What's it like to live in Indianapolis, IN?

Shauna Nosler

Profile written by local expert:

Shauna Nosler

Indianapolis is a great place to visit. But what makes Indy such a splendid place to stop over makes it an even better place to live. Home to one of the world's largest children's museums, as well as professional and college sports teams and miles of recreational trails, the Circle City has plenty to keep locals entertained. Indianapolis' lively downtown is easily walkable. With so many things to do, Indianapolis allows its residents to experience big-city living without too much effort.

The metro area includes an array of neighborhoods and suburbs, and many offer their own shopping and entertainment venues. Even so, suburbanites still venture downtown for its shops, theaters and restaurants. 

Indianapolis is often referred to as the Racing Capital of the World thanks to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which takes up 560 acres on the west side of the city proper. Every May, hundreds of thousands of people show up to watch the largest-attended sporting event in the U.S., the Indianapolis 500. Sports in general play a huge role in the region's economy. By hosting other major sporting events, like NCAA tournaments and the 2012 Super Bowl, Indianapolis has benefited in the multimillion-dollar range from increased business opportunities, job creation and more taxes going directly to the metro area. 


U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Indianapolis, Indiana is ranked:

#55 in Best Places to Live

#46 in Best Places to Retire




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Indianapolis, IN Quick Stats

  • 1,968,768

    Metro Population

  • $46,840

    Average Annual Salary

  • 61.8° / 44.4°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 36.1

    Median Age

  • N/A

    Median Home Price

  • 40.8 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.3%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $828

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 24.8 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Indianapolis, IN?

Relatively speaking, it doesn't cost as much to live in Indianapolis as it does in other parts of the country. 

Value Index

Index Score: 8.0 /10

How we calculate this.

Indianapolis offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Indianapolis, IN.


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What's the weather like in Indianapolis, IN?

While the weather in the fall lends itself to outdoor activity, the winter months can be brutal. Likewise, summertime can be equally ruthless with humidity and little fluctuation between high and low temperatures. 

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.1 in


5.3 in


4.4 in


3.7 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Indianapolis, IN?

Those coming into the city center from the suburbs often face traffic delays, but if you're living in the downtown area, you can walk to most major points of interest.

Each year, people take more than 10 million trips on Indianapolis' bus system, IndyGo. Currently in the works is a rapid transit line that will run from the north side to the University of Indianapolis on the south side by way of downtown. Another option for getting around Indy's downtown is BlueIndy, a program offering more than 200 stations with vehicles and electric cars for one-way rental. Similarly, whether you live downtown or are just visiting, rental bikes are accessible through the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare program.

The Indianapolis International Airport is serviced by multiple airlines providing service to both domestic and international destinations. For trips within the Midwest, Amtrak and Greyhound both stop in Indianapolis. 

Commuting in Indianapolis, IN

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

24.8 minutes

1.3 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Indianapolis, IN?

The city continues to attract young people with its job opportunities and low cost of living. Indianapolis also draws new residents from around the world. It's not uncommon to hear foreign languages spoken on the streets, as some residents hail from Latin America, Europe and Asia. 

Around 40 percent of metro area residents have a religious affiliation – many of them with the Catholic Church or an evangelical Protestant tradition.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Indianapolis as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Indianapolis, IN?

While it's true that Indianapolis has a large number of racing fans, the metro area has worked hard at increasing its cultural value beyond the track. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail, an 8-mile urban-planned pedestrian and bike pathway, connects neighborhoods and cultural districts, and offers access to multiple entertainment venues, public art, restaurants and shops along the way.

A few miles northeast of downtown, Eagle Creek Park's more than 3,900 acres of land and 1,400 acres of water host many community-based clubs for activities like sailing, rowing and shooting.

Indianapolis' events calendar represents its diverse population with celebrations like the Italian, German, Asian and Greek festivals. Residents can drive about an hour south of the city proper to visit Brown County, home to one of America's original artist colonies.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Indianapolis, IN