IndyCar Power Couple: the Kimballs in the Old Northside

Charlie and Kathleen Kimball are Old Northside residents, Indy transplants from Southern California, and big names in the world of auto racing.  Charlie is an IndyCar driver and Kathleen has her own business, Kimball Marketing Group, launched over a year ago.  They met each other in high school (but didn’t start dating until after college) and recently celebrated their three-year wedding anniversary.  Charlie and Kathleen have two beloved dogs, Taj and Lilah, and love spending time outdoors, biking and hiking.  After the racing season finished in September 2017, they embarked on a 3,000-mile trip across the country in their RV, visiting eight different national parks on the way from California back to Indianapolis.  We caught up with them to find out their thoughts on living in Indy after the past seven years. What brought you both from California to Indy?

Charlie:  I moved to Indy in 2009 from our hometown of Camarillo, California. I spent about five years racing in Europe after high school, and I had just moved back home from England. It was great being back in Southern California, but it’s not just a tagline—Indianapolis really is the 'Racing Capital of the World.'  I was racing in the Indy Lights Series by then, and if I wanted to move up to the IndyCar Series, I knew I’d need to be in Indy. Many of the race teams are based here so it’s important for networking, putting in the time with engineers, physical training, and building relationships.


Kathleen:  I came to Indy a bit later, in 2010. I was living and working in Southern California, but I had found some new opportunities in the Indy area. At that point in our relationship, it also made sense for us to be living in the same state.

How did you decide on your current neighborhood? Charlie:  Our first home together was located north of downtown, near the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood. We loved being able to walk to local restaurants like Cafe Patachou, and being centrally located to the gym, race shop, and downtown. When we started the search for our current home, we looked in the Meridian-Kessler area but also focused on neighborhoods downtown.

Kathleen:  We had found ourselves gravitating downtown most days, so it was an easy decision to search for our home there. We ended up on the Old Northside, and we couldn’t be happier!


What's your favorite thing about your neighborhood?

Charlie:  We love our house—it’s turned out to be the perfect fit for us right now. It’s walkable to Monument Circle, Mass Ave, the Canal … really, all of our go-to downtown spots. But our favorite part of our neighborhood is our neighbors. They were friendly and welcoming from day one, and they’ve become some of our closest friends in Indy. We all have an “open gate” policy. Especially during summer evenings, we’re always outside, bringing our dogs along to play with the neighborhood kids.

Kathleen:  We are always talking up our neighborhood and would definitely recommend it to others! Being from Southern California, we enjoy experiencing four seasons here in Indiana. The winters took some adjustment but we now spend Christmas time here and can’t imagine it without snow!

{See photos of the Kimballs’ ONS home here.} What stands out to you when you think about life in Indianapolis versus your hometown? Charlie:  I know it sounds corny, but ‘Hoosier hospitality’ is a real thing. Everyone was so welcoming here and that made for an easy adjustment at the beginning. Of course I enjoy living down the street from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but Indy has so much to offer. It was hard to explain to our friends and family back in California why we fell in love with Indy, so that’s one reason we had our wedding here (downtown on the Washington Street pedestrian bridge).


Kathleen:  A lot of friends from California who visit us are surprised by the fantastic food scene here in Indy and love all of the breweries and cocktail bars. We’re definitely spoiled for options.

{Read more of Charlie & Kathleen’s Indy favorites here.}Where are your favorite places to go with your two dogs, Taj and Lilah?

Charlie:  We’re lucky to live right near a park, but we’re also close to the Monon and Cultural Trail. A lot of the restaurants in the area allow dogs on their outdoor patios, so it’s perfect for an evening stroll with Taj and Lilah. We also love going to Eagle Creek to let the dogs run around and, inevitably, get muddy.

Do you have any words of wisdom for someone considering urban living in Indy?

Charlie:  Do your homework—those who already live downtown or nearby are a great resource! Once you find a home you like, spend some time in that neighborhood, walking around checking out what it has to offer and how it’d fit into your everyday life.

Photos courtesy of: LAT Photo USA, Bucher Photos, and Nathaniel Edmunds Photography.