Cities Journal
Rankings

Top 20 Small Cities In Indiana

12. Elkhart, Indiana (population 50,949)
Photo credit: Paul Sableman / Flickr

4. Elkhart, Indiana (population 50,949)

Elkhart is located in northern Indiana and is one of the seven cities in the state that are part of the Amish Country. Despite its name, it is not the county seat of Elkhart County – that position went to Goshen, located some 10 miles to the southeast.

On one hand, the town is a typical one when it comes to the Amish Country. It’s extremely friendly, slow-paced and laid back and its residents are very friendly, outgoing, warm and creative. Tiny local stores offer souvenirs like beautiful Amish handmade dollhouses and quilts as well delicacies like the Amish sugar cookies.

There is a number of restaurants where you can try the authentic Amish cuisine, too. On the other hand, what separates Elkhart from other towns in the Amish Country is its artistic spirit – the downtown contains a number of art galleries, the Midwest Museum of Art and the biannual Art Walk. There is also the Elkhart Jazz Festival and the Simonton Lake Drive-In, where you can enjoy some of the best burgers in the area while watching a movie.

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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.

    • https://www.facebook.com/numberofGod Douglas J. Bender

      Paoli, too.

      • Michael A. McCormack

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

  • 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)

  • 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! 😉

  • https://www.facebook.com/numberofGod Douglas J. Bender

    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.

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