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Indianapolis’ culture? It’s not an oxymoron! Sporty Indianapolis is also well endowed with terrific cultural amenities.
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is one of the country’s few full-time orchestras. Housed in the Hilbert Circle Theater in the exact center of Indianapolis, the orchestra plays a full season of classical and pops performances. In the summer, they play at Conner Prairie Living History Museum in nearby Fishers. Bring a picnic for "Symphony on the Prairie." In the winter, have a horse-drawn carriage drop you off at the front door of the theater after a romantic ride around town.
For off-broadway touring theater productions and national artists, check the schedule at the Murat Theater Center, Clowes Hall at Butler University, Pike Performing Arts Center, and Conseco Fieldhouse.
For lighthearted interactive comedy, try Comedysportz on artsy Massachusetts Avenue.
Please also look up the Indianapolis museum of contemporary art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Garfield Park Arts Center the first publicaly funded arts center in Indianapolis.
FESTIVALS & PARADES
The city streets and parks are home to numerous performances, including the Indianapolis Jazz Fest, Irish Fest, the 500 Festival Parade, St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Fireworks and concerts are likely for the Fourth of July and Labor Day, as well. OVER the streets, more concerts and art exhibits can be found in the Artsgarden, the glass dome hovering over Illinois Street.
Local municipalities offer free outdoor summer concerts as well. Check the schedules at indy.org. There are free garden and park concerts throughout the year with an emphasis on the summer. The summer parks series has three performances by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and many performances from the Indianaplis Symphonic Band, The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra, the New Horizons Orchestra, The New World Youth Orchestra, the Indiana Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. Also check out concert venues in neighboring cities such as Carmel, and Fishers. Also worthy of mention is the free stage and in the arena at the Indiana State Fair held in mid-August.
Miracle Mile Parade
A longtime southside tradition that has been dormant for many years has been recently revived. Every September 1st the busy thoroughfare of Madison Ave closes and becomes the "Miracle Mile" the grandmarshal of this years parade is Millard Fuller the founder of Habitat for Humanity. The parade also included a car show that brings back the long tradition of cruising the strip in style. Expect a lot of local flare and pride from an area of town that doesn't experience a great deal of tourism.
Indiana abounds in local musical talent, found in schools, churches, and bars.
Many high schools have show choirs, orchestras, and marching bands. Some have their own performing arts centers with full event calendars. The Indianapolis Childrens Choir performs periodically throughout the year. Bands of America holds their national tournaments in Indianapolis in November.
Local Churches have organs, orchestras, and top-notch rock bands. National Christian recording artists Sandi Patty, John David Webster, Bill Gaither, and many more are all native Hoosiers. The biggest pipe organs are at St. Lukes United Methodist Church, East 91st Street Christian Church, and Second Presbyterian Church. All three also feature periodic performances by church orchestras and ensembles either on Sunday mornings or evenings. Christ Church Cathedral, downtown on the Circle, offers evening concerts, and Friday-noon recitals.
Perhaps bars should be listed in nightlife...but a couple of note: the famous 150-year old Slippery Noodle Inn offers live blues, The Jazz Kitchen offers live jazz in an intimate setting nightly, and the Rathskeller offers outdoor performances in the Biergarten most nights in the summer. Rock and Roll up-and-comers can be found at Birdys.
For all things artsy but not listed here, check with the Indianapolis Arts Council.