Some of Indiana’s best dining cuisine, exciting nightlife, eclectic culture, art and music, and amazing architecture can be found in Broad Ripple. At the edge of northern Indianapolis, this former town is now considered one of the many fine diverse neighborhoods of Indianapolis, but visitors, artists and musicians know Broad Ripple as a gathering place for both acceptance and enlightenment. There’s always something for anyone to do in Broad Ripple.
Broad Ripple’s rich history began when Indiana started constructing the Central Canal, an investment in the state that assured better revenues with the increased mobility of commerce. The town’s name emerged from the will of Jacob Coil, who had settled Broad Ripple in the early 1820’s, likely a reference to canal water flow. Due to the canal’s necessity and later when the railroad came to town speeding progress through Indiana, Broad Ripple became one of the most popular commercial hubs north of Indianapolis. In the early 1920’s, Broad Ripple was annexed by Indianapolis and actually became part of the city.
Broad Ripple is a town that is invaluable to the artists and musicians of Indiana. Annually, Broad Ripple Hosts the Broad Ripple Music Fest, the Broad Ripple Art fair, the Taste of Broad Ripple, and the Midwest Music Summit. There is an excess of nightlife in Broad Ripple with around thirty bars and nightclubs, as well as several dozen eating establishments for anything from fine dining to a casual lunch. But Broad Ripple entertainment doesn’t stop there.
Broad Ripple once boasted the White City Amusement Park, which was destroyed by fire in 1908 but luckily experienced a rebirth as a place for swimming, family activities, cultural adventures, and one of Indiana’s best loved dog parks. In the heart of Broad Ripple, the Vogue, a 1930’s movie house, still stands as a place for entertainers to showcase their work from magicians to musicians. Not only that, but Broad Ripple contains part of the Monon Trail, a 10.5 mile greenway along various Indianapolis neighborhoods
Broad ripple is arguably one of the best places for an Indiana artist to blossom, with a thriving cultural complex, the Indianapolis Art Center, a place that has been welcoming both Writers and Artists since 1934. The 12-acre grounds and facility allow for and encourage creativity in Indiana to support both artists and visitors. Now, along with ARTSPARK, a 2005 addition to the Broad Ripple vision, sculptures which are often too big to exhibit in a gallery mingle with natural landscaping to create a complete experience for visitors. Art has been the back bone of the Broad Ripple story, and this legacy continues to be passed down from creative soul to creative soul.
Many say that Broad Ripple hosts the very best festivals in Indiana from a cultural standpoint. From May through October, every Saturday is abuzz at the high school parking lot with the Farmers’ Market. Select days during the summer offers an exciting jazz and blues festival called Rhythms on the Riverfront in the ARTSPARK amphitheatre. The Street Festival along Broad Ripple Avenue in July is a great time to sample cuisine from Broad Ripple’s various eateries, and merchants offer a sidewalk sale in August. The Broad Ripple Village Classic 5k/10k is a walking and running event that is a great summer activity, and Indianapolis Art Center sponsors ARTSPARKLE later in the summer to raise money for the center. September is the Gallery tour with wine tasting and the Historic Home Tour, where you can check out the neighborhoods.
Though Broad Ripple is considered part of Indianapolis, those who love Broad Ripple consider it to be the New Orleans of Indiana, a place where cultures melt together to form an incredible mix of human awareness, action, and artistry