Fountain Square: Indy’s not-so-hidden gem

Photo courtesy of Anna Smith.


Coming from where a lot of Butler kids are from, the Chicago suburbs, the bustling city is quite different than our new home of Indianapolis. If you’re like me, Indy can sometimes seem a little sleepy. You may have written downtown Indy off as just another small city, but if you’ve done just a little exploring of this cute city, you’d find out that Indy is anything but tired.

Indy’s slower tempo is a much more approachable speed than Chicago’s crazy whirlwind rate. It has neighborhoods with vibrant personalities and friendly midwestern hospitality. Whether you’re wanting to party it up, start a new family or grow old, Indy’s multi-faceted city life will cater to you.

When I first got here, however, I wrote off Indy as just the sleepy town I’d only vaguely heard of. This close-minded mindset has kept me from perhaps my favorite spot that I’ve found so far in the Indianapolis area: Fountain Square –– a stop along the newly-founded Red Line. This neighborhood is the next place you need to visit.

It has everything you could possibly need in a neighborhood: brunch, vintage shopping, coffee, music, cat cafes and Duckpin bowling. All within a few blocks!

Let’s start with the food. Right as you’re entering the main street of Fountain Square, you’ll pass Milktooth: the artsiest, most delicious, coolest brunch place you’ve ever been to. There is nothing to complain about when dining here, the service is fabulous and every waiter looks like they’ve just walked off the set of Euphoria — so basically they’re trendy AF. The food is more expensive and a bit niche, but until you’ve had one of their dutch baby pancakes, I don’t think you’ve lived.

The coffee in Fountain Square is also off the charts. I’m sure I haven’t even tried all the coffee it has to offer, but the places I have been to slap. Whether you pop in Square Cat Vinyl or stop by to pet some actual cats at the local cat cafe — more on that later — yummy coffee is available everywhere you go.

A coffee shop that has stood out within the plethora of options is Fountain Square’s newest coffee shop, and quite possibly the cutest of them, Bovaconti Coffee. This coffee place opened but a few weeks ago and has already surpassed expectations of taste, aesthetic and vibes. The shop’s pink tiled walls, teal exposed ceilings and funky flamingo designs all serve to accentuate the amazingly unthought of coffee combinations. Many locals have already deemed this coffee oasis their number one.

Another honorable mention goes to the Nine Lives Cat Cafe, a place in which coffee connoisseurs’ and cat lovers’ dreams are made. For just $5 an hour, you get to enjoy the company of adorable and adoptable cats while sipping a warm beverage and loving your life.

Now onto my personal favorite activity to do in Fountain Square: vintage shopping. Not only is there a Goodwill, aka my favorite place and the love of my life, but the other vintage shops are also show stoppers.

Zodiac Vintage and Vintage Vogue are just two of the unique and consistently fab vintage stores in Fountain Square. The denim and graphic tee game is off the charts, and I can guarantee you will find a dope new item to hang in your closet.

If you’re into vintage finds, your shopping isn’t restricted to clothes. On the first Friday of every month on the second floor of the Murphy Art Center, you have the opportunity to explore a warehouse full of local artists’ work. This event, which lasts until midnight, is full of snacks, music, friendship and the occasional concert. I’ve been a few times, and am never disappointed by the warm greetings from the artists and fellow art fans.

If you’re tired of shopping and want a riveting game of competition, you can stop by Fountain Square’s very own Actin Duckpin Bowling alley. Duckpin bowling is a lot like regular bowling but with much smaller pins and a much better name. In a historic building that features mid-century music and decor, duckpin bowling will take you back in time to fulfill all of your 1950 fantasies.

It took me three years to find and appreciate this wonderful bustling place, and so I hope Fountain Square doesn’t remain unexplored by the young Butler student reading this article. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t write a place off until you’ve done proper exploring. There are many gems within the city walls of Indianapolis that I haven’t found yet, and I’m excited to keep looking.


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