Dreadful place to live for me, but lots of people - 11/11/2014
I've lived all over the country, and have a pretty open mind and free spirit, willing to try anything once. About two years ago I moved to Indianapolis for a job, and I will share my opinions here.
The crime is ridiculous. Twice as much crime and half as many police as anywhere I have ever lived. This is not hyperbole, I did some research, and it is generally true. Home invasion robberies, murders, dead bodies left in alleys. It's shocking how frequent, often, and how close to home it hits no matter where you live. Some areas are worse than others, but no areas are truly safe. The natives I know and work with tell me that's just the way it is, what are you going to do. Move, I guess?
Horrible climate. Humidity galore. Humid in the summer, humid in the fall, humid in the winter, etc. Like there will be days when it's not raining but it will be 99% humidity. It's very unpleasant. It leads to cold days feeling much colder, and hot days feeling much hotter. It's like trying to breathe underwater sometimes, the air is so thick and wet. And one of the side effects of all the humidity is that when I first moved here, I noticed everywhere smelled like a wet basement. You get used to it after a while and don't notice it so much, but there's a dampness and mildew smell that exists all over, even in buildings you think are modern and upscale. Then there are the tornadoes, thunder storms, and bitter, horribly cold winters.
Bugs. So many bugs. I have never seen such a variety of insects in my life, and so many. And so huge! Gross. Unless you like lots of bugs. I had an insect on my windshield once the size of a parakeet, he was making eye contact with me. So of course I couldn't kill it. Another one was living in my basement on the ceiling next to the washing machine and would wag his tail when I would go downstairs to do laundry, couldn't kill him either, but still, would prefer not to share my life with so many insects.
Indy is not a particularly attractive city. It's mostly flat, a few muddy brown rivers here and there. There are a few blocks of downtown that are okay. Zionsville has a few blocks of coolness to it. Broad Ripple tries to be hip, but really it never will be as long as it continues to stay loaded down with chain restaurants. The suburbs like Fishers are so boring I would die if I had to live there for more than a week. Plain vanilla houses in plain vanilla subdivisions surrounded by plain flatness and strip malls.
Weak infrastructure - bad roads, potholes of death (seriously a police officer died last year running their motorcycle into a pothole). Government that prides itself on being fiscally conservative - which means they don't spend money on pesky things like roads, police, or public transportation.
Public transportation - virtually non-existent. I have seen a couple busses here and there. But just for curiosity I looked up the bus routes to see what it would take for me to get to work on the bus - 2 1/2 hours, each way, and about 1 mile of walking in between but stops. This is to go 10 miles, which takes 22 minutes by car.
Very few dog parks, and the ones that do exist you have to pay to use.
Not very good food selections. As an example, everyone raves about this one pizza place as having the best pizza in the world, to die for. I have tried it a few times, and yuck. Tastes like a saltine cracker with tomato paste on it. Lots of chain restaurants if that's your thing. Tons of deep fried foods everywhere and things covered with cheese or cheese facsimile. Pork tenderloin is an example of a local food that people claim to be very "Indiana". It's basically a deep fried, heavily breaded piece of thin pork the size of which Fred Flintstone might order, it is generally 3 times as large as the bun on which it is served. Usually with a side of fries. Did I mention many people in Indiana are double extra large.
Yes, if you're a little chunky, you won't feel self conscious in Indiana. People around here aren't afraid to eat fatty foods, drink like a fish, and then eat some more fatty foods, and wash it down with even more booze. The stereotypical big American can be found here for sure.
Shopping not very good. Like for example, they do have a Nordstrom, but it's the saddest one I have ever seen in my life. Limited selection and fashions that are specially selected for people who are afraid of being too fashion forward.
When I first moved and wanted to buy furniture, it was really hard to find anything modern, contemporary, and moderately upscale. One furniture salesman said "You're in Indiana, you can't get what you want, they don't sell it here". I think I'm pretty conservative, but I guess even my moderate tastes are too wild for Indiana.
Very gun friendly state. You need one to protect yourself from all the crime. Seriously. Not exaggerating.
If one of your hobbies is protesting at women's clinics, good news, you're in luck, you will find plenty of people to join you, from what I can tell. And if you want to go to church, good news there too. I think there's 1 church for every 4 residents. They're everywhere.
Not a lot of diversity in Indiana. You're either white (about 64%) or african american (about 34%), and then a teeny, tiny smattering of others scattered about.
Best things I can think of about Indianapolis are:
Housing prices - dirt cheap. You get the biggest bang for your buck here, it's absolutely amazing. Mostly that has to do with the fact it's not a very desirable place to live, so it's very, very affordable. For the price of a 1 bedroom condo in my hometown, I could buy a 6,000 square foot house on 1 acre of property in Indianapolis.
Family friendly - you can afford to buy a house big enough for your family to fit in and some left over to take them to do fun things. The people I know who live here who are super family oriented seem to do well and like it.
Traffic - very light. Lots of wide freeways with hardly any cars on them, except during road construction, then it can get congested. But coming from a bunch of other large cities, traffic in Indianapolis is an absolute breeze.
I'm sorry Indianapolis, I tried to be fair and write lots of good stuff. But there's just too much crime, unpleasant weather, very little natural beauty, lack of diversity in all things.
What I notice is that many, many people I work with were born here, raised here, went to college here, and shockingly many of these college educated adults have never even left the state before. They have no point of reference for life outside of Indiana. So for them, it's cool. For someone like me who has been all over, just not quite the right fit.