Writing Sample: Indy’s Top 5 Hidden Gems

This is an article I wrote while interning at Visit Indy for Journal Topics newspaper.  This paper circulates to suburbs of Chicago, and periodically Visit Indy will write something for the Getaway Guide.  Here’s what I wrote:

(psst – you can also download the PDF below)

Five fantastic hidden gems to visit in Indianapolis

Indianapolis is a city full of iconic places, but any local will say there is more than what meets the eye. Do a little digging and you might stumble upon these hidden gems, but allow us to save you the trouble. Here’s our picks for Indianapolis’ top five must-see hidden gems:

The Shrine Room at the Indiana War Memorial

The Indiana War Memorial is a very peaceful place in the midst of Indy’s downtown core. It’s a massive monument you can’t miss, but not many know that what’s inside is a breathtaking room of marble columns, dimmed lights spotlighting the overhanging 110’ tall by 60’ wide American flag, the Altar of Consecration, a magnificent chandelier called the Star of Destiny, and a room full of stories that set the scene for a place to reflect on sacrifices and triumphs made throughout history.

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres

This expansive nature park is one of the largest museum art parks in the country, yet it’s still a very hidden plat of land tucked behind the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The park features wetlands, woods and a 3.5 acre lake with eleven large-scale art installments that range anywhere from serene (Park of the Laments) to just plain weird (Funky Bones). Pack a picnic and find yourself in the middle of beautiful and unique green space in an urban setting.

Slippery Noodle Inn

Though the Slippery Noodle Inn has gone through many name changes as the oldest bar in Indianapolis (est. 1850), great times and stories remain constant. John Dillinger, an Indianapolis native and Depression-era bank robber, used the Slippery Noodle as his hub for target practice, which is why you can see his original bullet holes in the wall today. Many of the visitors who flock to the Slippery Noodle do not know that the bar’s basement served as a stop on the Underground Railroad or that the upstairs once functioned as a brothel. The bar packs a whole of history under its roof, making it one of Indy’s coolest hangouts.

Monument Circle: A View From The Top

The epicenter of downtown Indianapolis is marked by the towering Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Monument Circle, so to say that it is a hidden gem is a little misleading. What makes Indy’s biggest icon a hidden gem is the commonly unknown fact that visitors can climb 330 stairs (or cheat, and take the tiny elevator) to the top of the Monument. Be prepared for an incredible 360-degree view of the city.

Plump’s Last Shot

After making the winning shot at the Indiana state basketball finals in 1954, Bobby Plump went on to become a national hero and the inspiration for ESPN’s #1 movie, Hoosiers.  Locals are still chowing down on massive pork tenderloin sandwiches and toasting their drinks in Plump’s honor at the hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Plump’s Last Shot. The restaurant, now owned by Plump’s kids, is covered in original Hoosiers movie memorabilia and sometimes you’ll find the legend himself still shooting hoops out back.

To learn more about these five hidden gems or to book your next trip to Indy, check out www.VisitIndy.com.

Download the Article