We’ll be upfront with you, dating in Indianapolis is a challenge these days - and it certainly isn’t getting easier in the rest of the Midwest either. There are plenty of opportunities to meet attractive singles in Indianapolis. However, meeting new people and having successful dates have only become more competitive these days.
Is there any good news, or is it hopeless? The truth is that if you’re reading this article, you’re already one step closer. With some effort, patience, and planning, finding a date in Indianapolis is substantially easier than in other comparable cities throughout Indiana (we’re looking at you, Fort Wayne!). The catch is that you just might need to leave the comforts of your neighborhood, and explore the vast Indianapolis dating scene.
In this in-depth guide, we'll provide some of the most reliable recommendations on where to meet Indianapolis singles, great date ideas to get you started, and some of our favorite date spots around Indianapolis.
Table of Contents
What Dating in Indianapolis Is Like Right Now
The dating scene in Indianapolis has always been a challenge and the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic made things worse. Many young singles choose Indianapolis as a great way to start a career in the capital of Indiana and enjoy a quality of life above other cities in the area. With so many career opportunities in establishments like The Indiana University Health, Eli Lilly, and more, new singles are moving to Indianapolis for its opportunities AND to find a compatible partner.
There is also plenty of diversity here in the type of partners you can find, especially for the Midwest. From down-home country types, cosmopolitan urban people, and young professionals, Indianapolis has it all - that is, if you’re willing to put in the effort.
If you look at the total number of singles currently in the Indianapolis dating scene, you’ll probably be surprised at just how many individuals are actually single (and looking). Currently, Indianapolis has 145,000 single women and 135,000 single men, accounting for nearly 33% of the total population. In other words, there are A LOT of singles out there.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: Why am I still single? If there are a lot of singles out there? Luckily, knowledge is power when it comes to meeting someone in the Indianapolis dating scene. Sadly, the truth is that having tons of dating options doesn't mean that dating in Indianapolis is going to be easy, but a realistic outlook should be encouraging.
Where to Meet Someone to Date in Indianapolis
We’ll be honest with you: It's nearly impossible to create a comprehensive list of all of the best places to find someone to date in Indianapolis.
Depending on the type of person you're looking for and where you usually go looking, your search will take you to different neighborhoods, venues, and activities in Indianapolis. After all, there’s a big difference between someone who is into NASCAR versus someone who enjoys a nice quiet evening in a wine bar.
Instead, I'll share with you some of the best venues that will make it much simpler to meet and date Indianapolis singles that are into serious relationships (BeyondAges has a comprehensive list of suggestions on where to find Indianapolis hookups if you’re looking for that sort of thing).
These places tend to have the following criteria for finding serious relationships:
- Lots of singles
- Fun atmosphere
- Easy to mix & mingle with new people
- Quiet enough to have a conversation
- Alcohol options are a plus
- Relatively inexpensive
In my honest opinion, each of those six (6) characteristics plays a big part when meeting up with other available Indianapolis singles. Before we get into some specific recommendations, however, let's first turn our attention to which apps you’re using to date in Indy:
Why you should be using at least one app
If you're not on any dating app right now, then you're really at a disadvantage in today’s highly competitive dating scene. With all the social distancing and WFH (work from home), more people are using apps as their primary way to meet people!
Can you still find success without apps? Sure, you can. But it can be difficult if you’re busy or like to enjoy your free time.
If you've struggled in the past on choosing which app works for you, check out our rankings of the best dating apps in Indianapolis to get a sense of what apps are the right ones for you. From young professionals, religious singles, and serious individuals looking for the most compatible option, there are a ton of apps that offer a unique user base.
If you feel too busy to read our in-depth article, these dating apps are the best first choice:
- eHarmony (try for free!) -the best option for long-term relationships with a 70% success ratio in 1-year
- AFF (also try for free!) - the best option for casual fun while protecting your privacy
After evaluating dozens of dating sites and apps, it’s clear that we have a pretty decent idea of what works in the real world. Check out our full rankings above to get you started on what’s good in Indianapolis.
Now, let's talk about our favorite spots around the city.
The best singles bars in Indianapolis
Using the six criteria cited before, we've narrowed down the best bars in Indianapolis for singles. These bars offer more chances for men and women to interact, have a refreshing drink (or three), and chat with interesting strangers.
These bars in Indianapolis are worth trying first:
- Bar One Fourteen in Oliver Johnson’s Woods - 114 E 49th St, Indianapolis, IN 46205
- The Rathskeller in Lockerbie Square - 401 E Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Dorman Street in Cottage Home - 901 Dorman St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
- Alley Cat Lounge in Broad Ripple - 6267 Carrollton Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46220
- Howl at the Moon Indianapolis in Market East District - 20 E Georgia St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Union 50 if you want to meet an Indianapolis cougar - 620 N East St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Have fun and don’t be discouraged if you're not feeling it. We gathered different options from diverse neighborhoods, but there are plenty of factors where bars work depending on the time of day, or simply are the preferred choice for attractive social cliques. If you have any suggestions on what we should add, leave them in the comments below.
A few other great places to find a date in Indianapolis
Not everyone enjoys hitting up their local watering holes. Bars can be a great place to meet other Indianapolis singles, but they’re not the only option where you can interact.
While Indianapolis has a bit of a boozy reputation, you can still get great results outside of a bar - even during the boiling summers and the frigid winter months.
Take a look at a few more options below that have helped men and women in Indianapolis get to know each other. Being open-minded in trying new things gives you a significant competitive advantage.
Above all, don't take things too seriously. Just by focusing on enjoying life and spending time in these places, you’ll cross paths and get clues about where your next significant other will be!
- Bee Coffee Roasters in Eagle Creek - 5510 Lafayette Road, Indianapolis IN 46254
- Amberson Coffee in Fletcher Place and Fountain Square
- Prufrock Coffee Company in Canterbury - 5168 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46205
- Georgia Street Grind in Downtown Indy - 1001, 25 W Georgia St #101, Indianapolis, IN 46225
- Monon Coffee Company in Broad Ripple - 920 E Westfield Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46220
- Whole Foods, Needler’s Fresh Market, or Trader Joe’s - Trust us, attractive single people shop upscale and organic!
- Meetup groups - There are tons of groups that are full of eager singles looking to share their interests, including music, tech, sports, and even singles mixers
- Again, apps and sites are a good option for just about anyone (check out the best dating sites in Indianapolis here)
The Apps Dating Coaches Recommend Most For Dating in Indianapolis
Modern dating requires modern solutions. So far, the best solution we’ve found for perpetual singledom is dating apps. Aside from going to places that are popular with single women, you should also be using at least one of the dating apps we’ve tried below.
Site Our Experience Our Rating Free Trial Link Experience Highlights Try eHarmony Experience Highlights Try AFF For Free Tinder Highlights Try Tinder
What about speed dating in Indianapolis
Speed dating has become more popular ever since the beginning of the pandemic - especially with the rising popularity of virtual speed dating. If you're busy and have some spare cash (events usually cost about $40 - $80 to attend), speed dating is an effective way to meet other singles in the space of an hour or so.
Most speed dating events follow the same pattern. First, you go on a bunch of "mini-dates" where you chat with another single participant for five minutes. Once five minutes are up, you move to the next table where the next woman is seated. As the night progresses, you make a list of the people you want to see again. If both people want to see each other again, the speed dating organizer provides you with the other match’s contact info.
The following are the best Indianapolis speed dating groups worth checking out:
Every suggestion we have covered in this section should give you a great start for finding someone available, single, and interesting to date. Now that we’ve covered the essentials, let's explore how to have a great date in Indianapolis!
Our Best Date Ideas in Indianapolis - and Why They’re So Great
Once you've met an interesting person, now’s the time to plan a great date to get to know them better. Most people default to the “classic dinner and a movie” date, which is usually a big mistake when it comes to first dates! Here’s why:
A dinner date between two people who just met is very likely to turn into some kind of pseudo-interview with general questions asked back and forth. Feels like work, and no one wants to work during their free time?
Instead, we’ve established a few ground rules that all of our date ideas generally follow. Use these to set a baseline to come up with some new ideas for yourself - or at least avoid boring dates that lead to failure.
A great date idea tends to be one that:
- Has a fun and upbeat energy
- Things are going on around you that you can talk about
- Doesn't involve you sitting face-to-face for long periods of time
- Has you both moving around a bit
- Isn't too expensive
- Doesn't last for hours and hours so you can cut it short if there isn't any chemistry
- Allows both of you to feel comfortable
- Has a little friendly competition
It helps to know what your date genuinely enjoys beforehand or what you’re good at. For example, if you’re studying at university and there’s a school event, you can bring her and show her around. Or, if you know that your date enjoys physical activity, choosing something where you can build up a little sweat and teamwork is always a good way to build chemistry.
Even for activities in Indianapolis that you’ve both never experienced but want to try, it’s best to keep an open mind and do things that would create a memorable experience that you both share (even if it goes poorly).
Here are a few dating ideas in Indianapolis to get you started
- Ice skating
- Take a dance class together
- Shoot some arrows at an archery range
- Go to the driving range
- Hit up the zoo or wildlife refuge
- Check out a street fair (Indianapolis has tons)
- Going to a farmer’s market
- Axe throwing
- Escape rooms
- Take a walk with your dog somewhere fun (if you have one)
- Painting class (preferably with some adult beverages)
- Botanical garden
This is a pretty short list, but this gives you an idea of where to start your search in Indianapolis. All of these are designed to be fun and provide a memorable experience for you and your date.
The first date idea that we always recommend
The ideas above can be great first dates but we have a better idea. When people ask our team what the best first date in Indianapolis is we always tell them the same thing, meet up at a laid-back lounge or coffee shop and get to know each other a bit.
A full-blown date is a lot of pressure and isn't cheap. It takes time to plan and might involve you taking a bus around town to get there. Before you make that kind of investment you want to know that you and your interest have at least some level of compatibility. The last thing you want is to get stuck for hours on a date that you knew 10 minutes in wasn't going anywhere.
Instead, tell them that you're really busy but would love to meet up for a drink to get to know each other a bit. If things go well you can always extend the date into one of the activities above. If it doesn't, you haven't lost much. This also takes a lot of pressure off both of you so you can both relax and be yourselves.
Best Date Bars in Indianapolis (Especially for Fun First Dates)
If you don't already know, going out to a good bar in Indianapolis is the perfect way for people to drop their inhibitions, relax, and be receptive to meeting new people.
Finding a great date bar in and around Indianapolis is pretty easy because of the number of options you have. Whether you’re looking for a locals-only dive bar, an exclusive bar with a cover fee, or something upscale, Indianapolis has no shortage of great bar settings for your next date.
To help you find these bars in Indianapolis, I’ll give you a list of bars that have great drink specials, feature a fun crowd, and won’t make you regret spending some cash. After all, who wants to shell out $40 on drinks for two when you’re not even sure if you like your date just yet.
Here are just a handful of the best date bars around Indianapolis:
- Tappers Arcade Bar in Fletcher’s Place - 501 Virginia Ave #102, Indianapolis, IN 46203
- Nicky Blaine's Cocktail Lounge in Downtown Indy - 20 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- The Brass Ring Lounge in North Square - 1245 Shelby St, Indianapolis, IN 46203
- Mucky Duck in South Port - 4425 Southport Crossing Dr
- Spoke & Steele in Market East District - 123 Illinois St
- Rick's Cafe Boatyard in Eagles Landing - 4050 Dandy Trail
- LO-FI Lounge in North Square - G. C. Murphy Building, 1043 Virginia Ave #211, Indianapolis, IN 46203
- Slippery Noodle in Wholesale District - 372 S Meridian St
This is a great starter list to help you set the scene for a memorable date. Remember, each neighborhood in Indianapolis has its own share of hidden gems and popular hangouts. Don’t be afraid to go barhopping in the neighborhood if the vibe isn’t right or find a place more suited to you and your date.
Best Date Night Restaurants in Indianapolis that Should Be Your First Choice
When it comes to the first few dates, we recommend steering clear of the traditional dinner date until you’ve known each other well enough. Going out for dinner dates can be awkward, especially if you’re trying to make a connection with your new date.
On the other hand, if you’ve established some chemistry with your date or just want a date night restaurant in Indianapolis to grab a quick dinner before heading out for some fun, we've got some solid choices in the city for you that won't hurt your pocket. After all, there are plenty of expensive restaurants that are easy enough to find on your own!
That being said, let’s look at date night restaurants in Indianapolis that offer great food and an inviting atmosphere that’s the perfect backdrop to share each other’s company:
- Bakersfield in Downtown Indy - 334 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- The Eagle in Downtown Indy - 310 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- The Rooftop Garden in North Square - 5th Floor, 1105 Prospect St, Indianapolis, IN 46203
- Ash & Elm Cider Co. Restaurant and Cider Bar in Arsenal Heights - 1301 Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46201
- Mann's Grille in West Indianapolis - 1214 S Tibbs Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46241
- Yard House in Mile Square - 15 W Maryland St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Saffron Cafe in Renaissance Place - 621 Fort Wayne Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Courses Restaurant in Historic Meridian Park - 2820 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46208
More Date Spots in Indianapolis We Love
As you may know, the quality of your date in Indianapolis comes down to more than just eating and drinking. With all that Indianapolis has to offer, you’ll find that there’s no shortage of activities to create memories with your date. Plenty of singles have great dates at these places and we're more than confident you can do the same.
Bear in mind that the time of year will make a difference with some of these recommendations (being outside for hours in the winter cold or the humid summer doesn't always make for a great date), so choose wisely!
- Go ice skating at Carmel Ice Skadium
- Try a group dance lesson together at Naptown Ballroom
- Watch the Colts play at Lucas Oil Stadium
- The Indianapolis Art Center and Rhythm! Discovery Center offer day and night events for adults (drinks, too!)
- Catch a comedy show at Helium Comedy Club
- Check out some fascinating wildlife at the Indianapolis Zoo
- Learn how to shoot a bow and arrow at Koteewi Archery
- Stroll through vendor booths at the many art fairs throughout Indianapolis
- Shop for fresh groceries and taste homemade food at the Indianapolis Farmers Market
- Show off your puzzle-solving skills at The Escape Game Indianapolis
- Catch live music, ballet, and more at Old National Centre