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Shelf Life: Shopping Indianapolis Style

The Indianapolis shopping scene is composed of easy-to-find retail pockets. Pick one, park once and shop all day.

 

Shopping at a mall in Indy has a local tie-in. The city's premier destinations are owned by Indy's Simon Property Group, the world's largest mall operator. Circle Centre, contained inside two blocks' worth of old and new buildings downtown, is connected to several hotels and the Indiana Convention Center. Convention attendees can easily fit in shopping sprees during breaks and the massive food court is perfect for a quick (and affodable) bite to eat.


Aptly named, The Fashion Mall rewards the pursuit of style. If an upscale store has only one Indy location, it's usually at this northside hotspot. This applies to Anthropologie, BCBG Max Azria, Burberry and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Fashion Mall is also home to locally owned boutiques, including Raleigh Ltd., a menswear store often recognized by Esquire magazine.


Scenic outdoor malls have cropped up just beyond the city limits, and they're easy to reach. Their Main Street atmosphere encourages walking, window shopping and taking a break on a restaurant's patio. Find two outdoor malls in Hamilton County, Indy's northern neighbor. Clay Terrace in Carmel hosts more than 70 retailers. Vera Bradley, a well-known Indiana brand of handbags, has a dedicated store here.


In Noblesville, Hamilton Town Center opened in 2008 with garden streetscapes and fountains. Revolver, a locally owned men's and women's boutique, carries limited-edition sneakers and the hard-to-find fashion lines from Puma, Adidas and other top athletic brands.


Near the airport, Metropolis in Plainfield is known for a family-friendly selection of familiar brands. Shoppers rest their feet in Future Park and watch dancing fountains at the top of the hour, while kids burn off energy in the soft-floored play area.


Indy's independent boutiques are thriving. The city has more unique, locally owned stores than ever before, and happily for shoppers, these businesses tend to cluster together to create bountiful shopping destinations. Downtown, art galleries and boutiques for home and body line several blocks of Massachusetts Avenue. Nearly 100 years old, Stout's Shoes still puts purchases in a pulley-operated basket and sends them upstairs to be wrapped. Arts a Poppin and Silver in the City sell wares by local artists, and Sage and J. Benzel offer urbane fashion for ladies and gents, respectively. Parents can't go wrong at colorful and kinetic Mass Ave Toys. Find exotic, fair-trade crafts under $25 at Global Gifts.


Five miles north of downtown, Broad Ripple's boutiques keep the neighborhood hopping until the bars and clubs open. Artsy types come in search of music, vintage clothing, decor, gifts and books. Walk along Broad Ripple Avenue east of College Avenue, and meander side streets to the north to find merchants in bungalows. French Pharmacie stocks modern designer labels, including 3.1 Phillip Lim and Thomas Wylde. Health enthusiasts will love Rusted Moon Outfitters for their gear and The Good Earth for natural food. Classic boutiques like The Bungalow and Chelsea's are Broad Ripple staples. High fashion reigns at 8Fifteen and the freshest footwear can be found at gotSOLE? boutique.


Follow Virginia Avenue south of downtown and discover the Fountain Square. The neighborhood has long been known for a decidedly retro vibe that play off of it's centerpiece, the Fountain Square Theater Building. You find a rich collection of antique stores including Days Gone By and the Indianapolis Antique Mall. You'll also find more contemporary treasures for your home at Rogue Decor. This up-and-coming neighborhood has plenty of charm as evidenced in shops like Urban Kitsch, Arthur's Music and Flowers on the Square.