On Raising Kids in Broad Ripple


In recent years, I’ve often heard young couples who live in the Broad Ripple area make a similar statement: “We absolutely love living here, but once we have kids, we’re moving to Fishers/Carmel/Noblesville/Avon/Greenwood.”


I can certainly understand how Broad Ripple acquired its less-than-family-friendly reputation, and a drive down Broad Ripple Avenue at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night would likely do little to dissuade people of that opinion. But aside from late nights on weekends, this area has lots to offer families; and as of now, my husband and I have every intention of putting down roots and raising our family here. Here’s a short list of reasons why.

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  1. Walkability. Yesterday, I loaded up my eight-week-old daughter in the stroller, hopped on the Monon (which is one block from my house), picked up a prescription for our dog at Broad Ripple Animal Clinic, stopped by the post office on Carrollton, grabbed an iced coffee from Hubbard & Cravens, and walked home. I covered 2.5 miles, getting some good exercise while running my errands for the day and keeping my daughter happy. There aren’t many other areas of Indianapolis in which you could run all your errands on foot. During the past nine weeks of maternity leave, I have only filled my SUV with gas two times, and once was after visiting a friend in Terre Haute.
  2. Culture. Broad Ripple’s selection of excellent restaurants and trendy bars goes without mentioning. The Vogue and Crackers Comedy Club offer great line-ups for fun date nights. Additionally, we have amenities such as Broad Ripple Park and the Indianapolis Arts Center, and the IMA and Clowes Hall are just a quick drive down Meridian. We live just south of the Broad Ripple strip in a neighborhood of around 300 houses called Canterbury, and our neighborhood association frequently sponsors fun events for kids and parents in our nearby park.
  3. Short Commutes. My husband works downtown, and I work near The Pyramids. Our drives to and from work are around 20 minutes max with very little exception. If we hit a little traffic, it adds five minutes at the most. Can you say the same, Northsiders? We’re looking forward to never missing out on quality family time because of a back-up on I-69.
  4. Diversity. I was raised in the Geist area and attended Belzer Middle School, at which I studied and socialized with students of every race. When my family moved to the south side before my freshman year, I walked into Center Grove High School on my first day and immediately noticed the absence of diversity. My panic rose throughout the day as I realized the entire black student population could be counted on one hand. I loved growing up around kids who came from a different background than my own, and I want the same for my own children.
  5. Character. We live in a 65-year-old brick ranch, its construction reflecting an early ’50s architectural identity crisis as mid-century modern trends crept into traditional blueprints. Its original owners, Virgil and Ona, lived here for 41 years, with Ona’s painted flowers still gracing the side of our shed. I love the history of our home and the fact that every house in this neighborhood is different and has a story. I love that I can walk two blocks blocks to grab some fresh pasta for dinner at Nicole Taylor’s. I love that on a beautiful afternoon, I can walk down the Monon and pass a flamboyantly-dressed man on a bicycle shamelessly belting Gloria Gaynor’s disco classic “I Will Survive.” Nowhere else in the city feels like this, and I want my children to feel the privilege of living here, too.

This area fills me with life, and I picture a unique, energizing childhood for my kids here. I’m not saying other parts of the city don’t have lots to offer–there’s a reason Carmel frequently tops lists of the best places in the country to raise a family. I’m just saying I wholeheartedly reject the idea that Broad Ripple is no place for kids. And furthermore, I think more parents need to question the notion that becoming a parent means shedding your previous identity and resigning yourself to suburbia.


Thanks for sharing!



  1. I believe when you leave feedback or commentary within a site, you are to wholeheartedly agree or despise one’s opinion. Let me do my best to go in another direction – provide context? My wife pointed me to your post, namely because we grew up in the area but have since moved away – 7 moves in about 10 years to be exact. She referenced your article in discussion as she it’s become a common discussion for us…how Hoosiers view local.

    First and foremost, one thing we find ourselves doing is defending our lifestyle of constantly moving across the country. Those from Indy (and many other cities in which we’ve lived) don’t understand or appreciate why we have chosen our lifestyle – and that’s okay. What I would suggest about where you live, Bangladesh or Brownstown, is that it’s personal preference – but more than anything. I’m of the thought that you shouldn’t push your personal beliefs/agenda on others and I believe it starts with your zip code. We have friends that spend their entire time with us defending their choice to live in northern Indiana. Let me be clear, we’ve never questioned them, doubted them or said anything otherwise but given our lifestyle, it’s our belief that Hoosiers have to defend their choice to live in IN (and Floridians in Florida, etc.).

    Each place we’ve lived has represented great perspective and at the same time, significant opportunity. St. Louis is the coolest big ‘small’ town I’ve experienced, but if you’re not from there, then you don’t fit in. Raleigh may be the quaintest city of its size, yet you’re hard pressed to find a school that measures to the quality that you would find in many other states. To that end, your area of residence is just that – yours. You find it charming, convenient, hip, or personal based on you (and your personality). Most importantly, you shouldn’t question those who don’t appreciate your choice and you shouldn’t question theirs even if in a passive aggressive post defending your personal preference.

    I think what we forget as young parents is that we are most certainly not the people we were 10 years ago. What makes us think now that we have kids that we now have all of the answers? Aren’t we just teenagers all over again? 10 years down the road, we’ll roll our eyes at ourselves, blink, and do it again 10 years later. For the sake of those reading this post in Brownsburg, Shelbyville, Greenwood, or Zionsville, I would just suggest that you stop defending your choice and begin appreciating that others are also living life in their little utopia. I love it that you love Broad Ripple but looking back at your post – what do your five points have to do with your child’s wellbeing or betterment? Enjoy your neighbors, reassess your life in 5 years and hopefully do it all again – in Broad Ripple or Puerto Vallarta, whichever is best for you and your family. Life moves fast and one thing that’s for sure – I have no freaking idea what’s in store for me tomorrow.

  2. Matt, I find it quite strange that any offense would be taken after reading this article. Not one sentence questioned anyone’s choice for their family. It is kind of the point of the article, not being judged for choosing where you raise your family. Broad Ripple isn’t typically thought of of as a “family Friendly” area. The first thing that probably comes to most people’s minds (especially when one hasn’t lived there) is the nightlife.

    Lauren, I thought it was well written. I think I’ll visit your charming neck of the woods very soon!

  3. Does anyone have any good daycare options in the broad ripple area? We absolutely love the neighborhood for all the reasons listed but are noticing a major lack in daycare options! Thanks!

  4. Great post! As a Warfleigh resident, I would add one more – Parks! From a splash pad to creek stomping to blue heron sightings to snow covered paths, we love the nearby parks and proximity to the White River. The most difficult part is deciding between Holliday, Marott, Broad Ripple, Opti, Canterbury, Monon, and Canal.

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