Indiana is known as the 'Crossroads of America', and in
Indianapolis, the intersection of several major Interstate
highways, this is literally true. This makes the state capital's
multiple attractions easily accessible, including the one many
consider to be hallowed ground, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Those who know nothing else about the city know that each May,
racing devotees flock to Indianapolis by the thousands for the Indy
500. During the winter, Indianapolis is a hotspot for football
fans, whose fervour for the Colts has reached frenzied heights
since the team won the XLI Super Bowl.
No worries for those less enthusiastic about spectator sports.
Once dubbed 'Indiana No Place', Indianapolis now caters to a
variety of other interests, not the least of which is history. At
the centre of town is Monument Circle, home to the 284-foot (87m)
Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, among many others. From the
circle, the city spreads outward in a grid and is divided into six
cultural districts. Broad Ripple Village mixes sidewalk cafés and
upscale boutiques with retro fashions and original music venues.
Fountain Square is a funky downtown neighbourhood laid out like a
European village. Both are known for their artistic leanings and
abundance of ethnic restaurants. Indiana Avenue showcases the
city's African-American heritage, and Mass Ave is the
free-spirited, friendly arts and theatre district.
The final two cultural districts may have less of an eclectic
vibe, but they are packed with attractions. Those in search of
good, old-fashioned American consumerism need look no further than
the Wholesale District's Circle Centre, a large shopping mall
connected to the Indiana Convention Center and a number of downtown
hotels via skywalks. Wholesale is the home of the business district
as well as Conseco Fieldhouse, where the Indiana Pacers play, the
Colts' RCA Dome and loads of chain restaurants. For visitors who
wish to spend a bit of time enjoying the fresh air, there is the
Canal and White River Park district. The Canal Walk snakes through
the city, offering an urban respite for fitness buffs, while
scattered throughout the 250-acre state park are top museums,
unique festival and concert spaces and the Indianapolis Zoo.