Adrienne is a wife and mother to three active kids. Though she grew up in Ohio, she loves life in Indianapolis and all that the city has to offer. You can usually find her hanging out with her family, thrifting at an antique store, or working at IMPACT Old Southside—where she volunteers much of her time.
Welcome to Old Southside: Your Connection to Indianapolis.
Photo courtesy of Christy Brink
My first memory of the Old Southside neighborhood was a late evening drive down Talbott Street. It was dusk but not too dark to admire the tree-lined roads and historic houses. My husband had just received a job offer asking us to move to the neighborhood. But it didn’t take long for me to get excited about living in Old Southside. Even during that first drive, I was already impatient to start searching for a home of our own.
Within a few short months, we found the perfect home with a beautiful style and its own unique character. We quickly purchased the house, and after a few more months of work, we finally moved into our new neighborhood.
Moving to Old Southside was a whole new experience for our family. It was exciting to join a community where residents take pride in the neighborhood—and play an active role in making it better! We quickly realized that this was a place where we could put down roots, just like countless others before us.
Old Southside residents have a rich history.
Like many places in Indianapolis, the Old Southside is considered a historic neighborhood. Even a short walk around the block feels like a history lesson! You can stroll past the towering spires of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, try a classic Reuben sandwich at Shapiro’s Delicatessen, and stop by the long-standing Concord Neighborhood Center. Residents also love retelling the tall tales from the historic Vollrath Tavern that used to be here.
The Old Southside has a history as old as the city itself. As the city began to grow, Indianapolis attracted workers to help build the Central Canal, the National Road, and Union Station. The aftermath of the Civil War brought immigrants from both Europe and the South, and by 1980, our neighborhood had more foreign-born residents than any other district in the city. Those immigrants built homes here and created a community that continues to thrive today.
Old Southside residents have unique stories of the neighborhood, living in a diverse community in a time when that wasn’t very common. Historically, our neighborhood included a variety of African American, German Catholic, and Jewish immigrants. The families worked together, went to school together, and built a community where they all felt at home.
Unfortunately, when the interstate was built, it caused fractures that led to the exodus of some Old Southside families. But many residents remember their history and recount these stories from the past. (I recommend checking out Neighborhood of Saturdays by Susan B. Hyatt to learn more!)
Our community also looks toward the future.
While Old Southside isn’t short on history, we’re also excited for what’s to come! In the last few years, our neighborhood has seen significant changes. In fact, we were the second Indianapolis neighborhood to be awarded the Lift Indy grant. As a result, we’re building more housing, our community park has had a complete facelift, and there are many new art installations and beautification projects throughout the area.
All of these things ensure that the Old Southside is poised for a bright future. There are plans to expand the Indianapolis Cultural Trail along the north side of the neighborhood, connecting us with the city’s beautiful cultural districts. Many new projects are in the works along the White River on our western boundary, and we’ll have a front-row seat for downtown Indianapolis’ latest renovations, such as the new Pan Am Plaza and Elanco headquarters!
This revitalization is an important part of what makes Old Southside special. All of our progress has helped breathe new life into our neighborhood, bringing new neighbors with new energy!
The Vollrath Tavern closed its doors in 2011, but its story lives on today. The tavern operated as a speakeasy during the Prohibition Era, and it was said to be frequented by John Dillinger!
Concord Neighborhood Center is the oldest community center in Indiana, established back in 1875. They support Near Southside families in a variety of ways, including childcare, senior programs, and social service support.
The HGTV show Good Bones starring Two Chicks and a Hammer is based in Indianapolis. In fact, some of the homes in Old Southside have been featured in episodes of the show!
Photo courtesy of Christy Brink
The Old Southside is located in the heart of Indianapolis.
Whether you walk, bike, or drive around the city, you’re never far from anything in Old Southside. My home is just a short ride away from half a dozen bike trails, including the Cultural Trail and the White River Trail. These trails connect you with an excellent network of bike paths throughout the region. And where there aren’t trails, you can find bike lanes to help you get around town.
Old Southside is also an easy drive from the Indianapolis International Airport—nationally renowned as the Best Airport in North America. From our location, getting on and off the interstate is effortless, so you can quickly access just about anywhere in the region.
Our neighborhood is also within walking distance from downtown Indianapolis and all of its amazing amenities. From our northern boundary, you’re less than a mile away from Monument Circle and the iconic Soldiers and Sailors monument. That means you’re also nearby all of downtown’s award-winning restaurants and bars, the Indiana Convention Center, and events like the annual Indy 500 Festival. If you’re a sports enthusiast, we’re right next door to the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as the Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse and the Indians at Victory Field. We’re also close neighbors to both Bates-Hendricks and Fountain Square, where you can find even more food, coffee, drinks, and exciting entertainment.
We have delights in our backyard, too!
With all of the surrounding attractions, we haven’t even talked about what’s actually in our neighborhood! When it comes to restaurants, you can find just about anything in the Old Southside. One of my favorites is getting the flaming cheese saganaki from Greek Islands, Indy’s oldest Greek restaurant. The experience is even better if you go on a night when there are belly dancers!
Then, you can head over to Iozzo’s Garden of Italy for dinner on their cozy patio! If you have any room left, I suggest going to Shapiro’s for some fresh cheesecake—and then you can take home a sandwich for lunch tomorrow! And finally, cap off your evening at AJ’s Lounge for a night of good drinks and live music. If you’re still tired the next day, you can always wake up with a cup of coffee in the Union 525 at Dry Bones Mud House.
And do you remember all of the new projects I was going on about? These developments are bringing exciting new opportunities that I haven’t even tried yet! There are two beautiful new hotels in the neighborhood. The Back 9 Golf recently opened for some downtown swing practice, and our new bike and walking paths will connect Old Southside with the rest of our beautiful city!
- IPS School 31 (James Garfield)
- SENSE Charter School
- Christel House Academy at Manual
- Iozzo’s Garden of Italy
- Greek Islands
- Shapiro’s Delicatessen
- Goldman Jewelry
- Indianapolis Vision Care
- Stranded Salon
- Lucas Oil Stadium
- Back 9 Golf
- Indianapolis Cultural Trail
- 12 Miles from Indianapolis Airport
- 15 Minute Drive
- Kelly Park
- The Dog Park at Immanuel
- Garfield Park
The Old Southside connects you with the best of urban living.
I love how Old Southside lets you feel connected to city life, while still getting the neighborhood experience. We’ve always joked that from our house, you can see planes, trains, and automobiles! But my kids can also ride their bikes down the street and go play basketball in the neighborhood park. My husband and I can easily walk downtown for a nice dinner or a Sunday game. And if we don’t feel like leaving home, we can get just about anything delivered to our doorstep. I’ve even had a doctor come to my home with a late-night cough syrup delivery!
Our neighbors all come from a variety of different backgrounds and walks of life, and I love how diverse our community is. We have young couples, single adults, retired seniors, and families of all shapes and sizes. Old Southside is only a short commute from downtown for busy working professionals, but we’re also a place where kids can safely roam and go on adventures. Indianapolis has no shortage of beautiful parks and fascinating museums, as well as a great zoo—all of which are within minutes of Old Southside.
But one of my favorite things about living in Old Southside are the porches. Walking down the street, I love being able to greet my neighbors sitting outside and enjoying the weather. It’s a great way to stay connected with the people around us, especially during the summer. In fact, our neighborhood association works with new developers to ensure any new houses keep the same, charming character of our historic porches.
Personally, I love to sit on my own front porch and watch the sunset. I lived in the south for a few years, but I think Indiana sunsets just have something exceptional about them.
Photo courtesy of Concord Neighborhood Center
The Old Southside is a vibrant, supportive community.
Old Southside truly is a place that feels like home, and I love seeing people fall in love with our community again and again.
The neighborhood always comes alive on Colts home game weekends. Neighbors gather in the Sacred Heart parking lot for performances from the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Kids play after school at the Concord Neighborhood Center. The community comes together for a BBQ at IMPACT Old Southside. And on the Fourth of July, people sit on their porches to watch the downtown fireworks (and maybe go a little nuts with their own).
My husband is a pastor at one of our neighborhood churches, and that means I often get to interact with people in our community. It’s something I love doing, helping us build a healthy and diverse community here in the Old Southside. I love learning someone’s story and getting to really listen to them, finding common ground in unexpected places and connecting with each other. Those are the experiences that stick with me.
So, whether you’re single, married, or raising a family, know that there’s a place for you in our community. The Old Southside is an exciting, growing neighborhood where residents love their home and their history. I know there’s something here for everyone—for all kinds of needs and all walks of life—because I watch it happen every day. I hope you come visit and see for yourself. We’d love to welcome you!