Indianapolis is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition not just for Americans relocating from elsewhere in the US, but also for expats. The good news for those averse to big city living is that, even with the influx of newcomers and a steady population growth, Indy still retains its famous small-town feel which, ironically, is another driver in attracting more and more people.
Living in Indianapolis as an expat
Young professionals, in particular, seem to be flocking to Indiana’s capital to take up jobs in the city’s thriving healthcare, insurance, tourism and sport-related industries. With the city also boasting three Fortune 500 companies, new arrivals certainly shouldn't struggle to find a job.
Accommodation is easy to come by and pretty affordable. From ritzy inner-city apartments and condos in downtown neighbourhoods bursting with cultural and culinary hotspots, to bigger bungalows and four-squares towards the lush – and quieter – outskirts of the city, new arrivals won’t struggle to find a home suited to their taste and budget.
Indy residents or 'Hoosiers', as they refer to themselves, certainly know how to have a good time, and fun-loving newcomers, particularly those partial to sport, will fit right in. The city has a brimming sports calendar of just about every variety, but the highlight of the year is undoubtedly the renowned Indianapolis 500, the world’s oldest currently operational automobile race, the biggest single-day sporting event in the world, and the pride of Indiana. The weeks leading up to the big race see Indy come alive when downtown explodes with festivals and parties, while race day itself attracts more than 250,000 people to the famous old speedway.
Not just for petrol heads though, the city has worked hard to increase the cultural value beyond the race track. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, an 8-mile urban-planned pedestrian and bike pathway, connects neighborhoods and cultural districts, and offers access to multiple attractions including museums, galleries, public art, eateries and shops along the route. In fact, Indy has become something of a foodie hotspot in the Midwest, and has been named one of the most underrated food destinations in the country.
Cost of living in Indianapolis
Relative to its neighbouring cities, the cost of living in Indianapolis is low, particularly when compared to metros such as New York. Housing is remarkably affordable, sitting much lower than the national average. Transport is also quite cheap in Indianapolis, whether using public buses or a vehicle. The city also offers many of its attractions for free, such as museums, galleries and monuments, and many bars and restaurants offer specials so expats can eat out on a budget too.
Expat families and children
Newcomers and expats will have a huge range of schools to pick from. Not all public schools are of the same standard though, and some expats may opt for private schooling or even the city’s only international school, but should be aware that these charge pretty exorbitant fees. The city’s healthcare is also superb but, even though slightly more affordable than the national average, is rather expensive. Health insurance will therefore have to be factored in when prospective residents aiming to work in Indianapolis apply for jobs and negotiate for salaries.
Indianapolis is incredibly child friendly, boasting the world's largest children's museum, Indianapolis Zoo and Eagle Creek Park and Nature Reserve, which is packed with fun and thrilling things for kids to do. Prospective residents who like a bit of greenery will also be happy to know that the city has plenty of leafy parks and fields, many of which have playgrounds perfect for running, dog walking or a family picnic in the sun.
Climate in Indianapolis
Indianapolis boasts four distinct seasons with hot, humid and wet summers, frosty winters and pleasant springs and autumns. Temperatures range from 56°F (13°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) in the warmer months, allowing plenty of opportunities for residents to get out and about. Winter temperatures can drop to 20°F (-6.7°C) in January, and are often accompanied by snow. Rainfall is spread throughout the year but is heaviest during late spring and summer.
All in all, Indy is a charming city to call home, and residents are friendly and welcoming. Expats will be pleased to know that it’s not uncommon to hear a profusion of foreign languages spoken on the streets, and that foreigners are received warmly and treated kindly. Combine that with the city’s vibrant economy, its multitude of things to see, do and eat, its cosmopolitan vibe, and low cost of living, and it's easy to see why so many people are choosing to make the Circle City their new home.
►For more about what's on offer in Indy, see Lifestyle in Indianapolis.
Are you an expat living in Indianapolis?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Indianapolis. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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