Indiana, located in the Midwest, offers retirees a quiet place to enjoy the outdoors, the arts, festivals, and history. Many of the towns and cities of Indiana are home to various colleges and universities, which adds to the local area’s vibrancy and lifestyle. So, it’s not surprising that there are many attractive places to retire in Indiana.
Due to the numerous colleges, Indiana has a strong art culture, including performing arts, music, and visual arts. Most of the towns and cities in Indiana featured a variety of galleries, museums, and theaters.
Although the median age in Indiana is 37 years old, many cities are making great strides at creating more age-friendly communities, especially cities like Bloomington and Columbus. These communities are implementing new programs and designing new “Lifelong” communities, making them more welcoming and accessible for seniors.
Indiana is the ideal state for active retirees looking to stay engaged in their communities and outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, bicycling, and camping. Not only are the cities full of local parks but they also have several amazing state parks like Indiana Dunes which occupies 2,182 acres of beautiful natural landscaping with miles of beach along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Indiana is also home to several fun festivals, such as the Covered Bridge Festival in Rockville, which hosts multiple art vendors, food stands, and live entertainment. Then there’s the Lotus World Festival, which is an art and music festival held in Bloomington. And of course, race fans will love watching the Indy 500, a 200 lap race with drivers racing at the average speed of 117 mph.
Indiana’s taxes are middle of the road. Though their state sales tax is high at 7%, there is no local sales tax. Additionally, there is no sales tax on food, prescriptions, and certain medical equipment.
Social Security is not taxed, though all other retirement income such as 401Ks, IRAs, and pensions are all susceptible to a 3.23% flat-rate state income tax.
The great news is that Indiana has a lower cost of living and lower property taxes than many other hot retirement spots in the country.
Where to Retire in Indiana
- Percent of Senior Population: 11.9%
- Overall Population: 876,384
Indianapolis, founded in 1821, initially started as a manufacturing, transport, and pork packing city. Over the years, Indianapolis transitioned from a railroad hub to a leading automotive production site.
Indianapolis is not only the state’s capital but is also the biggest city in the state. And being the largest city, it is home to a multitude of entertainment opportunities, including art and historic venues such as:
- The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
- Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
- Soldiers and Sailors Monument
- Indiana Historical Society
- Indiana World War Memorial
- Indiana Historical Society
And Indianapolis has an abundance of parks ideal for active retirees. One of the parks found within the city limits includes White River State Park, which sits on 250 acres. White River State Park is more than the average state park; it is also home to the Indiana State Museum, IMAX Theater, White River Gardens, and the Eiteljorg Museum.
White River State Park is not the only park within the city, there is also:
- Flowing Well Park
- Central Canal Trail
- Broad Ripple Park
- Southwestway Park
- Washington Township Park
In addition to having several parks, Indianapolis is also a very walkable city, especially the downtown area. The luxury apartments downtown make it easy to get around on foot to all of the city’s conveniences, from restaurants to shopping.
If you are looking for something a little less busy but still within the city limits, the Fountain Square District is a bit quieter. Fountain Square has a small-town feel and is best known for its art community. It is also home to the Murphy Art Center’s annual art fair.
To top it all off, Indianapolis has several medical facilities, including Indiana University Health, which US News has voted as one of the country’s best hospitals.
- Percent of Senior Population: 15.8%
- Overall Population: 117,979
The River City, Evansville, sits along the Ohio River’s bend, in the southwest corner of the state near the Kentucky and Illinois border. Evansville, founded in 1812, has many historical sites, including the decommissioned USS LST-325, which is part of the National Register of Historic Places.
And, the former Navy ship is not the only historical attraction in Evansville, it is also home to:
- Bosse Field
- Evansville Mu
- Angel Mounds State Historic Site
- Old Evansville Courthouse
- St. Paul’s Luthern Church
Active retirees will enjoy living in this friendly college town. Evansville is walkable and bike-friendly, plus has several parks like Burdette Park, Wesselman Woods, Botanic Garden, Eagle Slough Natural Area, and Garvin Park. Plus, the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage runs along the Ohio River and Pigeon Creek, ideal for walking, jogging, and bicycling.
A benefit of living in a college town are the many cultural opportunities. Retirees who enjoy the theater and live music can take advantage of the colleges’ various shows throughout the year. And Evansville is home to the Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to the cultural venues, Evansville has a wide variety of restaurants and cuisines, including Greek, Moroccan, Japanese, steak, and seafood. The restaurants here also vary in style; though most are casual, there are high-end dining opportunities too.
Best of all, one of Evansville’s colleges is the University of Indiana Medical School, giving residents access to excellent health care options.
- Percent of Senior Population: 9.2%
- Overall Population: 85,755
Bloomington, located near the middle of the state, sits among rolling Hills, and it is an easy drive to Indianapolis and Chicago, perfect for a weekend away.
Bloomington has made great efforts to build and grow its senior community by creating an “invisible” retirement community through the implementation of a variety of programs to help keep the senior community active and happy.
Their Lifetime Community District sits along the B-Line trail, an old railroad track converted into a multi-use trail. The trail is lit from dust to dawn, allowing the residents safe access to it any time of day or night. The trail extends for just over three miles through the center of town and is ideal for walkers and bicyclists.
The “invisible” retirement community promotes healthy living for seniors and includes several different initiatives such as:
- Keeping seniors active through sports, exercise programs, park and recreation programs, and wellness plans.
- Affordable and accessible housing, including condos, apartments, townhouses, senior cottages, and bungalows.
- Easy access to local amenities without the need of a vehicle. They have added more sidewalks and crosswalks, creating a more walkable, bike-friendly, and wheelchair friendly neighborhood.
- Efforts of inclusion, such as creating volunteer opportunities assisting with senior-friendly work opportunities, and implementing senior inclusion programs throughout the community.
- Lifelong learning programs through the University of Indiana offer summer classes to seniors.
In addition to being a senior-friendly community, Bloomington also has a large entertainment and art district perfect for those who enjoy participating or attending events. The University of Indiana offers over 1,000 annual live performances. The arts and entertainment district is abundant with galleries, learning programs, and the Gallery Walk, which features new exhibits every other month.
Those who enjoy the performing arts will be able to find live performances, including Broadway shows, at the Indiana University Auditorium. Best of all, the art end entertainment district overlaps with the new Lifetime Community district.
And of course, there are multiple medical facilities easily accessible to the residents, including the Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital, which has state of the art cardio, primary, neuro, vascular, and orthopedic specialty programs.
- Percent of Senior Population: 13.9%
- Overall Population: 67,999
Muncie Indiana was incorporated in 1865 and started as an industrial and manufacturing town. Ball Jar company was one of the first to open its facility in 1888. It was followed by the steel and iron industry. Over time Muncie has made great efforts to evolve its economy and become more focused on technology and the medical industry to ensure its economic stability.
In addition to being an industrial city, Muncie is best known for being a college town. Muncie is home to three different colleges: Ball State University, Ivy Technical College, and Harrison College. Because of the local colleges and surrounding universities, Muncie has a diverse population and colorful art and theater community.
Muncie is the perfect place for retirees who love the arts. Muncie is home to three different orchestras, the Anderson Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra, which perform concerts throughout the year.
Muncie is also home to the David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State, which features an expansive and diverse collection of art from ancient history up through modern-day including art from multiple cultures such as African, Asian, and the Americas. In addition to the David Owsley Museum, Muncie also hosts the Richmond Art Museum, the Leeds Gallery, and the Metcalf Gallery.
For those who enjoy the performing arts, the Emens Auditorium offers seating sitting for 3,000 and is located at Ball State University. Emens offers a variety of live performances like concerts, musicals, and plays.
Active retirees can take advantage of the many bike trails and parks such as the Oakhurst Gardens, Cardinal Greenway, and Morrow’s Meadow. Plus, Muncie is home to the Prairie Creek reservoir, which covers 2,300 acres. The park offers camping, fishing, water sports, hiking, multi-use trails, horse trails, and ATV trails.
Muncie also has various medical facilities, including the Ball Memorial Hospital, a full-service medical facility.
- Percent of Senior Population: 15.2%
- Overall Population: 48,046
Columbus, located in South Central Indiana, is a smaller town. Part of Columbus’ beauty comes from the Flat Rock River, which runs along the town’s edge. Columbus is just an hour’s drive from both Indianapolis and Bloomington, allowing easy access for residents to the larger metropolitan areas and urban conveniences.
Though it is home to six national historical landmarks, Columbus is best known for being the center of modern architecture. Some of the designs came from influential architects like Richard Meier, I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, and Deborah Berke.
Columbus also has a strong art community that includes museums, galleries, the orchestra, and the landmark Crump Theatre which features live performances.
Over the years, Columbus has made a great effort to revitalize its community taking initiatives such as building new hotels, apartment buildings, and boutiques. Plus, the nightlife in Columbus has grown as well with new restaurants and bars.
But what most retirees find most attractive about Columbus is the Mill Race Center, an $8 million facility created for residents 50 plus years old. This community center features extensive programs for the residents and such as:
- Classes – Cooking, architecture, and history
- Fitness center- A state of the art fitness center that also offers physical therapy and occupational therapy
- Creative arts- knitting, crochet, needlepoint, quilting guild, woodshop, and art classes
- Dance – dance programs and classes available throughout the week
- Game center
- Meal programs
- Event programs – Senior Expo, birthday parties for members, and Lunch and Laughter.
Columbus is also home to multiple medical facilities, including the Columbus Regional Hospital.