Written by Steve Slavin, Realtor at Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group. Chamber Board Member, and Chamber Image Committee Chairman. Born and raised in Muncie, and a local resident.
You’re doing a great job bouncing around this website and Discovering Muncie! When I first started building this site, I wanted those new to town to quickly be able to know the lay of the land, quickly find important info to make a move easier, and to give some tips on what to experience first. Our guest contributors to DiscoverMuncie.com love this city and we’ll try to help you get settled in and grow deep roots. Our Muncie Visitor’s Bureau has a ton of great handout and a fast website of info. In addition, Downtown Muncie also has a great website and The Muncie Journal does a great job keeping up with local news.
If I were moving to a new city I’d want to know what the “best of the best” is of the city. What’s best to me is not necessarily best to others, but I think the list below will help give you a jump start…
When I was a kid, I lived on the Northside of town in Halteman Village. Living there really set the tone for my love of community and connection to Ball State. My grandparents were professors, my mother graduated from BSU and grew up next door to the campus. My Father’s dental practice was here, and nearly all we did was somehow related to BSU and taking advantage of its amenities. We’d go to church each Sunday at College Avenue Church (near campus), head to the BSU Student Center for lunch after (scalloped chicken is still embedded in my memory), then maybe catch a show at Emen’s Auditorium later in the week. My parents and grandparents knew the power of a good education, cultural benefits that could teach life lessons, and how connecting with your community citizens and leaders through service to others connect you even more to your city. Muncie is my hometown and I’d have it no other way.
I’m so glad you’re considering moving to town or just learning more about this amazing community. To get a jump start on learning about Muncie I’d do these things first below.
- Drive around… I mean really drive around. You can get across town in 15 minutes or less. Traffic is just not a big deal. That said, avoid McGalliard Blvd (the main corridor of shopping, fast food and chain restaurants) late afternoons and many weekends when BSU is in session. That will add another 10 minutes to driving (seriously, not a big deal). Notice that most of the development has been in the North to Northwest side of the city in the past 40 years. The Southside was more developed around the industrial park area (factories) decades ago. But when BSU grew so did the Northside. The Southside has more affordable housing and is really seeing redevelopment and regeneration, but not as much as the Northside. Head West along McGalliard (SR 332) and you can really see where development has been going over the years. Notice the auto-mall now with 5 auto and motorcycle vendors (Harley Davidson, Ford, Toyota, Kia, VW, Hyundai, and more).
- Go to the Ball State Campus. I’ve seen this literally transform over the last 50 years. There’s at least $500 million in development underway or planning in one way or another at any time. This will give you some perspective on how much of a college town we are. Without Ball State, our city would be a sleepy little mid-western town. BSU has 22,000+ students and is thriving. In the Summer the campus, restaurants and bars, and surroundings get a bit less crowded. The Village is a cool area near the Southside of campus with campus bars and restaurants. Roots Burger Bar just opened and it’s very cool. Bars? Yep, they’re all around. Parking is mostly free. Make no mistake, there’s plenty of parking. Just hunt for it. You likely came to town driving from I-69, East on SR 332 (or what becomes McGalliard Rd) and you drove by the BSU sports complexes (baseball, softball, football, track, field hockey, soccer, and the BSU Alumni Center). Thousands gather to watch BSU’s excellent sports teams.
- Go to the Downtown area. This is another area of town that has seen a total transformation. With the newer Marriot Courtyard Hotel (and attached convention center), Ivy Tech Campus buildings, and really cool Walnut Ave redevelopment, you immediately realize where this is going… up up up. I believe in the cool factor enough that my wife and I just moved downtown too. We remodeled a building and are just loving it! On this site I’ve listed a ton of downtown businesses, restaurants, bars, and shopping. Take it all in. If I were just new to town, I’d look to have dinner at Vera Mae’s Bistro (casual bistro), Neely House (a bit more fine dining), and Elm Street (casual brewery, and just a cool atmosphere without windows). If those are not your cup of tea, there’s Mexican at Casa del Sol, Savages (this is crazy good bar food), and Twin Archers (it just keeps getting better — let a notch out of your belt buckle). I’m not going to list everything around here.. for me, these are the starting points.
- Minnetrista Boulevard: From the BSU campus (or close to downtown), head East on Neely Ave and you run into Minnetrista Boulevard. This is an area known for two key areas… our Delaware County Fairgrounds and the old mansions of the Ball Family when they settled here in the early 1900’s. Maybe it’s me, but I think it’s pretty rare to have so much ground so centrally located to the city dedicated to fairgrounds. This really helps in attendance at the fair! If you visit during the fair dates, go… it’s actually quite a cultural event. But what likely grabs your attention first when you drive around are the mansions to the South. When the Ball Brothers came to town, they build their homes along the river in this area. Amazing homes… stunning homes. One of the homes, from what I heard the best, burned down and Minnetrista Museum was built on the grounds. Drive this tight street. It’s a cool blast from the past!
- McGalliard Cooridor Set The Tone For Development. New developement really went nuts in the 1960’s on the Northside and this street (which is SR 332) took off. For a period of time I think this street held the record for the most fast food chains of any city per capital in the country. We’ve been a national test center of new restaurant star-ups for years. This is our main corridor for eating and due East is The Muncie Mall and AMC Theatre, Target, Kohl’s, etc.
- Yorktown is Close. Yorktown is a town just West of Muncie and about 10 minutes away from campus. Drive from downtown along the White River West and you run into Yorktown, new housing developments, The Player’s Club Golf Course (really good course!), and the Yorktown School District. I remember in the late 80’s city taxes were high, land was scarce for new development and Yorktown offered options the city didn’t have… and development happened. Now, property taxes are all equal (thanks to Indiana State Law) and that school system is in high demand.
- The Southside. I’m a Northsider… let’s not forget this. lol. Sometimes cities get divided. Our city was the same for years, but over time that has really changed. Much of this has to do with our consolidation of High Schools years ago. Northside High (my school which ended in 1988) and Southside High (ending in 2014) were combined into Central High School. The city embraced it, the Ball Brothers Foundation helped financially support it, and we all took a deep breath and hoped we’d get along… and we did! I had some great friends on the Southside largely due to the sports I played. Our town, regardless of where you live, has great people. Caring people. Hard working people. We come from all different walks of life and nationalities. We’re became one.
- Notice The Neighborhoods. I’ve given you some tips on where to start getting to know more about Muncie. By driving around you’ve seen a lot. We may not have the scenic mountain views, but we have some lovely neighborhoods, historic buildings, great public parks, and old mansions. Two families in particular left their mark over the last 100+ years… The Ball Family and the Kitselman Family. You’ve now heard of the Ball’s… but the Kitselman’s (and family) have some amazing homes you will likely drive by and say… “who in the world lived there?” The Kitselman’s later became Indiana Steel and Wire. Near BSU, there is Westwood Park (built by a Ball family member), just West of the campus.. big, unique, and a very desirable location. Kenmore and Gatewood Addition is found by heading west from Campus off University Ave. This is also in high demand. North of campus, North of McGalliard is Halteman Village and Northview… another area that so many love and prices (in general) are lower than really close to campus. Head South of the River and you’re in the Southside of town. Head West and you’re closer to Yorktown Schools. Head East of SR 67 (which is like the the I-465 of Indy which loops around the city) and you’re then in more rural High Schools. Head Jackson St Eastbound and you hit Country Club Rd. Just South on that road is our local private Delaware Country Club… which is a fantastic golf course, social club, and private events venue (wedding after party… yep, lots of them). Outside of this, it gets more rural. We have a lot of farm ground and plenty of neighborhoods in between.
- Muncie, Delaware County, and Yorktown Schools: Muncie Community Schools are undergoing a great transformation as they are now partnered with Ball State. We’re so excited for this partnership with a nationally renowned Teacher’s College! Muncie Schools have one High School (Central High School) and it’s located just North of the downtown near Minnetrista. Delaware County then has County High Schools: Delta (North), Wesdel (Northwest), Cowan (South), and Wapahani (East). Delta is the largest county school. Yorktown has one High School. Check out this US News & World Report Ranking of local schools.
This is getting long. So much for a fast start guide! Nonetheless, I think this info can be really helpful for you to get connected quickly. Keep exploring this site… we’re here to help and glad you’ve chosen to consider moving to Muncie! I’ll see you around town! — Steve