11 Cultural Trail Delights That Make Us Smile

Indy’s downtown greenway gives users access to more great stuff than we can list here. But IM’s own self-guided tour hits some gems.

1. The steaming pot. A time-and-temperature gauge mounted outside Zesco Restaurant Supply is anchored to an oversize stockpot, complete with steam wafting from the lid. 640 N. Capitol Ave.

2. Central Library sculpture. Pedestals built for artwork in 1917 flank the library’s entrance. The sculpture “thinmanlittlebird” arrived 92 years later. 40 E. St. Clair St.

3. Outdoor classroom. IPS Center for Inquiry 2 students designed a space with seating, a tree platform, and a chalkboard. 725 N. New Jersey St.

4. 800 block of Mass Ave. Simply the best shopping block downtown (Crimson Tate, Boomerang BTQ, Homespun, Indy Reads Books, Trailside General Store). A clever “crosswalk signal” installation near College Avenue allows passersby to switch the message between “Care” and “Don’t Care.” Massachusetts Ave. between College Ave. and 10th St.

5. The scent vault. A perfuming device buried under an ornate grate continuously sends a lovely floral aroma into an alley. 707 Massachusetts Ave.

6. Puppuccinos. Starbucks serves dogs a dish of whipped cream at its walk-up window. What’s cuter than that? 430 N. Massachusetts Ave.

7. Dogs on wheels. One dog-owner takes his Saint Bernard along on rides in a cart. Another lets his pooch scoot along on a skateboard. Even if you don’t cross paths with these regulars, chances are you’ll still see a creative rig. Various locations.

8. Indiana Repertory Theatre facade. A visual marvel of downtown, the venue’s white terra-cotta exterior can go unnoticed on a busy block, where few look up. A new park across the street provides a place to sit and study the sculpted adornments. 140 W. Washington St.

9. Swarm Street. This motion-activated installation with ambient light and twinkling bulbs doesn’t always work properly. But when it does, the simulation of fireflies makes an underpass by Bankers Life Fieldhouse less creepy.

10. Nicey Treat walk-up stand. Approaching the Dutch door for a strawberry- mint popsicle feels very summer-at-the-shore. Trivia: George Clinton has been here. Thurs. evening through Sun., 655 Virginia Ave.

11. Bicycle stoplights. Two separate signals for cyclists direct traffic from the trail’s end in Fountain Square to an adjacent bike lane. An image of a bike appears in each lens—how Amsterdam is that? 1100 block of S. Shelby St.

Summer Cultural Trail activities

June 2. “Hop” off the trail for a beer at TwoDEEP Brewing Co. on First Friday, when some of the proceeds benefit the Cultural Trail. 714 N. Capitol Ave.

June 3. On Saturdays at 10 a.m., docents lead guided tours covering all 8 miles of the trail, using Pacers Bikeshare bicycles. Visitors can request a walking tour any time. $35. 132 W. Walnut St., 317-653-1948,

June 10. Ever wonder how the trail stays so clean? Thank the volunteers who come out for the monthly Second Saturday Sweep, when, starting at 10 a.m., they disperse to tidy up. And they can always use an extra hand (wink, wink). 132 W. Walnut St.

June 28. IndyHub, who advocates on behalf of young professionals becoming involved in the city, is partnering with Pacers Bikeshare and the Cultural Trail this summer for the Hello Neighbor! series, featuring a different area along the trail each month. Tours include stops at churches, historic homes, and other sites. Most leave from the trail office (132 W. Walnut St.). 16th Street Corridor, June 28; Central State, July 26; Maple Crossing, August 30. Tours start at 5:30 p.m. RSVP required.

September 11. At sunrise, instructors and participants gather on the Glick Peace Walk for a free Peace Walk Yoga session.
Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly identified IndyHub as a bicycle-advocacy group. IndyHub represents and advocates on behalf of young professionals in Indianapolis. IM regrets the errors.

This article is part of “Hot on the Trails,” IM’s road-free guide to exploring Central Indiana. Walking tour by Megan Fernandez; events calendar by Claire Brumback