Blandianapolis - America's largest suburb striving
I've read the comments dating back to Feb 2006 and, after having lived in Indy for the last 41 years, all of the critical analysis is spot on. Wanted to offer a current perspective given 2015 events, i.e. RFRA Indiana - indicative of the underlying mind set of this god-forsaken hick state and town. RFRA just put it in plain view for everyone to see.
First of all, Indianapolis is not a city. It is a town. A large, small town. America's largest suburb, if you will, with few real city-like amenities. It thinks and behaves like a small town that wants to be taken seriously and known as a city. One could easily see and experience all there is to do in a weekend and wouldn't feel the need to return to Indy. But like many have pointed out, YES, you would have to SEARCH for it. (But who wants to have to search high and low for something to do? Shouldn't the 'things to do' be searching for the people?) Anyway, I digress. My 2 teenagers are constantly bored and, having traveled a lot, notice the contrast when we return home. We are all looking forward to moving soon.
In fact, to achieve '12th largest city' status, Indy cheats by using #'s from surrounding suburbs to reach the 850k+/- residents to become 12th largest city. What a joke. So if you come from a small town and want a small town feel but with a lot more land mass (but without natural amenities such as water, hills, mountains, beaches, etc) then you'll probably like Indy. Maybe. If Indy were a suburb outside of a major city like Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, D.C., Philly, San Fran, NYC, etc, then it would be great. But it's not. For the sake of comparison I'd argue that Denver (comparable size) behaves like a small big-city and is surrounded by a variety of suburbs that are similar to Indy.
When faced with opportunities to behave like a city, local government and the good ol boys turn it down in the name of either fiscal responsibility, family-values or christianity. Indianapolis hates new taxes, even for things that improve quality of life, but local govt seems to love to privatize and sell off assets like parking meters and toll roads to pay for stuff.
With regard to cost of living everyone keeps making a fuss about... it's like making the case for shopping at Wal-mart vs. Macy's. Sure, its' cheap. But it's cheap for a reason. Because there's nothing to do and you get what you pay for! A bunch of nothing... and a drab low quality lifestyle. Indy is miserably BORING, bland and offers very little to do outside of ones home.
If you are an independent thinker, don't come here. If you are single and under 40, don't come here. The singles scene is virtually non-existent. If you are talented and are looking to flourish in your career, don't come here. If you are artistic, don't come here. If you're an entrepreneur, don't come here. If you're a creative and an independent thinker, don't come here. If you want to raise a family AND have a balanced life outside of family stuff, don't come here. There are better cities to raise a family with suburbs like Indy.
In fairness, some of the criticism is relative, as Indy appeals well to a very slim demographic and if you happen to be in that demo (white, 40-75 y.o., from a small town, very conservative, slow-thinking, slow moving, despise change and progressive thought, little fashion sense, simple minded, group thinker, low ambition, moderate to heavy drinker, smoker, ultra-suburban family oriented, out of shape, and hate exercise, homebody or in witness protection) then Indy is perfect for you!! You'll love it here! But if you're outside that demo (like most of America who wants some flavor and quality of life while on earth) you'll go crazy in Indy. In fact, even if I were in the demo Indy tries to appeal to, I'd beg for MUCH MORE. This is a city striving for mediocrity that prides itself on blandness, plainness and cornfields like some bad joke. Consider the name of the suburbs Plainfield, Westfield, Whiteland, New Whiteland, Whitestown, Knightstown, etc.
And you're a racist or homophobic you'll feel right at home here. (The KKK had/has huge support in Indiana). There were public lynchings as recent as the 60's and my friend was hung in the 90's for dating a white woman.
They roll up the streets up around 8 or 9pm and everything closes.. so forget about life outside of your home after that. Sunday's everything closes earlier due to the Bible and religion. No liquor sales on Sunday and stores all close at 5 or 6p. You can't even buy alcohol on game day for the only thing most people worship around here - the Colts.
The city-like amenities Indy does have were reluctantly and slowly developed several years after being adopted by most of America (Naptown naps on trends).
Not to mention the long standing pattern of major national acts cancelling their Indy tour dates. This dates back decades and in part has something to do with apathetic orchestral-like audiences who just stare at the performers.
Simply put, there is nothing progressive, hip, cool, sophisticated or colorful about Indianapolis. Those who find this city 'cool' were the 'not so cool' kids in school who fit right in here. The cool ones mostly moved away to more congruent cities across the country that reflect the way America looks, feels and behaves. This is the land of pastel buildings and trees - lots of them. Trees and more trees. They even frown on billboards here with ordinances banning them.
When compared to other (mostly smaller midwest cities) Indy is ok. When compared to real cities, Indy pales miserably in comparison.