Five Worst Places to Visit in Indianapolis

Every city has its gems, and Indianapolis is no exception. The flip side is also true, however--for every treasure, there is trash. For every thing you want to do, there is something you will want to avoid. Here are the five worst places to visit in Indianapolis.

5) Emergency Room, Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital

If you are here, something has gone wrong and it was probably illegal or involved fire. Local medical professionals refer to Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital as "the Gun and Knife Club" as it gets both crime victims and criminals (ranging from the latest in public intoxication to the state prisoners) in its Level One Trauma Center. While Eskenazi an excellent hospital with a nationally renowned burn unit, this is not a place you want to visit for obvious reasons. Definitely do not go here on a weekend evening or on prom night.

4) Washington Square Mall

You know a mall is in bad shape when it barely avoids foreclosure proceedings. According to local lore, the Indianapolis Star, and The Indianapolis Business Journal, Washington Square Mall was once owned by the Simon family, but even they couldn't turn it around. It was given away in 2014 to avoid foreclosure, and at the time was estimated to be worth less than the $25.5 million debt Simon had on the mall. Things haven't improved--the mall currently has a less than 50 percent occupancy rate, and was the scene of a shooting that left three injured, caused a mass rapid exodus, and made national news. Stores that have fled for greener pastures--or at least out of the inner city--include Sears, Old Navy, Montgomery Ward, Macy's, and Lazarus. The remaining top-tier stores are Finish Line (which for the love of all that is holy must be avoided when Air Jordans are released; last time a little girl was trampled), Radio Shack, Bath and Body Works, and Victoria's Secret. The anchor stores are Target, Burlington Coat Factory, and Dick's Sporting Goods. You're better off going to Circle Centre Mall, and if you absolutely have to go to Radio Shack, Speedway Shopping Center.

3) Shampoo Aisle, Beech Grove Wal-Mart (4650 S Emerson Ave)

If your faith in humanity needs to take a hit, go here. This is one of the worst Wal-Marts in the country. The only crime that hasn't happened here is a meth lab in the bathroom and that may be a matter of time. A YouTube video of two women plus one woman's child fighting in the shampoo aisle went viral, and people come here to take selfies in said shampoo aisle. But the video was just the crowning glory of this store's troubles. A high-speed, multi-department police chase that killed a 63-year-old woman caused major public outcry. After the suicide of a shoplifting suspect in the bathroom of a nearby Chinese restaurant, the mayor of Beech Grove officially declared the store a public nuisance, which gave officers the option of ticketing the retail chain $2,500 plus court costs each time the police were summoned. According to The Indianapolis Star, Beech Grove police made 1,278 runs to the store resulting in 473 arrests over a four-and-a-half month period in 2014.

2) Route 38, IndyGo Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation

There are three facts about this route--it will always be crowded (it is not uncommon for it to be standing room only at ten at night on a Saturday), it will always be late, and someone will always cause some sort of trouble that may or may not result in police intervention. IndyGo, as the locals call it, is completely inadequate for a city the size of Indianapolis (partly because Neighborhood Scout reports that 85 percent of the population drives cars). IndyGo is plagued by frequent mechanical problems (one rumor has it that IndyGo buys rejected or retired buses from other cities), frequent detours or stop closings that are not always announced in advance, and intoxicated passengers (in order to be arrested for public intoxication in Indianapolis you must be a danger to yourself or others). In addition, Route 38 goes through some of the most crime-infested parts of the city, including Lafayette Square and the 46208 zip code, which Neighborhood Scout reports is one of the most dangerous in the country.

1) College Avenue

While you're generally safe as long as you're in Broad Ripple (as long as you don't mind drunk twenty-somethings), College Avenue has a reputation of being a hotbed of drug activity and prostitution. As a general rule, the better-looking the prostitute, the greater the chance she's a cop. Serial killer Herb Baumeister, a.k.a. the I-70 Strangler, frequented this area, and people there were seen as such trash that police wrote his 11 confirmed victims off as voluntarily disappearing. Do not go down this road after dark or you'll end up at Worst Location #5.

Becky Oberg is a professional writer who has lived in Indianapolis on and off for almost thirty years. She enjoys acting, cooking, playing video games, singing, and writing. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and on her blog, One Woman and a Laptop.