What You Need To Know
Indianapolis, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. It is in the East North Central region of the Midwestern United States. With an estimated population of 855,164 in 2016, Indianapolis is the third most populous city in the Midwest and 15th most populous in the U.S. The city is the economic and cultural center of the Indianapolis metropolitan area, home to 2 million people, the 34th most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. Its combined statistical area ranks 27th, with 2.38 million inhabitants. Indianapolis covers 372 sq mi (960 km2), making it the 16th largest city by land area in the U.S.
Founded in 1821 as a planned city for the new seat of the government of Indiana, Indianapolis was platted by Alexander Ralston and Elias Pym Fordham on a 1 sq mi (2.6 km2) grid adjacent to the White River. The city grew beyond the Mile Square, as completion of the National Road and advent of the railroad solidified the city’s position as a manufacturing and transportation hub. Indianapolis is within a single-day drive of 70 percent of the nation’s population, lending to one of its nicknames as the “Crossroads of America”. Anchoring the 26th largest economic region in the U.S., the city’s economy is based primarily on business services, transportation and logistics, education, financial services, hospitality and tourism, and distribution services. Indianapolis has developed niche markets in amateur sports and auto racing. The city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world’s largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500.
Led by the Lilly Endowment, the city’s philanthropic community has been instrumental in the development of its cultural institutions, such as The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Museum of Art. The city is notable as headquarters for the American Legion and home to a significant collection of monuments dedicated to veterans and war dead, the most in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C. Since the 1970 city-county consolidation, known as Unigov, local government administration has operated under the direction of an elected 25-member city-county council headed by the mayor. Indianapolis is considered a “high sufficiency” global city.
Area: 372 mi²
The United States dollar sign: $; code: USD; also abbreviated US$ and referred to as the dollar, U.S. dollar, or American dollar., is the official currency of the United States and its insular territories per the United States Constitution. It is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.
Indianapolis is in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfa) using the 0 °C (32 °F) isotherm, experiencing four distinct seasons. The city is in USDA hardiness zone 6a.
Typically, summers are hot, humid and wet. Winters are generally cold with moderate snowfall. The July daily average temperature is 75.4 °F (24.1 °C). High temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 18 days each year, and occasionally exceed 95 °F (35 °C). Spring and autumn are usually pleasant, if at times unpredictable; midday temperature drops exceeding 30 °F or 17 °C are common during March and April, and instances of very warm days (80 °F or 27 °C) followed within 36 hours by snowfall are not unusual during these months. Winters are cold, with an average January temperature of 28.1 °F (−2.2 °C). Temperatures dip to 0 °F (−18 °C) or below an average of 4.7 nights per year.
The rainiest months occur in the spring and summer, with slightly higher averages during May, June, and July. May is typically the wettest, with an average of 5.05 inches (12.8 cm) of precipitation. Most rain is derived from thunderstorm activity; there is no distinct dry season, although occasional droughts occur. Severe weather is not uncommon, particularly in the spring and summer months; the city experiences an average of 20 thunderstorm days annually.
Contributing to an annual gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $125.9 billion, the Indianapolis metropolitan area is the 26th largest economic region in the U.S. and 42nd largest in the world. The largest industry sectors by employment are manufacturing, health care and social services, and retail trade. Compared to Indiana as a whole, the Indianapolis metropolitan area has a lower proportion of manufacturing jobs and a higher concentration of jobs in wholesale trade; administrative, support, and waste management; professional, scientific, and technical services; and transportation and warehousing. The city’s major exports include pharmaceuticals, motor vehicle parts, medical equipment and supplies, engine and power equipment, and aircraft products and parts. As of March 2017, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.
90 different languages are spoken in Indianapolis, but English is the official language
Indianapolis has nine unified public school districts: Franklin Township Community School Corporation, MSD Decatur Township, MSD Lawrence Township, MSD Perry Township, MSD Pike Township, MSD Warren Township, MSD Washington Township, MSD Wayne Township, and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). As of 2016, IPS was the second largest public school district in Indiana, serving nearly 30,000 students. A number of private primary and secondary schools are operated through the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, charters, or other independent organizations. Public library services are provided to the citizens of Indianapolis and Marion County by the Indianapolis Public Library. Founded in 1873, the public library system includes the Central Library and 23 branches throughout the county. The Indianapolis Public Library served 4.2 million patrons in 2014, with a circulation of 15.9 million materials.
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was founded in 1969 after merging the branch campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University. IUPUI’s current enrollment is 30,105, the third largest in the state. IUPUI has two colleges and 18 schools, including the Herron School of Art and Design, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, School of Dentistry, and the Indiana University School of Medicine, the largest medical school in the U.S. The city is home to the largest campus for Ivy Tech, a state-funded community college serving nearly 100,000 students across Indiana.
Five private universities are based in Indianapolis. Established in 1855, Butler University is the oldest higher education institution in the city, with an undergraduate enrollment of about 4,000. Affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Marian University was founded in 1936 when St. Francis Normal and Immaculate Conception Junior College merged, moving to Indianapolis in 1937. Marian has an enrollment of about 2,137 students. Founded in 1902, the University of Indianapolis is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school’s current enrollment is 4,169 students. Martin University was founded in 1977 and is the state’s only predominately black university. Crossroads Bible College and Indiana Bible College are small Christian colleges located in the city.
Satellite campuses located in the city include Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning, Grace College, Indiana Institute of Technology, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Vincennes University.
While the majority of Indianapolis is safe, there are certain areas that are prone to high levels of crime. Most of these high crime areas are located away from most tourist attractions. The vast majority of the east side (with exception given to certain areas of Irvington), Haughville (immediately west of downtown), the near north side (immediately north of downtown), and certain segments of the south side are best if avoided entirely. Use caution while in certain parts of the west, northwest, and northeast sides of town. While most violent crimes in these areas occur between individuals who are familiar with each other, random crimes are not unheard of. The downtown, Broad Ripple, and Fountain Square districts remain safe and are usually well policed, even after dark. Use the same vigilance and precautions that you would in any other large mid-western city.
Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) covers six townships within the city (Center, Franklin, Lawrence, Perry, Warren, and Washington) and the town of Speedway. IEMS responded to nearly 100,000 emergency dispatch calls in 2014.
Indiana University Health’s Academic Health Center encompasses Marion County, with the medical centers of University Hospital, Methodist Hospital, and Riley Hospital for Children. The Academic Health Center is anchored by the Indiana University School of Medicine, the second largest medical school in the U.S. Riley Hospital for Children is among the nation’s foremost pediatric health centers, recognized in all ten specialties by U.S. News and World Report, including top 25 honors in orthopedics (23), nephrology (22), gastroenterology and GI surgery (16), pulmonology (13), and urology (4). The 430-bed facility also contains Indiana’s only Pediatric Level I Trauma Center.
Indianapolis’ public medical center, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital, opened in 2013 after a $754 million project to replace Wishard Memorial Hospital on the IUPUI campus. Eskenazi includes an Adult Level I Trauma Center, 315 beds, and 275 exam rooms, annually serving 1.2 million outpatients. Opened in 1932, the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center is Indiana’s tertiary referral hospital for former armed services personnel, treating more than 60,000 veterans annually. Located on the city’s far north side, St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital is the flagship medical center of St. Vincent Health’s 22-hospital system. St. Vincent Indianapolis includes Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana, St. Vincent Seton Specialty Hospital, and St. Vincent Women’s Hospital. Franciscan Health Indianapolis’ flagship medical center is located on the city’s far south side.
Community Health Network includes four medical centers in Marion County, including Community Westview Hospital, Community Hospital South, Community Hospital North, and Community Hospital East. Community Hospital East is currently replacing its 60-year-old facility with a $175 million, 150-bed hospital to be completed in 2019. The campus will also include a $120 million, 159-bed state-funded mental health and chronic addiction treatment facility. The Indiana Neuro-Diagnostic Institute will replace the antiquated Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital in 2018.
Indy Go is the public bus system. It travels throughout the city and suburbs. The bus system is a very nice way to travel with the one exception of frequency—outside of rush hour routes, you can find yourself with a 30+ minute wait. Almost all routes travel from a locality in the outskirts of the city to the centrally-located bus stops downtown and back out; there are also a handful of smaller circulators and loops. Perhaps the most useful route for visitors is #17 College, which runs between all of the city’s most popular dining and nightlife strips. It runs between Broad Ripple Ave and Downtown, where it travels along the popular Mass Ave strip, and loops around Capitol, Ohio, Delaware, and Maryland. Runs roughly M-F 5AM-9:30PM, Sa 6AM-9:30PM, Su 7PM-9PM.
Cabs are readily available mainly downtown and in Broad Ripple Village. Call ahead: Taxis generally cannot be flagged down. In addition, ridesharing/ridehailing services Uber and Lyft operate throughout downtown and most of the Indianapolis metropolitan area.
The general speed limit on highways is 55-70 mph. If there is no posted speed, assume that it is 35 mph. A car is necessary for almost all travel within the city.