A lot of recent grads dream of heading to a big city after college. There are more jobs, more things to do and more chaos :). That was my goal too. After my time in Spain was up, I also got caught up in the romantic idea of being part of the 20-something hub that flocked to a big city.
Most people I knew were dead set on Chicago or New York, but I was always drawn back to Indy. I didn’t know if my fantasy of city life and reality would match, but so far I have loved being right in the center of everything. After four months of being a “city girl,” here’s some of my favorite-and not so favorite-parts of living in downtown Indy:
Falling asleep to sirens-
This is one of those little things that reminds me that I’m in a place that never sleeps. After living in a quiet neighborhood and on campus my whole life, never hearing silence was new. The sirens have almost become my own noise machine at night.
It’s no big deal-
Once you’ve settled in, your home is your home-no matter if it’s in the center of the city or out in the suburbs. You naturally adjust to the little things (like more noise), but it’s not as overwhelming as some people make it out to be.
You’re close to everything-
This was obviously the #1 reason for living in the heart of downtown. Work-10 minute drive. Gym-10 minute drive. Bars-10 minute drive. Grocery store-5 minute drive. Since everything is in such a close radius, we’ve saved a lot of time and money getting places. Without a huge commute, it’s easier for us to do activities after work and our uber rides are ridiculously cheap.
The canal has everything: museums, cafes and bike paths that stretch all the way to the center of the city.
Obviously, living downtown means you have to be on your A-game. That’s why we picked an apartment near the med schools-because we knew most of the residents were students. We also got a place that was gated, which makes us more at ease coming and going from our apartment late at night. It's just about being smarter and making different decisions so you don't end up in sketchy areas alone. For example, I feel safer getting gas outside the city.
It’s a royal bitch. For someone who is a nervous wreck parallel parking, it’s pretty much a nightmare. I will do just about anything to get out of parking downtown, except for on the weekdays after 9 p.m. and on the weekends-when it’s FREE. Maybe it’s me, but parking spaces also feel so much smaller and cramped, plus the streets around Mass Ave are difficult to navigate with all of the one-ways. Honestly my advice is to just take an Uber (or a scooter!) and forget the hassle.
Living in a big city has lined up spot-on with what I’m looking for in my 20s: new people, a crazy pace and always something exciting going on. It’s kept me on my toes and also taught me to adjust to city life in a way I wasn’t expecting. I definitely think it’s a lifestyle everyone should try once just to see what the hype is about...and maybe you’ll surprise yourself. Happy to call myself an Indy City Girl.
You're an adult now, and part of being an adult is living on your own. While having a place is fun - total freedom, meeting new people, hosting parties - the steps to getting an apartment can be pretty confusing and a little overwhelming. Here are some things we've learned in the last month through our own experience apartment hunting and settling into Indy.
Finding the Perfect Apartment
Something that slipped my mind while in college was getting my own credit card. While getting a credit card might sound like a parent’s worst nightmare, it’s the perfect time to start building credit. Otherwise, you’ll end up needing a co-signer. Without a credit score, there’s really no way around it.
Each apartment complex is different in the options they offer a co-signer. Instead of having my parents fill out an application (including having to pay an application fee), they decided to “pay” a full month’s rent that acted as a second security deposit. So if I pay my rent on time throughout my lease, my parents will get that amount back in full. Doing so actually saved Caroline and I money because it lowered our security deposit!
You’ve settled into your new city, set up your first apartment and are getting the hang of your “big girl” job. But with adulthood comes challenges that no one prepares you for...like making friends. Think about it-this is the FIRST where you’ve had to work to make friendships.
There’s no classes or clubs to lean on to introduce you to new people. Unless you search for things to do or groups to become a part of, your social life will be pretty nonexistent. It can be daunting to put yourself out there, so here are a few ways we’ve explored and enjoyed Indianapolis with the hopes of making new friends along the way.
Right at Home
What’s better to bring new friends together than a traditional game night? Bringing back the classics-Clue, Scattergories and Uno- is a perfect way to break the ice, especially if you’re trying to get to know new people. We’ve started doing Sunday Game Nights, and they’ve been a blast so far! It’s an easy event to invite anyone to and with different people hosting each week, keeps it fun.
Events in the City
It was really cool to see so many cultures come together and share their food, music, history and products-yes, A LOT of shopping was done. You don’t realize how diverse Indy is until you stick everyone in a massive building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
What I found even more impressive was that there were a lot “less-well-known” countries, like the Phillippines, Israel, Algeria, which showed up. The food was incredible (best cheesecake I ever had), but my favorite part was chatting with people at the booths; they were so excited to teach us about their customs, language and beauty of their country.
There’s also live music (shoutout to the Alphorn group!), tons of food options and fun Christmas trinkets to buy, some were even made and flown in from Germany. I’m definitely going back to try out the ice rink and see the Gluehwein Pyramid lit up at night.
If you’re someone who’s always hunting for new events, businesses and restaurants, being a “yelper” is a great way to get to know your new city and meet others who, like you, are up for new experiences. Besides being the go-to platform to find honest reviews, Yelp hosts FREE events all throughout Indy to spice up your social life during the work week.
Working everyday makes it easy to get stuck in a routine and forget about all of the fun events going on right outside your door. So expand that social circle and see what your city has to offer!