LaMar is an Indy native and an award-winning public relations practitioner. He began his career as a TV news reporter, working across the country in Illinois, Texas, and Indiana. With that experience, LaMar became a skilled PR and Communications professional serving in corporate, non-profit, and government sectors. Now, he serves as the Regional Communications Director for the American Red Cross, CEO of the Holliday Collaborative Agency, and the President of the Kennedy King Neighborhood Association.
Welcome to Kennedy-King: A Hidden Gem on the Northside of Indianapolis.
What makes a place feel like home? A phenomenal park. Top-notch trails. Bustling bars on the block. An honored community history. All of these elements make Indianapolis a spectacular city, beloved by those near and far. But they truly come together in one of our best local neighborhoods: a hidden gem called Kennedy-King.
Just a blink of an eye from Downtown Indianapolis, Kennedy-King gives you the best of both worlds. Our neighborhood has all the convenience of city life, including nearby bars, clubs, restaurants, and festivities. But we’re far enough away from downtown to create a sense of community. Kennedy-King has a tight-knit atmosphere that you feel the moment you join our neighborhood.
When I moved back to Indiana in April 2015, I knew I needed to find a community where I could belong. I’d traveled the country during my career as a TV news reporter, and I looked forward to finding a new place in Indy. After I found a house on Zillow, I drove over to Kennedy-King to see the neighborhood in person—and it was perfect.
Six years later, I’m still in bliss over my new home! Kennedy-King continues to grow year after year, bringing new people and cultures to our neighborhood. And it never takes long for our new neighbors to fall in love with Kennedy-King, just like I did.
Kennedy-King is a beautiful neighborhood with a historic past.
April 4, 1968, is a day that lives on in infamy—a day when our nation was forever changed by two men more than 460 miles apart. On that day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, and Senator Robert Kennedy gave an unforgettable speech announcing the tragic news.
At the time, Kennedy was in Indianapolis, preparing to give a speech for his presidential campaign. Instead, he stood at the corner of 17th and Broadway and spoke about MLK’s legacy. In his speech, Kennedy encouraged people to overcome hatred, to make an effort to understand each other, and to live as MLK did—fighting for love and justice.
Though it was a heartrending day, our neighborhood stands as a monument to this moment. We named the Martin Luther King Jr. Park in honor of his legacy and built a beautiful memorial on the south end of the park.
In fact, the Landmark for Peace Memorial is an official National Commemorative Site! The memorial depicts Kennedy and King reaching out to one another, stretching their arms over the walkway. Their outstretched hands will never touch, but they symbolize the importance of reaching for peace.
While you’re at the park, you can also visit the Park Center to learn about our history. The center highlights the progress of African Americans and how minority communities contribute to our city. It’s a perfect way to honor King, Kennedy, and our neighbors who make Indianapolis a better, more inclusive place to live.
Famous comedian and actor Mike Epps is from Kennedy-King.
Our staple neighborhood restaurant, Kountry Kitchen, was featured on Food Network’s Top 5 Restaurants.
The memorial in our local park is designated a National Commemorative Site by the National Park Service.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park is the heart of our neighborhood.
Speaking of our park, the Martin Luther King Jr. Park is the perfect place for summer picnics and afternoon walks. Our neighborhood greenspace is a hidden gem tucked away between 17th and 21st Street—with 14 acres of parkland to explore. I promise we’re not trying to hide it from anyone, but sometimes it’s nice to know there’s a secret treasure in your backyard!
I often stroll along the wonderful trails throughout the park, listening to the sounds of children making memories on the playground. On hot summer days, families go for a dip in the community pool and play on the splash pad. And if shooting hoops is more your speed, then you can claim your bragging rights on the newly renovated basketball court!
During the Indy Parks Summer Concert Series, you can listen to live music or even watch movies down at the amphitheater. Neighbors always fill the concert lawn with chairs and picnic blankets, enjoying snacks and refreshments as they nod, clap, and stomp their feet to the beat.
When I tell you this park has it all, it truly does. But in the words of LaVar Burton, you don’t have to take my word for it. You’re welcome to come and join us for some summer fun!
Kennedy-King runs alongside the Monon Trail.
If you’re a biker, runner, or a walker, then look no further than Kennedy-King! Many of our neighbors go for quick jogs on the trails in the Martin Luther King Jr. Park. You can even catch people skateboarding and rollerblading on a nice day! But for all the serious hikers and bikers out there, there’s only one trail you’ve got to know: the Monon Trail.
The Monon stretches across the Indy region with 25 miles of paved pathways. This iconic trail was once part of a railroad that connected Indianapolis to Chicago and Louisville, but now, it’s one of the most popular trails in the state. The Monon Trail marks the east boundary of the Kennedy-King neighborhood, connecting us with a robust network of trails, parks, and surrounding attractions.
The Monon starts in Indianapolis at 10th Street and runs all the way north to Sheridan, passing through neighborhoods like Broad Ripple, Carmel, and Westfield. So, you can easily bike to the Cultural Trail, the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the Palladium, or any of the restaurants, parks, and coffee shops along the way.
Don’t have a bike? No worries, we’ve got you covered there, too! Thanks to the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare program, you can easily rent a bike at the kiosk on the corner of 16th Street and the Monon. The rideshare bikes cost $1 a ride—plus 15 cents for each minute you bike. But you can also get an annual pass for unlimited 60-minute trips!
- Center for Inquiry School 27
- Herron High School
- The Oaks Academy
- Kountry Kitchen
- West Fork Whiskey
- Scarlett Lane Gastropub
- Deep Rooted Woodworks
- Iris Rosa Dance Studio
- Provider Coffee & Cocktail Lounge
- Monon Trail
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park
- O’Bannon Soccer Park
- 12 Miles from Indianapolis Airport
- 20 Minute Drive
Kennedy-King has delicious local restaurants right in our backyard.
One of the best parts about Kennedy-King is that we’re right next door to Indy’s top pubs and restaurants. Our neighborhood is just minutes away from the downtown dining scene, as well as our own local restaurants and eateries.
If you’re looking for a place where famous actors, politicians, and musicians have dined, then look no further than Kountry Kitchen! This soul food staple is a well-known destination right in the heart of Kennedy-King. In 2016, the Food Network named Kountry Kitchen one of the best soul food restaurants in America—but it takes the number one spot for me!
There’s nothing like driving down College Avenue after work, windows down and smelling the Kountry Kitchen crew whip up some comfort food. My favorite plate is their chicken wings with collard greens, candied yams, and mac and cheese. But they have many other delicious options!
Unfortunately, the original Kountry Kitchen restaurant burned down in January 2020, but they plan to reopen at their original location in Spring 2023! In the meantime, they serve to-go meals at their temporary location just five minutes away.
Now, if you’re looking for a healthier option, let me introduce you to Pure-Trition. Right on the corner of 20th and College Street, this juice and smoothie bar is organic, locally-sourced, 100% plant-based, and made with love! When I need a good detox or a healthy alternative, this is my go-to spot for smoothies, acai bowls, salads, and more. My favorite is their Sesame Ginger Spring salad with the Pure Passion juice—and best of all, they’re affordable! So, I don’t have to feel like I’m breaking the bank every time I want a healthy meal.
Grab a drink at one of our friendly neighborhood bars.
Once you’ve explored our restaurants, I recommend heading over to one of the neighborhood bars with their Cheers-style, everybody-knows-your-name vibe. Scarlet Lane Gastropub and West Fork Whiskey both sit on the corner of 17th and Bellefontaine, which makes it a great place for a night out. Whether you like IPAs or cocktails, these pubs have something for everyone.
Scarlet Lane has a strange and unusual side—with unique art murals and an eclectic community of people who embrace their weirdness. This place is both family-friendly and dog-friendly, and they have great outdoor seating for when the sun’s shining. They also offer a rotating selection of great IPAs and American bites, as well as your classic bar snacks. My favorite is their butternut squash ravioli in the fall!
If you’re more of a whiskey person, then you might want to head across the street to West Fork Whiskey. The owners are native Hoosiers, and they’re “hell-bent on providing the best damn whiskey in town.” After a long day of work, I love heading down to West Fork to meet up with friends and get the Silent D. (Yes, that’s the name of the drink, and it’s delicious!)
Find your home in Kennedy-King!
Whether you’re living a single life, staying with roommates, or looking for a place to raise a family, Kennedy-King is the perfect spot to put down some roots. Our neighborhood has all of the amenities that make city life great, but we also have something more important. Kennedy-King has heart—and a powerful history that brings our community together.
If you want to dig deeper into Kennedy-King’s history, I recommend reading Stories from Home: A History of Indianapolis’ Kennedy King Neighborhood (1870-2021). Local author Dolores Wisdom wrote the book to explore the evolution of our neighborhood over the past 150 years. The book examines the history of our local businesses, schools and churches, and the key institutions that shaped our community over the years.
That history made Kennedy-King the place it is today. When I moved back home in 2015, Indianapolis had such a vibrancy about the city that it made me proud to call it home.
In the words of Lady Gaga, there’s just something about this place, something about just knowing when it’s right. That’s what I felt when I moved into Kennedy-King. From the trails and the park to the bars and the eateries, everyone can find their home here. So, welcome to Kennedy-King! I hope you get to experience it the way I did—and fall in love with this neighborhood, too.