Whether you were born here or are a transplant, there is plenty to be proud of in our hometown.
While it’s certainly not perfect, the pothole crisis last winter is ample evidence of that, there is a lot more good than bad and a lot more to celebrate than denigrate.
Maybe that’s why we get so chapped when people toss off phrases like “naptown” or “flyover city.” If that’s your perception of Indianapolis, than you’re the one with the problem.
Browse through and see what your peers are liking best around town this year. We’re sure you’ll find a few familiar names and faces, but we can promises a few surprises and new names as well.
Over the next 12 months, we will be writing about as many of these people and places as possible in order to introduce you more fully to what’s truly best in Indy.
In the meantime, thanks to everyone who voted and congratulations to those who won. We’re proud to be Hoosiers, proud of our hometown, and even prouder to introduce some of the best people, places, and experiences Indianapolis has to offer.
--Laura McPhee, NUVO Editor
BEST OF INDY WINNERS 2018
Best Neighborhood: Fountain Square
- Times have changed, and now all the cool kids are hanging out at the corner of Virginia and Shelby smoking cigarettes and listening to shitty music, just like they used to in Broad Ripple. Despite this, Fountain Square is getting its due for being one of the best places to live in the city, something locals have known for generations. While there may be a lot more restaurant and bar choices these days, visit in the daytime to get a sense of why so many people are eager to call it home.
- Honorable Mention // Mass Ave/Chatham Arch, Irvington
Best Park: Garfield Park
- The oldest, biggest, and in our opinion most beautiful, city park, Garfield Park has been a Southside oasis for city dwellers for over a century. More recently, a great lineup of concerts have introduced the park to a whole new audience. With a conservatory, gorgeous gardens, an art center, public pool, playground, and acres of green space, it’s hard to dispute a “Best of Indy” title.
- Honorable Mention // Holliday Park, Ellenberger Park
Best Spot for a Picnic: Eagle Creek Park
- If you want to truly get away from the city, Eagle Creek is the place to do it. Get lost in the woods, Go boating on the reservoir. Or spread out a blanket and chow down. Any and all of these things are possible and highly recommended.
- Honorable Mention // Downtown Canal, Garfield Park
Best House of Worship: Traders Point Christian Church
- Since acquiring the large Jehovah’s Witnesses building at the corner of 12th and Delaware and opening last year, the Trader’s Point expansion has been a literal God-send for downtown residents tired of driving to the suburbs on Sunday morning. One of the fastest-growing congregations in the country, Trader’s Point continues to hold services at its two northside locations, plus one at Avon Middle School, as well.
- Honorable Mention // Our Shepherd Lutheran, St. Joan of Arc
Best Place to Volunteer: Indy Humane Society
- Indianapolis has a tremendous problem finding homes for all the unwanted pets that turn up at shelters in droves. Thanks to the good folks at Indy Humane and the network of rescue groups they work with, an increasing number find new homes. They ALWAYS need volunteers, so don’t be shy.
- Honorable Mention // Big Brothers/Sisters, Gleaner’s Food Bank
Best Non-Profit Organization: Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity
- Firm in their belief that everyone deserves a place to call home, the good folks at Habitat have helped more than 600 families achieve that dream since they began working locally in 1987. A lot of that work depends on volunteers like you.
- Honorable Mention // Second Helpings, Julian Center
Best Local Athlete: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
- You have to go all the way back to Reggie Miller to find a Pacers player who was better-liked. His stellar work in the 2017-18 season earned him the title of Most Improved Player in the NBA and also a place in our hearts forever. He’s got a side gig in music that we’re a fan of too. Check him out on and off the court.
- Honorable Mention // Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck
Best Pro Sports Team: Indianapolis Colts
- While basketball is pretty much the state sport, it seems the Indianapolis Colts haven’t yet lost their popularity. Still your favorite sports team despite a few rough years, we’re hoping they can turn things around soon, while Andrew Luck also continues in his shoulder recovery.
- Honorable Mention // Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever
Best Amateur Sports Team: IU Men’s Basketball
- All with such great history, it’s hard to declare any of these three teams a decisive winner. This year, it was the IU Men’s Basketball squad that garnered the most votes. The team is set to start the new season with a deep roster that includes Juwan Morgan and one of the most-anticipated freshman in the school’s history: Romeo Langford.
- Honorable Mention // Butler Men’s Basketball, Purdue Men’s Basketball
Best Local Instagram Feed: Hotel Tango
- A repeat win for the local distillery, Hotel Tango has retained its following despite the sad loss of its extremely photogenic and well-loved resident feline this year. Follow along for gorgeous drinks and guests, plus lots of shenanigans that keep it from feeling overly branded. But make sure you visit in person. The drinks are divine, and you can make your friends jealous by posting to your own Instagram feed.
- Honorable Mention // Mab Graves, Angel Burlesque
Best Local Radio Personality: Laura Steele (WJJK-104.5)
- When she left her long-time gig at Q-95 in 2016, her fans seemed to have had no trouble following her down the dial to WJJK. Now on in the evenings, Steele’s love of rock ‘n’ roll and local roots make this Pike High School grad a favorite for just about everyone.
- Honorable Mention // Dave Smiley (WZPL-99.5), Jill Ditmire (WFYI-90.1)
Best Local Radio Station: WFYI (90.1)
- Where would we be without Morning Edition and All Things Considered? Not to mention This American Life and Fresh Air. It’s also a wonderful place to catch performances by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and other local performances. We’re grateful, and lucky, to have such a wonderful public radio station in Indianapolis.
- Honorable Mention // WZPL (99.5), WFBQ (94.7 - Q95)
BEST IN LOCAL TV
When it comes to local news, NUVO readers have a clear preference: WISH-TV Channel 8. Thanks in part to a savvy social media campaign during the voting process, the on-air staff at WISH swept every single category associated with local television plus Best Twitter Feed!
Since going live in 1954, and becoming the local CBS affiliate in 1956, local viewers have come to depend on channel 8 for reliable, accurate television journalism. Though they were acquired by a larger media company in 2014 and became the CW affiliate, the newsroom continues to be the best option in local news, sports and weather according to NUVO readers.
Best Local Television Station: WISH-TV
Best Local News Anchor: Brooke Martin (WISH-TV)
Best Local Sports Reporting: Anthony Calhoun (WISH-TV)
Best Local Weather Reporting: Randy Ollis (WISH-TV)
Best Local Twitter Feed: WISH-TV