The Performing Arts
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (tel. 800/366-8457 or 317/639-4300; www.indyorch.org) has its home in the Hilbert Circle Theater, a vintage 1916 film palace on Monument Circle. Clowes Memorial Hall, 4600 Sunset Ave. (tel. 800/732-0804, 317/940-6444, or 940-9696; www.cloweshall.org), a performing arts center on the campus of Butler University, is home to the Indianapolis Opera, Butler Ballet, and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. The professional Indiana Repertory Theatre, 140 W. Washington St. (tel. 317/635-5277; www.indianarep.com), offers a September-to-May season, including classics such as A Christmas Carol. Theatre on the Square, 627 Massachusetts Ave. (tel. 317/685-8687; www.tots.org), and the Phoenix Theatre, 749 N. Park Ave. (tel. 317/635-7529; www.phoenixtheatre.org), tend to produce more irreverent and cutting-edge shows.
The Madame Walker Theatre Center, 617 Indiana Ave. (tel. 317/236-2099 for information and tickets; www.walkertheatre.com), is an ornate 1927 Art Deco theater offering jazz, gospel, drama, and dance performances. Every other Friday from 6 to 10pm, "Jazz on the Avenue" showcases local, regional, and national talent.
The Club & Bar Scene
Indianapolis's nightlife is primarily located in the downtown area and in Broad Ripple Village, an artsy enclave of boutiques, bistros, and bungalows 15 minutes north of downtown.
For live jazz every night except Sunday, downtowners head to the cozy Chatterbox Tavern, 435 Massachusetts Ave. (tel. 317/636-0584; www.chatterboxjazz.com), where big-name acts playing in town sometimes stop by. (Mick Jagger once dropped in after a Stones concert.) Another downtown top spot for live music is the Slippery Noodle Inn, 372 S. Meridian St. (tel. 317/631-6974; www.slipperynoodle.com), Indiana's oldest standing bar (established 1850; rumor has it that Hoosier hoodlum John Dillinger used the club's back wall for target practice) and the place in the city for blues. You can also check out the local scene at the friendly Old Point Tavern, 401 Massachusetts Ave. (tel. 317/634-8943); in warm weather, the action spills onto an outside patio. To hear talented DJs (local and touring) spinning the latest techno/trance beats, head to Therapy, 605 E. Market St. (tel. 317/632-0325).
For dancing (or cruising), gay travelers shoot for Greg's Indianapolis, 231 E. 16th St. (tel. 317/638-8138; www.gregsindiana.com); the Metro Nightclub, 707 Massachusetts Ave. (tel. 317/639-6022; www-metro-indy.com); or Talbott Street, 2145 N. Talbott St. (tel. 317/931-1343; www.talbottstreet.com). Lesbians can hop over to mostly female dance club the Ten, 1218 N. Pennsylvania (tel. 317/638-5802); the neighborhood is on the dodgy side, but the crowd inside is generally welcoming and very diverse.
If you're not sure what you're in the mood for, check out Jillian's, 141 S. Meridian St. (tel. 317/822-9300), a multistory complex that includes two restaurants, a game room, billiards, a dance club, and "multimedia" bowling (neon lanes, glow-in-the dark balls, and video walls).
Broad Ripple Village, an easy drive north of downtown straight up Meridian Street, is where the local yuppies, college students, and high school cool kids go for weekend fun. At the Vogue, 6259 N. College Ave. (tel. 317/259-7029; www.thevogue.ws), local bands and big names perform in a renovated movie theater; when nobody's playing, it's a hot dance club. Other good bets are the casual Broad Ripple Brew Pub, 840 E. 65th St. (tel. 317/253-2739; www.broadripplebrewpub.com); the cigar/martini bar on the second floor of the Broad Ripple Steak House, 929 E. Westfield Blvd. (tel. 317/253-8101; www.broadripplesteakhouse.com); and the Alley Cat Lounge, 6267 Carrollton Ave. (tel. 317/257-4036), considered by most locals to be the best dive bar in town. For a DJ and dancing with a younger crowd, head to Rock Lobster, 820 Broad Ripple Ave. (tel. 317/253-5844; www.rocklobster.ws). Mature audiences head to the Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave. (tel. 317/253-4900; www.thejazzkitchen.com), for live jazz Friday and Saturday.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.