Street Savvy: Monument Circle

Secret destinations and historical curiosities round out Indy’s postcard plaza.

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1. Ogle
Whether you’ve got your own chopper or just admire a well-made bike, Motorcycles on Meridian (Aug. 8–9) makes for some of the summer’s best people-watching when nearly a half-mile of our main drag, including the Circle, is blocked off for cruising, parking, and engine-revving. Meridian Street between Ohio and South streets, indianapolismotorspeedway.com

Street Savvy Monument Circle2. Listen
It’s hard to believe three powerful organs fit inside tiny Christ Church Cathedral, a quaint stone landmark that looks like it belongs in the English countryside. A free choral evensong is performed every Thursday from September through May. 125 Monument Circle, 317-636-4577, cccindy.org

3. Party
Bank execs aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy the best views from the Chase Tower. D’Amore Events rents out the top floor for parties that will dazzle guests with a 360-degree view. A Saturday reservation starts at $3,500 plus a $15,000 catering minimum. 111 Monument Circle, Ste. 4800, 317-423-0540, damoreindy.com

4. Slurp
For around $6, the indecisive can sink an Amelia’s baguette into a trio sampler of creative soups—including a more-tangy-than-usual chicken velvet—at Soupremacy. Revered local chef Tony Hanslits concocts the recipes. 7 E. Market St., 317-423-0780, soupremacyindy.com

5. Rejuvenate
Inlaid silver figurines of early airplanes adorn the black-tiled walls of Studio 2000’s stylish and secluded “relaxation room,” originally a barber shop when the ziggurat-topped Circle Tower Building was completed in 1929. The salon and spa boasts exceptionally well-preserved Art Deco decor in the hushed retreat, where guests in robes and towels can pretend they are in a scene from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. 55 Monument Circle, Ste. 2000, 317-687-0010, studio2000spa.com

6. Reminisce
With more than 2,000 types of candy and several hundred vintage and novelty sodas, Rocket Fizz sweets shop is the place to find those Necco wafers you once loved, or try unusual flavors of your favorites (Japanese green-tea Kit Kats) from around the world. 55 Monument Circle, 317-822-3499, rocketfizz.com

7. Shop
Though Windsor Jewelers has built a loyal following in Indianapolis since it opened in 1919, many aren’t aware that noted local artist Lynn Andalman has been overseeing the selection for about a decade and introducing more contemporary lines. Another secret: Windsor will refund an engagement-ring purchase if it rains here on the customer’s wedding day (even if the ceremony take place out of town) or snows on Christmas (for December weddings). 16 N. Meridian St., 317-634-6736, windsorjewelry.com

Street Savvy Monument Circle
Stephen Lindsay

Photo by Tony Valainis

“It can get a little crazy with all of the Harley riders and carriages around the Circle. Twice now, I’ve been in a race with a horse. Sadly, the horse won both times.” —Stephen Lindsay, The HandleBar co-owner and driver

8. Browse
Need a soothing break from work? Go to the loft-like Kuaba Gallery in the King Cole Building to commune with vibrant paintings and sculptures (many with an African bent) from both international artists and local painters, including Marianne Glick and Steven Sickles. 1 N. Meridian St., Ste. 200, 317-955-8405, kuaba.com

9. Rock
Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, and Scotty McCreery have played the lobby at Emmis Communications (Indianapolis Monthly’s parent company) as part of Hank FM’s Close-Up Concert Series. Listeners score tickets online, via social media, and by listening to 97.1 during the day. 40 Monument Circle, 317-239-9797, hankfm.com

10. Admire
Look up when you pass the 1925 Lacy Building (labeled as such over the door) for a quick lesson on Renaissance Revival architecture. The limestone facade features relief panels depicting biplanes, dirigibles, and local landmarks, all important in the era when the nine-story structure was built—as a parking garage with a mini-golf course on the roof. 54 Monument Circle

11. Watch
Though they were taken off of Indiana’s endangered-species list last October, interest in the stately peregrine falcons nesting near the top of Market Tower is stronger than ever. The Indianapolis Star’s Falcon Cam reported more than 4 million pageviews last year. Birdwatchers hoping to spot the peregrines in flight will have the most luck in early morning and a few hours before sunset. indyfalcons.com

12. Commemorate
Relive Indiana’s Civil War heritage at the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, a surprisingly spacious attraction tucked underneath the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Of particular interest is the pharmaceutical giant’s Colt revolver, a spoil of war seized from a Confederate soldier by the men Lilly commanded in Indiana’s 18th Light Artillery Battery. 1 Monument Circle, 317-232-7615, in.gov/iwm/2335.htm

13. Learn
Have you heard about Indy’s connection to Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island? How about the story behind the Circle’s old nickname, “the mud doughnut”? No? Then clear a couple of hours from your schedule some Friday or Saturday at 10 a.m. and join the free walking tour offered by Indiana Landmarks. The entertaining history lesson is so under the radar, you might have the guide all to yourself. Offered April–October. 317-639-4534, indianalandmarks.org

 

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