Things to do at the Circle City Industrial Complex
Have you ever played a fowling match? Would your kids enjoy visiting a chocolate factory and tasting a flight of chocolate? From dance class to blowing glass, fowling matches to a chocolate tasting, the Circle City Industrial Complex (CCIC) has something for kids and adults alike.
Housed in a renovated industrial building, the Circle City Industrial Complex is located between Massachusetts Avenue and Brookside Avenue. Free parking is easily accessible with a large 4-acre lot across the street from the building. Public restrooms are available in the complex.
Visiting the CCIC is a creative escape in itself. With over 100 artists, galleries, and businesses, it is a unique destination to visit. Studios are open to the public on the first Friday of the month and some studios and businesses are also open on the first Saturday of the month from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. The first Friday of each month is the best time to check out the CCIC, as most businesses and studios are open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. First Fridays allow visitors to explore glass and metal studios, enjoy beverages from one of the breweries (for purchase), treat themselves to a beverage or snacks, and listen to live music. It is free to attend and open to all ages.
1125 Brookside Avenue – Second Floor
Built in 1918, the CCIC was originally home to the Schwitzer Corporation, an automotive manufacturing facility. The Schwitzer Corporation’s founder, Louis Schwitzer was an automotive pioneer who is credited with significant improvements in cooling, hydraulics, and the development of the turbocharger. He was also a race car driver, famous for winning the first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909. Giving honor to the building’s history, the aptly named Schwitzer Gallery, is located on the second floor. It features 2,400 square feet to showcase rotating artists. Open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1125 E. Brookside Avenue, Suite D05
Dance Kaleidoscope has two large dance studios with sprung floors, a costume shop/storage space, and a multi-purpose room. They offer evening and weekend public dance classes for children and adults. Children can explore dance through ‘Try It!’ an introductory thirty-minute creative class for boys and girls ages three to five years. Dancers improve flexibility and coordination through fun movement and exercise. Classes are taught by professional dancers and include ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, and lyrical. Discounts are offered for families with multiple children or a single child taking more than one class. Zoom classes are also offered at a discount. The Dance Kaleidoscope website has information about summer camps, drop in classes, and performances.
Fowling Warehouse Indy
1125 E Brookside Ave, Suite D09
A cross between football, bowling and cornhole, fowling is a unique family game. If you are looking for a new activity for the family, add this destination to your weekend to do list. Children must be 10 years of age or older to play. Kids are welcome to The Fowling Warehouse Indy on the weekends (12 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and they play for half-price on Sundays.
Indy Fused Glass
1125 Brookside Avenue, Suite C05
Our first visit to the CCIC was for a class at Indy Fused Glass. We were looking for a glass experience that would accommodate kids under the age of 10 years, and found fusing to be a fun option. During the class, Meredith Frey, the studio owner, gave hands-on demonstrations on how to use the tools and explained basic techniques. She also was available for questions and walked around the stations, providing assistance when needed. Fusing involves placing pieces of colored glass on a flat glass base. Unlike glass blowing, there was no heat involved during class. Instead, pieces are heated in a kiln after class, and picked up at a later date.
Thanks to the instruction, we felt confident using the tools and experimenting with different types of glass. Classes are held throughout the week and on Saturdays. To book a class, register online, and select ‘pay there,’ for a discounted price. Classes start at $40.
Glass fusing is a great choice for kids ages 8+. My kids enjoyed designing their own artwork, using tools, being independent, and creating their first piece of glass art. The studio is filled with unique glass jewelry and artwork available for purchase as well.
Glass Arts Indiana
1125 Brookside Avenue, Suite C25
Indy’s newest glassblowing studio and gallery is home to a community of emerging and established glass artists. Glass Arts Indiana (GAI) is a non-profit that offers a variety of classes for ages 10+. Choices for class include paperweights, sculpted flowers, and blown ornaments. We walked through the studio to meet the artists and see examples before deciding which class to select. The artists were wonderful with kids, answering their questions, and teaching about tools and techniques. During open studio hours, chairs are set up for visitors to watch the artists at work. Classes start at $50 and can be booked online.
1125 E Brookside Ave, Suite D02
A flight of chocolate? It exists, and it is as wonderful as it sounds. Available for walk-ins or with reservations, you can learn about the chocolate making process with a tasting at SoChatti. The hands-on experience kept my kids’ attention and included photographs showing the origin of the beans used in the four chocolate flavors. The tasting staff did a great job explaining the chocolate making process using cacao beans, breaking them apart to show the kids the nibs, and having the ingredients on the table to view. I knew they made an impression when my boys commented on tasting honey and berries in the chocolate. While we passed on the option to make drop candies, we did purchase small bags of their favorite chocolate to take home to try making candy at home.
In addition to being delicious, the chocolate is also dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free. We are looking forward to returning and taking a class. The boys were happy to hear there is a Kids Chocolate Class that includes a tour, tasting, and making chocolate drop candies. SoChatti also offers a Chocolate + Wine class as well as Bean To Bag Chocolate Making. Tasting is available as a walk-in or reservation starting at $7 per flight.
Daily Epiphany Studio: Michele Burns and Kurt Kriese
1125 Brookside Avenue, Suite B17
Located in the South Studios, Daily Epiphany Studio features naturally luminous “Night Light Art” paintings. Artist Michele Burns’ work is inspired by pattern, color, texture, and the fun of a second, luminous and sometimes different composition shown in the dark. The glow comes from industrial-grade, OSHA-rated child-safe, bright photo-luminescent minerals in paints she makes herself. The paints shed light at different rates for each color, so compositions change throughout the night. In addition to beautiful paintings, these pieces of art work well as nightlights, glowing for 12 to 20 hours. My kids enjoyed seeing the difference of the art in light and dark, appreciating the details in the work.
Kurt Kriese is currently working on abstract, colored and layered multimedia paintings on wood. The pieces encourage viewers to look for complexity in what appears simple at first glance.
When it was time for lunch, we opted to visit The Garage Food Hall in the Bottleworks District a couple blocks away. The Garage is a 30,000 square foot local-focused food and market hall, located in the former Coca Cola bottling plant’s garage buildings. My family enjoyed the variety of food vendors including Abbiocco (Italian), Mama Fofo’s (Greek), Gaucho’s Fire (Brazilian), The Harbour (British), Azucar Morena (Venezulan) and Clancy’s Hamburgers (American). For those looking for a snack, The Garage is home to Lick Ice Cream and Certain Feelings Coffee Company.
Know Before You Go
With more than a half million square feet, you will want to check out the suite number or building map on the CCIC website before you visit.
The CCIC’s art studios and galleries are located in the central portion of the building, between overhead doors G3 and G5. The majority of studios are located on the second floor, which is accessible through entrances 3 or 4. Check with individual businesses for specific hours.