Rooted in Black history and alive through cultural celebrations, Indiana Avenue grew to fame as the center of Black businesses and arts in the early 20th century. At the height of its jazz era in the 1920s, “The Avenue” featured over 33 jazz clubs with headliners including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and more. One of the focal points on the Avenue is the Madam Walker Legacy Center, which was built to house Madam C.J. Walker’s beauty products business in the early 1900s. Known as the first self-made American female millionaire, Walker’s legacy lives on through the now-theater’s programming and special guests. Now, “The Avenue” is home to several historic and cultural institutions, including the Madam Walker Legacy Center, the Indianapolis Urban League, and the Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library.
Find the Vibe
JAZZY. HISTORIC. Indiana Avenue anchors the district stretching between the Central Canal and White River, where history, music, restored neighborhoods, and spirituality come together to showcase Indianapolis’ rich Black history and heritage.
- Called at times “The Harlem of Indy,” Indiana Avenue was the focal point for Black owned-business development and culture amidst Jim Crow laws in the 1900s.
- The newest hotel in the district, the Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites on the Canal, was formerly the home of the Bethel A.M.E Church, the home congregation of Madam C.J. Walker in the 1910s.
- Indiana Avenue is frequented by Indy Locals Julia Whitehead and Sampson Levingston, who leads historic Walk & Talk Tours through the area’s community and noteworthy landmarks
How to Get There
- Driving: Approximately 6 minutes by car from downtown Indy via Indiana Avenue
- Indianapolis Cultural Trail: This 8-mile walking, running, and cycling trail connects many Indy cultural districts together.