Street Savvy: Garfield Park

This historic neighborhood has our attention with its new farmers market and emerging art scene.
Garfield Park Street Savvy


The paved Pleasant Run Trail (1) noodles through the park and beyond, with dips and turns that make for a nice change of pace from the Monon’s straight line. Take it north to find a fascinating interactive sculpture called the Ka-Bike-O-Scope. You’ll know it when you see it.


Vintage-movie nights with a live score and al fresco concerts by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra make the MacAllister Amphitheater at Garfield Park (2) one of the city’s true gems for watching real-time performances. The Garfield Shakespeare Company stages The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet on September 2 and 3, and Tarzan of the Apes screens on September 10. 2432 Conservatory Dr., 317-327-7053


Is that a tree frog hiding behind a bromeliad? Can you smell that vanilla orchid? You never know what you’ll find inside the Garfield Park Conservatory (3), built in 1954 to replace the 1914 original. 2505 Conservatory Dr., 317-327-7183,


Laid out in the style of a formal European garden by landscape architect George Kessler, the three-acre Sunken Gardens (4) strikes a handsome backdrop for stepping into Indy’s horticultural past. Through fall, F.W. Darlington’s fountains, restored with multicolored LED lights in 2013, provide a dazzling display day and night. Find a bench or stroll the paths. 2505 Conservatory Dr., 317-327-7183,


The efforts of Julia Woody, formerly of Eden Farms, and Ashley Brooks of Milktooth brought the festive Garfield Park Farmers Market (5) to the Saturday farmstead scene this year and snagged such familiar vendors as Amelia’s Bakery, Nicey Treat, Grabow Orchard and Bakery, and Tulip Tree Creamery. Near Shelby Street and Southern Avenue,


Bring a favorite LP cover or a classic hardbound book to Pen and Pink (6), and owner Laura McPhee will transform it into a custom, one-of-a-kind spiral-bound notebook. She also sells ready-to-buy journals at this darling, brand-new shop, an evolution of her online business called Lockerbie Books. Don’t miss the impressive collection of vintage editions by one-time Indianapolis publishers, such as Bobbs-Merrill. 2435 Shelby St., 317-372-6465,


An expansive selection of used DVDs, literary classics, and vintage bric-a-brac fills the packed aisles at Books Unlimited (7), a corner shop that you might remember from its former Washington Street location. Recent bestsellers mingle with shelves of decades-old hardbacks by Hoosier authors (Riley, Tarkington), as well as a huge selection of well-preserved Bibles and religious texts—a must for rainy-day rummaging. 2629 Shelby St., 317-634-0949


Order a gooey turkey melt with tarragon mustard sauce or a many-layered jam cake, and sit a spell with a cup of local java or a house-blend tea at The Garfield Eatery & Coffee (8), a cozy, eclectic hangout that neighbors affectionately call “The Garf.” 2627 Shelby St., 317-295-2790,


Look for the new Calliope Sno-balls (9) truck (covered in whimsical illustrations) outside The Garfield Eatery & Coffee and at Garfield Park events, dishing out cups of New Orleans–style finely shaved ice. @calliopesno on Twitter


Is Garfield Park poised to become the next Fountain Square, its neighbor to the north? Exhibit A: Tube Factory (10), the multiuse art workspace and new headquarters of Big Car Collaborative. See that “Future Home of an Artist” sign across the street? Big Car has purchased several rundown houses and hopes to renovate them into low-cost live-work studios. 1125 Cruft St., 317-450-6630,


If you don’t know what a “sound-art project” is, the place to find out firsthand is Big Car’s other new space, Listen Hear (11). The short answer: It’s part concert venue, part pop-up gallery, and soon-to-be community radio station. 2620 Shelby St.,