginia is one of the main roads that makes getting downtown feel like waltzing into your own backyard. Those major streets stretch across Fountain Square and connect our neighborhood to the rest of the city. By design, the district is well surrounded by exits to the interstate and IndyGo bus stops for public transit. This offers a quick morning commute and makes getting to other parts of the city a breeze!
Fountain Square is only two miles from Monument Circle, the very center of downtown Indianapolis. When folks ask me to come out to a new restaurant or a bar in the city, I can confidently tell them “I will be right there!” After all, I know I am never more than a few miles away. Living here gives residents all the benefits of the downtown experience without the obstacles of inner-city living.
Fountain Square is a vibrant shopping district with unique small businesses.
Being a part of the Fountain Square community is like feeling the heartbeat in your hug—you can feel the love! When you shop in the area, people here will remember your order and your face. Often, you’ll see folks walking around to their favorite coffee shop or stopping to pick up a fresh loaf of bread for dinner that night. If you are someone who enjoys a scenic stroll while picking up a bottle of wine, this is the part of Indianapolis for you!
Some places I really enjoy during the day are shops like Wine Market and Wildwood. Both of these stores can be found close together down Virginia Avenue. The kind associates at Wine Market are always so knowledgeable when it comes to their wine selection, and I’m always happy with their recommendations. I love popping in to pick up a bottle of my partner’s favorite wine as well as something new to try!
Wildwood is a charming grocery store focused on supporting small businesses. There you will find locally made products as well as fresh produce and flowers! For me, it’s my favorite place to pick up cherry firewood. Then, if you continue your stride down the street, you will find Amelia’s Bakery. Amelia’s is another small business focused on offering freshly made breads and pastries. My household is always sure to keep a loaf of Focaccia bread around each week!
And as you begin to frequent the shops in our neighborhood, they will start recognizing you and offering familiarity in return! Now, I can walk into local shops and know they already have my interests in mind.
Our neighborhood offers many delicious restaurants within a short walk.
As the day goes along, my partner and I like to meet up with friends around town. There are so many amazing spots within walking distance to grab some food. Whether you are a meat-lover or a vegetarian like me, you and your group will be happy almost anywhere you decide to order your lunch.
With multiple restaurants, spacious outdoor seating, and menus catered to diet restrictions, Fountain Square makes you want to go out more! There are even restaurants like Three Carrots and Pure Eatery that cater to meat-free diets and other similar preferences.
There are also a myriad of Mexican restaurants within Fountain Square alone and well-known, privately-owned places, such as Kuma’s Corner! Kuma’s is a renowned restaurant and bar that regularly hosts live music concerts. They originated in Chicago, and Fountain Square was the first place they expanded to outside of Illinois. The owners felt that this part of Indianapolis was special and worth breaking ground outside of their home state.
Fountain Square was the first commercial historic district in Indiana.
There are small artworks and installations scattered around Fountain Square! You can find a hidden box where you can take or leave art as well as “fairy houses” along the sidewalks.
Fountain Square doesn’t have a Homeowner’s Association, which allows us to create a truly one-of-a-kind neighborhood.
Fountain Square is a creative and eco-friendly community.
In Fountain Square, it’s the people that make our neighborhood the unique place it is. Our residents range from young creatives who are new to the area to multi-generational families who have been here for years. And for those long-term members of the community, they deeply care about preserving the culture of our historic community.
As you navigate around the neighborhood, you will see that there’s so much more to see than just one strip of attention-grabbing stores. Fountain Square is made up of many small oases within the city. You’ll find that the people here truly love arts and music, always coming out for the events and festivals that breathe life into our streets. And if you travel down Shelby Street, you can explore Garfield Park or start walking on Pleasant Run Trail.
Residents here also value keeping things green. When I have more in my recycling bin than I have room for, I take my large boxes to the public recycling drop-off found in Garfield Park. There are also bikes available for rental use all throughout the district, as well as used book drop-off sites. These sites look like small houses, freely standing like a mailbox. When you get closer, you can look behind the glass door and see the books left by our neighbors. All of those books are free to take, and we encourage people to pay it forward and leave your used books in the future!
Our neighborhood is entertainment central.
Fountain Square loves hosting events for the public! In years past, we have had the privilege of experiencing events like Art Squared, the neighborhood’s largest annual art event. People can enter art competitions, explore the art fair, and enjoy a parade through the streets!
In September 2019, we also loved going to BUZZ Cut, the first completely queer-organized festival for the community. And that’s just one example of the passion and unity this district strives for. We like to keep things lively and exciting for our residents!
There are also multiple performance venues throughout the district, always with some type of show to catch! Each venue caters to a different kind of experience, varying from burlesque shows, written word performances, drag shows, and much more! The entertainment community in Indianapolis is very diverse and vibrant, and that’s especially true in Fountain Square.
Even if you didn’t purchase tickets for a show, you can often watch musicians and performers using the plaza’s open spaces for a quick jam. I can recall many nights where my partner would be coming home down Shelby Street only to spot people dancing in the plaza. And we’ve sometimes pulled over just to join!
People who live in Fountain Square are usually people who have experienced the rhythm of our community. You can only witness those gold nuggets of celebration if you take the time to immerse yourself while visiting.
Is Fountain Square the neighborhood for you?
Fountain Square is a vibrant place with creative folks, and the charm of our neighborhood is in its energy. The people you find here focus on maintaining their environment and creating a space with something for everyone. The local artists, volunteers, and families alike all value their neighbors and our community’s culture.
There is nothing like living in Fountain Square when you are a Hoosier. With resources like the Indianapolis Cultural Trail for scooter riding and the Red Line for rapid transit, you can experience a lot in just one day! But you can still capture some peace and quiet here. We love our calm afternoons sitting on the porch and evening slow drives. And I love knowing I am close to everything, with just enough distance to feel like I can escape from the city noise.
Our community also loves our artistic murals and unique infrastructure. With only a few tall buildings, Fountain Square has plenty of sunshine throughout the day. The center of the district is beautiful at both sunset and sunrise, as the sun makes the fountains shine. Then, of course, at night, you can see all the flashing lights and neon signs. The town seamlessly transforms from a small European plaza during the day to a retro nightlife spot after sun down. Even the fountains follow suit, turning on their nighttime glow!
- William McKinley Elementary School
- Henry Longfellow Middle School
- Kuma’s Corner
- Pure Eatery
- Rooftop Garden
- Zodiac Vintage
- String Theory
- White Rabbit Cabaret
- Fountain Square Theater
- 15 Miles from Indianapolis Airport
- 20 Minute Drive
- The Dog Park at Immanuel
- Garfield Park
Fountain Square is a place where I feel free to be me.
I did not grow up in this area. I am not even an Indiana native. However, I was living on the eastside of Indianapolis long before I ever moved here. After enduring a few years of long commutes, I wanted to find a place closer to the city. My journey started with a home deep within the center of Indianapolis. But not long after moving, I discovered that Fountain Square was always where I wanted to be.
I would make excuses in my day, coming up with reasons to go there. Fountain Square was the place I thrived as I was coming out of college. I found kind and welcoming folks. I made numerous friends and gained a lot of support as a queer performer in the city. And it meant a lot to find that as a young person starting out somewhere new. So, know that there is always a place for you here if you are willing to look for it.
Even if Fountain Square isn’t your forever home, it will always be a place where you can bring your friends and make memories. This is where you come for once-in-a-lifetime shows and performances. At night, groups of people migrate from bar to show and show to restaurant, dancing from one destination to the next.
Meanwhile, residents can join in or stay home, away from all the noise. With a controlled area for the late-night crowd, you would never guess that your relaxed home was only blocks away from the action. On a summer evening, all you hear are the soft clicks of native brown bats and starlings flying by. So, whatever your lifestyle, you can find your comfort here in Fountain Square.
Photo courtesy of Ron Shelnutt