Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Robert Indiana"s famous Love sculpture at the Indianapolis Museum of
Art.
(Photo: Sherry Ott)
By Sherry Ott / Ott"s World
It would be easy to
think that Indianapolis wouldn"t have much going on beyond the Indy 500, the
famous car race for which it"s best known.
For a long time, I did.

I grew up nearby, in Peoria, IL, a three-hour drive from Indianapolis.
When I
left the Midwest 20 years ago I had sort of written off this city as I started
to experience what larger metropolises, like San Francisco and NYC, had to
offer in the way of art, nature, and food.
I hadn"t looked back.
But I
recently revisited Indianapolis and quickly learned that I was oh so
wrong.That"s not to say the speedfest isn"t a top reason to visit; in fact the
100th anniversary of the Indy 500 is coming up in May 2016, and no doubt this
city will see more fans than ever."
But while this is a city of fast cars,
it"s also a city of more leisurely pursuits — a haven for creators,
innovators, and artists, for outdoor enthusiasts who don"t mind taking the
slow lane, and for food lovers who want to linger over a delicious
dinner.
Here"s how to take a relaxing and reinvigorating break in
Indianapolis.

1.
Take in the art
Think outside of the box, Indy isn"t just about the
traditional museums; it shows off its artistic side everywhere in the city.
Roy Lichtenstein"s Five Brushstrokes is installed outside Indianapolis Museum
of Art (Photo: Sherry Ott)
Traditional Art: I walked into the Indianapolis
Museum of Art (IMA) and looked up.
The building was modern and open and I felt
as if I had been swallowed by art when I stepped in the front door.
The museum
is one of the ten oldest in the country and its collection includes American,
Asian, European, and African works of art and textiles; it has a commitment to
design arts as well.
As you"d expect, the IMA usually has at least one exhibit
devoted to cars.
When I visited, it was a beautiful display of what
cutting-edge automobile technology and design has looked like through the
years.
Now it"s a selection of artworks from the museum"s collection that have
been inspired by cars.
The sculpture Team Building (Align) hovers over 100 Acres.
It"s
constructed from two 30-foot-wide metal rings whose shadows overlap during the
summer solstice.
(Photo: Sherry Ott)
Outdoor Art: Sculptures and outdoor art
can be spotted all over the city in parks and public spaces.
This was not the
Midwest that I used to know! Check out 100 Acres Virginia B.
Fairbanks Art
& Nature Park, a part of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
True to its name,
this merging of contemporary art in nature is located on 100 acres that
includes untamed woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and 35-acre lake.
The
greenspace is one of the largest museum art parks in the country, and features
ongoing commissions of site-specific artworks.
The birds on the wall of the Alexander Hotel are crafted from vinyl records,
including those of Indiana"s own Jackson 5.
(Photo: Alexander Hotel/Kristin
Hornberger)
Hotel Art: The Alexander Hotel is Indy"s hip art hotel curated by
the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The works here have been commissioned
exclusively for the hotel and reference or are inspired by Hoosier state
culture and history.Related: Nassau and Paradise Island: How to Do the Bahamas
in 3 Days
2.
Hit the trails
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is all about speed, but I
loved slowing down and seeing Indianapolis at a more relaxed pace.Canal Trail:
The canal trail is part of the Indiana Central Canal Towpath, which was dug in
the early 1800s.
Recently refurbished, the Canal Walk winds through the
downtown area as a waterside promenade for walkers, runners, bikers and
Segway-ers! Topping out at 10mph, a Segway is no Indy car, but a Segway tour
is a great way to get around and see downtown.
The canal is reminiscent of the
San Antonio River Walk but less commercialized and more family-oriented.
Every
corner I turned on my Segway revealed a new form of transportation around the
canal: family group bike, sitting bike, kayaks, group paddle boats, a Venetian
gondola complete with a gondolier singing for you under bridges,
skateboarders, and of course more cool Segways.Related: Why Portland, Maine,
Is the New Portlandia
Taking a Segway tour as a ‘fast" way to get around the river and
canal trails.
(Photo: Sherry Ott)
Cultural Trail: If you prefer to cover more
ground, then check out the eight-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
This biking
and walking trail connects six of Indy"s cultural districts.
The trail is well
maintained and used and has been the driving force behind much of the
neighborhood revitalization throughout Indy.
As a visitor, the best way to
experience the trail is by utilizing the easy city bikeshare.
Rent a bike for
a day or for an hour and get around the whole city while enjoying parks and
public art along the way.
The Indy Cultural Trail runs through the heart of the city.
(Photo: Sherry
Ott)
3.
Eat well, no matter your taste
Foodie scenes are not only happening
on the coasts — Indianapolis had taken on the local food movement whole
hog.The Classic: A visit to Indy requires a stop at St.
Elmo Steak House,
where the food and the wait staff are an institution.
This is one of those
serious old-time restaurants serving traditional foods in big portions; a
place where being a waiter is a career path.
A writer once deemed its shrimp
cocktail the spiciest in the world, and it"s also known for its big steaks and
equally big menu; it was impossible for me to decide what to order.
Our
waiter, Dave, was close to retirement and had been working there since
1986.
Once I heard this, I trusted Dave with my evening completely.
When I
asked him to simply order for me, he surprised me and said, "First, I need to
learn about you…" A smile crept across my face; I adore it when someone
surprises me with exactly what I want to hear.
Now this was a waiter who was
more than a waiter, he was a food therapist.
St.
Elmo Steak House brags that it has the spiciest shrimp cocktail
around.
Have you braved it? (Photo: Sherry Ott)
The Hipster: Built in an old
garage, and filled with tattoo-laden chefs and wait staff, Milk Tooth could be
mistaken for a café in Brooklyn.
Specializing in morning menus,
chef/owner Jonathan Brooks is committed to using only local ingredients and
pouring the best coffee in the city.
The bright, hip design was the perfect
atmosphere for inventive food and flavor combinations.
It was so hard to
choose from their brunch menu that we got three items to share between the two
of us!Related: South Dakota? Yes! 29 Things Not to Miss
Pancake with cranberry mustard sauce at Milk Tooth.
(Photo: Sherry
Ott)
Fine Dining and Drinking: If you prefer your food to look like a work of
art, then head to Cerulean where the food is just about too pretty to
eat.
This beloved local farm-to-table gem used to require a trek out to Winona
Lake, Indiana, but now there"s an outpost at the Alexander Hotel.
Remember how
that hotel is a partnership with the Indianapolis Museum of Art? Well, then
it"s no surprise that the plates here are like a canvases.
You can try a
little of everything with the five- or seven-course tasting menu.
And if you
are looking to quench your thirst along with your creative side, head upstairs
to Plat 99; a mixology bar where the drink menu rotates regularly.
Bartenders
look like a crazy scientists as they blend ingredients and flavors you would
never imagine drinking.
Taste the local variety at farm-to-table Cerulean.
(Photo: Sherry Ott)
After
my weekend in Indianapolis I learned that the things to do in this city are
never-ending — and as fast or slow as you want them to be.

WATCH:
Where to Spot the Northern Lights in the U.S.
Before They Dim Let World
traveling club Travel inspire you every day.

Robert Indiana's famous Love sculpture at the Indianapolis Museum of
Art.
(Photo: Sherry Ott) By Sherry Ott / Ott's World It would be easy to
think that Indianapolis wouldn't have much going on beyond the Indy 500, the
famous car race for which it's best known.
For a long time, I did.
I grew up
nearby, in Peoria, IL, a three-hour drive from Indianapolis..Outdoor Art:
Sculptures and outdoor art can be spotted all over the city in parks and
public spaces.
This was not the Midwest that I used to know! Check out 100
Acres Virginia B.
Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, a part of the Indianapolis
Museum of Art.
True to its name, this merging of contemporary art in nature is
located on 100 acres that includes untamed woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and
35-acre lake.
The greenspace is one of the largest museum art parks in the
country, and features ongoing commissions of site-specific artworks.
The birds on the wall of the Alexander Hotel are crafted from vinyl records,
including those of Indiana"s own Jackson 5.
(Photo: Alexander Hotel/Kristin
Hornberger)
Hotel Art: The Alexander Hotel is Indy"s hip art hotel curated by
the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The works here have been commissioned
exclusively for the hotel and reference or are inspired by Hoosier state
culture and history.Related: Nassau and Paradise Island: How to Do the Bahamas
in 3 Days
2.
Hit the trails
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is all about speed, but I
loved slowing down and seeing Indianapolis at a more relaxed pace.Canal Trail:
The canal trail is part of the Indiana Central Canal Towpath, which was dug in
the early 1800s.
Recently refurbished, the Canal Walk winds through the
downtown area as a waterside promenade for walkers, runners, bikers and
Segway-ers! Topping out at 10mph, a Segway is no Indy car, but a Segway tour
is a great way to get around and see downtown.
The canal is reminiscent of the
San Antonio River Walk but less commercialized and more family-oriented.
Every
corner I turned on my Segway revealed a new form of transportation around the
canal: family group bike, sitting bike, kayaks, group paddle boats, a Venetian
gondola complete with a gondolier singing for you under bridges,
skateboarders, and of course more cool Segways.Related: Why Portland, Maine,
Is the New Portlandia
Taking a Segway tour as a ‘fast" way to get around the river and
canal trails.
(Photo: Sherry Ott)
Cultural Trail: If you prefer to cover more
ground, then check out the eight-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
This biking
and walking trail connects six of Indy"s cultural districts.
The trail is well
maintained and used and has been the driving force behind much of the
neighborhood revitalization throughout Indy.
As a visitor, the best way to
experience the trail is by utilizing the easy city bikeshare.
Rent a bike for
a day or for an hour and get around the whole city while enjoying parks and
public art along the way.
The Indy Cultural Trail runs through the heart of the city.
(Photo: Sherry
Ott)
3.
Eat well, no matter your taste
Foodie scenes are not only happening
on the coasts — Indianapolis had taken on the local food movement whole
hog.The Classic: A visit to Indy requires a stop at St.
Elmo Steak House,
where the food and the wait staff are an institution.
This is one of those
serious old-time restaurants serving traditional foods in big portions; a
place where being a waiter is a career path.
A writer once deemed its shrimp
cocktail the spiciest in the world, and it"s also known for its big steaks and
equally big menu; it was impossible for me to decide what to order.
Our
waiter, Dave, was close to retirement and had been working there since
1986.
Once I heard this, I trusted Dave with my evening completely.
When I
asked him to simply order for me, he surprised me and said, "First, I need to
learn about you…" A smile crept across my face; I adore it when someone
surprises me with exactly what I want to hear.
Now this was a waiter who was
more than a waiter, he was a food therapist.
St.
Elmo Steak House brags that it has the spiciest shrimp cocktail
around.
Have you braved it? (Photo: Sherry Ott)
The Hipster: Built in an old
garage, and filled with tattoo-laden chefs and wait staff, Milk Tooth could be
mistaken for a café in Brooklyn.
Specializing in morning menus,
chef/owner Jonathan Brooks is committed to using only local ingredients and
pouring the best coffee in the city.
The bright, hip design was the perfect
atmosphere for inventive food and flavor combinations.
It was so hard to
choose from their brunch menu that we got three items to share between the two
of us!Related: South Dakota? Yes! 29 Things Not to Miss
Pancake with cranberry mustard sauce at Milk Tooth.
(Photo: Sherry
Ott)
Fine Dining and Drinking: If you prefer your food to look like a work of
art, then head to Cerulean where the food is just about too pretty to
eat.
This beloved local farm-to-table gem used to require a trek out to Winona
Lake, Indiana, but now there"s an outpost at the Alexander Hotel.
Remember how
that hotel is a partnership with the Indianapolis Museum of Art? Well, then
it"s no surprise that the plates here are like a canvases.
You can try a
little of everything with the five- or seven-course tasting menu.
And if you
are looking to quench your thirst along with your creative side, head upstairs
to Plat 99; a mixology bar where the drink menu rotates regularly.
Bartenders
look like a crazy scientists as they blend ingredients and flavors you would
never imagine drinking.
Taste the local variety at farm-to-table Cerulean.
(Photo: Sherry Ott)
After
my weekend in Indianapolis I learned that the things to do in this city are
never-ending — and as fast or slow as you want them to be.

WATCH:
Where to Spot the Northern Lights in the U.S.
Before They Dim Let World
traveling club Travel inspire you every day.

Robert Indiana's famous Love sculpture at the Indianapolis Museum of
Art.
(Photo: Sherry Ott) By Sherry Ott / Ott's World It would be easy to
think that Indianapolis wouldn't have much going on beyond the Indy 500, the
famous car race for which it's best known.
For a long time, I did.
I grew up
nearby, in Peoria, IL, a three-hour drive from Indianapolis.

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