Just south east of downtown Indianapolis is a quirky neighborhood full of restaurants, breweries, and...duck pin bowling! Check out a local's Indy girl's guide to everything Fountain Square has to offer!
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Considering a visit to Fountain Square?
Fountain Square is one of Indianapolis's most unique and vibrant neighborhoods. From residential farms to the commercial hub of the south side of Indianapolis in the mid-19th century, by the 1950's, the area was in decline.
Such decline, in fact, that its eponymous fountain was actually removed and put displayed in a nearby park. As if things weren't bad enough, next the interstates came through (more on that later), and it wasn't until the 1990's that Fountain Square started to be seen as a potential diamond in the rough.
The city rallied 'round, and Fountain Square saw a surge in investment and became a popular spot for new restaurants to venture, somewhat off the beaten track. Today,
Fountain Square today retains many of its old buildings, updated, and made functional (and funky).
Where is Fountain Square?
Fountain Square is to the southeast of downtown Indianapolis, just on the other side of 70/65 from the center of the heart of the city.
How do I get to Fountain Square?
Fountain Square is easily accessible from downtown Indianapolis, either by car or bike! Fountain Square is on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, so I hope you'll consider renting a bike to head down!
You can walk to Fountain Square from the "tourist center" of the city, but depending where you're coming from, it's a bit of a hike. In particular, if you're coming from the Convention Center/Lucas Oil area, it's not walkable.
If you stay on the Cultural Trail from downtown, you shouldn't feel unsafe, but it might be too far, especially if you want to see all of Fountain Square once you get there.
Is Fountain Square safe?
Yes! While the news likes flashy posts about events "near" Fountain Square, the main drag is large and perfectly safe. I wouldn't wander aimlessly for blocks and blocks outside of the commercial district, but you'll be completely fine at any of the spots recommended here.
Need date night ideas? Check out my top couples' activities in Indianapolis!
Fun Restaurants in Fountain Square
One of the closest Fountain Square restaurants to downtown Indianapolis, Bluebeard Indy is an eccentric treasure, named after a book by Indianapolis native, Kurt Vonnegut. Since it opened in 2012, Bluebeard has constantly topped the lists of Indy's best restaurants.
Come for great cocktails, intricate dishes, and an astonishing typewriter collection.
Great Mexican food, and even better margaritas (obviously), La Margarita is a go-to for Mexican in downtown Indianapolis that's been in Fountain Square since before it was cool (again). Check out the great patio to see all the happenings at one of the major intersections in Fountain Square. If you're looking for Mexican with a funkier flare, head up to Livery on Mass Ave.
Interested in exploring Mass Ave? Check out my guide to the best restaurants on Mass Ave (just about a mile north of Fountain Square).
Red Lion Grog House
For traditional pub fare, stop by Red Lion Grog House. In addition to pub staples and an amazing British beer selection, Red Lion's buffalo chicken wrap is to die for.
Breweries and Distilleries
Chilly Water Brewing Company
For a fun ambiance, and some of the best outdoor seating in Fountain Square, Chilly Water Brewing Company is our favorite bike-able destination from where we live on Mass Ave!
The Fire on the Mountain hummus and the Built to Last Pilsner is my go-to for a perfect Sunday afternoon.
Upland Fountain Square
Indy is making its mark on the distillery scene with Hotel Tango, a home-grown classic. Drop by Hotel Tango for fun cocktails, a cozy interior, and a laid-back vibe.
Wondering about the name?
Looking for even more Indianapolis breweries? Check out my list of the best breweries in downtown Indianapolis!
Unique Bars in Fountain Square
The Inferno Room: Indianapolis' Tiki Bar
Indianapolis may not be known for its Tiki scene, but it should be! The owners of The Inferno Room did an incredible amount of research (umm jealous!) to bring Tiki culture here to the heartland. The Inferno Room is a truly immersive experience, from blacked out windows, to rain showers, flaming drinks, and intricate skulls and masks. As the bartender for recommendations if you aren't familiar with these types of drinks, but you really can't go wrong. Make sure you get one that is on fire.
Fountain Square is home to the only authentic duckpin bowling alley in the Midwest! Formerly a "summer" version of bowling (a winter sport), duckpin bowling is similar to its counterpart, but with a smaller ball and pins.
Visiting the restored, 1930's bowling alley, located in the heart of Fountain Square is a true treat.
Extra Credit: The Idle, Fountain Square
Fountain Square's decline of almost a century ago occurred as the area became largely separated from other areas of Indianapolis by the building of a number of interstates.
But, seeking to use this as a spark of innovation, the city has created The Idle, one of the most unique park ideas I've ever heard of. Here, you can sit and watch the traffic go by. Yup, that's it. Strangely, it is relaxing. The traffic noise starts to become a background buzz...is commuter traffic the Indianapolis ocean? Maybe.
Thanks for stopping by!
Hope you enjoy your trip to Fountain Square! Don't forget to add nearby Mass Ave to your Indy to-do list and check out all of my other Indianapolis resources.
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