4 Reasons Why Indy is a Great Starter City

Three years ago, I made the decision to move to Indianapolis. It was the toughest decision of my life thus far. It was also the best decision I’ve ever made. I will fully admit, Indianapolis is not without its faults, but this city has been a great home to be over the last few years. I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth since relocating here. Here is a non-exhaustive list of reasons why I think Indianapolis is a great place to go to college (and to stick around afterwards):

It’s Small

To some people, this first item might not be a positive thing, but for me the size of Indy has been a good way to get my feet wet. I am originally from a very small town. Even though I was sure I would enjoy city life, I was not ready to live somewhere as large as say, Chicago, right out of high school. Indy may take up a vast amount of physical space, but it feels more like a tight-knit community. Within my industry of public relations, everybody knows everybody in Indy. It’s common for most sectors here, which reduces some of the growing pains when you’re a young professional trying to expand your network.

The metropolitan area is relatively un-intimidating and fairly navigable, making it less daunting for young professionals to pursue jobs downtown. Downtown Indy even has a handy map that can help you pinpoint where to park based on where you need to go. The entire city is threaded with easy-to-access interstates and the fabulously-convenient 465 loop, which means that if you can avoid construction it doesn’t take very long to get places. One of my friends even remarked one time that she likes to cruise around the loop to think sometimes, though I’ve never taken up this habit myself.

The Food

Call me crazy, but I think it’s important for the place I live to have good food. As a college student, I am by no-means a connoisseur of delicacies. Luckily for me and other people my age, Indy has many tasty restaurants available that aren’t overly expensive.

It’s not all chains either. The food scene in the city has been growing and improving for several years now, and there is a large variety of locally-owned places to eat. In fact, there are so many local options that Visit Indy has a category on their website to search through them and you’ll see eights pages of results when you do so.

I personally try to stick to places where a drink and entrée are $15 or under and I’m not without options. In other cities, finding a delicious brunch, like those served at 3 Sisters in Broad Ripple, at a price I can afford wouldn’t be so doable.

Things to Do

For newcomers, there are plenty of things to do around the city, especially if you know where to look. Facebook events are a great resource to see what’s going on in Indy on any particular day, and I’m going to give Visit Indy another shout-out too for their continuous list of events. The events and conferences industry has grown a lot over the last few years, and there’s typically a plethora of conventions that roll through town on an annual basis. There’s a little something for everyone when it comes to conferences in the city. Through the summer, you won’t make it through downtown without seeing streams of both residents and out-of-towners making their way to the convention center.

People who are interested in exhibitions of all types will find what they’re looking for in Indy. First Fridays offer a multitude of open art galleries for you to stroll through. (I have eaten many a cheese cube by attending free exhibition openings.) The Indiana State Museum offers a discount on admission to all college students who can show proof of their enrollment. The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields has several free admission days throughout the year, as does the Indiana Historical Society. If you’re able to spend the money, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis provides hours of fun for people of any age.

If you enjoy spending time outdoors, there are also drive-in movie theaters, outdoor concerts and plenty of parks to enjoy.

Friendly People

City residents often get a bad reputation for being snooty or uncaring. In Indianapolis, that sentiment never took hold of the general population. It’s not uncommon to have someone hold open the door for you or tell you to have a good day as they’re exiting the elevator. This varies person to person of course, and not everyone can be in cheery moods all the time. However, people around here are generally approachable.

From the perspective of a young professional trying to get their foot in the metaphorical door of the work force, this has been the best part of living here. Like I mentioned earlier, people know people when the community is this small. Professionals are generally willing to answer your email inquiries or even grab a cup of coffee with you. I’ve set up meetings with a few different people lately, all of whom were happy to be able to help an aspiring P.R. pro.

Knowing that most folks will respond positively to your question about an informational interview makes it easier to reach out. Over time, those positive responses can really boost your confidence and improve your chances of get the roles you’re after.

Moving to Indianapolis was a big change for me, but I really like it here. This small, quirky city has helped me come into my own by providing ample opportunities for me to try new things and meet new people. Though I do not foresee myself as a lifelong resident, I’ve really enjoyed living here and would strongly recommend it to younger students seeking a place to call their own.

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