Hoosier hospitality permeates the young, vibrant city of Indianapolis, a celebrated sports town that, on closer inspection, reveals cultural flair and surprising sophistication. Bonus: At less than 200 miles from Chicago, it makes for the perfect weekend getaway. Get your upscale Indy adventure started here.
EAT & DRINK
Tempting bites at must-try destination Bar One Fourteen. (Photo courtesy of Patachou, Inc)
Chef Jonathan Brooks of Milktooth breakfast fame brings the same élan to dinner at Beholder (1844 E. 10th St., 317.419.3471), serving fare like wild California uni by the spoonful, pig skin pad thai and Ibérico pork secreto. Reserve the intimate Champagne booth overlooking the bar and saber a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée to begin your meal. Ukiyo (4907 N. College Ave., 317.384.1048) is the most ambitious Japanese restaurant in town, with a killer omakase menu ($85) at the sushi bar Wednesday through Saturday.
The elegant dishes at Vida (601 E. New York St., 317.420.2323) are garnished with herbs from the restaurant’s hydroponic wall of greens, and the chef’s tasting menu ($155 with wine pairings) is always delightful. There’s no sexier place to listen to music on vinyl with Klipsch Forte speakers than Bar One Fourteen (114 E. 49th St., 317.946.0114) from legendary restaurateur Martha Hoover. The 16-seat microbar is open Thursday through Saturday, and the cocktails and Fancy AF burger with shaved black truffle ($28) won’t disappoint.
SEE & DO
Robert Indiana’s iconic “Love” sculpture at Newfields. (Photo courtesy of Newfields)
NASCAR fans and car connoisseurs can check driving on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway off their bucket list with the Indy Racing Experience ($499, 4790 W. 16th St., 317.243.7171). Sit behind a professional driver in a two-seater race car for two laps reaching speeds of 180 mph. Real daredevils can follow a lead car and drive themselves ($1,000).
Indy is also becoming the cabaret capital of the Midwest, with a swanky new art deco-inspired venue for The Cabaret (924 N. Pennsylvania St., Ste. B, 317.275.1169) this season. Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi performs in October. Newfields (4000 Michigan Road, 317.923.1331)—formerly the Indianapolis Museum of Art—reopened its Design Gallery this summer and just launched its edgiest exhibit yet, Sensual/Sexual/ Social: The Photography of George Platt Lynes, comprising fashion photography, portraits and a selection of male nudes.
The decor is priceless in the Conrad Indianapolis’ art-filled Collection suites. (Photo courtesy of Conrad Indianapolis)
Priceless works of original art decorate four one-of-a-kind suites at Conrad Indianapolis(The Collection suites from $699, 50 W. Washington St., 317.713.5000), designed to capture the heart of an artistic movement in a spacious pied-àterre. Even the wines in the minibar match the theme. The Surrealism Suite is largest, with five pieces by Dalí, while the Contemporary Suite is the most colorful. The Modernism Suite has a fabulous soaking tub along with “Mother and Child XIV” by Henry Moore, a lithograph of Joan Miró’s “Sobreteixims” and an original Picasso etching from 1933.