From networking and socializing to tying the knot and starting families, young professionals are quickly settling into Indianapolis—for good. As these entrepreneurs, teachers, medical providers, lawyers, managers, and journalists point out, size matters. Here, nine young pros share why they love their growing—yet close knit—neighborhoods. Perhaps bigger isn’t better after all.
The Residences at CityWay
A 24-year-old financial operations analyst at Simon Malls, Erik Skjodt, relocated from his hometown of Carmel to downtown’s Residences of City Way in February to be closer to work. He enjoys having a pool and a gym at his disposal, with Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil stadium nearby. A steak-and-whisky advocate, Skjodt has a less-than-10 minute walk to his favorite restaurants, one being Cerulean, where he enjoys the Pork Porterhouse plate with his girlfriend and friends. “Most everything is walking distance from where I am,” Skjodt said. “It’s quiet, and I feel safe at City Way.” 229 S. Delaware St. 317-455-3591, residencesatcityway.com.
The Maxwell Apartments
Amanda Dorman, communications manager at Indianapolis Downtown Inc., has the perfect view of Ohio Street from her apartment balcony and was asked out by a fellow Sun King enthusiast two weeks after moving in. “This is exactly why I love downtown Indy,” she says. Dorman, 29, checked out several apartments downtown but was sold once she saw what the Maxwell had to offer: “In the end, location and closet size were the two determining factors.” She said the dark hardwood floors and granite countertops were nice perks, too. Dorman no longer feels guilty for skipping a workout or two during the week—and she loves it. “I love ditching my car during the week and walking everywhere—to work, the grocery, Starbucks, the City Market for a quick bit to eat, First Friday gallery walks.” 530 E. Ohio St., 317-686-0925, www.themaxwellapts.com.
Cosmopolitan on the Canal
Michael Chang, 24, enjoys the convenience that comes with living at Cosmopolitan on the Canal. A student trainee in the surgery department at the VA Hospital, Chang has a short walk to work and night classes at IUPUI, where he’s pursuing a master’s in health administration. After clocking out as a surgical unit student trainee, he doesn’t mind having some fun. “You can walk to Mass Ave, the mall, the bars, and to sporting events without having to pay for parking or worry about traffic," he says. "Also, it is a short drive to Broad Ripple.” Having lived at Cosmopolitan on the Canal for a year and a half, Chang also appreciates being able to instantly plug into the community: “It's a great way to meet other young professionals and professional students.” 310 W. Michigan St. 317-624-1234, www.cosmopolitanonthecanal.com.
Twenty-five-year-old Tyler Brand, certified financial planner for Morgan Stanley Inc., lives with his best friend from high school in the Lockerbie Court Apartments on Mass Ave, a string of diverse bars, restaurants, residences, and attractive shops. A Lafayette native, Brand unwinds from long days at work (just four blocks from his apartment) with tequila and fish tacos at his favorite Mass Ave bar, Bakersfield, where he’s considered a regular, stopping by at least once a week. "Meeting new people is what life is all about when you’re in your twenties and thirties, and that’s easy to do on Mass Ave because it’s not too big," he says. Lucky for him and his friends, the strip’s 15 bars have something to offer every night of the week. Says Brand, “This area has its own culture and charm, separate of downtown; Mass Ave is the hidden gem of the Midwest."
Larra Overton, 30, an Indianapolis-based sports TV reporter, rents a house with two girlfriends here. Overton trots and bikes along the Monon Trail and the Central Canal downtown. After working as a reporter or fill-in anchor at Fox 59 or at IUPUI (for her, a 20-minute commute), where she teaches and serves as web editor for the National Sports Journalism Center, Larra likes to relax with roommates at Twenty Tap, Flatwater, and Cafe Patachou. Like many other "B-Rip" residents, she appreciates its “culture, charm, and character.”
Kevin Vo, the 25-year-old president and founder of localhands.co, a community-building enterprise, lives in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home off Kessler Boulevard with his girlfriend Alyssa and Chloe, a labrador he fell in love with at the Indianapolis Humane Society. After graduating from Purdue University in 2010, he opted out of living downtown. (Its bar scene is too pricey, Vo says.) On weekends, he makes the five-minute drive to Zest for its Creme Brulee French Toast and Green Eggs & Sam; on Sundays, he hits up Flatwater for its heralded Bloody Mary bar. Even Chloe is pleased with Kessler’s offerings: She has plenty of room to romp around in a fenced-in yard. Most of the nearby shops and restaurants are dog friendly, too, says Vo: "It truly feels like an area I could live in for a long time.”
Morgan Greenlee, 28, Visit Indy’s senior communications manager, is a fan of this area's personality, although she admits her bias as a resident: “It's enjoyable just to walk around the neighborhood because of Old Northside's beautiful old homes and mature trees.” She also enjoys bragging about her neighbor of sorts, President Benjamin Harrison, whose home is down the block from her three-story house, where she lives with her best friend from college and Bailey, a lethargic and overweight English bulldog. The original flooring, high ceilings, and woodwork are still in impressive shape, she says. “The neighborhood has 'Old' in the name, but there's a burgeoning crowd of young professionals moving into this neighborhood,” Greenlee says. “It's evident by the crew gathered at Thirsty Scholar until late at night or the line for coffee at Foundry [Provisions].” The Harrison Center for the Arts has also drawn many new faces to the area with food trucks and art on First Fridays. Greenlee, herself an Indianapolis expert, is impressed.
Occupational therapist Adrianne Allen, 32, and her husband Michael, a 31-year-old lawyer, live on Central Avenue, between 24th and 25th streets, with their 18-month-old son, Miles. The young family relishes long neighborhood walks with their own furry friend, Maizey; swaying on the porch swing during warm weather; and venturing to Goose the Market for gelato and dinner (only a block and a half away from their home). Adrianne says Fall Creek is the perfect neighborhood for those raising little ones: “It is close to the Children’s Museum, zoo, parks, and there are many families with similar-age children in the area.”
Andrea Haydon, 24, bikes the two miles from her Lexington Avenue apartment to IUPUI’s Herron School of Art and Design where she works. Having lived in Fountain Square for five years, Haydon appreciates the humorous scenery: “I have seen anything from random shopping carts on fire hydrants to dresses on stop signs.” Living 10 minutes away (on foot) from the Fountain Square Brewery is enticing, she says, and she often orders the Cinnamon Girl Autumn Ale there. Haydon is actually a former employee at that brewery, one of many among Indy's forever-burgeoning craft-beer scene, and remains a loyal customer. After all, as she points out, it never hurts to be friends with the bartenders.
» YOUR TURN: Where do you think is the best spot in Indy for a young professional to live? Sound off below.
Photos by Michael Schrader