Street Savvy: Washington Street
This downtown hub boasts treasures among the chains.
Bring your kids to this month’s Indiana Repertory Theatre production of The Giver, based on a young-adult book that has sold 10 million copies and spawned last year’s Meryl Streep adaptation. Associate artistic director Courtney Sale says this rendition follows the book more faithfully than the film did (thank you!). A canopy of hundreds of book pages will help audiences, seated on three sides of the stage, to see the dystopian world through the main character’s eyes. 140 W. Washington St., 317-635-5252
Arguably the best event at the Artsgarden all year, the annual Black History Month series Art & Soul will focus on the way the African diaspora has affected art in Indiana. The calendar overflows with spoken-word, dance, and musical performances, including one by Griot Drum Ensemble that fuses drumming and storytelling. Most shows are free. 110 W. Washington St., 317-624-2563
Don’t forget your smartphone at the Long-Sharp Gallery at the Conrad; you can use it to snap pictures of the famous artwork and access descriptions. Owner Rhonda Long-Sharp calls this “art in the A game,” a fair description of a place housing Picasso and Warhol classics in the gallery and Indy paintings in the hotel. This month, Russell Young’s portraits of celebrities covered in diamond dust will shimmer throughout the Conrad’s lobby. 50 W. Washington St., 866-370-1601
Treat your significant other to Tastings wine bar, where you’ll earn bonus points with the Valentine’s specials. On the 11th, try a surf-and-turf dinner at the “Love the Wine You’re With” event, and on the big day, sparkling wine adds a romantic touch to your evening. And remember: You don’t need a date to have a glass! 50 W. Washington St., 317-423-2400
Breaking the mold of all-white decor for froyo shops, Pearings’s earthy, modern design entices you to sit down at a communal table and enjoy your dessert. If the 80-plus toppings can’t bring you to eat a cup of sea-salt–caramel–pretzel froyo this time of year, try a crepe, each named after a famous duo. The Donald & Daisy is filled with Smoking Goose duck, pear, and ricotta. 6 W. Washington St., 317-608-6456
“Some of the guys I work with go to Pearings in the morning for crepes. The Batman & Robin is their usual.” –Jeff Caesar, valet coordinator at the Conrad
Just off Washington lies a local alternative to Starbucks: the new Hubbard & Cravens, a no-frills coffee shop with an industrial edge. The Indiana-made Modbar promises a more-regulated pour-over, whether you’re ordering the white-chocolate mocha or any of the sustainable coffees. 11 S. Meridian St., 317-295-2336
If you think it’s too early to ride a bike, Pacers Bikeshare’s weather-resistant cycles might prove you wrong. With four stations along the street, you can head right onto the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which is plowed throughout the winter. Just be sure to check in your bike during your first 30 minutes to avoid extra fees. 317-653-1947
If your day takes you beyond downtown, hop in a quiet BlueIndy electric car (don’t go more than 150 miles, though, or the battery will leave you stranded). BlueIndy plans to install 125 charging stations at 25 locations citywide by March, and the annual membership will run $15 per month. Right now you can take one of the cars for a free spin from this demo spot. Have your own electric car? Membership gives you access to the charging stations. 14 E. Washington St.
Gallery Forty-Two has turned a 19th-century building into a bi-level retail art gallery. The ground floor features classic pieces, including some by Dali, while the second floor is home to contemporary paintings of sports and entertainment subjects in vibrant colors. Take a lunch break to see a Fiorentino watercolor of Paul George and the Boban Ilic sculptures, made entirely of stainless-steel flatware. 42 E. Washington St., 317-822-4242