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Unwritten rules in Indianapolis, IN

From Indy’s spelling to the city’s unofficial best burger, we’ve compiled tips, tricks, and fun memories we share as locals who know the city like the backs of our hands. Consider this your official list of unofficial Hoosier rules.

Monument Circle during the day

The unwritten rule for tourists is that they must take a photo on the Circle. | Photo by INDYtoday team

Whether you’re an Indy native or a relative newcomer, there are just some things every Hoosier understands to be true.

We asked our readers to share the Circle City’s unwritten rules, from common city knowledge to relatable trends and local lingo. You won’t find these rules in a handbook, but they are undoubtedly absorbed by the community — and if you’re not from Indy, these might be a little difficult to explain.

The unspoken rule everyone knows

  • “If you don’t live in Marion County you’re not from Indy. Sorry not sorry.” — @playtimeontherock
  • Never root for the New England Patriots. Carb Day is a holiday. The 500 is the start of summer.” — u/Purplemaserati

We’re kind to our neighbors

  • “Always say - Ope, sorry let me sneak past ya #unwrittenrules #indy #opesorryletmesneakpastya” — @afrozenbubble

We’ve learned a thing or two from commuting

  • “You must always wave at a driver who stops to let you cross the street!” — @moburoasters
  • “4 way 🛑 - “No, you go” — @petermerante
  • “It’s totally normal to cross the middle of Washington Street right in front of cars.” — @coreynregan

Sometimes you just have to laugh

  • “When eating the @stelmo shrimp cocktail, one must say, ‘it’ll clear your sinuses.’” — @chrisceciljr

Foodies for life

  • “KSR [Keystone Sports Review] has the best bar food.” — u/Caged_in_a_rage
  • “No such thing as a “potluck,” the correct Hoosier term is ‘pitch in.’” — u/MayorCharlesCoulon
  • “Best burger in the city is indisputably Workingman’s Friend. Cash only and very inconvenient hours, but worth going to.” — u/Jrpetersjr

Learn the lingo

  • “Adding an S to grocery store names: Kroger’s, Meijer’s.” — Taina L.
  • “It’s Broad Ripple, not Broadripple.” — @broadrippleindy
  • Along the same lines as Indi vs. Indy, I still have a set list from a 2012 Go Radio show at The Emerson that has “NAP CITY NAPTOWN” scribbled up at the top margin. I still have a good laugh when I look through old stuff and see it. Getting the nicknames right is very important!” — Heather H.

INDYtoday’s pro tips

  • Coke, not Pepsi. Downtown Indy is home to an old Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, after all.
  • If you don’t know whether you live inside or outside “the loop,” do you really live here?

What did we miss? If you know an unofficial rule that’s not on the list, let us know.

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