When the Red Line opened in Indianapolis back in 2019, everyone was excited about the end of construction, closed roads, and traffic delays. But beyond that, we were and still are genuinely excited about an increasingly more connected and usable public transportation system for our city.
Red Line with Kids
Local families have joined the throngs of passengers who are riding the Red Line to work, the grocery store, and social outings. Many of Indy’s top attractions are easily accessible from stops on the Red Line, making it an excellent mode of transport even if you are just spending a day exploring around town. The Red Line runs 13 miles from Meridian Hills, through Broad Ripple, Butler University, The Children’s Museum, Downtown Indy, IUPUI, and Fountain Square, and ends near the University of Indianapolis.
There are a few things you need to know about traveling with children and all the accompanying gear. Strollers are welcome, but IndyGo asks that you fold your stroller and hold your child while riding. If you are riding with a wheelchair, you can request the use of a ramp to board. All buses are ADA accessible. Want to bring the family dog? Pets are allowed if they travel in a carrying case, and service animals are always welcome.
Where can we park and ride the Red Line and other IndyGo options? Well, there’s nowhere official. As we see more and more public bus lines created, hopefully, this park and ride need will be addressed. Stay tuned!
What to Do at the 66th & College Red Line Bus Stop
Families will love spending time wandering the free art gardens at the Indianapolis Art Center. You can also sign up for special classes and workshops here. This is the best stop for visiting Opti Park for some playground time or taking a 15-minute walk over to the greenspace and creek stomping at Marott Park. Interested in spending time on White River? Rusted Moon Outfitters used to rent kayaks, though this program is temporarily suspended. Check back here or call the shop to inquire about updates. We love feeding the ducks here and Good Earth sells duck corn. There’s some fun shopping here too!
If you’re looking for family-friendly restaurants and places to eat during your Red Line ride, you’ll want to check out BRICS, Perk Up Coffee, Fire by the Monon, Public Greens, and La Piedad. This is where you would disembark to visit another favorite of ours, The Cake Bake Shop.
What to Do at the Broad Ripple Avenue Red Line Bus Stop
The Red Line will take you right into Broad Ripple Village where several events take place throughout the year, including a farmers’ market, carnival, rubber duck race, art walks, and other festivals. It’s a bit of a walk to the other end, but Broad Ripple Park is located here. This park features a pool, greenspace, playgrounds, and favorite community programming.
Broad Ripple Avenue is another great place to stop and enjoy local restaurants like Hop Cat, Hubbard and Cravens, Brothers, Just Pop In, Ripple Bagel, Union Jack, Nicey Treat, and Smallcakes Cupcakery. At the far end, Joella’s Chicken offers Kids Eat Free days and has nice outdoor seating with yard games and a view of the White River that just can’t be beat.
What to Do at the Kessler Blvd. Red Line Bus Stop
The Kessler Boulevard stop offers access to the family-friendly restaurant Binkley’s, and it’s just a few blocks to the neighborhood park, Dan Wakefield park for some fun in the splash pad.
What to Do at the 54th & College Red Line Bus Stop
The 54th & College stop is a great place to see local murals, play at Canterbury Park, do a little shopping at local boutiques and kid favorite Mass Ave Toy Store, or pick up groceries at Fresh Market. Families love mornings at the Dancing Donut or breakfast at Good Morning Mamas Cafe.
This Red Line stop offers so many delicious and favorite dining options; Yats, Mama Carolla’s, Gallery Pastry Shop, Liter House, and Twenty Tap.
What to Do at the 46th & College Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still exploring this space, but it’s a 10-minute walk to Indy Parks Arsenal Park.
What to Do at the 42nd & College Red Line Bus Stop
Heading to the Indiana State Fair or another event at the fairgrounds? The Red Line will put you on the path for a quick walk to the back entrances. Another fun place to visit is the College Avenue Library.
What to Do at the 38th & Park Red Line Bus Stop
The 38th and Park Red Line stop will be buzzing during the Indiana State Fair, but let’s keep in mind that things are happening at the Fairgrounds all year long! Families will love saving that parking fee and taking the Red Line to see the Indy Fuel play and attend events like Brickworld and ice skating at the Coliseum. We’re still exploring this space, but it’s an eight-minute walk to the Watson Park Bird Preserve and a five-minute walk to the tiny neighborhood green space with a cool sundial, McCord Park.
What to Do at the 38th & Meridian Red Line Bus Stop
The 38th & Meridian stop is a quick walk to Tarkington Park where you can enjoy a seasonal splash pad, a modern playground, a traditional playground, green space, and Tea’s Me Cafe. North United Methodist Church also has a seasonal farmers’ market that is popular.
This Red Line stop is the closest to Newfields and the 100 Acres Art Park, but it’s a pretty long walk. See the IndyGo website for transfer options or other routes.
What to Do at the 34th & Meridian Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still exploring this area but this is the closest Red Line stop to Crown Hill Cemetery. You may want to visit IndyGo and find another route because it’s still a pretty far jaunt on foot.
What to Do at the 30th & Meridian Red Line Bus Stop
The Red Line stop at 30th & Meridian sees lots of families because this is where you’ll stop to visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience. Also, the Indianapolis Public Library InfoZone Branch is located just inside the museum. Admission is not required to visit the library.
What to Do at the Fall Creek & Meridian Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still exploring this area, but you’ll find several greenspaces here. Try Barton Park and George E. Kessler Park.
What to Do at the 22nd & Meridian Red Line Bus Stop
The Red Line stop at 22nd & Meridian is a very quick walk to our favorite breakfast meetup, Lincoln Square Pancake House. You’ll also find Tea’s Me Cafe, owned by local sports hero, Tamika Catchings, and Shoefly Public House. Shoefly has a delicious menu with great selections on the children’s menu.
What to Do at the 18th & Meridian Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still exploring this area, but this is where we would disembark for a 7-minute walk to the Harrison Center for the Arts, our favorite space to visit on First Friday.
What to Do at the 14th & Capitol Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still exploring this area.
What to Do at the 9th & Capitol Red Line Bus Stop
This Red Line stop is where you’ll find access to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and one of our favorite libraries, the Central Library. It’s also just an eight-minute walk to the Colts Canal Playspace and the scenic Indianapolis Canal Walk.
A favorite family-friendly refreshment stop in this area is Quills Coffee.
What to Do at the Vermont Street & Capitol Red Line Bus Stop
The Vermont Street Red Line stop is where families can visit the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library and take a stroll on the Indianapolis Canal Walk. In addition, this is where you’ll see some of the Indianapolis War Memorials.
Grab breakfast or lunch from Le Peep near this Red Line stop.
What to Do at the Washington & Capitol Red Line Bus Stop
The Washington and Capitol bus stop is perfect for a visit to the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre, spending time on Georgia Street, and Monument Circle. With a nightly Signature Salute light show, Circle of Lights during the holidays, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, festivals taking place regularly, and lots of delicious dining options, you’ll love this stop. This is also where you can disembark to attend events at the Convention Center. The Indiana State Library is another fun family stop with regular events.
Families can enjoy the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the Canal Walk, and a visit to the Indiana History Center. It’s just a 10-minute walk to Military Park, the Eiteljorg, NCAA Hall of Fame, the Indiana State Museum, and Victory Field to see an Indianapolis Indians game. Also just 10 minutes away on foot is Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts and Indy Eleven Soccer.
Family-friendly restaurants in downtown Indianapolis include favorites such as Weber Grill, Soupremacy, South Bend Chocolate Company, PF Changs, Buca di Beppo, Steak N Shake (kids eat free on the weekends), the Old Spaghetti Factory, Cafe Patachou, and others. The Sugar Factory is an amazing spot for special occasions and photo-worthy treats. You’ll also find a food court and shopping at Circle Center Mall.
What to do at the Transit Center Red Line Bus Stop
The Julia M. Carson Transit Center on Washington Street is just a seven-minute walk to Bankers Life Fieldhouse where you can see the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Fever crush it, plus attend some of the best concerts and shows in the whole city! We’re excited about Disney on Ice and the upcoming concert lineup.
Just north of the Transit Center, outside of the City County Building, enjoy some time at Lugar Plaza. Bring your own bocce ball set, cool off at the seasonal splash pad, relax on one of the porch swings, and maybe catch a musical performance or special event. The City County Building is one of our favorite holiday stops to see Indianapolis Christmas Lights. A great stop for something to eat is the City Market, where you’ll also find a farmers’ market on select days.
Family-friendly dining includes anything on Monument Circle and many of the locations listed in the previous stop (see Washington & Capitol stop info).
Things to Do at the New Jersey & Virginia Red Line Bus Stop
The New Jersey street stop is one that we’re still exploring. The Alexander Hotel is a gorgeous place to pop in and peek at their art collection. Yolk is nearby and serves up a great breakfast, though Milktooth might be my favorite breakfast stop.
Things to Do at the Fletcher Place Red Line Bus Stop
Our friends have enjoyed playing at the Edna Balz Lacy Park. Look for fun public art murals around here.
This area has many great date night options! Try Tappers Arcade Bar, 1205 Distillery, Bluebeard, Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery, or Chilly Water Brewing Company.
Things to Do at the Fountain Square Red Line Bus Stop
This Red Line stop will put you near the historic Atomic Bowl Duckpin alley where you can rent the lanes out by the hour. Also in this area is one of our favorite comic book stores, the Hero House, and a great place to eat artisan chocolates and enjoy ice cream and coffee, Litterally Divine Chocolates. This area is the home of the Fountain Square branch of the Indianapolis Public Library. Eat at La Margarita and spend an hour snuggling cats at the Nine Lives Cat Cafe.
A seven-minute walk will lead you to Idle Park, a point of interest where you can watch the traffic on the freeway. Families may also like to participate in the Little Potters classes or Open Studio times at Fountain Square Clay Center. It seems Square Scoop Ice Cream is also a MUST stop.
Things to Do at the Pleasant Run & Shelby Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still exploring this area but we think we’ll find some more treasures for you soon!
Things to Do at the Raymond & Shelby Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still exploring this area.
Things to do at the Garfield Park Red Line Bus Stop
I’m guessing new businesses and restaurants will pop up in this area over a short time, and admittedly, we’re still checking this area out. Our favorite place to visit here is the landmark Garfield Park. This Indy Park has an outdoor amphitheater, the Garfield Park Art Center, an indoor conservatory, and beautiful outdoor gardens. Garfield Park is home to many community activities and events. The Tube Factory Artspace and Garfield Park Library Branch are also at this stop.
Things to Do at the Troy & Shelby Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still exploring this area.
Things to Do at the University of Indianapolis Red Line Bus Stop
Take this stop to visit UIndy for their sporting events and cultural events.