It’s a neighborhood secret that Irvington United Methodist Church lets the public use its playground (1). Sheltered by trees, the secluded space for kids up to age 5 has a special don’t-tell-anyone quality. Oops. 30 N. Audubon Rd.
If it feels like there’s suddenly a Lincoln Square Pancake House (2) on every corner, you’re not too far off. The locally owned, family-run chain has 12 Houses around Indiana, the latest at Washington and Audubon, a cozy spot with old neighborhood photos. There’s ample outdoor seating for enjoying your housemade corn cakes or red velvet French toast. 5648 E. Washington St., 317-377-4205
Farm-to-table shakes its pretenses at The Mug (3), a locavore diner. This location serves up Hoosier brews from Black Acre (Irvington) and Taxman (Bargersville), just what you need to wash down that hoss of a buttermilk-brined, lard-fried Tyner Pond tenderloin or a burger topped with japaleño poppers. 118 S. Audubon Rd., 317-820-3662
Sandwiched between sister businesses The Mug and soon-to-be Bonna Tavern, Tyner Pond Market (4) sells locally sourced and organic groceries, including free-range Indiana meat and poultry from, you guessed it, Tyner Pond Farm, in Greenfield. 120 S. Audubon Rd., 317-991-3133
Entering the converted garage housing Coal Yard Coffee (5) for the first time feels like discovering Narnia. Colorful art, found objects, and other eye candy (are those leftover Halloween decorations?) line the walls and dangle from the ceiling. Order the Ledger, an off-menu Heath bar–inspired latte. On April 7, the cafe hosts an oddities show featuring freaky finds for sale, like lamps made from real bones and doll parts. Where else but Irvington? 5547 Bonna Ave., 317-929-1297
Lovely Irving Circle Park (6), one of the area’s original social spaces, is home to a fountain and a bust of the neighborhood namesake, American novelist Washington Irving—the poor thing is mounted on a piece of pipe. Corner of South Audubon Road and University Avenue