Green City: Indianapolis

by Leesa Raab

We, the editors at, have decided to chronicle our travels and highlight some of the green aspects in various cities. Please feel free to submit city ideas and information for upcoming Green City features.

Indiana. While perhaps it’s not high on the list of places to visit for everyone, I’m here to tell you that this state and its capital city, Indianapolis, have much to offer and are keeping it green! I’m originally from Indiana, so travel there at least a couple times a year to visit family and friends.  Most of my time there is spent in small towns in the southeastern part of the state, but it is customary for me to spend at least one night of each trip in Indianapolis hanging out with my brother and taking in what the city has to offer.

Indianapolis is a large city that somehow offers a quaint and charming feel. The people there are friendly and seem to have a way of making everyone feel welcome. Whether coming in for an event, crossing through on long drive, or just wanting to check out a new city, here are a few things you’ll want to check out.

One of the top attractions of the city is the Indy 500, which, even though doesn’t come around again until May, still draws in people to visit the track and museum year-round. While most wouldn’t associate the word green with the Indy 500 (other than perhaps the start flag), it turns out that they have been making some efforts over the years to switch out the fuel to make it more eco-friendly as well as looking into cars that are lighter in weight and get better gas mileage.

Another attraction of the city is its NFL team, the Colts. Many people travel far-and-wide to see them play live at Lucas Oil Stadium. The stadium has released an entire listing of eco-friendly efforts, including recycling plastic, paper products and cooking oil as well as purchasing biodegradable products when possible–all things to feel good about while rooting on the Colts–or the opposing team, whichever it may be.

Other than the draw from the sporting events, there are some great parks in Indianapolis. The city parks often have packed schedules with fun events. From the annual Rib Fest to outdoor music festivals. Or you can always just pack a picnic and enjoy the fall foliage. There is also the Monon Trail, a public trail for both pedestrians and cyclists that stretches 16.7 miles, stretching from Indianapolis to Westfield, IN.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m in town is hit up some of the vintage and thrift shops. I’ve been amazed at what I’ve been able to find while shopping around. A couple of my favorites are Value World in Fountain Square, Broad Ripple Vintage and Rag O Rama, both in Broad Ripple Village.

While I usually crash with my brother at his downtown apartment, there are hotels in the city that are doing their part to minimize their carbon footprint. For example the Hampton Inn Downtown and the Hilton Garden Inn both have Green Initiatives as well as Environmental Policies in place. Some of their commitments include minimizing aerosol can use, eliminating Styrofoam use and a recycling program–among others. They’re a part of the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, which is designed to help travelers find hotels that are making green efforts.

So next time you stop through Indianapolis, be sure to take in the city and see what green sights it has to offer.

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