Cities Journal

Top 20 Small Cities In Indiana


If you’re looking for a state in the Midwest that has a lot of great small cities that are perfect for raising a family, you can’t really go wrong with Indiana.

Here are 20 of the best small cities and towns that the state has to offer.

1. Richmond, Indiana (population 36,812)

The city that received the All-America City award on two occasions and the county seat of Wayne County is located in the east-central part of the state. It is an antiquing paradise and an important place for the history of recorded jazz.

Richmond had a long and tumultuous battle for the status of the county seat. The nearby Centerville was first elected county seat of Wayne County due to its favorable location and good transportation, but when Richmond got its own railway station and it’s population soared, it was only natural that it would become the county seat.

Although, before it did, the residents had to take down an expensive iron fence around Centerville’s town square, put there to prevent the county administration from moving. Today, both Richmond and Centerville are the most popular stops on Indiana’s famous Antique Alley.

Richmond is the home of Foster’s E Street Gallery, Larry’s Antiques, the Old Book Shop and High Hats Antique Mall, to name just a few famed antiquing destinations. The town is also home to the historic Gennett Recording Studio, where some of the oldest jazz records were made and home of the famed Starr Piano Company.

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  • Indianauhoops

    The French Lick Railroad is in French Lick (southern Indiana), not Rensselaer (northwest Indiana). Most of your writing about Rensselaer has nothing to do with Rensselaer. Did you do ANY research?

  • Michael A. McCormack

    Good Lord, not one town in beautiful Southern Indiana!! Jasper, Huntingburg, French Lick, Dale. Beautiful scenery, history, no crime. Sorta missed the mark.

    • Paoli, too.

      • Michael A. McCormack

        Yes, Paoli, too. What are they thin king?

      • Kim Blatt

        Hi. I am reaching out on this conversation because you all seem to have your finger on the pulse of your state and I am looking for a few people to teach a thriving and fast growing business model to. No franchise fees just a simple profit sharing model. We have fun and help others. If you know anyone looking for an opportunity please have them reach out to me. I would love to open a dialogue with them.

  • bulldogmom

    The section on Chesterton lists Indiana Dunes as a state park. It is a National Park, a part of the NPS of the US government. I’m not sure why Whiteland is in here, instead of nearby Franklin. Franklin, Indiana (and its Whiteland “suburb”) is possibly the most perfect place to live anywhere. Incredibly picturesque with expansive farms, historic houses, Franklin College, easy access on I-65 to Indianapolis and Louisville. And how about Greencastle? Beautiful, historic, home to the Harvard of the Midwest–DePau University, clean, virtually crime-free, friendly and just the right distance to Indianapolis via I-70. Let’s all get together and rewrite this article.

  • fande3rls

    Really Rensselaer ,#13 , this writer has never been here , 1 super market , a walmart , a dozen pizza sacks (one pizza hut) and most not that good , they do their best not to really grow or make it easy to grow . must say that there is a new restaurant in town that is very good (Royal OAK)

    • Doctor Doom

      Some of these places aren’t cities. Poorly researched article to say the least.

    • Kim Blatt

      Do you know anyone in Rensselear or any of the smaller towns of 7-15000 pop. that would be interestedin a new business opportunity that is taking smaller towns buy storm? If so I am looking to have conversations with people to find a few partners that are willing to learn and execute a business plan. i am currently in Cincinnati and have helped two people open already. we are 35 years old , I have been involved for almost 10 years. Very profitable. please have them reach out to me!

  • Tony Shell

    Zionsville, Westfield and Carmel. Well, I grew up in Noblesville in the 50’s and 60’s. 4/5000 people in Noblesville at the time. Less than 1000 in Zionsville or Westfield. Maybe 4000 in Carmel. Today you have to be semi wealthy to live in the area. Probably a quarter million people in Hamilton County alone. It is and has been a conservative stink hole. A place of white privilege. If you aren’t wealthy or very powerful monetarily or politically, your kids are likely to be neglected or even totally rejected by the educational system. Not by the other students but by the educators themselves. This comes from actual experience. Went from a failure of a failing student to a 4.0 student “after” leaving the area. There was NO help from teachers for the ‘undesirable’ students of Southern origin. The teachers time was reserved for Republican big shots kids. Was an undefeated athlete at the Noblesville High School. After a wrestling coach named Phil Shelby assaulted me , beat the hell out of me, and kicked me off the wrestling team I was undefeated on for two years on, he awarded my spot to the then Republican Mayors son. That is what you could get by living in this {PERFECT} ‘not’…area. A child that might be having a hard time , as many do, getting through life with no way to turn because he’s not of the proper stock, could wind up as many of those in my economic class did. All because YOU aren’t wealthy or of the correct political party. This statement is true from the first word to the last. Move to the area at your child’s or Children’s peril.

    • susanneB

      Noblesville was a factory town and maybe still is. In the 60’s it was definitely controlled by labor unions. When Firestone went on strike it severely hurt the small businessman. My husband started his dental practice there and it was depressing. Medical care was terrible. Morse Reservoir construction brought up the income level of residents and housing. During the early years it was mostly farm and factory workers. Westfield was also a slow area to improve education and quality jobs. It attracted families that wanted out of the city (Indianapolis). Education was terrible. Carmel, just 4 miles south, was far advanced in teacher quality and school facilities. As we go back through the area we see how zoning allowed any thing to be built. Centennial and other subdivisions along the Springmill Road area are examples of cheap housing. Greedy developers have ruined the quality of neighborhoods that should have followed north of 146th along the Springmill Rd corridor. We lived there for 50 years and would not go back to live.

    • teila

      Conservative “stink hole” might be your opinion of the greater Zionsville, Carmel, Fishers area which have all seen their population swell over the last 20 years or so. The bottom line is that public school should be viewed as a place that merely augments what your parents/tutor/etc. teaches you at home. If public school is your primary source of learning, then you’re already behind the power curve and that alone will put you behind a lot of other kids academically who primarily learn at home and or thru study groups with their friend. You going from “failing” grades to a 4.0 student could be attributed to a lot of things to include moving from an area of higher academics to a district with lower standards which is typical in Indiana. I notice you didn’t go on about the ratty crime ridden areas taking over the greater Indianapolis + outlying areas.

      The Zionsville-Carmel-Fishers area is one of the more desirable areas in greater Indianapolis. The city is somewhat run down and “trashy” (double meaning) and has a huge ghetto element. Yes, I said it. So if you’re buying a home inside of the loop, you either have trashy people with barking dogs and unkempt lawns or thugs-in-training and the occasional gun shots being heard in your neighborhood…. Sooo where else does one live if one is the type of person who expects other people to have quiet children who are respectful and value academics over sports? Where fences aren’t falling down, no graffiti, no liquor stores with undesirable people hanging out front, no ratty stores, cheap nail salons, etc., that attract people from the bad neighborhoods? … which winds up making the decent neighborhood look like a rat-hole.

      The answer is the nice areas across the northern portion of the loop (I-465), which is generally too expensive for most people with “typical neighborhood mentality” thus keeping them from moving in. Most of the people in the nicer areas around Indy aren’t “wealthy”. They’re middle class. The problem in America is that the poorer classes have become so poor, that they haven’t a clue what “middle class” actually means anymore. Just like America has gotten so fat, they forgot what “average & healthy” really looks like…

      Some nice areas in Nobelsville, etc., but like anywhere else, people need to really check the zoning and **HOAs** to be assured that they don’t wind up surrounded by certain types of people. Richmond, IN is, well, eh, ok, if you like the small town atmosphere and live somewhat outside of the town, but frankly there’s very little there if you’re not into cheap furniture and trinket junk; it’s unattractive, and opportunities for youth are dismal in my opinion. Richmond, IN is the absolute “fattest” town I’ve ever lived in. Thankfully it wasn’t my only home (multi-state residency). Loved the home, loved the acreage, loved the neighbors… I don’t see myself ever going back outside of work projects. The entire state of Indiana needs a reset and the small towns are usually in a such a depressing state where I’d strongly recommend to the youth coming out of them to run far, far, away as soon as they graduate high school! 😉

    • Doctor Doom

      I would have been one of those kids stomping you.

    • Emperor Nero

      Look we get it. You are a loser and detest successful people. You have issues that transcend location.

  • Whoever wrote this article probably never visited even one Indiana city. Elkhart at #4? As an Elkhart native, born and raised and still-living in, I have no idea why Elkhart would be rated so high. None. Granted, Elkhart’s downtown has improved significantly in the past few years (better parking, upgraded sidewalk areas with small trees and such, the Riverwalk, new businesses with new buildings, and so on…), but there is absolutely no way that Elkhart should be nearly so high.

  • Connor Lenihan?

    Really? No Greencastle? Cmon now…

  • gpf1947

    Where is my hometown of Columbus, IN…when I was growing up there in the 50’s & early 60’s, before my dad’s job change necessitated a move to the Indianapolis area when I was 16 in late ’63. At the time Columbus was the headquarters city of not one, but three Fortune 500 companies…more than Indianapois had at the time…Arvin Industries & Hamilton Cosco were less well know, but still in the Fortune 500 until they were absorbed in buy outs….Cummins Engine Co was the largest and and not only nationally known, but internationally known, then & now. J. Irwin Miller, a local banker as well as CEO of Cummins, had begun, through the Cummins Foundation, a program of paying the architectural fees of world renowned architects, such as I M Pei, when schools & other public buildings were being constructed…as a result, the city became known as the “Athens of the Prairie” and is still rated around #6 in the U S for its public & private buildings…his personal home, built in the mid 50’s, is now an exhibit of the Indianapolis Museum of Art…over 60 buildings of note, including churches, schools & other public buildings, have been built.

    This all started before the population barely exceed 20,000 in the early 60’s…now some 50 years later it is a bit over 45,000…I currently live near Southport…a quaint town with some history & Whiteland, which is little more than a bedroom community for Indianapolis…this author completely ignored the lower third of the state…I will just mention a few, as others have, Nashville…about 20 miles wWest of Columbus on SR 46…an artist colony of note for a century or better…Bloomington…20 odd miles farther West on the same highway…home of Indiana University main campus…then further South there are some the towns & baseball fields where “A League of their Own” was filmed…etc & etc…the author failed “due diligence”!!!

    • Kim Blatt

      Reaching out to you because you seem to know your stuff. I am currently looking into expand my thriving business into some “smaller communities” in Indiana. I need to find some business minded people to talk to about a profit sharing arrangement where I help them get up and running and then its all theirs. We are a $7.4 Billion dollar company with 35 years experience! you can contact me of have your friends who might be looking contact me at [email protected]. Thanks for reading this and any guidance you might offer!

  • bandi9

    and my hometown, Bloomington? I have been all over Indiana and it is far and away the best town in Indiana.

  • MansionHaunter

    Crown Point?? Close-knit community?? Hardly…Famous nursing program at University of Saint Francis??? They must have paid some money to be added to the article. The author of this article definitely didn’t do any kind of research. Nice place to visit, but you don’t want to live there..unless you like high taxes and bogus fees weaved into your water bill.

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