Be better: A Broad Ripple review

Looks pretty boring, right? Photo by Delaney Hudson


I’m a person who likes to go out with friends once in a while instead of rotting in bed watching Netflix. Unfortunately, I live in Indiana where the opportunities for fun are sparse. I’m a commuter at Butler, so I have more familiarity with local spots beyond campus. There’s a town center mall near my house and while it’s fun, I would rather not go to the same place every other weekend. Now that I’ve started college, I have more freedom to venture outside of my hometown’s entertainment — which has led me to one of the most talked-about areas, Broad Ripple. 

I’ve heard so many amazing things about it, from the food to the scenery and the atmosphere. I was excited to see and experience all the cool shops and buzzing sidewalks. 

But when I made it there, I was a little disappointed. My review of Broad Ripple — which please take lightly, because I am no college town connoisseur — is mostly negative. 

I’m not sure what I was expecting. Of all the college towns I’ve visited, I liked Bloomington the most. From how highly Broad Ripple is talked about, I thought it would be similar to Indiana University’s atmosphere: bubbly, colorful and loud. But to me, Broad Ripple was sad and gloomy. 

First-year economics major Mindy Smith said her experience going to Broad Ripple did not live up to her expectations. 

“Coming into Butler I had heard a lot about Broad Ripple and how it was ‘the place to be,’” Smith said. “It’s not an exciting place to be. It feels kind of dangerous and weird.” 

As someone who listens to a lot of Crime Junkie, describing a place as dangerous and weird would make me run away from it as fast as I can. 

First-year music education major Mackenzie Maxwell also had a negative view of Broad Ripple. 

“I thought it was a good place to get off campus for a little while, but it’s mostly just a bunch of bars and construction,” Maxwell said. “I wanted more scenery.” 

Construction can bog down any atmosphere. Butler students have been well acquainted with construction this year, and it can be an eyesore sometimes. Maxwell also compared Broad Ripple to on-campus activities. 

“Staying on campus is way more fun than Broad Ripple,” Maxwell said. “There is always something to do on campus and activities available.” 

With fraternity and sorority philanthropy events, student performances and University Program Council events within walking distance, why would students want to go to Broad Ripple? 

First-year arts administration major Oli Barnett shared his in-depth review of Broad Ripple, and tips Butler could use to entertain their students better. 

“I thought Broad Ripple would be a space that provided more opportunities where you don’t have to pay or be a certain age to experience things,” Barnett said. “I think the school could be better at getting students to enjoy their community outside of campus by providing transportation to museums, parks, etc. I also think Broad Ripple could do a better job of including people who are under 21 but also adults.” 

College towns should be inclusive to every age. College students are not just 21 and older. And believe it or not, some college students aren’t interested in drinking every night for fun. Living on campus, especially with no reliable transportation, can feel isolating and boring in general. While there are musicals and club events on campus, it is nice to get out for a little while. 

College is about experiencing new things. Students should have a safe and stimulating environment to do that in. Broad Ripple has been around longer than Butler. It’s not one of those towns that are only there because the university it’s near is there, which is why I, and other students, expected more. 

While I know that one article by a college student won’t change Broad Ripple, I do believe that Butler could provide more opportunities for students who don’t have their own modes of transportation, or even advertise events going on around the downtown area so students don’t feel like they are trapped in Butler’s small corner of Indianapolis. 

Hopefully in the future, Broad Ripple can begin to develop so students and residents of the small town see a range of activities they can partake in. They aren’t doing all that construction for nothing, right?


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