When the Red Line hit Indianapolis on September, everyone was excited about the end of construction, closed roads and traffic delays, but there’s more. We’re all genuinely excited about the beginning of what looks to be a more connected and usable public transportation system for our city.
The Red Line runs the 13 miles from Meridian Hills, through Broad Ripple, Butler University, The Children’s Museum, Downtown Indy, IUPUI, Fountain Square and ends near the University of Indianapolis. For the month of September, everyone rides the Red Line for free, after that, there are some monthly options, daily options and per ride options. Be sure to take your kids in to get a half fare or student pass, but more on that later.
Red Line with Kids
Local families have joined the throngs of passengers who are riding the Red Line to work, to the grocery store and for social outings. With this in mind, there are a few things you need to know about bringing a stroller on board, baby carriers and more.
What to do on the 66th & College Red Line Bus Stop
Families will love spending time wandering the art gardens at the Indianapolis Art Center (free), 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? Head over to the Rusted Moon Outfitters to rent kayaks. 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, Ezra’s Enlighted Cafe, Fire by the Monon, Public Greens, La Piedad and Books and Brews, where kids eat free on Sunday. This is where you would disembark to visit another favorite of ours, The Cake Bake Shop.
What to do on 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; a pool, greenspace, playgrounds and favorite community programming.
Broad Ripple Avenue is another great place stop and enjoy local restaurants like Hop Cat, Hubbard and Cravens, 317 Burgers, 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 view of the White River that just can’t be beat.
What to do on the Kessler Blvd. Red Line Bus Stop
The Kessler Boulevard stop offers access to 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 on 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, Locally Grown Gardens, Liter House and Twenty Tap.
What to do on 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 on the 42nd & College Red Line Bus Stop
We’re still trying to find out if other entrances are open to pedestrians during the year, the Red Line will put you on the path for a quick walk to the backside of the fairgrounds. Another fun place to visit is the College Avenue Library.
What to do on the 38th & Park Red Line Bus Stop
The 38th and Park Red Line stop is going to be buzzing next year 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 on 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 BRICS ice cream. North United Methodist Church 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 on 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 on the 30th & Meridian Red Line Bus Stop
The Red Line stop at 30th & Meridian is already seeing 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, admission is not required to visit the library.
We like to meet up at Duos for lunch and we’re committed to continuing to explore this area.
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; 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 Teas 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
Some favorite family friendly restaurants in this area include Burgerhaus & 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, opening late September and talk a stroll on the Indianapolis Canal Walk. In addition, this is where you’ll see some of the Indianapolis War Memorials.
Family restaurant options near this Red Line stop include Sahms, Le Peep, Acapulco Joes and MoJoe Coffee House.
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 the new light show kicking off in November, 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 also a fun family stop, they regularly host 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, Champps, Buca di Beppo, Steak N Shake (kids eat free on the weekends), the Old Spaghetti Factory, Cafe Patachou and others. 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 puts you 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 line up.
The Transit Center itself has been causing quite the buzz, as we’ve heard that just north of here outside of the City County Building there have been giant versions of yard games for people to play, swings and musical performers. 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 to and peek at their art collection. Yolk is nearby and serves up a great breakfast and 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 and everyone is always raving about General American Donuts. General American has children’s toys. Look for fun public art murals around here.
Date Night: Tappers Arcade Bar, Repeal, Bluebeard, Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery, 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 DuckPin Bowling 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 places to eat artisan chocolates and enjoy ice cream and coffee, Literally Divine Chocolates. This 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 the new Square Scoop Ice Cream is also a MUST stop.
Things to do at the Pleasant Run & Shelby Red Line Bus Stop
Recraft Indy is a store for crafty families. Recycled craft items are sold here and it’s very kid friendly. My friend Windi says they’ve yarn bombed the whole store and knitting supplies are everywhere for people to use. 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 amount of time, and admittedly, we’re still checking this area out. Our favorite places to visit here are 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. Also, Books & Brews is here and kids eat free on select days!
There are two huge questions that hang heavy in our group of local parents:
- What IS the official stance on taking strollers on the bus?
- Where can we park and ride?
Local transit ambassadors tell us that as painful and time consuming as it is, children must be removed from strollers during the ride and strollers must be stowed in the bicycle area on board. They tell us that this area only has space for two items so if this space is full when you board, you must exit and wait for the next bus. Let’s hope that this all gets worked out because our friends in larger cities that have been riding mass transit with children for years, tell us this is impractical and not how it works where they live.
Where can we park and ride the Red Line and other IndyGo options? Well, there’s nowhere official. As we see more and more of the lines created, hopefully this park and ride need disappears, but stay tuned!