Written by Hannah Farley
Indiana gets a bad rap outside of the Midwest. “Aren’t there just a bunch of corn fields?” Indy has come a long way, even just in the last 10 years, and we’re only going to continue to grow and improve! Our food scene, level of entertainment, and our notable lineup of sports teams are only some of the impressive features of Indiana.
Today the spotlight is on one of Indiana’s seven cultural districts, Broad Ripple. Six miles north of downtown Indianapolis, and only a couple miles from Butler University, the neighborhood known for its diversity and quirky uniqueness welcomes all visitors. This is a neighborhood lined with good eats, known for its artsy feel, and great for guests (and anyone else) who are looking for a good time. And I mean good time in the broadest of ways, because whether you like going out for night on the town, great bars, exercising, shopping, eating local, eating healthy, avoiding anything healthy, spending time with family, or just playing with your dog, Broad Ripple has you covered.
With that being said, I’ve chosen 12 places/things to do (not in any order) that I believe top the charts in all aspects. This is not to say these are the only spots to go to or activities to check out because as previously stated, Broad Ripple has a lot going on. I can’t think of a place in “B Ripp” that doesn’t have its own cool flair. Nevertheless, let’s get this started.
1. Public Greens
Public Greens offers classic dishes with unique twists. Salads, soups, sandwiches, and bakery items are offered for both lunch and dinner. There’s a breakfast menu too! Each menu is constantly changing to give visitors different choices throughout the year. With their own garden sitting right next to their restaurant, many of the menu options are picked daily for a freshness that can’t be beaten. Coolest part of the whole deal? All profits and crops go toward feeding kids who face food insecurity through The Patachou Foundation. Learn more here: https://thepatachoufoundation.org/our-mission/
Where: 900 E 64th Street | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Casual attire is the norm, but business meetings take place here, as well as being a refueling spot for people working out on the Monon – so whatever you wear, you’re welcome!
I recommend: Fried sweets on the side of any meal!
2. Ezra’s Enlightened Café
This may be a new spot to try, even for the locals. Ezra’s is tucked back behind other buildings and isn’t easily spotted from the street. But oh, is it awesome when you find it! Also called an herbal elixir bar, this feel-good restaurant is gluten-free, vegan, and very yummy. Known for their smoothies, acai bowls, and desserts, this is a great spot to grab food on the go to make your body thank you. Each smoothie listed in the store tells you what it helps with (skin, energy boosting, focus, etc.). Everything is made fresh daily, and you can tell. Pizza, salads, soups, bagels and veggie wraps are also on the menu among many other things. Don’t let the vibe steer you away if it’s not your normal type of place, you won’t regret giving it a shot.
Where: 6516 Ferguson Street | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Whatever you’re comfortable in (just no birthday suit)
I recommend: Quinoa burger and the piña blisslota smoothie
3. The Monon Trail
If you’ve been to Indy at all, you know of the Monon Trail. This 23 mile walking/running/bike trail begins in downtown Indianapolis and ends on the northside just past Grand Park on 191st Street. The Monon goes right through Broad Ripple, and is often time a starting place for a workout for the community members. You can ride your bike, use those rollerblades that have been collecting dust in your garage, or you can just bring yourself. You’ll see plenty of people walking and running along the path all throughout the day. The trail is open sunrise to sunset for safety purposes. Just passing through Broad Ripple via the trail? You’ll run into Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station, known as BRICS. Self-explanatory, it’s an ice cream shop, and it’s frickin’ good. Too many flavors to recommend, so you’ll have to share your favorite with us. The Monon Trail… a great path to follow to view some of Indy’s best spots.
Where: Parking is located on Cornell Avenue (Broad Ripple access)
Wear: Athletic attire
I recommend: Biking with my friends is my favorite activity on the Monon.
Monon Trail Info: https://www.traillink.com/trail/monon-trail/
4. La Piedad
A local favorite, this restaurant can also be seen and accessed from the Monon. La Piedad is owned by the Rodriguez family who came from Michoacán, Mexico and shares their family recipes through each dish. One of the best spots for authentic Mexican cuisine, this restaurant is almost always busy, but they get you in quick! Inside and outside seating is available, as are margaritas. The staff is friendly, there’s normally a soccer game playing on the TV, and the atmosphere is fun! This is a great spot to bring friends and/or family.
Where: 6524 Cornell Avenue | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Casual, normal day-to-day attire
I recommend: Arroz con pollo
5. The Vogue Theatre
The Vogue is Broad Ripple’s largest venue for bands, both local and known world-wide. The Vogue’s concert schedule can be found on their website listed below and is a great place for someone who is looking to enjoy the neighborhood’s nightlife with a focus on live music. Notable Vogue Theatre visitors over the years?
– Dave Matthews Band – The Black Keys – Common
– Led Zeppelin – Major Lazer – Bassnectar
– Snoop Dogg – O.A.R. – Weezer
– Rihanna – John Mayer – Kings of Leon
– N.E.R.D. – Ciara
– Jack Johnson – The Ramones
The Vogue is known to showcase the best of the best before they’re big time. That’s why it’s important to catch the small shows now before their tickets cost $200 for the nosebleeds! Cough, cough Rihanna.
Where: 6259 N College Avenue | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Depending on the event – dressy, nightclub attire
I recommend: Catch your favorite band tribute played by a local group! DMB Tribute is on 11/24
6. Bagel Deli
The Bagel Deli is another one of those self-explanatory places: fresh bagels of all kinds steamed and loaded with all your favorite ingredients. Choose a bagel from the menu, the sheets of paper taped on the wall, or create your own! If you’re lucky enough, they may name a bagel after you. My personal favorite doesn’t have too much going on, the Miami, but some are extravagant and loaded, and all are delicious. This is a great spot for breakfast or lunch. Also a great spot after one too many drinks at the Piano Bar across the street. Their hours differ day-to-day but on Friday’s and Saturday’s you’ll catch their “open” sign lit up until 4:00 a.m.!
Where: 850 Broad Ripple Avenue | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Your normal day-to-day attire
I recommend: If you’re feeling hungry, go for something that sounds good and then also try something out of your comfort zone. They’re cheap enough to go a little wild!
7. 8Fifteen Boutique
As mentioned in Vogue magazine, owner Erin Welch’s boutique has gained popularity over the nine years it’s been open. High-end clothing brands such as Veronica Beard, Isabelle Marant, Golden Goose Deluxe, and many more can be found in this sweet shop. Many brands you’d find at Barney’s or Nordstrom can be found here, but can also be special ordered through the store. So that top that Veronica Beard sells that isn’t carried in Indy’s Nordstrom? That little number can be ordered through 8Fifteen if it’s placed early enough. You’ll get great service as soon as you walk through the door from the sales associates, and if you’re a woman bringing your man with you – he can have a seat on the large comfortable couch and will be offered a beer. It’s awesome. The boutique also has unbeatable sales throughout the year. A hidden gem in the Broad Ripple neighborhood for sure.
Where: 815 E 65th Street | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Trendy casual
I recommend: Hitting the trunk shows!
8. Hotel Broad Ripple
Another hidden gem, this small hotel is located right off the Monon. This is a great place to book for a couple nights if you’re wanting a tranquil and relaxed stay. Each room that you can book is different from the next, and has a different style. Each style, however, is fresh and contemporary, and does not lack in comfort. “But what about a workout room or breakfast in the lobby?” You have the Monon Trail right outside the beautiful glass doors in the lobby, and all the breakfast spots you could ever want right down the street. And Perk Up Café is just a couple steps away!
Where: 6520 E Westfield Blvd. | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: In the lobby – whatever you normally wear. In the room – that’s up to you. Free reign, baby.
I recommend: Lodge Room 7 is my favorite. Great natural lighting and a more private feel.
Perk Up Café Menu: www.perkupindy.com
9. Sangrita Saloon
I wanted there to be diversity in this list, but here I am posting another Mexican restaurant. The thing is, I’m not even that big of a fan of Mexican food, but Sangrita Saloon had to make the list. This is definitely more upscale and has a dark and more Western-y feel inside. “Modern Mexican,” is what they call it. The cocktail list isn’t lengthy, but every drink is spectacular. What is lengthy is their list of tequilas they offer. I once heard that they have more than 100 types of tequila.
The menu is delicious. Start with the Fundido (queso blanco), and then whatever else looks good to you, order it. Their ingredients are sourced locally so you get this farm-to-table feeling you normally wouldn’t get at a Mexican restaurant. And because of their fresh ingredients, every time I leave Sangrita, I don’t feel that heavy greasy feeling you’re probably used to after eating tacos and enchiladas.
Where: 843 E 64th Street | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Casual or business casual
I recommend: Tostada Camarones! Just the right amount of spice, tons of flavor, and great texture with the crisp vegetables stacked on top.
10. Union Jack
How does one describe Union Jack? I’d say it’s like walking into a pub in rural England. You walk into the mostly wooden restaurant and see large, chunky booths, a long bar, and soccer on every TV. You’ve got a lot of food options here, so this one of those places that I mentioned in the beginning if you’re looking to not be so healthy. There are still salads and salads and wraps if that’s what you’re into! But there’s also amazing pizza, wings, burgers, pulled pork nachos, all the good stuff. Union Jack has been open in Broad Ripple for more than 38 years, so it’s been a staple for quite some time. Kids are welcome!
Where: 924 Broad Ripple Ave | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Casual day-to-day attire
I recommend: Deep dish pizza or the Reuben
11. Rusted Moon Outfitters
Your local shop to find all things outdoors. They carry more than 75 brands, have 12 different gear departments, AND have been in Broad Ripple for 15 years! Rusted Moon offers you the opportunity of buying brands that you know and love, but also supporting a local business. Truly the best of both worlds. Their team of friendly staff, including a couple of hard working pups, are ready to assist you with any camping, kayaking, hiking, travelling adventure that you might have coming up. Your pup is welcome to come browse too! They also offer kayaking classes, and have rentals for skis, snowboards, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. Check their hours and then check them out!
Where: 6410 Cornell Avenue | Indianapolis, IN
I recommend: Talking to the sales associates and asking them for advice on your upcoming trip! You never know what you may learn.
12. Cake Bake
Last but definitely not least, award-winning Cake Bake caps the list. I’d mention the awards and recognition, but it’s 26 pages long on their website. Yes, the cake is that good. It isn’t the only thing that attracts customers though. The entire Cake Bake shop is a sea of pink with a Parisian style with sparkles and shine, honestly like nothing I’ve ever experienced. A little pricey, but what can you expect from a shop that’s served Oprah, Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, and Jimmy Buffet (among many others).
Just like all of the desserts, the atmosphere is sweet, which is why it’s smart to call ahead for a table. Walk-ins are welcome but depending on the day, you could be waiting up to an hour. Bring your friends and family and enjoy soup, sandwiches, or a quiche with your chosen dessert. They also have afternoon tea, and plenty of fun drinks to try at any part of the day.
Where: 6515 Carrolton Avenue | Indianapolis, IN
Wear: Smart casual, semi-dressy
I recommend: Raspberry champagne cake. Starting in September, try their carrot cake!
A small popsicle shop with regular and vegan options. All are handmade and all-natural. Perfect on a warm summer day, or on a cold day when you’re craving something sweet. There are over 15 different popsicle flavors, and all can be dipped in milk or dark chocolate. Oh my gosh, they’re so good. They have a couple flavors that may throw you off a bit, say, the avocado flavored popsicle, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I highly advise bringing your pup, too! They have a flavor made for your furry friend. 🙂
Where: 916 E Westfield Blvd. Ste 120 | Indianapolis, IN
Try: Toasted coconut dipped in dark chocolate!
Another farm-to-table restaurant with foods that make your body thank you. Some entrees can be hearty and others can be light, it depends on what you get! The restaurant has a very chill vibe and is seldom only visited once. Perfect for a casual brunch. Garden Table also opened a second location on Mass Ave in downtown Indy not too long ago, but once again you’d be supporting a local business!
Where: 908 E Westfield Blvd | Indianapolis, IN (right next to Nicey Treat!)
Try: Garden toast with an egg, or the garden benedict with bacon
Album cover photo credit: Wikipedia
About the Photographer
Ryan Daniel Photography
Instagram –> @ryandanielphoto
What inspires you?
I get great inspiration from the creative process, traveling the world and collecting experiences. I like to think of my photography as my visual passport to the world.
Why did you get into photography?
I’ve always had a collector personality. As a kid, I loved collecting baseball cards, music, and sports memorabilia. As I’ve been able to travel the world, I took a great interest in collecting my experiences through photography.
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