Katy Mann is ready to give us a new perspective on Indianapolis

An Indy icon has created the ultimate Indianapolis scavenger hunt.
Katy Mann

Katy Mann has been working with children for over a decade and has localized her passions by creating the blog “Indy with Kids”. Her blog focuses on ensuring every parent, grandparent, guardian, and babysitter knows the latest on what events and activities they can do with their kids and grandkids in Indianapolis. Her guidance has been a lifesaver for families all over Indy, and this summer, she has gone to great lengths to ensure families never have a dull moment. She is ready to give a new perspective to Indy with her book, “Indianapolis Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for Indianapolis’s Hidden Treasures,” which came out last month. 

Your book creates a very unique way of exploring Indy. When and where did you come up with the concept? 

“The publisher has this same concept in several markets, and I knew I wanted to write a book with this publisher because they do a lot of hyper-local stuff.  They asked me to write this one; it wasn’t my first choice of concepts. Obviously, because it’s super difficult, but I knew that if anyone were going to write it, it would probably be me, so I accepted.”

You’re right in that this is such a daunting task to take on; how did you start?

“I have always loved Crown Hill Cemetery, and I knew I wanted to find a way to incorporate it into the book. It’s actually its own chapter in there because there are so many stories. I mean, there are nature stories, there’s death, there’s life, there’s so much that comes out of this one place, and it’s actually a community hub where people go not only to mourn but to explore and to learn and to celebrate. I knew I wanted to include it, and so I started there. I probably visited four or five different times because I wanted to make sure that I got it right—it’s really hard to navigate and tell people how to get from point to point when you want to show them so much.”

Mass Ave.

Via Visit Indy

To write something as cool as this, you must know Indianapolis well. How much time and research was spent finding these places and things and then figuring out riddles or clues for them?

“I walked 19 neighborhoods multiple times. I think every neighborhood had at least one visit, but some of them I visited two or three times because the content we had wasn’t great the first time or because I wanted to make sure that I had things correct. It was neat because I never walk neighborhoods just to walk them. You usually have a place that you’re going to. Very few people really just walk along Mass Ave. and take the streets of Mass Ave. It was a very different way of looking at things and going places without anywhere to go. It was hours and hours of walking. I wore out three pairs of tennis shoes and used a lot of sunblock. And then I had to sit down and actually put it all together. It felt like a lifetime. I’m not a poet by nature—I’m more of a storyteller. And so, to use a way of communicating that is not natural to me, I definitely had to turn on that part of my brain and and then use a lot of tools online. I really do love what I ended up with.”

Fall Creek Place

Via Visit Indy

You have created something that will help families cherish and appreciate Indianapolis in new and refreshing ways. Has writing this book helped you appreciate Indy any more than you already did?

“So much of my past work has been focused on major destinations and attractions and things to do without seeing between the lines and within the margins of what surrounds those places and those things. This helps me see things differently. We’re all aware of some of Indianapolis’s very iconic public art pieces. But there’s art all over our city that’s intentional art, and there’s so many pieces that maybe don’t get the attention that the others get, but they can speak so deeply to certain people.  I was able to start looking for those things instead of passing by them. Also, like finding these small businesses and historic landmarks. I saw the oldest house in Indianapolis while I was on my walking tour and I didn’t know that that existed. We found the Graffiti Trail, which is a public art space within the art project that everyone can participate in. I had no idea that it existed in our city. I learned about so many of the different immigrant groups that came here in the past, where they lived, and the kind of buildings and social places that they constructed, and none of that was part of my story of Indianapolis before writing this. That wasn’t the story that I knew, but then getting out and working with all of those things and looking for them and trying to find the things that were maybe not typically notable in today’s society was very eye-opening.”

This book is a fantastic representation of your professional purpose as a blogger and researcher in Indianapolis. How important is it for families to explore their own city? 

“It’s so important because if the people who live here and choose to be in these spaces don’t know the stories that surround them and the history, then who’s going to care about it? If the people who live here don’t care, then who will care? How will those stories and information get passed on?”


Via Visit Indy

Using your book as guidance, which scavenger hunts would guide you through your personal perfect day in Indy?

“Especially if I were new to this, I would say Irvington or the Fort Ben or Lawrence area. I would either do Irvington, Lawrence, or Speedway. They’re kind of contained areas and it’s really easy to see those. In those communities, each one of them has this completely unique story of how they were made and what they have to offer. I think those are probably the three easier chapters in the book because of the way you walk them. Plus, there’s lots of great restaurants and things to do right in those communities, and lots of people to talk to.”

For more information and locations to buy “Indianapolis Scavenger,” visit indywithkids.com.

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