Bob is a native Hoosier who’s lived in several neighborhoods all across Indianapolis. But now, he’s lived in Nora for 12 years, right next to the Monon Trail. Bob is the co-founder of the Nora Alliance and works as an independent marketing consultant. In his free time, he can be found enjoying the Nora neighborhood with his wife Kelly, their two high school-age children, and their dog.
Nora is an active suburb community on the northside of Indianapolis.
Photo courtesy of Bob Weaver
When it comes to life in the city, Nora is the perfect blend of urban connectivity and suburban community. It’s a neighborhood full of smaller neighborhoods—a laid back place where people get together for backyard cookouts, 4th of July parades, and summer pool parties.
Because here in Nora, your neighbors truly know you, and they’re always willing to stop and socialize while walking their dogs!
Nora is an Indianapolis community with 28,000 residents and more than 60 distinct neighborhoods. Although it has all the characteristics of a small town, Nora wasn’t officially incorporated in 1971, when Indianapolis and Marion County consolidated. So, Nora became part of Indianapolis—with unofficial boundaries stretching from the White River up to 96th Street.
This beautiful area between Indianapolis and Carmel is filled with spacious parks, superior schools, and booming businesses. In fact, our community supports six distinct business districts, including Greenbrier, Nora Plaza, and Keystone at the Crossing.
I’ve been living in Nora for 12 years now, and I’ve found that people tend to stick around our little community. It’s not uncommon to see neighborhood kids grow up and raise their own families just down the street. Moms and dads often serve on their childhood School Board and inherit the scout troops they used to go camping with. And that continuity is just one of the reasons Nora feels like family.
Why live in Nora, Indianapolis?
Nora is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. My wife and I decided to move to Nora right before our oldest started kindergarten. We’d moved around before, but this time we wanted to find a place we could call home.
In Nora, we knew our kids would have the opportunity to get a good education. Our schools have strong teachers and motivated peers that challenge our kids and push them to work hard. Over the years, they’ve had ample opportunities to get involved with the community—through our church, scouts, First Baptist Athletics, the Indy Dance Academy, and more.
Nora’s also home to some of the most diverse housing in Indianapolis. Around downtown, you’ll typically find upscale apartments or small, historic homes. But Nora offers a variety of housing options, ranging from studio apartments to big family homes to senior-living communities. These neighborhoods are all tight-knit, family-friendly areas surrounded by mature, beautiful trees.
But one of our favorite things about Nora is the general atmosphere of familiarity and ease. Everything we need is nearby. It’s a mile to our church, a mile to the doctor, and only a bike ride to the grocery store. If you walk two blocks from our house, you’ll find Hollyhock Hill, a classic restaurant with fried chicken and green beans. Or you can walk a mile up the trail to the Big Lug brewpub for a pint and some music.
Whichever direction we go, we’re bound to run into some neighbors we haven’t seen in awhile—or friends we just saw an hour ago! In that way, Nora’s like a small town within a big town.
The name Nora can be traced back to 1871, when Peter Lawson was appointed the area’s first postmaster. He called the community Nora in honor of his home parish back in Sweden.
The Monon Trail originated here in Nora! Construction on the first section of this iconic Indiana rail-trail began between 86th Street and Westfield Boulevard in 1995.
Oliver’s Woods Nature Preserve is a 54-acre greenspace that recently opened to the public. The preserve is home to a new canoe launch on the White River, as well as the southern portion of Town Run Trail Park.
Photo courtesy of Bob Weaver
Photo courtesy of Bob Weaver
Explore Indianapolis on the Monon Trail!
Another thing we love about Nora is the Monon Trail. The Monon is Indy’s premier bike and pedestrian path, running more than 25 miles from downtown Indianapolis all the way up to Sheridan in Hamilton County. This paved trail is one of the busiest urban greenways in the nation—and a great way to get around town.
About three miles of the Monon Trail passes directly through Nora’s town center. This 3-mile section was actually the first part of the historic rail-trail rehabilitation, transforming the abandoned Monon Railroad into a new urban trail.
The Monon project initially faced pushback and criticism from a few skeptics, but the Nora trail was such an unqualified success that it quickly expanded across the region. Now, the trail is active almost 24/7 with many morning commuters and runners out before sunrise.
Some people walk to the trail to get extra steps in, but the Monon also offers parking at major intersections along the trail. The path is lined with towering trees and woodlands, so it feels like you’re getting away from the city. But it’s also near local neighborhoods and shopping districts, so you’ve got neighbors looking out for you and keeping the trail safe!
Here in Nora, the trail connects with the Marrott Woods Nature Preserve, the Jordan YMCA, the beautiful grounds of the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Nora Commercial District at 86th Street. My family loves having the trail so close because it connects us with the community. Some days we’ll use the Monon multiple times for some exercise, grocery shopping, or simply getting home from school.
Nora residents stay active with trails, parks, and more.
The Monon isn’t the only place to get active in Nora! At first glance, Nora’s park space might seem limited, but our community is buffered by the White River, the Marrott Woods Nature Preserve to the south, and Oliver’s Woods Nature Preserve to the east. We’re also near Holliday Park and Broad Ripple Park—two of Indianapolis’ largest public parks.
In addition to our trails and walkable neighborhoods, Nora residents stay fit with physical activities like dancing, swimming, running, and more.
One of the most popular exercise outlets in Nora is First Baptist Athletics—a youth sports program that serves over 2,000 families each year. From basketball to lacrosse, their 40-acre complex has the facilities to support multiple sports, including 12 baseball fields, 11 soccer fields, an indoor gym, and more.
There’s also the Indy Dance Academy, which educates dancers of all ages in jazz, tap, ballet, and hip hop. The Jordan YMCA offers indoor and outdoor pools, daycare and summer camps, and workout facilities with personal trainers. And finally, North Central High School invites the public to use their tennis courts and attend community events on their campus throughout the year.
In the spring, North Central also hosts the annual Great North Run, which includes a 10K, a 5K, and a casual Fun Run. This event attracts thousands of runners each year, and for many, it’s their first warm-up before the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon in May. But if you’re not a runner, it’s still a great family tradition that gives back to local schools!
- North Central High School
- Brebeuf Jesuit
- Indiana School for the Blind & Visually Impaired
- Big Lug Canteen
- Chris’ Ice Cream and Mexican Food
- Daredevil Hall
- The Accent Shop
- Habig Garden Shop
- Nora Apothecary
- First Baptist Athletics
- Indy Dance Academy
- Marrott Woods Nature Preserve
- 29 Miles from Indianapolis Airport
- 30 Minute Drive
- Central Dog Park
Our schools offer exceptional opportunities for your family.
As I mentioned earlier, Nora is also home to some of the best schools in the state. Nora is served by Washington Township Schools, including eight elementary schools and three middle schools that all feed into North Central High School.
North Central is one of the largest high schools in Indiana with a long history of successful alums. Some names you might recognize include musician Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, astronaut David Wolfe, and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. The school also regularly hosts statewide competitions in athletics, arts, and sciences, attracting top-notch programs to our community.
Best of all, Nora has the only all-International Baccalaureate school district in Indiana—and one of only a few nationwide. That means students in our public schools begin International Baccalaureate programming as early as elementary school!
Nora also offers a variety of private educational institutions, including preparatory schools like Brebeuf Jesuit. Brebeuf is a highly respected school in the region with exceptional academics and distinguished faculty. Nora is also home to the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, an alternative public school that’s internationally recognized for its excellence.
For more hands-on learners, the J. Everett Light Career Center combines high school education with real-world career experience. Each year, hundreds of students benefit from technical programs in animation, auto maintenance, dentistry, welding, and more. These classes often include certifications and dual credits to help prepare students for the future.
Together, all of these school choices ensure that your child gets an education that’s right for them. Whether you’re looking for a vibrant school community or an elite private education, Nora has something for everyone.
Photo courtesy of First Baptist Athletics
Nora is a close-knit community many northsiders call home.
My wife and I have lived in Nora for over a decade now, and we love our home. We love the friendly people in our neighborhood, the great opportunities for our kids, and the convenient connectivity with the rest of the Indy region.
From Nora, it’s easy to get just about everywhere else I want to go. We’re only a few miles out from popular destinations like Carmel, Broad Ripple, and Zionsville. Thanks to I-465, it only takes 30 minutes to get to Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis or Eagle Creek Park for a day on the water. And if you want to get away, we’re only half an hour away from the Indianapolis International Airport.
The point is that Nora is at the crossroads of the crossroads! We’re close enough to the interstate that you can travel whenever the wanderlust calls you. But we’re also a close-knit community where families thrive. It’s the best of both worlds, so it’s no surprise that thousands of Indianapolis residents choose to put down roots in Nora.