Indianapolis   Travel Guide

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18 Best Things To Do in Indianapolis

Updated Jan. 13, 2023

Besides the Indianapolis Motor Speedway  and Hall of Fame Museum (which is a must-see for most visitors), the city offers the truly wonderful Newfields that's home to the  Indianapolis Museum of Art . If you're traveling with kids in tow,

  • All Things To Do

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White River State Park White River State Park free

Anchoring the west side of Indianapolis, the White River State Park offers 250 acres of green space dotted with memorials and museums as the Central Canal and the White River offer waterways in the park. The White River bisects the park from north-to-south. On the west side of the river sits the Indianapolis Zoo , which can be accessed by the White River Pedestrian Bridge. On the east side, you'll find the Indiana State Museum , the Eiteljorg Museum  and the Military Park. Additionally, Victory Field is within White River State Park, providing visitors and locals a chance to relax and catch a baseball game. Want to get active? The park features five walking and biking trails (fully paved), like the Canal Walk and Cultural Trail, the River Promenade and Waterfront Trail.

As the central park in Indianapolis, most find it close to many attractions and hotels. Recent visitors were amazed by White River State Park, and one recent visitor called it a "treasure." Some explored the park on foot, while others rented bikes or kayaks. If you plan on driving, note that parking entrances can be hard to find, according to past visitors.

travel in indianapolis area

Central Canal Central Canal free

In the 1830s, the Indiana state government conceived a plan to build a 296-mile waterway through the state to increase commerce. Though the Central Canal never came to full fruition, sections of the canal were developed. Today, the Canal Walk – a refurbished portion of the Central Canal – is a 3-mile loop that flows by the Indiana State Museum  and  Eiteljorg Museum , among other popular attractions. You can walk alongside the canal or rent of the bikes from the two different Pacers Bikeshare Stations along the canal. If it’s a special occasion, hire a singing gondolier or rent a pedal boat or kayak.

Whatever mode of transport you choose, you'll enjoy a spectacular view of the Indianapolis skyline, not to mention a 17-foot waterfall, some of the city's best contemporary architecture, and the USS Indianapolis Memorial and Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial. Keep your eye out for colorful murals on the canal underpasses, too. According to recent reviewers, this is the spot for quiet relaxation in Indy. Aside from the peaceful atmosphere, travelers also love how clean the area is. Other visitors were delighted when they found the Central Canal by accident on their trip.

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Newfields Newfields

Spread out across 152 acres, Newfields is a complex dedicated to the arts and nature including gardens, a green house, a nature park and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Featuring more than 50,000 works of art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is an impressive institution. Not only does the IMA offer an impressive collection of neoimpressionist paintings and Asian art, but it also boasts one of the largest contemporary art parks in the U.S. Stroll through Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park for an acclaimed outdoor space that features a 35-acre lake and art installations set amidst woodlands and wetlands. While you're outside, consider visiting the Lilly House and The Gardens, an early 1900s French-inspired estate that is a National Historic Landmark.

Recent visitors highly recommended including Newfields your itinerary and said it was a great way to spend a day in Indy. Some particularly loved the gardens and the special events and exhibits, like the harvest and holiday displays.

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Eiteljorg Museum Eiteljorg Museum

If you're interested in learning more about the art, history and cultures of the American West and Native Americans, then a stop at the Eiteljorg Museum is a must. Another selling point: The Eiteljorg Museum is the only museum of its kind stationed in the Midwest, and one of only two museums east of the Mississippi that explore both Native America and American West art.

Its permanent collection includes works from Andy Warhol, T.C. Cannon, Georgia O’Keefe and Frederic Remington, among many others. But the real star is the museum's collection of contemporary Native art, which has been ranked among the world's best. And then there are the special exhibitions, which have covered subjects like the history and development of contemporary Native art. Plus, each year the museum hosts the Indian Market and Festival

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The Children's Museum of Indianapolis The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

If you're in Indianapolis with kids, a visit to this museum is a must. Spanning 472,900 square feet and boasting 11 galleries, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis lives up to its title as the world's largest children's museum. Exhibits at the highly praised facility include a planetarium, the "Dinosphere: Now You're in Their World" (featuring eight different species) and the "National Geographic Treasures of the Earth" exhibit, which showcases re-creations of three archaeological sites, including an Egyptian tomb, a pirate shipwreck and China's Terra Cotta Warriors. Beyond these standouts, there are also several more floors of exhibits and even some Chihuly glass for decoration. Plus, the museum boasts an impressive 12,500-year-old mastodon skeleton and a carousel. Seasonal outdoor exhibits about sports are also available.

Recent visitors said you can't leave Indy without taking a spin through this museum. Some reviewers even said it's worth adding to your itinerary if you don't have kids in tow thanks to the museum's well-designed exhibits. Plus, parents who visited felt the museum's fun, educational environment encourages interaction not just for little ones, but for teens and parents, too.

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Indiana War Memorial Plaza Indiana War Memorial Plaza free

Considered an historic district, the Indiana War Memorial Plaza comprises Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indiana World War Memorial and Museum, University Park, American Legion Mall, Veteran's Memorial Plaza and USS Indianapolis CA35 Memorial. In all, the historic district offers 25 acres dedicated to the veterans. So, if you're a fan of the National Mall in Washington, D.C ., you'll likely enjoy spending a few hours here. In fact, Indianapolis is second only to D.C. in acreage and number of monuments and memorials dedicated to veterans.

With its 30,000 square-feet, you'll want to spend the majority of your time in the Indiana War Memorial Museum, especially the Shrine Room. Described by recent visitors as "breathtaking" and "peaceful," the Shrine Room is dedicated to fallen soldiers of World War I and features materials hailing from around the globe, which symbolizes the worldwide effort it took to end the war. The main floor showcases the history of Indiana's veterans, from the Battle of Tippecanoe through the present. Among the artifacts on display are the USS Indianapolis gallery, military firearms and uniforms, and an AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter.

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been around since 1909, and every Memorial Day weekend drivers start their engines for the Indianapolis 500: 200 laps around the famed 2.5-mile oval. This epic track is actually on the National Register of Historic Places. With a host of racing events throughout the year, there's more to see than the Indy 500. Other races include the GMR Grand Prix, Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational and the NASCAR Cup Series. 

Also at the complex is the 37,500-square-foot Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Located inside the famous oval track, the museum was established in 1956 to showcase the importance of motorsports. The museum features over 25 cars that have won the Indianapolis 500 along with additional cars (some antique), photographs, racing memorabilia and even fine art depicting racing. The Tony Hulman Theatre shows an 8-minute film about the track. Visitors have the choice to see the complex by purchasing race tickets, visiting only the museum or taking the very popular (and comprehensive) grounds tour.  

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Indiana State Museum Indiana State Museum

Within the White River State Park and close to downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum tells the story of Indiana from the Ice Age to present day. Part of the permanent exhibits, visitors can explore a replica of an ice cave along with animal skeletons, including the saber-toothed tiger and the dire wolf. Other exhibits include the rocks and minerals found in Indiana along with Indiana's animal species from mounted birds to hoofed animals, some in real-life settings.

Another permanent exhibit tells the story of Indiana's Native Americans. "First Nations" explores artwork, traditional pottery, recipes, navigation techniques and other innovations of pre-Columbian Native Americans as well as the Potawatomi people. 

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Conner Prairie Conner Prairie

Located northeast of Indianapolis in the suburb of Fishers, Conner Prairie is a 800-acre property that guides visitors through history with hands-on exhibits and demonstrations. Visitors explore indoor and outdoors areas like the 1836 Prairetown, where costumed interpreters go about life as if it is still 1836, cooking, blacksmithing and pottery making included. The Lenape Indian Camp takes visitors to the earliest period presented at Conner Prairie, 1816. Learn about the Lenape Indians' relationship with settlers as well as the impact of Indiana's statehood on the local economy and environment. The property also includes the William Conner house, the former home of the man who once owned the area. Children will want to see the farm animals at Conner Prairie as well.

Some recent visitors compared Conner Prairie to Williamsburg, Virginia . Others commented that they had remembered more demonstrations on previous visits. Most were impressed by the history they learned while visiting, even if they lived in the Midwest. A recent visitor advised the traffic to Connor Prairie was more than they had anticiapated.

travel in indianapolis area

Lucas Oil Stadium Lucas Oil Stadium

Home to the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium is a must-see for sports fans, according to recent travelers. With the capacity to hold 67,000 fans and a retractable roof that features unbeatable views of the downtown Indianapolis skyline, visitors consistently describe the stadium (which opened in 2008 and hosted the 2012 Super Bowl) as a "beautiful sports venue." The Colts regular season runs mid-September until mid-January with preseason games starting in the end of August. The official Colts schedule is released in the spring along with ticketing information on its website . If football isn’t your thing, then keep a look out for the stadium's concert lineup.

Recent fans who visited said the stadium was clean and noted that the design is easy to navigate. Sports hounds who caught a game during some warm Indy weather particularly appreciated the retractable roof. Wintertime spectators said the stadium was cold.

travel in indianapolis area

Victory Field Victory Field

As the home to the Indianapolis Indians, Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Victory Field offers some the best views of the Indy skyline and can accommodate more than 14,000 visitors. Even if you're not a fan of baseball, you should consider attending a game at Victory Field, especially if you've got kids in tow with its Knot Hole Kids Club and kids programs (best for families seeing a few games).

Recent visitors with kids especially liked that there is ample grass space for children to play and families can spread out blankets to enjoy the game. Reviewers also reported that the crowd and staff are friendly and fun. Victory Field was praised by locals and travelers alike for its cleanliness and affordable prices.

travel in indianapolis area

Eagle Creek Park Eagle Creek Park

As the largest park in Indianapolis, Eagle Creek Park's 3,900-acre property never feels crowded to visitors. During the warmer months, Eagle Creek Park offers visitors activities like over 16 miles of hiking trails, a 36-hole golf course, a summertime concert series on Wednesday evenings and even a dog park. For visitors wanting to get out on the water, rent a paddleboard, canoe, kayak, pedal boat or rowboat. Fishing is allowed in Eagle Creek Park (adults must have a valid Indiana fishing license). For those who want to explore the park from its treetops, the Go Ape Treetop Adventures offers a 2 to 3 hour experience combining zip lines, rope ladders, crossings and swings. Winter sports enthusiasts can cross-country ski on ungroomed loops.

Recent visitors did many of the activities, like kayaking, hiking and fishing, and all enjoyed their time in the park. Other visitors said they spotted plenty of wildlife. Most commented the park and its facilities were well-maintained. Another visitor suggested grabbing a park map at the entrance since the park is large.

travel in indianapolis area

Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden

The 10,000-square foot Garfield Park Conservatory hearkens back to another era. Inside the art deco structure, visitors can explore a tropical oasis with palm trees, bananas, orchids, vanilla vines, coffee trees, and cacao trees. In addition to the conservatory, a 3-acre sunken garden pulls design features from European formal gardens, including springtime tulip plantings and fountains. If visiting with children, explore Blake's garden (dedicated to a local boy and cancer patient) located next the conservatory. Its garden displays encourage children to explore with their senses. In addition to the gardens, the 122-acre Garfield Park features an outdoor pool and a performing arts center along with playing fields, tennis courts and a playground. 

Nearly all recent visitors appreciated the reasonable admission fee to enjoy the Garfield Park Conservatory. Many travelers visited the conservatory in the winter to escape the cold weather and learn about the tropical plants. Other visitors commented on the knowledgeable staff.

travel in indianapolis area

Indiana State Capitol Indiana State Capitol

As a centerpiece of downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Capitol was constructed in 1888. It is a Renaissance Revival-style building and includes a stained glass dome and highly decorated rotunda. It houses all three branches of the Indiana state government and offers free tours of the building. The 30 to 45-minute guided tour takes visitors through the building, including chambers that aren't in use by officials, and guides discuss the Indiana government along with the architecture of the building.

Most recent visitors commented on the beauty of the rotunda and the nice and knowledgeable staff. Some visitors took the guided tour and raved about it, others choose a self-guided tour and enjoyed discovering the Indiana State Capitol on their own.

travel in indianapolis area

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Tour the home of the only U.S. president from Indiana, Benjamin Harrison, who served from 1889 to 1893. Historic house fans will enjoy touring the 10,000 square-foot Italianate home and its original furnishings. History buffs will appreciate the Harrison family artifacts as well as pieces from 21 other U.S. presidents, including political memorabilia like ribbons, medals and awards.

 The Harrison family built the home on a double lot off West Delaware Street in 1874 in the Italianate style. The home featured luxuries like running water, a coal furnace and gaslights throughout in the 10,000 square-foot home. Benjamin Harrison and his first wife Caroline oversaw much of the construction of the home. After Harrison’s death, it was home to Harrison’s second wife and child before changing hands several times. It was declared a National Historic Landmark and underwent a restoration. Now, visitors can take guided tours of the home and view an extensive collection of Harrison’s belongings.

travel in indianapolis area

Indianapolis Zoo Indianapolis Zoo

Spread across 64 acres and home to more than 1,200 animals from 230 different species and 47,000 plant species, the Indianapolis Zoo is a favorite among families visiting Indy. The zoo is separated into five biomes: Oceans, Deserts, Plains, Forests and Flights of Fancy. Each of these areas have their own animals and plants that represent the biome. Highlights for recent guests were the underwater dolphin viewing dome in Oceans (be sure to arrive at least 10 minutes before start time) and the orangutan center. The zoo also offers special zoo experiences (not included in admission) ranging from swimming with dolphins to watching a zoo animal paint a work of art (that you get to take home).

Recent visitors raved about the zoo and noted that it was clean and the guides were friendly. The only downside: visitors felt the special zoo experiences were a little pricey, and not reasonable for families on a budget. Reviewers also cautioned against eating at the zoo, as some felt the menus expensive; other visitors wanted more water bottle filling stations. 

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Fort Harrison State Park Fort Harrison State Park

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Home » North America » USA » Indianapolis

The Best Things To Do In Indianapolis: 27 Unique Activities

Indianapolis, the capitol of Indiana, is an energetic city that’s bursting with awesome attractions and amazing activities! It’s no surprise that visitors get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things to do in Indianapolis. Rest assured that ours is the definitive list of what to do in this epic city!

From sprawling parks to a historic library, Indianapolis is full of beautiful public spaces! There’s also a number of incredible museums and galleries that will blow your mind away. Whether you’re learning to throw an axe or tasting the best beers in the city, there are so many quirky activities to experience in Indianapolis!

With so many fun places to discover, this may be your best holiday yet! To find out why ‘Indy’ (as locals fondly call their city) is such a cool city, stick close to our wonderful list of things to do in Indianapolis!

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What Are The Top Things to Do in Indianapolis?

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Our top 10 things to do in Indianapolis, you will see everything from marveling at world-class art to pretending to be a CIA agent!

1. Taste the Best Food

Waitress laughing and food to a table at a restaurant around Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis

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Due to its high quality and great diversity, local cuisine is one of the top Indianapolis attractions!

Indianapolis’ food scene is heavily influenced by the legacies of immigrants. There’s also a strong contemporary element, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. These two traditions both come to life around Massachusetts Avenue , where you can find over 20 restaurants! The Fountain Square District also offers a delectable spread of local and international cuisine.

Rathskeller is the oldest running restaurant in Indy and is the ideal place to sample the German contribution to local cuisine! You should also try a pork tenderloin sandwich, a local speciality, which you’ll find on menus all around the city!

2. Explore the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Aerial view of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis is well-known for its motor racing, with the renowned Indy 500 taking place in the city! Pop by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to learn more about this popular local sport.

The Indy 500 takes place in May but if you visit Indy at other times of the year, you can still admire the splendid stadium. The in-house museum, 500 Museum, will also help bring this colossal event to life through exhibits on the history of the sport and this particular event!

3. Wander Through Oldfields-Lilly House and Gardens

Oldfields-Lilly House and Gardens Indianapolis

Oldfields-Lilly House and Gardens is a spectacular place to visit in Indianapolis! This beautiful landmark is inscribed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the perfect place to while away an afternoon!

This estate was once the home of Indianapolis businessman and philanthropist J.R. Lilly Jr. The house boasts many gorgeous architectural features typical of the 1930s and has been restored to reflect the lifestyle of that period. Additionally, the house is surrounded by 26 acres of landscaped gardens to appreciate!

4. Play Together in an Escape Room

Mr. Dupree themed escape room in Indianapolis

Wherever you are in Indianapolis, you can be sure that there’s an escape room nearby! Locals love this activity and tourists are quickly catching on — you’ll soon see why!

You could play at being CIA agents or stop an evil doctor from poisoning the world. In fact, there is such a variety of escape rooms in Indianapolis that you’ll have a hard time choosing just one to visit!

5. Marvel at Art in the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Exterior view of the Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is home to a top-notch collection of art from around the world and across the centuries! It lies in the gorgeous Newfields Park so it’s also often called ‘Newfields’.

There are four sections to explore ! The Krannert Pavilion houses American art from before Columbus to the contemporary, while the Hulman Pavilion safeguards treasures from the Baroque to the Neo-Impressionism Era.

The Clowes Pavilion houses art by many famous artists, such as Turner, while the Lily Pavilion hosts furniture and precious metalwork!

6. Honor Indiana’s Soldiers

Exterior view of the Indianapolis War Memorial at sunset

One of the most popular Indianapolis activities, especially for Americans, is honoring the war dead. Indianapolis is home to an impressive number of these equally impressive memorials, with the Indiana War Memorial the most important!

The Shrine Room on the third floor is of particular interest. It was built to symbolize global peace and unity by sourcing materials from around the world! There’s also a small (and free!) museum that displays uniforms and weaponry, including a military helicopter!

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7. Discover Indianapolis with a Scavenger Hunt

Group of five people having fun during a scavenger hunt around Indianapolis

Indianapolis is a very energetic city so it’s no surprise that games are some of the most popular activities in Indianapolis with tourists and locals! Scavenger hunts are particularly popular.

These games work like Amazing Race . Groups download an app onto a phone which provides clues to the next destination! The game is usually centered around the major places to visit in Indianapolis so it’s a fun way of orientating yourself in the city and learning about local history!

8. Admire American Indian Artworks

Exterior view of Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

It may be part of the Indianapolis Museum of Art but the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is of such importance and popularity that it’s often visited as a separate attraction in its own right!

This gallery displays a large collection of Western art from the early 19th century to the present day. The highlight, however, is its unique collection of American Indian Art! The pieces come from all over North America and are beautiful things to see in Indianapolis!

9. Ride the Monon Rail Trail

Overhead view of cyclists on the Monon Rail Trail in Indianapolis

The Monon Railway was built to connect Chicago and Indianapolis by train but today the route is a popular recreational trail! You’ll find people running, walking or skating along the railway but the best way to experience it is to cycle!

Exploring the Monon Rail Trail is one of the most popular things to do in Indiana! The easiest point to access the route from Indianapolis is just off Massachusetts Avenue.

10. Relax in Garfield Park

Garfield Park in Indianapolis

Garfield Park is the oldest park in Indianapolis, having been established back in 1889! It’s one of the best places to go in Indianapolis to relax!

This lovely green space boasts picnic shelters, a sunken garden, and a conservatory! Visitors can also explore the Arts Center or meander along a tranquil walking trail. Other facilities onsite include a swimming pool, a sledding hill, tennis courts, and a gym. It’s your one-stop leisure zone in Indianapolis!

Indianapolis, Indiana, is full of unusual activities that will make your vacation so much more enjoyable! Whether you’re passionate about sports or history, there are some truly quirky attractions for you!

11. Throw an Axe

Bad Axe Throwing logo

Learning to throw an axe is one of the most unusual things to do around Indianapolis! However, this quirky activity is a traditional Canadian hobby that’s getting very popular in America!

Bad Axe Throwing Indianapolis is the perfect spot to learn this unique skill ! The center hosts expert coaches who can teach participants of any level, and also has first-class safety measures in place. Even one class can teach you enough to impress (or scare) your friends back home!

12. Find Famous Tombs at Crown Hill Cemetery

Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis in the fall

A cemetery certainly isn’t on everyone’s list of places to see in Indianapolis but reading about Crown Hill Cemetery should definitely put it on yours!

Crown Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for many famous Americans. You can find artists like James Whitcomb Riley and Otto Stark. The main group of celebrities, though, is the politicians! Expect to find the tombs of American vice-presidents and senators scattered throughout the grounds.

Crown Hill Cemetery is also incredibly beautiful! Many of the graves feature stunning works of art to commemorate the esteemed dead and the cemetery offers superb views of Indianapolis!

13. Set out on a Treetop Adventure

Treetop Adventure in Indianapolis

Visiting Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is a great thing to do Indianapolis if you’re looking for a fun challenge!

This treetop obstacle course and zip line is a unique outdoor experience that gives participants a new perspective on the forest, as well as the opportunity to feel like Tarzan! There are 40 obstacles to overcome in the course, climbing to a height of 40 feet!

The minimum age to participate is 10 years old so it’s something you can do with your older kids, as well!

Indianapolis is a very safe city! Nevertheless, there are precautions you can take to keep it that way!

While you aren’t in any physical danger in downtown, there is a risk of theft. Keep your belongings close, especially in crowded areas or on public transport. Also, avoid making cash withdrawals in the downtown area and don’t walk around late at night!

But a good way to stop would-be pickpockets in their tracks is simply to wear a money belt (which we highly recommend); something like the very discreet Pacsafe Money Belt will work wonders.

Read our tips for traveling safely before you fly and always get travel insurance. Check out our roundup of the best travel insurance .

Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt  except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Wondering what to do in downtown Indianapolis after dinner? There are tonnes of fun stuff to do in Indianapolis come nightfall!

14. Taste the Best Beers

Food and beer at St. Joseph Brewery & Public House

Indianapolis is home to a thriving beer scene which is definitely worth checking out while you’re there!

Indiana was historically a popular home for German and Irish immigrants, something which has only enhanced the beer scene in Indianapolis downtown! You’ll find the trendiest bars around Massachusetts Avenue.

The best place to visit for beer is St. Joseph Brewery & Public House. It’s a former Catholic church that went through a major renaissance into the city’s trendiest beer garden !

15. Dine at the Indianapolis City Market

Overhead view of a busy Indianapolis City Market

If you’re wondering what to do in Indianapolis that’s both fun and fills your stomach, head down to the Indianapolis City Market!

The market opened in 1886 as a farmer’s market and has since grown into a trendy, cosmopolitan leisure zone. This means it’s perfect for a fun night getting to know downtown Indianapolis!

There’s a wide variety of meals to choose from, as well as many delicious coffees and desserts,  and an all-Indiana craft beer bar!

16. Enjoy Live Music

Live music Indianapolis

This city has so many amazing local artists and vibrant small venues. Go ahead and pay a visit to one of these dynamic, independent establishments — it’s one of the best things to do in Indianapolis!

Most shows offer a variety of music genres so there’s something for everyone! The White Rabbit, The Vogue, and Hi-Fi are your best bets. To hear some of Indiana’s best jazz performers, try The Chatterbox, where you can enjoy the legends rehearse for next to nothing!

Wondering where to sleep, wash and fornicate after experiencing all of the great activities Indianapolis has to offer? Check out our top selections for best hotel, Airbnb, and hostel in Indy.

Best Hotel in Indianapolis – Embassy Suites Indianapolis

Indianapolis

This star hotel provides a spa, wellness centre, sauna and an indoor pool. All rooms and suites are impeccable and there is an on-site bar and restaurant if you don’t fancy eating out.

The hotel offers an express check-in and check-out feature, a car rental service and a tour desk.

Best Airbnb in Indianapolis – Modern, Mid Century Vibes – 1br with city views!

Indianapolis

This sleek apartment in the coveted south Mile Square neighborhood comes with some extremely boutique decor. It has an inviting private balcony with awesome views overlooking the skyline and the canal.

There’s a state of the art gym and even a rooftop infinity pool! The whole space is for rent. It’s also considered one of the best Airbnbs in Indianapolis , so you’ll definitely be in for a treat.

Best Hostel in Indianapolis – The Indy Hostel

The Indy Hostel

Indianapolis’s one and only hostel is located close to Broad Ripple. Solo travelers can book a dorm bed whilst families can enjoy the three-bed private room. With comfortable, shared living quarters you’ll feel right at home in this quiet hostel.

They even host live music events and run yoga classes.

With the city’s gorgeous natural scenery, there’s no shortage of romantic things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana!

17. Picnic in Eagle Creek Park

Peaceful scenery at the Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.

One of the best Indianapolis things to do as a couple is to picnic in Eagle Creek Park! This oasis is both pretty and peaceful, making it perfect for a date!

Spanning over 3900 acres, Eagle Creek is one of America’s largest public parks so there’s plenty of tranquil corners to choose from! Buy some snacks at the nearest grocery store and bring along a blanket for a quiet afternoon.

If you and your partner are more active, you can also hire a boat or canoe to explore the 1400-acre lake!

18. Stroll Along Central Canal

Stroll Along the Central Canal in Indianapolis

Meandering along the Central Canal is one of the loveliest things to do in downtown Indianapolis! There’s lush greenery and the area is full of birds so it’s a very peaceful and beautiful activity for a date!

The most charming time to visit the canal is at night when the twinkling stars and city lights are reflected in the dark water! You won’t even notice the cooler air as you walk and snuggle up together!

On a budget and racking your brain over what to do in Indy? Don’t worry; there are some incredible things to do in the city that needn’t cost a thing!

19. Admire Indianapolis Central Library

Beautiful Neoclassical Central Library in Indianapolis

Visiting the Central Library is one of the loveliest Indy things to do — and it’s free!

This beautiful neoclassical building was completed in 1917 and is on the American National Register of Historic Places! It’s since been renovated to combine the best of historic charm and modern sophistication!

The gorgeous architectural features include a massive atrium where visitors can enjoy exhibitions , alongside a cafe. There’s also a beautiful six-story Tower Building which always garners sighs!

20. View Beautiful Artworks at a Number of Amazing Art Galleries

Indianapolis is home to a number of stellar art galleries, such as the Long-Sharp Gallery at the Conrad Hotel. This gallery is totally free to visit and has plenty of famous names in its collection!

The gallery is focused on modern and contemporary art. You can find 20th-century masters like Picasso and Salvador Dali, alongside Andy Warhol and Joan Miro! The gallery has also invested in striking mixed media and sculpture works by contemporary artists like David Datuna and Gino Miles.

It’s a gorgeous space so don’t miss it!

21. Attend an Event at the Indianapolis Artsgarden

Indianapolis Arts Garden - Breathtaking feat of modern architecture

The Indianapolis Artsgarden is a breathtaking feat of modern architecture that also hosts plenty of free events!

The Artsgarden is housed in a seven-story building made of steel and glass. This unique space is an architectural highlight in Indianapolis! It’s designed to host public events, with free lunchtime concerts and exhibitions taking place most days of the year.

With these attractions, spending time at the Artsgarden is one of the best free things to do in Indianapolis!

Sometimes a Great Notion – A tale of a hardheaded Oregonian logging family that goes on strike, leading the town to drama and tragedy. Written by PNW legend, Ken Kesey.

Walden – The transcendental masterpiece by Henry David Thoreau that helped modern Americans rediscover nature and her beauty.

To Have and To Have Not – A family man gets involved with the drug smuggling business in the Key West and ends up in a strange affair. Written by the great Ernest Hemingway.

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With the host of fun stuff to do in Indianapolis, kids will have plenty to do! In fact, moms and dads will also enjoy these great activities!

22. Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse

Survive the Zombie Scavengers game in Indianapolis.

One of the most exciting things to do in Indy for kids is to discover the city while preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse! This kind of game is sure to appeal to children’s wild imaginations!

The game is set in Indianapolis crawling with zombies . Players need to run around the city to find survival items like food and shelter! There are also a number of trivia questions that earn players virtual weapons to use against the zombies!

23. Explore the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Keep the children busy and excited by visiting the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

The fascinating items on display at the Children’s Museum will keep children busy and excited for hours on end — and with little need for prompting from moms or dads!

Most children will agree that visiting the Dinosphere is one of the most fun things to do in Indy! This area recreates the habitat of these mammoth beasts, with the same sounds and sights you would have seen 65 million years ago!

You can even touch a real Tyrannosaurus Rex bone!

Still wondering what is there to do in Indianapolis? No problem, we’ve got your back with more awesome Indy things to do!

24. Drive a Racecar

One of the best tourist attraction in Indianapolis, Dallara IndyCar Factory.

Just beside the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the Dallara IndyCar Factory . This center is one of the best Indianapolis tourist attractions for anyone who’s sporty!

The factory focuses on providing edutainment to visitors by providing information about how racecars are built through interactive activities! One of the most fun things in Indianapolis is sitting in a real racecar and racing up to seven drivers through the use of non-professional driving simulators!

25. Become a College Sport Champion

Visit the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis.

For sporty visitors, the NCAA Hall of Champions is an Indianapolis must-see! Americans take college sports very seriously and this is the perfect place to learn all about the best college athletes!

The first level at the Hall of Champions is dedicated to the history of college sports. There are video highlights, current team rankings, and artifacts from colleges around the country. You can also take part in a fun novice to historian trivia challenge!

The top floor, however, is where the good stuff is! Here, you can pretend to be a sports champion by competing hands-on and practically with sports simulators!

26. Try your Hand at Duckpin Bowling

Neon entrance sign of Atomic Duckpin Bowling in Indianapolis

If you’re looking for one of the most unique things to do in Indianapolis, IN, look no further than duckpin bowling at Action Duckpin Bowl & Atomic Bowl Duckpin.

Duckpin bowling is an East American spin on traditional ten-pin bowling that was invented in the early 20th century. Today, it’s very popular with states in the eastern part of America. In fact, Action Duckpin Bowl & Atomic Bowl Duckpin is the only duckpin bowling facility outside the eastern states!

27. Watch a Football Game at Lucas Oil Stadium

Attend a football game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Attending a game at Lucas Oil Stadium has to be one of the greatest things to do in downtown Indy! The stadium is home to the Indianapolis Colts and regularly hosts matches.

It’s not just football matches that you can catch at the stadium — it often hosts concerts for the likes of Taylor Swift! (You’ll find a calendar of events on the stadium’s website). It’s also worth taking a tour of this state-of-the-art facility, which boasts panoramic views of the Indianapolis skyline!

Indianapolis is surrounded by some incredible places to visit in Indiana! With canoe trips and long hikes on the shoreline, there really are some great things to do near Indianapolis!

Canoe on the Blue River

Explore Blue River in Indianapolis.

Just under a two-hour drive from Indianapolis is Fredericksburg where you can hire a canoe from the Old Mill Canoe Rental to explore the Blue River! Undoubtedly, the Blue River is one of our favorite attractions near Indianapolis!

The Blue River flows through one of the most scenic landscapes of Indiana. You can look forward to enjoying quiet farmland and lush forests along the way! There is also a lot of limestone around the river that forms “half canyons” and caves to marvel at.

Canoeing along the Blue River can be difficult, due to a large number of submerged rocks. If you’re not an experienced canoeist, it’s probably best to join a guided canoe trip!

Hike through the Indiana Dunes National Park

Hike through the Indiana Dunes National Park.

When you’re visiting Indianapolis, hiking in the Dunes National Park is one of the most amazing nearby things to do! The park is about a two-hour drive outside of Indianapolis and boasts a stunning landscape!

The national park comprises an unspoiled coastline and sand dunes along Lake Michigan. Further away from the lake, you can also find wetlands, marshes, and fields of pretty wildflowers!

Indiana Dunes is the perfect territory for hiking, due to its peacefulness and beauty. You can also stop by some of the birdwatching spots to appreciate the stunning variety of species found in the park!

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Now that you know all about the fun things to do in Indianapolis, it’s time to put these Indianapolis points of interest on your itinerary!

Indainapolis Library

Today’s all about orientating yourself in Indianapolis, as well as ticking some major Indiana attractions off your bucket list! Start at the Indiana War Memorial in the city center before taking a 6-minute walk to the beautiful Indianapolis Central Library!

Next up is the Indianapolis Museum of Art which is a 35-minute bus trip away. You can catch bus 34 at the St Vincent stop, a ten-minute walk from the library!

Just 20 minutes from the Museum of Art is Crown Hill Cemetery where you can find the graves of famous Americans and enjoy some splendid views!

Mass Ave

Start your day by exploring Massachusetts Avenue’s trendy shopping and food scene ! After that, head out of the city center to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There isn’t any direct public transport so you’ll need to take bus 5 before walking for 40 minutes. It may be worth splurging on a taxi for this one!

Once you’re back in the city center, enjoy one of the lunchtime events at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. Then grab a late lunch at the Indianapolis City Market which is just a 10-minute walk away!

Eagle Creek Park

The Children’s Museum has so many fascinating exhibits that you’ll probably spend all morning exploring it! From there, you’ll need to take a taxi to the fabulous Eagle Creek Park since there isn’t any public transport.

Spend your afternoon at Eagle Creek Park where you can have a picnic lunch, as well as take part in fun water activities! After freshening up at your hotel, head to one of Indianapolis’ small music venues for a fun night out! The Chatterbox is the most centrally located since it’s right on Massachusetts Avenue.

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Here are some quick answers to common questions about what to do and see in Indianapolis.

What can I do today in Indianapolis?

You’ll find loads of things to do in Indianapolis right now on Airbnb Experiences ! You can also check out GetYourGuide for more adventurous and unique activities.

What things can I do at night in Indianapolis?

A Beer Tasting Tour is one of our favourite nighttime activities in Indianapolis. Grab some food at Indianapolis City Market and top off the night with some live music.

What things can couples do in Indianapolis?

Besides sex, obviously, Eagle Creek Park makes a beautiful setting to relax in the city, take your picnic and do some people watching. Central Canal is perfect for love birds to do some birdwatching, too.

Are there any family things to do in Indianapolis?

Children’s Museum is so fun and interactive for kids and adults. For more adventure and unusualness, there is nothing like the Scavenger Hunt by Zombie Scavengers , which is an activity you won’t forget in a hurry.

With lots of sporting events, plenty of fabulous parks and fascinating museums, Indianapolis is one of America’s most fun cities! Whether you’re looking to spend an afternoon in nature or a couple of hours listening to live music, you’ll find it all on our definitive list of things to do in Indianapolis!

No matter how long you’re staying in the city, Indianapolis won’t disappoint you. Whether you visit with friends, children or by yourself, Indianapolis will have something to entertain you! There are so many great activities to enjoy in Indianapolis on our list that you’ll never again need to ask “What should I do in Indianapolis?”

travel in indianapolis area

Sheridan Cahoon

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Top Things to Do in Indianapolis

Check out our guide for what to see, where to eat and where to stay in Indianapolis.

Midwest Living's experienced editors create best-in-class travel, lifestyle, food, home and garden content you won't find anywhere else. We're loudly, proudly Midwestern, and we're passionate about helping our audience explore and create through award-winning storytelling.

Sports are a big deal in the capital city—consider the Indy 500, the Colts, the Pacers, the Fever and the NCAA Hall of Champions. But explore cultural destinations, too, including art, history and children's museums. Whether you have a weekend or a full week, you're traveling solo or as a family unit , this guide has ideas for every traveler.

Broad Ripple Village

This ethnically diverse Broad Ripple area has an array of cafes, art galleries, brewpubs and indie shops.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The world's largest children's museum recently added a $38.5 million sports-theme expansion with 15 experiences, including a mini Colts football field and Indy 500 pedal cars. Inside, Mini Masterpieces got a new home with better ways to examine miniature scenes.

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Works of Indigenous art are contextualized in thought-provoking ways at the Eiteljorg Museum . The annual Indian Market and Festival (usually in late June)—featuring music, dance, storytelling, food, and works from more than 140 artists—has been one of Indy's premier summer events since 1993.

Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center

At the center's Chuck Taylor All Star , visitors investigate the story of Taylor's contribution to basketball and the famous Converse All Star shoe via interactive experiences, artifacts and images (through January 27, 2025). The cabaret-style Cole Porter Room focuses on the Hoosier's life and his music.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The 8-mile bike/pedestrian path links six cultural districts, each with its own personality. Public art installations, such as the Glick Peace Walk, make the trail even better. Guided tours focus on topics such as the local food scene.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Fans consider the home of the Indy 500 a pilgrimage site. On nonrace days, zip down the track in a car reaching up to 180 mph. (The speedway's museum , undergoing an $89 million renovation, is expected to be closed until 2025).

Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Part of the 152-acre Newfields campus that also includes a sculpture park, beer garden and the Lilly House mansion, the Indianapolis Museum of Art takes you on a global art journey with exhibits ranging from ancient Grecian art to textile and fashion arts. A variety of accommodations help make the museum and other parts of Newfields accessible to the disabled, reflecting Indy's commitment to accessible travel.

Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens

Set aside a few hours to explore the five biomes at this zoo . Book ahead for an Animal Art Adventure if you'd like to work with an animal to create a painting.

Indiana State Museum

Exhibits at Indiana State Museum inspire appreciation for the state's natural and cultural history. Explore an ice age-era cave or try loading a Conestoga wagon.

Massachusetts Avenue

Alfresco dining options, art galleries, and shops make this area popular with both residents and visitors.

NCAA Hall of Champions

Two levels of exhibits let you test your athletic abilities as well as your knowledge of NCAA sports at the Hall of Champions.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

In the heart of downtown, the limestone monument soars 284 feet into the air. Take the elevator (or climb 331 steps) to the observation deck.

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park: 100 Acres

Modern works—like Los Carpinteros' Free Basket —dot the former quarry's woodlands and meadows along the west side of the Newfields art campus.

White River State Park

Follow the path along the canal as it flows past some of the city's top attractions in White River State Park , including the zoo , Victory Field , the Indiana State Museum , the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art , and the NCAA Hall of Champions . To explore the park, rent bikes or pedal boats, or take a gondola ride.

Where to Eat and Drink

Jonathan Brooks' sophomore restaurant in Indy , the chef's inventiveness shines in dishes like grilled cucumber salad tossed in vinaigrette of the cuke's charred skin.

The farm-to-table menu at Bluebeard changes daily but might feature salmon with broccoli rabe or chicken with cashew-and-caper berry relish served in a renovated 1924 factory warehouse.

Bru Burger Bar

Order one of Bru Burger's more than a dozen chef-inspired burger variations, including the namesake with toppings like Taleggio cheese and onion.

Cafe Patachou

Local ingredients star in the lineup of omelets, waffles and Broken Yolk Sandwiches (fried eggs with add-ons) ( multiple locations ).

The Cake Bake Shop

Elegant sweet treats and a storybook atmosphere draw diners to the Broad Ripple shop and a second location in Carmel.

Harry and Izzy's

The younger, less-expensive sister of St. Elmo Steak House has an upscale atmosphere with rich wood interiors and items like a prime rib sandwich.

Order a taste of Latin America with foods like empanadas, paella and. plantains, paired with a margarita or Latin-inspired cocktail. The restored 1890s two-story building was once a horse stable.

Breakfast is a serious business at Milktooth . We love the Dutch baby pancakes, which might come savory (with dates, Manchego, almonds and smoked olive oil) or sweet (with rhubarb and lavender crème fraîche.)

Public Greens

The menu at Public Greens leans on locally grown produce, while profits help feed at-risk and food-insecure children.

Shapiro's Delicatessen

The family-owned spot , which dates to 1905, continues to churn out fist-thick corned beef, pastrami and brisket sandwiches. Try the coconut cream pie for dessert.

Sun King Brewery

Stop by the downtown location for tours and sips of brews like Orange Vanilla Sunlight Cream Ale.

A hydroponic wall of greens shows off the restaurant's commitment to fresh ingredients . The tasting menu lets you sample creations like lobster terrine.

Melissa Harms / Visit Indy

Where to Stay

The alexander.

Works curated by the Indianapolis Museum of Art decorate the lobby of this 209-room boutique hotel , one of our favorite romantic getaways in Indiana . Get skyline views along with your sips at the updated Plat 99 Coffee + Cocktails.

Bottleworks Hotel

The 139-room boutique lodging opened in a former Coca-Cola bottling plant. The decor, inspired by the 1930s architecture of the plant, delivers major Art Deco glam. The hotel is part of the $300 million Bottleworks project, which also includes The Garage food hall.

Conrad Indianapolis

All rooms at Conrad Indianapolis feature plush bedding and marble in the bathrooms, but if you want to splurge, book one of four suites with original art by Picasso, Dalí and Warhol.

JW Marriott Indianapolis

Guests at this 33-story blue-glass behemoth enjoy easy access to downtown.

Le Méridien Indianapolis

The 100-room 1928 hotel sports a modern palette of black, white and gray. Kick back with a cocktail in the Spoke and Steele restaurant.

For more information visitindy.com

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Victory Field

The 24 best things to do in Indianapolis

Take a peek at the best things to do in Indianapolis, from top museums and attractions to live music and restaurants

Indianapolis may have once been mockingly known as Naptown to its residents, years ago, but over the last decade the city has quietly become one of the hippest destinations in the Midwest. On any given night, you’ll find local and national bands playing at clubs across town, while crowds pack venues to see local theater groups perform.

Breweries are popping up seemingly in every corner of the city—more than 30 and counting—each capturing its neighborhood’s distinctive spirit and vibe. Indianapolis was once a culinary wasteland with little beyond chain eateries to choose from, but dozens of exceptional restaurants have since popped up to ravenous crowds’ delight. In fact, there’s so much going on in the city, you might just need a nap at your hotel to recover. 

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Best things to do in Indianapolis

Monument Circle

1.  Monument Circle

Get started at Monument Circle

It’s fitting that Monument Circle lies in the center of Indianapolis, as all activity seemingly revolves around it. During the spring and summer, traffic is routinely blocked off and any number of festivals and events take place on the brick streets.  Explore some history in the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum on the lower level, then make your way up to the observation deck 275 feet above, where you’ll be greeted by a gorgeous, 360-degree view of the downtown skyline. During the holiday season, the Monument is decorated with lights, becoming the state’s largest Christmas tree.

Indianapolis Zoo

2.  Indianapolis Zoo

Monkey around with the orangutans at the Indianapolis Zoo

Home to one of the largest groups of orangutans in North America, the International Orangutan Center gives zoo visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the primates… except when they’re climbing on ropes more than 70 feet off the ground! You can also interact with these intelligent apes via interactive touch screens located around the exhibit. Afterward, visit the Dolphin Pavilion in the Oceans building, where you can watch the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins frolic above you thanks to a unique underwater viewing dome.

Rathskeller

3.  Rathskeller

Drink in both history and beer at the Rathskeller

Indianapolis is justifiably proud of its most famous literary son, Kurt Vonnegut. Knock back a few drinks at this German-themed restaurant located in a historic building designed by Vonnegut’s grandfather; skip the formal dining area and head straight to the Kellerbar, a throwback to the pre-World War II beer halls where you’re served German-style beer in glass steins bigger than a newborn baby. After a pilsner or two, step outside the Athenaeum and look to the southwest, where you’ll see a 38-foot tall mural of the famed author himself on the side of the Massala Building.

Fort Harrison State Park

4.  Fort Harrison State Park

Hit the trails in Fort Harrison State Park

Named after our 23rd president Benjamin Harrison and affectionately known by locals as Fort Ben, this state park offers Indianapolis residents and guests a relaxing urban oasis. Hikers, bikers and equestrians flock to the dozens of miles of both paved and natural-surface trails, surrounded by canopies of walnut and maple trees. Autumn visits are rewarded with spectacular explosions of color. When you’ve had your fill of serenity, visit the Museum of 20 th Century Warfare to view military weapons, uniforms and displays from the last century.

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail

5.  The Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Pedal past the city’s treasures on the Cultural Trail

The Cultural Trail traverses through downtown Indianapolis and into the city’s hippest neighborhoods and arts districts such as Mass Ave and Fountain Square. More than $4 million in murals, sculptures and public art are scattered along the trail. Be sure to stop at the Glick Peace Walk to relax at one of the dozen sculptural gardens with luminaries representing men and women like Susan B. Anthony, Jonas Salk and Booker T. Washington who made peaceful contributions to humanity. If your legs get tired, rent an Indiana Pacers bike-share bicycle  at one of 29 stations strategically placed throughout the trail.

Newfields

6.  Newfields

Stroll through the gardens at Newfields

The Indianapolis Museum of Arts rebranded itself as Newfields last year, to better symbolize its goal of combining art with nature. On a spring or summer day, it’s hard to beat a stroll through the rows of blooming roses, tulips and other flowers. The 100 Acres Art and Nature Park features dozens of art installations designed to be eye catching, thought provoking functional play equipment. End the trip with a visit to Newfield’s Beer Garden. Open Thursday through Sunday, the beer garden serves Sun King Brewery’s exclusive Among the Leaves saison, which you can only sample at that location.

Duke’s Indy

7.  Duke’s Indy

Kick up your heels at Duke’s Indy

Indy’s newest honkytonk may be a bit off the beaten path, but it’s well worth a visit. Every Saturday night, Duke’s brings in a mix of local stalwarts like Stockwell Road and Hank Haggard, as well as nationally touring acts such as the Banditos. (A word of advice—if you’re tempted to chat while the band is roaring, look above the stage for a neon-lit, somewhat profane reminder to stay quiet.) A great selection of classic country vinyl and Duke’s tasty Hatch Smash Burger with green chilies provides a great reason to stop in even when there isn’t a live band.

Indianapolis Greenways

8.  Indianapolis Greenways

Bike to the breweries on the Indianapolis Greenways

Bikes and beer seemingly go hand in hand, so it’s no wonder that self-guided bike-path brewery rides are so popular with Indy cyclists. The easiest itinerary has riders sticking to the Monon Trail and starting at either Cannon Ball Brewing to the south or Union Brewing to the north, and working their way down the trail, one flight at a time. Within a block of the trail, beer-loving bikers will come across more than a half dozen breweries and craft taprooms, including Bier Brewery, Big Lug Brewing, Broad Ripple Brew Pub, 3 Wisemen, and Triton Taproom. 

Victory Field

9.  Victory Field

Take in an Indianapolis Indians game at Victory Field

Named the best minor league ballpark by Baseball America magazine, Victory Field doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. On Mondays, come with an empty stomach and gorge yourself on $1 hot dogs, sodas, popcorn, sodas and more. Select businesses around town offer 2-for-1 discounts on tickets to Tuesday games. After Sunday games, kids can run the bases for free. But the main attraction is the action on the field; the Indianapolis Indians are perennially one of the best teams at the AAA level, with many players just a phone call away from the big leagues.

Dawson’s on Main

10.  Dawson’s on Main

Sample Indiana’s official state sandwich at Dawson’s on Main

Many restaurants claim to have the best pork tenderloin sandwich in Indy, but Dawson’s delivers. Each pork patty is pounded thin and nearly as large as a dinner plate, then breaded, deep fried and served on a brioche bun. Be sure to wash it down with one of the well-curated craft beers on tap or, if you must, an ice-cold bottle of Budweiser. Located within an easy walking distance of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dawson’s is an ideal spot to unwind after a day of practice or racing.

Tappers Arcade Bar

11.  Tappers Arcade Bar

Relive your childhood video game addiction at Tappers

Did you use to horde quarters all week, only to blow them all playing Joust at your local arcade? Welcome to your Valhalla. Tappers has dozens of vintage arcade games, like Dragon’s Quest, Centipede and Tron, all free to play. (You still must pay to play pinball, unfortunately.) So instead of filling the machines with money, you can fill yourself with Tapper’s wide selection of craft beer.

The Hi-Fi

12.  The Hi-Fi

See your next favorite band at the Hi-Fi

Nestled in the hipster enclave of Fountain Square, the Hi-Fi is one of the most intimate venues to see live music in the city. Everyone from country-music legend Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives to Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller and up-and-coming artists like Tyler Childers have played the venue within the last year.

St. Elmo’s Steak House

13.  St. Elmo’s Steak House

Open up your sinuses with the Signature Sauce at St. Elmo’s

Ask any Indy resident where to get the best steak in town, and it’s almost guaranteed they’ll say “St. Elmo’s.” On any given night, you’ll find the city’s celebrities and movers-and-shakers huddled around a table imbibing a ribeye or porterhouse. It’s an unofficial law that every meal must start out with St. Elmo’s signature shrimp cocktail appetizer, with a sauce that will have you reaching for your water glass after the first bite.

Luna Music

14.  Luna Music

Find a better musical experience than Spotify at Luna Music

Music fans can—and do—spend hours perusing the new and used vinyl racks at this SoBro landmark. Luna Music staff are renowned for their musical knowledge and can often help you identify that song you heard a snippet of at the end of that one movie you saw last year. Live in-store performances from performers like Hiss Golden Messenger, Damien Jurado and Richard Edwards, formerly of the locally legendary Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s happen regularly, but space can be at a premium.

Tomlinson Tap Room

15.  Tomlinson Tap Room

Down an Indiana-brewed pint at Tomlinson Tap Room

Located in the historic City Market building downtown, it’s fitting this bar is a visual throwback to a pre-Prohibition beer bar with lots of dark wood and glass. If you’re looking for a bottle of Bud or Coors Light, you’ve come to the wrong place; Tomlinson Tap Room serves up only pints of Hoosier-brewed beer. The draft list changes weekly. Be sure to grab some tasty Indian grub from the Spice Box downstairs before heading up, as the Tap Room doesn’t serve its own food.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

16.  Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Kiss the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis is synonymous with the famed 2.5-mile track that holds the world’s largest sporting event every Memorial Day weekend. Visit and see winning cars from not only the Indy 500, but also the Brickyard 400 and other races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. A tour of the speedway culminates in your own “kiss the bricks” moment usually reserved for winners of the race. Looking for a thrill that’s the next best thing to actually being in the race? Hop in a two-seater IndyCar and take a few laps around the track at 200 mph.

Kennedy King Memorial

17.  Kennedy King Memorial

Relive a pivotal moment in history Kennedy King Memorial

Fifty years ago, hours after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot at his hotel in Memphis, Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy broke the news to a shocked crowd at 17th and Broadway streets in Indianapolis. Kennedy’s speech calmed the grief-stricken throng and saved Indianapolis from the violence the plagued much of the country. The essence of the moment is captured in bronze and steel at the Kennedy King Memorial in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The sculpture shows the two men reaching out to one another over a walkway, symbolizing reconciliation and striving for peace.

Mama’s Korean Restaurant

18.  Mama’s Korean Restaurant

Discover true international flair at Mama’s

The exterior of the restaurant might not look like much, tucked in-between a liquor store and a locksmith in a ramshackle strip mall, and the inside is a bit dated as well, but you’ll soon learn the best dining experiences come from the food on the table, not the walls surrounding it. Cook your own savory Korean barbecue at your table or order the Bebeem Bop which comes in a sizzling hot stone kettle. A karaoke machine sits in the corner of the banquet room, and on the weekends, you’ll often find Korean ex-pats belting out K-Pop hits.

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

19.  Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Experience the art of the American West at the Eiteljorg

Indianapolis might seem like an unlikely home for a museum dedicated to the American West, but the Eiteljorg earned acclaim for its eclectic collection of art by Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frederic Remington, Kay WalkingStick and others. It hosted a traveling exhibit of Ansel Adams’ photography, but has also examined through art and artifacts what it was like being Jewish in the Wild West. It doesn’t always look at the West through a historical prism either; its contemporary collection of art explores modern-day Western culture by a diverse group of artists working in many different and exciting mediums.

Libertine Liquor Bar

20.  Libertine Liquor Bar

Discover advanced mixology at the Libertine

Walking down into this basement bar in the Mass Ave arts district, you get the sense that you’re in for an adventure. Craft distilled spirits line the industrial-chic shelving behind the wood bar, while the brick walls and dim lighting give the space a cozy feel. Order a traditional cocktail like a Manhattan or a special concoction created by one of the Libertine’s expert bartenders; we’re currently partial to the Sophia, made with Port-finished bourbon, crème de peche, dry vermouth, and Cocchi Americano.

Homespun: Modern Handmade

21.  Homespun: Modern Handmade

Find a unique memento of your visit at Homespun

Looking for some souvenirs to remember Indy? This shop in the trendy Mass Ave arts district offers items made primarily by Indiana artisans—more than 300 creators in all. From clothing to cutting boards, jewelry to jams, most items have a distinct Hoosier flair.

Milktooth

22.  Milktooth

Brunch so hard at Milktooth

Since it opened in 2014, Milktooth has been the brunch spot to simultaneously impress your out-of-town guests while recovering from a hangover. Owner Jonathan Brooks and Chef Josh Kline have won acclaim from national culinary magazines for their innovative take on upscale comfort food. The menu changes regularly, based on what’s in season and the chef’s whims, so cross your fingers the scrumptious Dutch-baby pancake is listed. Milktooth doesn’t accept reservations or call-ahead seating, so be prepared for a wait on the weekend.

Sports Legends Experience at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

23.  Sports Legends Experience at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Get active at the unique Sports Legends Experience

Want a more active experience for you and your kids? This new interactive exhibit at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum allows your family to take part in several fun, sports-themed activities. Race them around a track in pedal-cars, kick a field goal or try to hit a hole-in-one on a miniature golf course. There are dozens of games to try, segmented by age and skill level. Afterward, explore the entire facility, which is the largest children’s museum in the world.

White Rabbit Cabaret

24.  White Rabbit Cabaret

Take in a show at White Rabbit Cabaret

There’s always something different happening at this smallish venue in Fountain Square. In any given month, you can find yourself competing in a drunk spelling bee or dating show, listening to a nationally known comic or musical performance, or taking in burlesque show with a live band. One thing is a constant: you’ll never be bored, no matter what’s happening onstage.

More of the best in Indianapolis

The 15 best restaurants in Indianapolis

The 15 best restaurants in Indianapolis

Indy's growing food scene has stirred up attention, with pop-up dinners and food events taking place around the city, and top chefs and restaurants getting noticed by the James Beard Restaurant & Chef Awards. 

The 8 best hotels in Indianapolis

The 8 best hotels in Indianapolis

Book a surprisingly affordable stay in a modern boutique hotel or luxurious chain, then take the money you save and spend it on exploring all the city has to offer.

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15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Indianapolis, IN

Written by Lana Law and Lura Seavey Updated Dec 27, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Indianapolis, a typical Midwest city and capital of Indiana, lies southeast of Lake Michigan on the White River. It is almost exactly in the center of Indiana, on a site selected by 10 government commissioners in 1820 for the new capital of the state. Indianapolis has many things to do, from taking an evening stroll on the Canal Walk after a waterside dinner to sightseeing downtown.

The city's world fame, however, comes from the "Indianapolis 500," the car race held annually on the Sunday before Memorial Day on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is the world's biggest single-day sporting event, drawing hundreds of thousands of motor sport fans.

Discover more great ways to spend your time with our list of the top things to do in Indianapolis.

See also: Where to Stay in Indianapolis

1. Play around at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

2. indianapolis museum of art, 3. see the indy 500 at the indianapolis motor speedway, 4. walk along or paddle down the central canal, 5. monument circle, 6. see the sights in white river state park, 7. eiteljorg museum of american indian and western art, 8. indianapolis zoo, 9. holliday park, 10. follow the indianapolis cultural trail, 11. benjamin harrison presidential site, 12. rhythm discovery center, 13. indiana state museum, 14. eagle creek park and nature preserve, 15. kurt vonnegut museum and library, where to stay in indianapolis for sightseeing, map of attractions & things to do in indianapolis, in, indianapolis, in - climate chart.

Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the world's largest children's museum. It's huge! This is a great place to visit with the whole family and you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it. The museum is full of interesting, innovative, and interactive displays. Some of the displays include topics related to transportation, science, culture, and archeology.

Some of the museum's biggest hits are its dinosaurs - including the brontosaurus who is trying to peek in the top floor. The Dinosphere exhibit recreates the world that the dinos lived in, allowing visitors to experience the sights and sounds of 65 million years ago and even touch a real Tyrannosaurus Rex bone. Among the dinosaurs on display is a recently discovered species named Dracorex Hogwartsia in honor of Harry Potter's alma mater.

Other attractions include a series of interactive exhibits about music, toys, pop culture, science, and space travel.

Address: 3000 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://www.childrensmuseum.org/

Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art lies to the north of the city center in the spacious Newfields park. The museum's main galleries include works by legends like Rembrandt, Cezanne, Picasso, and O'Keefe.

The Krannert Pavilion is devoted to Asian art and American art, from pre-Columbian times to the present (including Edward Hopper's Hotel Lobby ). Other areas of the gallery include the Hulman Pavilion, which houses paintings from the Baroque period through Neo-Impressionism.

The museum grounds are also home to the Lilly House, a 1913 estate that displays authentic furnishings and decorative art. Visitors will also enjoy a stroll through the Gardens, an outdoor space that offers a wide variety of flora, including the Formal Garden, the Ravine Garden, the Rain Garden, and more.

Adjacent to the museum grounds is the hundred-acre Fairbanks Park, home to both natural wonders and temporary installations.

Address: 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://discovernewfields.org/do-and-see/places-to-go/indianapolis-museum-art

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The United States' most celebrated car race, the legendary Indianapolis 500, is run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway , seven miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis. It is only used for this race and two others: the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Race and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.

The circuit, a-2.5 mile oval, was originally designed as an automobile test track, but the first 500-mile race in 1911 was so successful that it became a regular fixture. In the course of time, the track, which was originally paved with bricks (still used to mark the finishing line), was adapted to cope with ever-increasing speeds.

Accommodation for spectators was also increased, and the speedway can now handle more than 250,000 people in the stands and more than 150,000 on the ground. The race is held each year in late May, and the speedway holds many special events for visitors and racing enthusiasts.

Visitors who want to learn more about the race and racing but can't make it for the big one can visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum , located on the speedway grounds. In addition to changing exhibits that feature past winning cars, the permanent vehicles in the collection here include a 1922 Dusenburg, 1938 Maserati, and a 1960 Watson, among others. Additional exhibits include memorabilia and photographs from past races.

Address: 4790 W 16th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/

Indiana Central Canal

The Central Canal runs through White River State Park , built in the early 19 th century to help bring goods in and out of the city. No longer an industrial waterway, the fully updated canal is now full of paddleboats and kayaks, which give visitors a new perspective on the downtown area; rentals can be found just across the canal from the Eiteljorg Museum .

Along the water is the three-mile Canal Walk , a well-kept pedestrian way that stretches from 11 th street into the park, flanking both sides of the water. The space is popular with tourists and locals alike, providing easy access to many of the city's shops, attractions, and restaurants.

Address: 801 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://www.visitindy.com/indianapolis-canal-walk

Monument Circle

The Soldier's and Sailor's Memorial is located in Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis and is the city's most important landmark. Completed in 1902 after a five-year construction, this limestone monument commemorates the lives lost in the Civil War.

To the north of the monument sits the Mausoleum and Memorial Hall , and three blocks to the south is the large Circle Center Mall . The memorial includes several sculptures honoring past leaders, the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, and an observations deck.

The Indiana World War Memorial is another important tribute. This imposing square monument stands as a silent reminder to the folly of war and honors the fallen soldiers. The Shrine Room on the 3rd floor symbolizes peace and unity, as it is constructed with building materials from around the world.

Also in the war memorial is a museum dedicated to the soldiers of Indiana. Exhibits include an AH-1 Cobra Attack helicopter, military uniforms and weapons, and other military-related artifacts and information.

Address: 51 E. Michigan Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: http://www.in.gov/iwm/

White River State Park

White River State Park is a great place to escape from the fast pace of the city. Once in the park, you would be hard pressed to believe that you are in downtown Indianapolis.

White River State Park boasts expansive green spaces and is home to some of the city's top tourist attractions, including Indianapolis Zoo, a baseball park, the Eiteljorg Museum , Indiana State Museum , an Imax theater, NCAA Hall of Champions , and the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial . The Canal Walk along Central Canal is also part of White River State Park.

Official site: www.whiteriverstatepark.org

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art is located at the entrance to White River State Park . The museum displays a remarkable collection assembled by the Indianapolis businessman Harrison Eiteljorg.

Exhibits include painting and sculpture of the west from the early 19th century onwards, including works by the landscapists Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, and pictures and sculpture by the leading Western artists Frederick S. Remington and Charles M. Russell. Also on display is an extensive collection of works of the Taos Society of Artists and Indian arts and crafts from all over North America.

Address: 500 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: http://www.eiteljorg.org/

Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo opened in 1964 and today plays a major role in worldwide conservation and research. Located in White River State Park , it contains not only a zoo but also an aquarium and botanical garden. The botanical garden covers three acres and includes both permanent and changing gardens that represent flora from around the world.

The Oceans aquarium features multiple tanks, including a coral reef ecosystem. The zoo's animals are divided among the various habitats, which were re-created to give both visitors and the animal residents the sense of a natural environment.

The Plains animals are among the zoo's most popular, including some of the biggest and most dramatic animals, like giraffes, elephants, rhinos, and zebra. The Forests habitat allows visitors to walk beneath soaring birds and see animals like the mischievous red panda looking out from the trees.

Address: 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: www.indianapoliszoo.com

Fountain and ruins at Holliday Park, Indianapolis, Indiana

Tourists looking for a peaceful spot of nature will love Holliday Park, located along the White River. It offers 3.5 miles of trails that wind through the woods and wetlands, including a wheelchair-accessible viewing platform by the water. The park is also home to lovely year-round gardens that are maintained by various local garden groups, as well as a picturesque rock garden and an arboretum featuring more than 1,200 trees.

Photographers will be most interested in the ruins, which are the remains of a façade taken from New York City's former St. Paul building. The lovely stone pieces, as well as three limestone statues were placed in the park after the original structure was demolished, and stand today as an art installation. They are set within the gardens and are accompanied by a fountain and a children's water table.

The park also offers several free things for families to do in Indianapolis, including a Nature Center with hands-on exhibits and activities. Kids will love visiting the live animals and watching birds and wildlife stop at the feeding station. There is also a good playground at the park, a covered pavilion, and updated rest facilities.

Address: 6363 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: www.hollidaypark.org

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an excellent way to see the city and appreciate its many public art installations. The majority of its stops are located in the downtown area, and there are more that extend down Virginia Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue. To make a tour easier on the feet, there are more than two dozen Bikeshare stations positioned along the route, so that visitors can cycle portions (or all) of the trail.

Part of the trail follows the Glick Peace Walk , a series of luminary gardens and sculptures that honor some of the country's greatest thinkers, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and the Wright Brothers. Many of these are found along the median on Walnut Street between Capitol Avenue and Virginia Avenue. Even if you don't go to the end of Virginia Avenue to Fountain Square, be sure to head in that direction far enough to enjoy the stunning lights at Swarm Street , an illuminating installation.

Along Alabama Street , tourists will find a collection of poetry at Poet's Place, and at the corner of Alabama and Massachusetts Avenue stands "Ann Dancing," a digital statement piece by British artist Julian Opie. There are additional thought-provoking installations along Massachusetts Avenue including Chatham Passage by Sean Derry and Care/Don't Care by Jamie Pawlus.

After enjoying more stops along the Glick Peace Walk on Walnut Street , tourists can proceed to the Indiana Avenue Cultural District to see Looking Through Windows , a stained-glass sculpture inspired by the area's historic homes.

Nearby on Blackford Street , on the Indiana University Purdue campus , is "Talking Wall," a multimedia installation focused on American history. The IUPUI campus is home to several other excellent public art installations, including Zephyr by Steve Woolridge and several others.

Official site: https://indyculturaltrail.org

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Benjamin Harrison, who was elected President of the United States in 1888, died in Indianapolis in 1901. His house at 1230 North Delaware Street, with its original Victorian furniture, is open to the public. Benjamin Harrison's sixteen room Italianate Victorian house, built in 1874-75, figured prominently in his campaign for the presidency.

Visitors can learn about Harrison's skills as a lawyer, the cases he took before the U. S. Supreme Court, his reputation as a military leader of men, his conservation efforts, his expertise in foreign affairs and his expansion of the U. S. Navy.

This home of the 23rd President of the United States is also full of Harrison's personal items. The home also hosts several special events throughout the year including a President's Day celebration.

Address: 1230 N. Delaware Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: http://www.presidentbenjaminharrison.org/

Djembe drum African percussion instrument

Founded in 2009, the Rhythm! Discovery Center is a museum of percussion instruments. Exhibits explore every aspect of percussion, from its historical and cultural role in shaping music to the physics of sound waves. The museum also has a collection of artifacts from all over the world, giving visitors the chance to see unique and long-forgotten instruments.

In addition to the "Groove Space," where you can play hundreds of instruments, exhibits include interactive experiences that explore topics like the evolution of electronic percussion, "found" percussion, and experimentation with sound. The museum also hosts educational programs and concerts.

Address: 110 W. Washington Street, Suite A, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: http://rhythmdiscoverycenter.org/

Indiana State Museum

Located in downtown Indianapolis' White River State Park , the Indiana State Museum features a variety of exhibits and experiences that explore the natural and cultural history of the state.

The museum's first floor focuses on the state's natural history, including its geology and long-extinct residents. Here, you can walk through an "ice" tunnel that reproduces the experience of being inside a glacier and get a look at an ancient mastodon.

The second floor is dedicated to the region's cultural past, beginning with an extensive exhibit that shows the lives and traditions of the native populations. You will also find exhibits that address more recent Hoosier history, including Civil War artifacts and other important cultural topics.

The museum also houses a hands-on naturalist's lab and hosts regular puppet shows.

Address: 650 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: www.indianamuseum.org

Fall colors at Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve

The Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, covering an area of 5,300 acres that include recreational facilities for both land and water. In addition to a small beach, visitors can rent watercraft at the marina, including kayaks, pontoon boats, and canoes, and even take sailing lessons in the summer.

Eagle creek is also a popular fishing spot, known for its walleye and largemouth bass. For kids and families there is a playground, beach volleyball, and a treetop adventure course with ziplines. There is a 36-hole golf course at the Eagle Creek Golf Club , and the park hosts regular concerts throughout the summer.

Address: 7840 W 56th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: http://eaglecreekpark.org/

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

This small museum is a must for any fan of Indianapolis native and novelist Kurt Vonnegut. Among its many pieces of memorabilia are the author's reading glasses, drawings, and the typewriter on which he drafted many of his best works. Aspiring novelists can get extra encouragement looking at the stack of rejection letters Vonnegut received over the years.

The museum also includes first edition copies of all of his works, signed copies, and many more examples of Vonnegut's work in its library. They also host special events throughout the year.

Address: 543 Indiana Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: www.vonnegutlibrary.org

Whether visiting Indianapolis for the Indianapolis 500 NASCAR race or just to see the sights, downtown is the best place to stay. Families may want to stay a bit to the west to be near the Indianapolis Zoo, but cultural mavens and history buffs will want to stay in the Wholesale District close to the museums, memorials, and the state capitol. Sports fans will likely want to be positioned slightly to the south near Lucas Oil Stadium. Below are some highly rated hotels in great locations:

Luxury Hotels:

  • In the heart of downtown, Le Meridien Indianapolis is one of the city's premier luxury hotels. It occupies a prime location and is connected via skyway to Circle Center mall.
  • The Conrad Indianapolis is a 23-story hotel offering 5-star luxury and is only a quick stroll from the city's famous Monument Circle.
  • For an upscale boutique option with an eclectic art collection, head to The Alexander , a half-mile from the Amtrak station and within walking distance of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • The Hampton Inn Indianapolis Downtown is housed in the beautifully restored 1929 Chesapeake Building, once the headquarters of the Big Four Railroad. It's in the Warehouse District, the city's lively entertainment area.
  • Families may want to consider the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites , with large rooms, an indoor pool, and only a 1.5-mile walk from the zoo.
  • Directly behind the State Capitol Building, the Courtyard Indianapolis at the Capitol has a prime location, with walking trails along the canal right around the corner and cheap parking rates.

Budget Hotels:

  • At the top-end of the budget category, Staybridge Suites Indianapolis - Downtown Convention Center offers comfortable rooms and is conveniently located adjacent to Lucas Oil Stadium and Crane Bay Event Center.
  • Best Western Plus Indianapolis Downtown is close to the trendy Wholesale District and offers good value considering its prime location.
  • Just two miles to the northwest of downtown and 2.5 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the Sleep Inn & Suites and Conference Center , with a small pool.

Indianapolis Map - Tourist Attractions

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Passport To Eden

22 Best Things To Do In Indianapolis, Indiana

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best things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana

On Monday, Indianapolis is quiet. The sun is warm; the air is cold. Shadows of shutterless homes loom past trees. Under the covers of porticos are soft lights and empty egg chairs. For some reason, I expected Indianapolis to be busier (I blame the Indy 500 for this). This lack of cars zooming, cycles hurtling, and people dashing is unexpected – when really, it shouldn’t be.

Although Indianapolis is home to the Racing Capital Of The World, there are a dozen other reasons to visit: award-winning restaurants , cozy cafes, exhibit reimaginings, giant murals. The former home of Benjamin Harris , the 23rd President of the United States, is here. So is the largest children’s museum in North America.

Indianapolis is a place of surprises, of maze-like galleries and literary landmarks. It is a circle of dense buildings and local businesses. And the sharp blue waters of White River cut through it all.

So if you’re planning a Midwestern getaway (or simply seeking out more local places to visit), here’s a list of things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pack comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking a lot.

Disclosure: Thanks to VisitIndy for helping cover the costs associated with creating this article. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Table of Contents

Things To Do In Indianapolis

Things to do in Indianapolis attractions featured image

Start your Indy trip at Newfields on Michigan Road. Newfields feels endless, like you can walk and walk and walk and never quite reach the end of it. And perhaps, that’s true.

Indianapolis’ art museum is beast-like in its sizing. It is unabashedly big – floors and floors tall, multiple galleries deep. There’s a hip cafe and an ultra-hip beer garden . The campus extends beyond that too, to gentle meadows and a lake.

It’s here you’ll find Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park , home of Bench Around The Lake and Free Basket (described in John Green’s bestseller, The Fault In Our Stars , as a “basketball court filled with huge blue and red steel arcs that imagined the path of a bouncing ball”).

Newfields is one of the most popular things to do in Indianpolis

Unsurprisingly, Newfields can not be seen in one day. If you try, you’ll be overwhelmed. You need to segment this museum, take it in slowly, visit and re-visit. Start in the Asian and African art galleries (third floor) and work your way down. Don’t be afraid to get lost, to wind your way through the rooms and freely explore. Just be sure to give your feet a break at Clowes Pavilion , an airy nook with an immersive LED-ceiling.

Tech-driven displays have made their mark in Newfields (evidence: the entire fourth floor, better known as LUME, is made up of synchronized screens projecting Monet, Manet, and Renoir). And it’s this willingness to modernize a museum setting that makes Newfields one of the best things to do in Indianapolis.

Travel Tip: If you’re visiting Newfields on a weekend, stop by Black Wordschoolers, Natalie Pipkin’s cool, converted book bus parked right outside every Sunday!

General Info

ADDRESS: 4000 N Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208 COST: $20 Per Adult NOTE: Tickets For LUME Are Separate But Include General Admission

Eiteljorg Museum

Eiteljorg Museum Expressions Of Life Exhibit

Another top place to see in Indianapolis? Eiteljorg (for Expressions Of Life: Native Art In North America). Through Expressions Of Life, Western-focused Eiteljorg moves away from colonialist thinking . This series of galleries begins and ends with a land acknowledgment . Expressions celebrates the richness and diversity of Native cultures. It highlights shared experiences, but it also takes great care to present Native art as non-monolithic .

You’ll see Hannah Claus’ shimmering cascade of river images (water song: peemitanaahkwahki sakaahkweelo), Harry Fonseca’s storybook-like acrylic (Coyote and Snow), and unrecorded Ojibwe artists’ expert basket weavings. Expressions Of Life is unafraid of hard truths and challenging stereotypes .

ADDRESS: 500 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 COST: $18 Per Adult

Crispus Attucks Museum

Crispus Attucks

It’s no secret Crispus Attucks is one of the best museums in Indianapolis. It’s grown a lot since its early days. Tabletop displays have blossomed into winding clusters of exhibits , exhibits about the Tuskegee Airmen, the life and legacies of former students, and local Jazz legends.

The museum is a celebration of Black culture. It is a place that highlights Black joy and Black achievements . You’ll see yearbook photos expanded into then-and-nows: the students of Crispus Attucks High School went on (and continue to go on) to become doctors, nurses, teachers, and athletes. On display is a DVD copy of Attucks: The School That Opened A City (Ted Green’s Emmy-award-winning documentary centered around Crispus Attucks High School); a long, detailed list of Black Miracles (patents by Black inventors and scientists that affect our everyday lives); the symbolic meanings of Ghana’s Kente cloth and Côte D’Ivoire’s Adinkra cloth. You’ll see a photo of the Boston Massacre Monument (where Crispus Attucks’ name is etched), a copy of Oscar Robertson’s memoir The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game (Robertson graduated from Crispus Attucks High School), and a Crispus Attucks bust.

Canvassing the wall leading into Crispus Attucks Museum is Michael Alkemi Jordan’s vibrant mural honoring Crispus Attucks, the Revolutionary War hero.

Travel Tip: This museum is open to the public by appointment only. To make an appointment, call 317-409-5281 (or 317-226-2432).

ADDRESS: 1140 Doctor M.L.K. Jr St, Indianapolis, IN 46202 COST: $10 Per Adult

Giant Murals Tour

Mari Evans Mural in Indianapolis painted by Michael Alkemi Jordan

Jordan’s also the artist behind the Mari Evans mural in Indianapolis. Evans penned the powerful poem, I Am A Black Woman . She was one with the Black Arts Movement. She wrote children’s books and piercing, critical nonfiction. She adapted Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God into a play in 1979. Evans was a woman who did it all, who was larger than life. And she still stands tall, immortalized through a thirty-plus foot high mural , part of a quad of giant figures coloring Indianapolis’ buildings.

The rest of the murals were painted by Pamela Bliss, and depict Reggie Miller, Eva Mozes Kor, and Kurt Vonnegut. Here’s how to see them all .

Kurt Vonnegut Museum

Slaughterhouse Five Exhibit in Kurt Vonnegut Museum

Kurt Vonnegut is a name that’s impossible to avoid in Indianapolis. Restaurants reference him (I mean, who can resist a Breakfast Of Champions insert?). Shops tack on and sell Vonnegutian phrases. The bones of Indiana, some of its older buildings, are tied to Vonnegut’s father, Kurt Vonnegut Sr.

Vonnegut is a writer best known for his dark comedies and satirical works . He’s published over a dozen novels: Cat’s Cradle , Player Piano , Jailbird . He’s famous for his short, quippy sentences. He’s most regarded for his anti-war ideologies. And he was born in Indianapolis, Indiana.

So if you’re a fan of Vonnegut, run, don’t walk to the Vonnegut Museum on Indiana Avenue. Slaughter House Five has its own exhibit, complete with Billy Pilgrim’s War Chest . On display too are snippets of Vonnegut’s writing: a copy of his 1966 review of The Random House Dictionary , book forwards, and paragraph-long letters. Plan to laugh and read (and repeat).

Travel Tip: The Kurt Vonnegut Museum offers free admission the first Monday of every month!

ADDRESS: 543 Indiana Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202 COST: $12 Per Adult

James Whitcomb Riley Museum

James Whitcomb Riley Italianate building in Indianapolis

For literary lovers in Indianapolis, there’s a lot to choose from – Pogue’s Run from John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down , downtown’s Arts Garden and Mass Ave’s Sub Zero from Leah Johnson’s You Should See Me In A Crown , to name a few spots. Those who grew up hearing Little Orphant Annie and The Raggedy Man should also head to the James Whitcomb Riley Museum , a charming brick Italianate building and former residence of the famed Hoosier poet . Elements of Riley’s time here are preserved (his writing desk!), and you can catch a glimpse of the space through a guided tour ( reservations required ).

ADDRESS: 528 Lockerbie St, Indianapolis, IN 46202 COST: $10 Per Adult

Center For Black Literature And Culture

Center For Black Literature And Culture, one of the best places to visit in Indianapolis

The R.B. Annis West Reading Room is a long, grand hall with an arched ceiling, wood-toned walls, and dark brown shelves. Big window shades drawn down (boasting larger-than-life figures) are spaced along one wall. Books fill up the shelves below. There are so many books here (this is a library, after all).

Indianapolis Public Library’s Center For Black Literature And Culture is an encyclopedic space containing over 20,000 resources (print titles, digital works, audiobooks). You’ll amble past kiosks where you can tap photographs and hear interviews . You’ll walk through a Talking Drum and hear rhythmic beats. You’ll see names of incredible writers : Ta-Nehisi Coates (read The Water Dancer ), Zora Neale Hurston ( Barracoon , Their Eyes Were Watching God ), August Wilson ( side note: Gem Of The Ocean is one of my favorite plays. If it is ever performed at your local theatre, I urge you to watch it). The Center For Black Literature feels like hallowed ground celebrating the literature and heritage of African diaspora artists and activists.

ADDRESS: 40 E St Clair St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 COST: FREE

Indiana State Capitol

Indiana State Capitol rotunda mosaic

As you’d expect from a capitol building, the Indiana Statehouse is palatial , opulent, and ambitiously designed. You’ll learn about the building’s history as well as Indiana’s ( fun fact: Indianapolis was not Indiana’s first state capital. Corydon was). You’ll sit in the seats of state representatives and senators as you wind through General Assembly rooms. You’ll hear stories about Indiana’s justices. You’ll see how neatly Indiana’s state government structure falls in line with the federal government’s. A lot of information is packed into this forty-minute-long tour ( here’s a list of the official timings ), making a visit to the Indiana Statehouse one of the most popular things to do in Indianapolis.

Travel Tip: Visit on a Saturday at 12 PM for a guided tour that’s less rushed! Parking is also easier to find around this time.

ADDRESS: 200 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 COST: FREE

scenes from the Indianapolis Canal Walk

Step down onto a flat sidewalk for this three mile loop . Situated just below street level, the Indiana Canal Walk is secluded, a private(ish) place to walk and jog . Buildings and trees are reflected on the creases of water, their edges and canopies blurring into streaks of blue. It’s a low-intensity trail , a peaceful place for a morning stroll. For the best experience, I’d recommend visiting the part of the canal that cuts close to the Eiteljorg Museum , NCAA Hall Of Champions , and White River State Park.

ADDRESS: 650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 COST: FREE

White River State Park

one of the most beautiful places to see in Indianapolis: White River State Park

One of the most beautiful and scenic places to see in Indianapolis is White River State Park . Even though the name White River State Park conjures up visuals of day-long hikes and paddling rough, frothy waters, the park is more akin to Forest Park in St. Louis , Balboa Park in San Diego, and Central Park in New York . It’s a tame, landscaped urban getaway along the banks of White River, better known for its cultural institutions: Indianapolis Zoo , Indiana State Museum , Eiteljorg , TCU Amphitheatre . Sure, you can walk and bike (and plenty of people do), but that’s not the focus. The focus is fun: taking in the views as you stroll along pedestrian-only Old Washington Street Bridge , poring through the carvings on the River Promenade, watching a movie at the IMAX theatre (inside the Indiana State Museum), catching a baseball game at Victory Field .

ADDRESS: 801 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 COST: FREE

Soldiers And Sailors

most iconic things to do in Indianapolis: Soldiers & Sailors Monument

About a mile away from White River State Park is Soldiers And Sailors , a quintessential sight to see in Indianapolis. Soldiers And Sailors juts out of the center of downtown Indianapolis. Victory crowns a gray limestone obelisk. Just past the base, water cascades into two clear pools of water. You can climb 330 steps to the observation area at the top (or take the elevator). You’ll see sprawling, exhaustive views of Circle City.

“I’ve always thought downtown Indianapolis was sort of magical, which I know is a ridiculously Midwestern thing of me to say. But it’s true.” Leah Johnson (From You Should See Me In A Crown)

You’ll spot the statehouse’s teal dome and the Indiana War Memorial & Museum’s staggered steps. You’ll see how claustrophobically tight some of the buildings are, how the grids of windows close you in. From here, you’ll realize how big Indianapolis is , how impossible it is to see it all in just a few days.

Travel Tip: If you get a chance, be sure to stop by the Indiana War Memorial & Museum. The museum honors veterans and covers local military history!

ADDRESS: 1 Monument Cir, Indianapolis, IN 46204 COST: FREE

Ruins At Holliday Park

underrated things to do in Indianapolis: Holliday Park Ruins

Holliday Park is one of Indianapolis’ best-kept secrets. It’s a place of playgrounds and trails , babbling brooks and tangles of roots. The ruins are the entry to it all. They look ancient – time worn and sun bruised (spoiler alert: they’re not). Cobwebs net corners. Greek columns circle a decrepit facade like lights around an altar. Three stone bodies , hunched over and kneeling, seem to hold it all up; they are remnants of a Manhattan art installation known as the Races Of Man . Holliday Park’s Ruins have a dark academia edge: creepers cling to bricks, headless busts emerge from weeds, a fountain is cuffed by shrubs.

ADDRESS: 6363 Spring Mill Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46260 COST: FREE

Holcomb Gardens

Holcomb Gardens in the winter, fountain in the background

Tucked away in Butler University’s campus, Holcomb Gardens is oft-missed. But it shouldn’t be. With tall trees, a small pond, and a fountain , Holcomb Gardens is a pretty little place for a springtime stroll. You’ll hear bells chime on the hour, every hour. You’ll pass through a scenic woodland. Go here for a quick escape.

ADDRESS: Garden Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208 COST: FREE

Indianapolis Food Halls

inside City Market in Indianapolis

If you’re feeling hungry, head to one of Indianapolis’ trio of food halls. You could easily make a day of it. Grab a coffee and light bite from the stalls of City Market , a beautiful, old, 19th century brick building revamped into a bustling lunchtime destination. Green wrought iron staircases lead up to a floor lined with bistro tables and Parisian-style chairs. From here, you can see the flags of City Market dangle down; the tops of kitchens are exposed and the scents of bread and meat waft upwards. Along the walls are Justin Brown’s cubist maps of Indianapolis .

Another food hall to check out? AMP . From a barber shop to an arepa bar, AMP is a place of hustling businesses . You’ll find everything from burgers to boba here. Go for the events . AMP’s spaciousness and stage make it unique.

Finally, wind down your food hall hop at The Garage , the beating heart of vendors in Indianapolis. There’s a big lineup here, featuring bowls of ramen, cuban sandwiches, gyros to-go, Pakistani-Indian fusion finds , poke, fish and chips, flower-finished cocktails , beer on tap, canned kombucha. Whatever food you desire, you’ll find it here.

Bottleworks District

Indianapolis Bottleworks District

The Garage is located in Indianapolis’ Bottleworks District. On the thermometer of trendy, the Bottleworks District is feverishly hot. It’s the kind of entertainment hub you’ll find yourself coming back to weekend after weekend. Living Room Theater offers matinee and evening shows. Woodhouse Day Spa has a salt cave [ source ]. Chic and classy Bottleworks Hotel is one of the best boutique accommodations in Indy (this is where I stayed during my trip and oh my goodness , I can’t recommend it enough. Treat yourself. It’s worth the splurge).

ADDRESS: 850 Massachusetts Ave Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

one of the best things to do in Indianapolis: sign for the Cultural Trail

On of my favorite aspects of Indianapolis is its walkability (and cyclability). As a tourist, I love the idea of a trail that connects districts (that way you don’t have to constantly repark your car). Through Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail, you can go from Mass Ave to Fountain Square . You can catch a glimpse of cool art installations like Sean Derry’s Chatham Passage and Jamie Pawlus’ snarky Care/Don’t Care pedestrian signal . If you’re looking for a pedal-intensive break, know that riding along the Cultural Trail is one of the best things to do in Indianapolis!

Travel Tip: If you didn’t bring a cycle, don’t worry! You can rent one from a Pacer’s Bikeshare kiosk. Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail website includes all the kiosk locations on their online map (along with nearby attractions).

Landmark For Peace Memorial

Landmark For Peace Memorial in Indianapolis

Indianapolis’ Landmark For Peace Memorial is haunting. In a small park along a smaller brick stretch, on two curved steel slabs, are the bronze sculptures of Kennedy and King , their hands reaching out towards each other, their fingers never quite touching.

In 1968, Robert Kennedy went to Indianapolis for campaigning. It was supposed to be a day of promotion and politicking. But when he learned that Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis, Kennedy ditched his plans. Kennedy wasn’t supposed to address MLK’s death. He was told not to. But he made an impromptu speech anyway, and it become one of the most powerful American speeches of the 20th century .

Pain and rage over King’s death erupted in many other cities around the United States, but Indianapolis remained quiet. There seemed to be a sort of healing, which is frequently attributed to Robert Kennedy’s speech. The Landmark For Peace Memorial is set where Kennedy made that speech . Visit to remember King.

ADDRESS: 1702 N Broadway St, Indianapolis, IN 46202

Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the best hidden gems in Indianapolis

In the deep throes of winter, when the cold casts a harsh spell over Indianapolis, head to Garfield Park Conservatory . Garfield Park Conservatory is permanently summery . It is a warm oasis, a jungle-like greenhouse with thick, leafy tropicals curling over the rims of pathways. The interior is a labyrinth of ponds and plants . You’ll wind past small statues and delicate flowers. You’ll see koi swim quietly, and hear the soft rush of a waterfall. You’ll feel your body move into calm, meditative, zen state. Garfield Park Conservatory soothes stress.

ADDRESS: 2505 Conservatory Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46203 COST: $3 Per Adult

The Children’s Museum Of Indianapolis

impressive facade of the Children's Museum Of Indianapolis

There’s a building in Indianapolis that will immediately catch your attention. It will startle you as you drive. You’ll see a dinosaur peering into a glass building and another breaking out from a curved edifice like a scene from Jurassic Park. The dinosaurs have a sense of movement to them; they seem alive. And they make the perfect introduction to the Children’s Museum Of Indianapolis . This is one of the best children’s museums in the world . Each exhibit is immersive and as detailed as an escape room. Kids will have a chance to stroll through Greece , step into the International Space Station, and stand by terra cotta warriors. They’ll learn history and science , watch live performances and ride a carousel.

Travel Tip: On the first Thursday of every month, between 4-8 PM, admission drops to $6 per person.

ADDRESS: 3000 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46208 COST: $30 Per Adult

Indiana State Museum

multiple floors of the Indiana State Museum

If you’re looking for more things to do in Indianapolis with kids, head straight to the Indiana State Museum . Go for the events , from chemistry of slime experiments to basics of beekeeping lectures ( see a full calendar here ). Many of the exhibits are temporary and are in constant rotation. There’s also a huge IMAX theater (the screen is whopping six stories high, making it the largest movie screen in all of Indiana).

ADDRESS: 650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 COST: $16 Per Adult

Indiana Medical History Museum

inside the guided tour of the Medical History Museum in Indianapolis

The Indiana Medical History Museum is not for the squeamish. Your gathering point for the tour is a closed room filled with jars and jars of sliced brains (brined in graying and yellowing liquids). When my mind registered what was in the jars ( it took a bit ), my body stiffened. My hands felt cold and clammy. My eyes darted away. My tour group stared at the flasks with morbid interest. I heard the words “cool” and “interesting” and “hey, look at this!” thrown around. These were doctors and nurses, aspiring medical students or parents of ones. I felt very much out of place.

If you’re interested in medical history (and not easily creeped out), the Indiana Medical History Museum is one of the best places to visit in Indianapolis. You’ll be taken upstairs to an old library and chem lab. You’ll learn about the building’s role as Indiana’s Hospital For The Insane. You’ll see a structure that’s preserved history like a time capsule and come out grateful for the advancements we’ve made in medicine. Feel free to ask questions while on the tour, the guides are happy to answer them.

ADDRESS: 3270 Kirkbride Way, Indianapolis, IN 46222 COST: $10 Per Adult

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Racing Capital of the World, one of the must-see things to do in Indianapolis

No list of things to do in Indianapolis is complete without mention of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum . Situated within the bounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval , the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is a gallery of winning cars , all glossy, clean, and pristine. There are more exhibits too, like Traditions (I feel like a lot of the ones mentioned, from moshing at Snake Pit Music Festival to kneeling and kissing bricks, belong in Atlas Obscura).

Speaking of kissing bricks, go for the Kiss The Bricks tour , a bus excursion that does one lap around the track (and yes, at the end, you get to kiss the bricks).

ADDRESS: 4750 W 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222 COST: $15 Per Adult

Shopping In Indianapolis

Shopping In Indianapolis featured photo

To me, shopping in Indianapolis looks like a bookstore crawl. But since I’ve mentioned my favorite bookstores in Indianapolis on Passport To Eden before, I want to highlight a few non-bookish places to see.

Here’s where to shop in Indianapolis:

  • Homespun: chic lifestyle boutique filled with well-designed home goods and cute art prints
  • Yellow Door Ceramics: Felissa King and Amanda Pennington’s studio offering private pottery lessons and date night classes
  • Be The Boutique: if you’re a hostess looking to throw a garden party, run towards this shop
  • Runaway Diva: trendy, unique fashion store with impeccable personalized service

Where To Eat In Indianapolis

Where To Eat In Indianapolis featured photo

Our Top Pick – Bosphorus

If you arrive at Bosphorus past sunset, be prepared to wait to sample the dishes. Bosphorous’ line is usually long and identifiable; it stretches past the front door, spilling onto the porch and stairs. The interior is a firework of colors . Bosphorus is a place of warm lights and bright, sizzling dishes . Lean into the vegetarian portion of the menu. Allow yourself to gravitate towards the words eggplant and zucchini. Bosphorus knows how to transform these veggies into soft, savory, and succulent meals.

Other Indianapolis Favorites:

  • Livery: go for the rooftop experience. stay for the paella and empanadas.
  • Bluebeard: the menu changes just a bit everyday (so no two dining experiences will ever be the same). many of the cocktails are named after Vonnegut books (my literary-loving heart is full). pair one with a salad.
  • Goose The Market: best sandwiches in Indianapolis. enough said.

sincerely anshula

Did you find this post about Indianapolis attractions helpful? What are your favorite things to do in Indianapolis? I’m constantly looking for new places to visit (and this post is by no means comprehensive). As always, I love hearing your thoughts and recommendations!

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Editor-In-Chief

Anshula grew up with a love of stories and places. Thirty-five states and 100 bookstores later, she's made her hobbit home in Middle Tennessee. Her Tookish side still takes over and leaves her chasing window seats, literary destinations, adventure books, sunrise coffee, and indie bookshops. She's appeared as a travel source on HuffPost, Reader's Digest, and MSN.

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Annie Fairfax

A Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Compendium

City Guides , Indiana , Indianapolis , Travel , United States · June 27, 2019

Indianapolis: The Luxury Travel Guide

I hope this Indianapolis Luxury Travel Guide helps you fall in love with this iconic midwestern capital city just as we did!

Pin this to plan your next trip!

Where to Stay

We loved our stay at the beautiful art hotel right in the center of downtown Indianapolis, Conrad Indianapolis, so it only makes sense that I include it here in my Indianapolis Luxury Travel Guide. The staff were exceptional, our suite was decked out in Salvador Dalí art, and there are other famous works of art by Picasso and Andy Warhol scattered around the hotel. They have a full Aveda salon and spa, a fitness center, and on site fine-dining. What more could a person ask for? Read my full review of the hotel, and why we loved our stay so much, here .

Where to Eat

Indianapolis is home to some of the best food in the midwest. Whether you’re in the mood for Asian food, something vegan, uniquely crafted dishes you can’t find anywhere else, fusion food, craft beers or wines, Indianapolis has an excellent assortment of options for everyone. Each restaurant in my Indianapolis Luxury Travel Guide has ample gluten free options.

Milktooth Indianapolis Delightful Cuisine Indianapolis Indiana by Annie Fairfax

Bluebeard We enjoyed a wonderful dinner here, and the atmosphere was casual, light hearted, and the restaurant itself is reminiscent of a used book store. It’s very quaint yet lively, and the food was phenomenal. I Recommend: Charcuterie, Tartine, Curry, & Sanctuary

Café Patachou  We first tried Café Patachou during our first visit to neighboring Carmel, IN in Hamilton County , and we loved it! Everything is very fresh and thoughtfully paired with drinks. Perfect for a light brunch or breakfast. I Recommend: Simple Broken Yolk, Yogurt, Granola & Berries, Gluten Free Vegan Omelette

Café Patachou Indianapolis Luxury Travel Guide by Annie Fairfax

The Capital Grille Located inside our hotel on the ground floor, The Capital Grille was a convenient and delicious fine dining option. They had a delightful variety of seafood and vegetable based dishes, in addition to their dry-aged steak selection. The Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis also has an in house sommelier, so it’s of course necessary to sample the hotel’s wine selection while in town. I Recommend: Cast Iron Garlic Shrimp, Tuna Tartare with Avocado, Mango, and Sriracha, Pan Seared Sea Bass

Grilled Asparagus Tinker Street in Indianapolis Luxury Restaurants of the World by Annie Fairfax

Commissary Café Grab a coffee whilst strolling the Indianapolis Cultural Trail near Monument Circle, and enjoy some of Indianapolis’ finest coffee. You can even buy bags of coffee beans to make at home. I Recommend: Iced Black Coffee

Coffee Cup Dining at Grand Hotel Where to Eat on Mackinac Island

Fresco Café A charming Italian inspired café along the Central Canal, just behind where the Indianapolis Gondola Rides pick up. This café serves Italian food, Italian drinks, and gelato. I Recommend: Trillium Cheese Board, Aperol Spritze

Gluten Free Mushroom Bruschetta Tinker Street in Indianapolis Luxury Restaurants of the World by Annie Fairfax

Garden Table I loved Garden Table so much I’ve dreamt of it. Okay, it was just one dream, but it was a wonderful dream nonetheless. Featuring raw, fresh pressed juices, vegan and main stream fare in a bright and airy setting, Garden Table is one of my favorite places to eat in the Midwest. Read my full restaurant review here . I Recommend: Fresh Pressed Juice Flight, Açai Bowl with Homemade Almond Butter and Seasonal Fruits, Smoked Salmon Hash, and Green Matcha Latté.

Garden Table Farm-Table Transparent Plant Based Dining in Indianapolis Luxury Restaurants of the World

Milktooth Another fabulous Indianapolis staple, Milktooth serves breakfast and brunch starting at 9am daily, but from 7am to 9am they offer casual café staples such as pastries, iced and hot coffees, and more. Read my full breakdown of Milktooth here . I Recommend: Cranberry Walnut with Gouda & Raclette Grilled Cheese featuring black truffle honey, and a local sunny duck egg, as well as the Fried Swiss Cheese Polenta Cake with Sunny Egg on top of horseradish sauce, pickled apple, and celery, cashew, pesto

Milktooth Indianapolis Delightful Cuisine Indianapolis Indiana by Annie Fairfax

Subito They have a different soup every day, and create some of the best sandwiches we’ve ever had. I Recommend: Giovanni, Tomato Basil Soup

Tastings An awesome spot to grab a drink and sample wine.

Tinker Street in Indianapolis Luxury Restaurants of the World by Annie Fairfax

Tinker Street Have I mentioned how awesome Indianapolis’ food scene is? It’s amazing! Tinker Street was one of the more inventive restaurants we dined at, as they served reimagined version of classic dishes like their delicious take on Pad Thai, or their repurposed S’mores dessert. Read more about Tinker Street here. I Recommend: Mushroom Bruschetta, Squash Pad Thai, Blistered Indiana Asparagus with Quinoa,  S’More Pot De Créme

Tinker Street in Indianapolis Luxury Restaurants of the World by Annie Fairfax

As the capital of the state of Indiana, there’s more to do in Indianapolis than anywhere else in the area, so no matter what your interests are, you’re bound to find something exciting to any time of the week. When I’m traveling somewhere new and looking for something specific to do, I simply Google the activity and the city I’m in, and I have great luck with that. I know that seems obvious, but since it’s impossible to list out each individual activity here in this Indianapolis Luxury Travel Guide, below are a few of my favorites to spark your curiosity that.

Garfield Park Conservatory A beautiful spot to explore in the cooler months, or a rainy warm weather day. I love coming here when we are in town and enjoying the tropical plants.

Gondola Ride Enjoy an hour long cruise in an authentic Venetian Gondola down the Central Canal. The views were surprisingly lovely in this aritifically built canal, and we were able to see some Indianapolis’ most expensive and prestigious real estate along the way. Plus, our gondolier, Flavio, serenaded us in Italian.

Indianapolis Travel Guide Gondola Rides Central Canal Monument Circle Newfields Indianapolis Zoo and Botanical Garden Where to Stay What to Eat What to Do Museums Gardens indy 500 Travel Guide

Highland Park This park might be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beautiful views. Get an awesome view of the Indianapolis skyline, and watch the sunset in this walkable park. It’s the perfect place to take photos of the city skyline.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail This 8 mile long trail connects Indianapolis’ six cultural districts, which not only improved the walkability of the city, but it also helped improve nearly a dozen other metrics of city quality and citizen happiness. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is credited with also improving the health of Indianapolis’ citizens and pets, increasing the number of jobs in the city and property values in the area, plus it has made the city even more beautiful. Along the trail we found museums and art galleries, camera shops and used book stores, cafés, boutiques, public parks, murals, and so much more.

Newfields Gardens Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis Zoo & Botanical Gardens + Butterfly House This zoo and gardens was beautifully maintained and very involved in conservation efforts both locally and globally. We witnessed zoo staff talking lovingly about the animals in their care, most of which were either rescued or could not survive on their own in the wild, and it was truly inspiring to see how much they cared about the work they were doing. In addition to conservation efforts and city wide recycling initiatives, they also teach classes about wildlife and what visitors can to do encourage a healthy ecosystem.

Indianapolis Travel Guide Indianapolis Zoo and Botanical Garden Where to Stay What to Eat What to Do Museums Gardens indy 500 Travel Guide

Monon Trail This four and a half mile long trail connects even more of the city and is a fantastic spot for jogging, biking, or walking.

Newfields Museum & Gardens 1 of top 10 largest museums in the United States, Newfields has a beautiful museum, which currently houses a vast array of Japanese art and artifacts, as well as a sprawling garden and sculpture park. Located on more than 100 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and lawns, we loved strolling around the grounds, admiring the foliage and exploring the pop ups that change every time we visit. It’s also one of the more beautiful gardens we’ve visited, so of course I had to include it in my Indianapolis Luxury Travel Guide.

The Three Graces at Newfields Gardens Indianapolis, IN

White River State Park Where city dwellers go to get a taste of the outdoors right in downtown Indianapolis. If you’re looking for a place to have a picnic, rent kayaks, or just enjoy the expansive 250 acre green space, this is a beautiful option. Once you’re done enjoying the park, head over to the nearby Indianapolis Zoo & Botanical Gardens. 

Indianapolis Travel Guide Monument Circle Newfields Indianapolis Zoo and Botanical Garden Where to Stay What to Eat What to Do Museums Gardens indy 500 Travel Guide

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Home of the indy 500) Indiana World War Memorial Monument Circle Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Getting Around & Parking

Indianapolis has an extensive bike sharing program through the city, as well as an ample supply of Bird scooters conveniently located around town, so if you’re interested in exploring more or less independently, this is the way to go if you’re not much for walking. Otherwise, the city is very drivable, and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are popular enough that there’s never much of a wait time.

Indianapolis Travel Guide Theatre Monument Circle Newfields Indianapolis Zoo and Botanical Garden Where to Stay What to Eat What to Do Museums Gardens indy 500 Travel Guide

If you’re interested in a unique view of the city, try a Gondola Ride through the Central Canal.

Parking in Indianapolis is inexpensive and there is ample parking all around the city.

Indianapolis is moderately safer than most cities of a comparable size. As with anytime you’re out in public, be sure not to wander alone late at night, stick to well lit streets, and don’t flash your valuables. Indianapolis’ police have a reputation for being very kind and helpful to everyone and they like to walk around town, which made us feel safer during our time in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Travel Guide Newfields Indianapolis Zoo and Botanical Garden Where to Stay What to Eat What to Do Museums Gardens indy 500 Travel Guide

Sometimes Bird scooters aren’t left propped up, or they fall down and we witnessed someone trip and fall over one as they were walking and texting. Be aware of the black and white powered scooters strewn around town, and check parking spots, sidewalks, and doorways for errant scooters.

Day Trips From Indianapolis

The Complete Traveler's Guide to Carmel, IN

Cincinnati 112.2 Mile Drive The Queen City has an abundance of art galleries, fine dining options like Boca Restaurant , the most gorgeous zoo and botanical garden in the nation, and a strong sense of community unlike any other large city.

Krohn Conservatory and Gardens Guide Cincinnati, Ohio The Official Travel Guide Researched, Written, and Photographed by Annie Fairfax What to Do, Where to Eat, Where to Stay in Cincy The Queen City

Columbus 175.6 Mile Drive Enjoy a dinner at M. Miranova or The Refectory, Columbus’ finest dining establishments, and then head to Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus Museum of Art, or a local winery. Enjoy a stay at Le Méridien Columbus Luxury Hotel’s Deluxe Executive Suite, the most elegant hotel room in Columbus.

Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit Michigan Photographed by Annie Fairfax

French Lick West Baden 100.3 Mile Drive French Lick West Baden is a fascinating town in Southern Indiana that was once one of the most sought after vacation destinations in North America for the well-to-do. After the Great Depression set the town, and most of the United States, down a path to near ruin, the town was revitalized and is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, attracting visitors from around the world to marvel at some of the most impressive architecture in the nation, like West Baden Springs Hotel , as well as the area’s incredible natural beauty. This area is one of the midwest’s best kept secrets, and one of the most interesting cities to visit in all of Indiana.

The Donald Ross Golf Course at French Lick Resort West Baden Springs, Indiana Luxury Golf Courses of the World

Grand Rapids 263.2 Mile Drive Grand Rapids, MI is the art and beer capital of the midwest, and is home of the world’s largest art competition, Art Prize. More than a dozen incredible museums, an abundance of festivals, pop-up restaurants, and proximity to Lake Michigan, as well as more breweries per capita than just about any other U.S. city, Grand Rapids is a wonderful place to spend a weekend, or longer. If you’re craving a taste of nature, head to Frederik Meijer Gardens’ Japanese garden to walk about a garden that expertly replicated from gardens in Japan.

Visiting Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan Beautiful Gardens Tropical Conservatory and Greenhouse

What are your favorite things to do in the city? Let me know in the comments, and I might include them in my Indianapolis Travel Guide!

Safe travels!

xAnnie Fairfax Follow Me for More: @ AnnieFairfax

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Carrington Barfield says

June 27, 2019 at 10:13 am

Ahhh I so wish I would have had this last year! I went to Indianapolis for a work conference and had NO IDEA what to go out and do lol. Good thing is we go to the conference every year so I’m sure I’ll be going again and will most definitely be referring back to this!

anniewearsit says

June 27, 2019 at 10:18 am

Indianapolis is lots of fun, I hope this guide helps you enjoy the city even more on your next visit!

Rebecca P says

June 27, 2019 at 12:08 pm

What a great and thorough travel guide!!! Looks like such a great time! Do you have any recommendations for salons in the area?

Anna Lazarson says

June 27, 2019 at 2:48 pm

I never realized how many things there are to do in Indiana! It also looks so gorgeous!

Melanie says

June 27, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Staying the center of downtown of any destination is always a good idea!! Love being close to all the FUN!

Laura S says

June 27, 2019 at 5:28 pm

So fun! I’ve never been to Indianapolis but it looks so fun!

Savannah says

June 27, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Garden Table and Milktooth sound perfect to me! And wow look at those pretty flamingos.

gretahollar says

June 27, 2019 at 11:13 pm

I’ve never been but I’ve always wanted to go! Saving this guide for later!

kileen says

June 28, 2019 at 1:56 am

Such an amazing travel guide!! Definitely need to bookmark this for future reference, thanks for sharing babe!

Kileen cute & little

Stephanie says

June 28, 2019 at 11:06 am

One of my best friends is from Indianapolis, and she’s always raving about it. I really want to plan a trip here at some point, so I definitely will be saving your suggestions so I can refer to them when I go!

July 1, 2019 at 6:43 am

Such great tips & info on Indy! It’s been forever since I have been there!

July 1, 2019 at 8:19 am

Indy is one of my favorite spots! Such a beautiful city that has a lot to offer. Great guide lady!!

sewsarahr says

July 2, 2019 at 10:45 pm

Been dying to check out Indianapolis! Ill have to bookmark this post for when I go!

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  • If you’re looking for a cheap hotel in Indianapolis, you should consider visiting during the low season. You'll find cheaper hotels in Indianapolis in March and January.
  • Hotel room prices vary depending on many factors but you’ll most likely find the best hotel deals in Indianapolis if you stay on a Sunday. The opposite is true for, Friday, which is usually the most expensive day.
  • Book at least 3 days before your stay begins to get the best price for your Indianapolis hotel.
  • The cheapest 3-star hotel room in Indianapolis found on KAYAK in the last 2 weeks was $138, while the most expensive was $233.
  • How long should you stay? KAYAK users usually book their hotel in Indianapolis for 2 days.
  • For couples traveling to Indianapolis to celebrate a special occasion like an anniversary or engagement, The Westin Indianapolis or Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel is the preferred hotel option. The hotel features an outdoor pool, a hot tub for comfort and relaxation, a gift store, and a minibar for refreshments. You can also hire a bicycle to tour the picturesque area.
  • Those visiting Indianapolis on a tight budget can stay at several of the city's affordable hotels. La Quinta Inn by Wyndham Indianapolis East-Post Drive, Days Inn by Wyndham Moab, and Drury Inn & Suites Indianapolis Northeast all accept reservations. The hotels offer first-rate facilities and services, including a pool and cozy accommodations.
  • The Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing is a great option for art enthusiasts. The distance between the hotel and the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art is approximately 1.2 miles. It won't be difficult for you to get to the art center to take in the exhibitions and concerts. You can reach the art center on foot in about 22 minutes.
  • Consider booking your stay at Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing if you're a traveler visiting Indianapolis for a shopping spree. The hotel offers stunning accommodations with free amenities. The best part is that it is strategically located near magnificent shops that you can utilize and get yourself a souvenir.
  • Individuals who love luxury and are visiting Indianapolis should consider booking their stay at Conrad Indianapolis, Ironworks Hotel Indy, Indianapolis Marriot Downtown or Crowne Plaza Indianapolis - Downtown Union Station Hotel. These hotels provide luxury services and amenities such as a spa, heated outdoor and indoor pool, free toiletries, valet parking services and room service.
  • To stay near Indianapolis’s main attractions, such as Monument Circle, bars and restaurants, consider booking a hotel downtown. Centrally located choices include The Westin Indianapolis, Marriott Downtown and the Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Downtown.
  • Planning on watching the NFL’s Colts during your trip to Indianapolis?If so, think about a hotel near Lucas Oil Stadium. The Staybridge Suites is a great choice, as it is located only a block from the stadium and provides guests with a free breakfast buffet.
  • For those who would like to save as much money as possible, consider staying in a hotel like Motel 6 Indianapolis, IN, located in The Timbers, 30 minutes by bus from the city center. Another budget option is La Quinta Inn & Suites Indianapolis Downtown, which is located just a few minutes from the city center and offers free breakfast.
  • Booking a hotel next to the Caribbean Cove Indoor Water Park is an exciting choice for those traveling with children. The La Quinta Inn is a good option with cheap prices and it features a heated indoor pool.
  • If you want to shop during your trip, book a hotel in Southwest Indianapolis, with a new shopping center offering more than 50 shops and within driving distance of the city’s airport. The Holiday Inn at the downtown location puts you nearby.

FAQs when booking a hotel in Indianapolis

Which hotels in indianapolis offer spa services.

Consider staying at Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Downtown or Residence Inn by Marriott Indianapolis Downtown on the Canal when you come to Indianapolis and require spa services. In addition to various spa services, the hotels feature spa specialists who provide haircuts, massages, pedicures, and manicures. Additionally, the hotel's pool and free breakfast are something you'll appreciate.

Where is the best place to stay if I’m in town for an event?

Every year, art enthusiasts from all across the US attend several live music and art events in Indianapolis. If you want to go, reserve a room in advance at the Le Méridien Indianapolis, which is close to the city center. Taking a taxi will make getting to the event's location simpler.

Are there any hotels in Indianapolis ideal for families?

If you're traveling with a big family to Indianapolis, you might want to consider staying at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. In addition to a restaurant with a variety of dining options, an indoor pool, and a fitness center, the hotel offers exquisite and roomy accommodations.

Which Indianapolis hotels are pet friendly?

Consider booking a room at Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Downtown, The Alexander, a Dolce by Wyndham, or Residence Inn by Marriott Indianapolis while traveling to Indianapolis with your cat or dog. The lodging facilities can accommodate guests traveling with pets. To enhance the comfort of pets, they provide pet amenities like beds and food at an extra fee.

What are the best hotels in Indianapolis near Bankers Life Fieldhouse?

The Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre is a logical choice that is close to the stadium and has an onsite bar and grill. The Crowne Plaza in downtown is set in an old train station, has an indoor pool and is very close to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse location. The Le Méridien Indianapolis Hotel is a chic choice that provides guests with lovely views of the city.

Which hotels in Indianapolis cater to business travelers?

When you’re traveling for business, there are many city center hotels providing the facilities you need. These include Staybridge Suites Indianapolis City Center, with a business center and meeting rooms, plus the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott.

What are the best hotels in Indianapolis near the convention center?

The Hampton Inn is right next to the convention center, located in the city center, and is less than half a mile away from the Indiana State Museum. The Sheraton is also located near the convention center and has a rooftop pool.

What are the best hotels in Indianapolis near the airport?

The Hyatt Place at the Indianapolis Airport location is a simple choice with an outdoor pool, airport shuttle service and a cocktail bar. The Country Inn and Suites is an affordable option offering a lending library and free breakfast. The Ramada Indianapolis Airport has cheap rates and suites that are suited for families.

Where to stay in Indianapolis?

KAYAK users usually search for hotels in Broad Ripple and adjacent to Lucas Oil Stadium .

What are the best hotels near Lucas Oil Stadium?

KAYAK users like staying at Indianapolis Marriott Downtown , Hyatt Regency Indianapolis and Hampton Inn Indianapolis Downtown Across from Circle Centre when looking for a hotel in close proximity to Lucas Oil Stadium.

How much does a hotel cost in Indianapolis?

KAYAK users have found double rooms in Indianapolis for as cheap as $13 in the last 3 days. The average price is $239.

How much is a hotel in Indianapolis for tonight?

The best deal for a 3-star hotel room in Indianapolis found by KAYAK users in the last 3 hours was $101, while a 4-star hotel room the lowest price was $125. The cheapest room found overall was for $13.

How much is a hotel in Indianapolis for this weekend?

Looking to spend the weekend in Indianapolis? Here are the best deals found by KAYAK users within the last 72 hours: 3-star hotels from $117 and 4-star hotels from $181. The cheapest deal overall was for $61 per night.

Which neighbourhood do KAYAK users most love to book their hotel in Indianapolis?

The most popular neighbourhood in Indianapolis among KAYAK users to search for a hotel is Downtown. Hyatt Regency Indianapolis , Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites , and Hampton Inn Indianapolis Downtown Across from Circle Centre rank among the highest-rated hotels in Downtown.

Which freebies do KAYAK users look for when booking a hotel in Indianapolis?

KAYAK users look for a hotel in Indianapolis with free breakfast or free parking. Top-rated options with free free breakfast in Indianapolis include Hotel Broad Ripple and Old Northside Bed & Breakfast , while popular hotels with free parking in Indianapolis include The Kendall Inn and Super 8 by Wyndham Indianapolis South .

Which amenities do KAYAK users look for when booking a hotel in Indianapolis?

The most sought-after amenity KAYAK users looked for in their hotel in Indianapolis is: pool.

How do I find a hotel in central Indianapolis?

After you launch a hotel search on KAYAK, you can refine your research by neighborhood, which allows you to pick the central Indianapolis districts. You can also do a search using the city map to choose a specific location, like Indianapolis city center.

How can I find hotels near me?

Take a look at our extensive hotel map to find the best hotels near you.

Are there Indianapolis hotels with free parking?

There are many hotels in Indianapolis that offer both parking and free parking. Popular choices among KAYAK users include Baymont by Wyndham Indianapolis Northeast , Sleep Inn & Suites And Conference Center Downtown and Courtyard by Marriott Indianapolis Airport .

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Clocking in at just under five hours from Indy, Put-in-Bay is a tropical getaway in the middle of Lake Erie just off the shore of northern Ohio. You’ll take a ferry to the island and find live music, nightlife, great shopping and food, as well as plenty of things to keep you busy! Rent a golf cart to tour the island in style! If the party atmosphere isn’t your style, take the ferry over to nearby Kelleys Island for a more peaceful, secluded atmosphere.

Travel Time: 4h 51m / 276 miles

2. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

The Island in Pigeon Forge

Is there anything better than looking up and seeing the Smoky Mountains in the skyline while you play mini golf, ride an alpine coaster, or walk into a gigantic replica of the Titanic? Pigeon Forge is a family friendly destination with lots of fun attractions, entertainment, and one of the best theme parks in the country – Dollywood! Best of all – you’re a hop, skip, or a jump away from the nation’s most visited National Park. If you’ve never seen it in person – it’s a life changing experience. Nothing like it! And admission to the park is absolutely free. Pigeon Forge is also home to one of the neatest crime museums I’ve ever seen – Alcatraz East Crime Museum is definitely worth a visit!

Read: Top 10 Things To Do in Pigeon Forge

Travel Time: 5h 50m / 391 miles

3. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee City Hall at night

Milwaukee may be known worldwide for cheese and beer but there’s so much more!  You can keep busy for several days exploring places like the  Harley-Davidson Museum , the  Milwaukee Public Market , and watching the famous wings open on the  Milwaukee Art Museum .  If you love a good festival – Milwaukee has lots and lots of them including the world’s largest music festival each summer.  The city has an endless amount of great food for all tastes, and don’t forget the beautiful views of Lake Michigan.  Take the time to explore some of the historic downtown neighborhoods and don’t leave without buying a bag of fresh cheese curds for your road trip home.

Travel Time: 4h 9m / 279 miles

4. Dayton, Ohio

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Dayton is best known as the place that gave birth to modern aviation. The Wright Brothers called Dayton home and the city is full of historic places that will give you a front row seat to the history of the “flying machine” which is how the first airplane was trademarked. One of the original Wright Brothers bicycle shops is still in tact, and you can see an original Wright Flyer at the Carillon Historical Park. Take a ride over to Huffman Prairie Field where the brothers tested out there invention or tour the mansion where they lived. Best of all – Dayton is home to the Museum of The United States Air Force – an unbelievable airplane museum that consists of four different hangars and impossible to see in a single day. See rare military aircraft and even go on board a retired Air Force One plane. And it’s free!

Travel Time: 2h 11m / 117 miles

5. Parke County, Indiana

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Parke County, Indiana is best known as the “covered bridge capitol of the world”! Located less than than two hours from downtown Indy, you’ll find a great relaxing destination with some much needed peace and quiet. You can grab an old fashioned map (remember those?) at the local visitors center and then set out to find as many of the historic covered bridges as you can, making it a perfect romantic getaway. Consider booking a room or campsite at Turkey Run State Park, Indiana’s most popular state park, for your home base. They offer brand new, minimalist cabins as well. The park has plenty of great hiking trails for all skill levels.

You can check out my post on visiting Parke County for other tips and suggestions:  This is the Covered Bridge Capitol of the World

Travel Time: 1h 40m / 78 miles

6. Adventures On The Gorge – Lansing, West Virginia

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The New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most impressive architectural feats in American history. One of the many daring activities offered through  Adventures On The Gorge  in Lansing, West Virginia is called “Bridge Walk”. You can literally walk along the catwalk beneath the third highest bridge in the U.S. It’s not for everyone, but an unforgettable experience for thrill seekers! During your stay at the adventure resort, you can zip line, climb trees, enjoy incredible sunsets, and of course – some of the best whitewater rafting in the world.

Travel Time: 5h 50m / 372 miles

7. St. Louis, Missouri

Soda Fountain at Union Station

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The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana

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Best Boutique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana

As the largest city in Indiana and the second-largest city in the Midwest, there’s always something exciting happening in Indianapolis ! It’s no secret that the city is best known for being a world-class sports hub but there’s so much more to Indy than sports. 

Each year visitors from all around the world flock to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the famed Indianapolis 500, the world’s biggest single-day sporting event! Plus, sports fans will definitely want to catch a Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium and a Pacers game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse .

Nestled along the scenic White River, nature enthusiasts will love kayaking along Central Canal, exploring Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve, and picnicking in White River State Park. First-time visitors will definitely want to learn about the city’s history in Monument Circle, peruse iconic works of art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and check out the animals at the Indianapolis Zoo .

Condé Nast Traveler also named Indy the most “Underrated Food City in America.” When it comes to eating and drinking your way through the city, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Plus, no trip to Indianapolis is complete without trying one of their famous Hoosier pork tenderloin sandwiches!

Indianapolis is also home to some truly iconic historic hotels, art-filled boutique hotels, and charming bed and breakfasts. So many, in fact, that you might have a hard time choosing the perfect one. So we’ve created a list of the 12 best hotels in Indianapolis to help you plan your perfect getaway!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

Where to Stay in Indianapolis

Where to Stay in Indianapolis, Indiana: Best Boutique Hotels

It’s no surprise that the best hotels in Indianapolis are clustered around the historic Mile Square. If this is your first visit to Indy, this is the best place to base yourself. Not only will you be right in the heart of downtown but most of the city’s main attractions are within walking distance.

History buffs will love staying in the Lockerbie Square area. It stands proud as the oldest surviving neighborhood in Indy and still boasts cobblestone streets and beautiful 19th-century homes. Many of the homes have been transformed into amazing boutique hotels and B&Bs! 

If you want to stay in the coolest part of town, look no further than Fountain Square. Not only will you find all sorts of hip hotels here but you’ll love being able to walk to all of the cool galleries, bars, and restaurants. 

For those wanting to be a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Broad Ripple is the perfect pick. Located a 25-minute drive from downtown, the peaceful neighborhood is nestled right on the scenic White River. 

The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana 

1. ironworks hotel indy.

Cool Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: Ironworks Hotel Indy

If you want to stay in the coolest boutique hotel in Indianapolis, look no further than the Ironworks Hotel . True to its name, the hotel’s design was inspired by the Industrial Revolution. So expect to find exposed pipes, wooden beams, and metal throughout this industrial-chic space. 

The stylish rooms are outfitted with plush beds, luxury bedding, leather sofas, and beautiful wood and iron trimmings. You’ll love the thoughtful extras, including the 60-inch smart TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, and comfy bathrobes. If you want to go all out, the Founder’s Suite boasts a private rooftop terrace with a fire pit, plenty of patio furniture, and outdoor speakers perfect for an intimate gathering. 

Where to Stay in Indianapolis, Indiana: Ironworks Hotel Indy

The nearby Fashion Mall at Keystone is home to all sorts of excellent restaurants, but you’ll have plenty to choose from at Ironworks if you don’t feel like going out. You can enjoy locally sourced dishes on Provision’s outdoor terrace, dine on innovative Japanese fare at Blue Sushi Sake Grill, or order up organic breakfast and lunch dishes at Rize. There’s also an on-site gym in case you want to keep up with your workout routine during your visit.

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Check Prices on Hotels.com

2. Bottleworks Hotel  

Unique Indianapolis Hotels: Bottleworks Hotel

This luxury boutique hotel is housed in what was part of the largest Coca-Cola bottling plant in the world from the 1920s until the 1960s. The entire building received a meticulous makeover and opened its doors to guests in December 2020. Expect the perfect blend of modern amenities, historic throwbacks, and original architectural details.

Explore the hotel, and you’ll find all sorts of offbeat amenities, including a vintage photo booth, sparkling water stations, and pet welcome packages. There’s also a fully outfitted, 24-hour gym and a lounge with a pool table. 

Where to Stay in Indianapolis, Indiana: Bottleworks Hotel

You’ll love the sleek rooms, which have comfy pillow top beds, 65-inch smart TVs, and art deco decor. You can luxuriate with the free Gilchrist & Soames bath products, brew your morning coffee with the Keurig coffeemaker, and snack on local goodies from the carefully curated minibar. 

If you’re on the go, you can order handcrafted coffee drinks at Blue Collar Coffee Co. In the evenings, Modita serves up creative Asian-inspired dishes – from dim sum to sushi. The trendy Garage Food Hall is just steps away if you feel like dining at one of Indy’s coolest spots.

3. The Alexander

Unique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: The Alexander

Art lovers will definitely want to book a stay at The Alexander . Every room in this unique boutique hotel boasts curated artwork commissioned from local and international artists. You’ll feel like you’re staying in a museum!

In addition to custom artwork, the rooms are outfitted with mid-century furnishings, spacious workstations and complimentary wifi, and luxe bathrooms with Aveda bath products. If you need more space or are planning on an extended stay, the Presidential Suite boasts a luxurious bathroom with a deep soaking tub, a fully stocked kitchen, and a spacious living room.

Boutique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: The Alexander

The hotel is located right in the heart of town, so you can easily walk to some of Indianapolis’ best bars and restaurants. If you don’t want to look for a restaurant, the hotel has an excellent Italian eatery and a coffee and cocktail bar. You can always order room service if you’re feeling ultra-lazy!

4. Conrad Indianapolis

Cool Indianapolis Hotels: Conrad Indianapolis

If you’re looking for a luxury 5-star hotel, Conrad is hands down the best hotel in Indianapolis. You know a hotel is something special when it has an art collection with original works by Dalí, Picasso, Warhol, and more! Plus, you’ll be connected to Circle Centre Mall via a skywalk, so the location can’t be beat.

When you’re not on the town, you can easily spend your days getting pampered at the spa and wellness center, swimming laps in the indoor pool, or working out in the state-of-the-art fitness center. If you want to treat yourself, Conrad just happens to be home to the best wine bar in the city!

Unique Indianapolis Hotels: Conrad Indianapolis

The menu at Tastings boasts the largest by-the-glass wine list in Indianapolis and an excellent selection of cheese platters and small plates. It’s the perfect place to socialize with friends. For a fine dining experience, The Capital Grille serves up dry aged steaks and fresh seafood dishes. 

After a long day, you’ll love relaxing in the luxurious rooms. All rooms and suites feature comfy beds with pillow menus, 49-inch flat-screens, and marble ensuites with TVs built into the mirror.

5. Hotel Carmichael

Cool Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: Hotel Carmichael

Hotel Carmichael is located in the heart of Carmel City Center near the Arts & Design District. The Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts is just steps away, so there’s always something exciting going on just outside your door! The hotel is also nestled along the Monon Trail, a bustling walking and cycling path.

Step inside this elegant boutique hotel and you’ll immediately be impressed by the polished black-and-white tile floors, sparkling chandeliers, and framed paintings. You’re sure to love all of the hotel’s unique amenities. Catch a world-class cabaret show at Feinstein’s, enjoy refined French fare at Vivante, and grab after-dinner drinks and listen to live piano music in the lobby lounge. 

Boutique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: Hotel Carmichael

The rooms and suites are the perfect blend of luxurious amenities and modern technology. You’ll love the extra features, including the Alexa Personal Assistant, BeyondTV streaming service, and complimentary designer toiletries. The suites are well worth the splurge for their deep soaking tubs and private balconies overlooking Carmel City Center.

6. Le Meridien Indianapolis

Where to Stay in Indianapolis, Indiana: Le Meridien Indianapolis

Le Méridien is the perfect pick if you want to be right in the heart of downtown Indy. Circle Centre Mall, Lucas Oil Stadium, and Bankers Life Fieldhouse are all a short stroll away. And when it comes to sampling the city’s food and drink scene, you’ll be spoiled for choice!

After an action-packed day, you’ll love unwinding in the contemporary rooms. All rooms boast oversized beds, ergonomic workstations, and deluxe ensuites with TVs built into the mirrors. Upgrade to the 1-bedroom suite and you’ll get a well-appointed living room perfect for a lazy movie night and comfy bedrooms where you can rest up for the next day’s adventure. 

Best Indianapolis Hotels: Le Meridien Indianapolis

The hotel also has a state-of-the-art gym if you want to keep up with your routine. For an unforgettable meal, Spoke & Steele specializes in modern, locally sourced dishes and bespoke dining experiences. The restaurant is also home to one of the best craft cocktail bars in the city.

7. Indianapolis Marriott Downtown

Unique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: Indianapolis Marriott Downtown

Whether you’re in town for work or play, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown is the perfect pick! The Convention Center is right next door if you’re attending a conference or event. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by a range of excellent bars, restaurants, and museums. 

All rooms are outfitted with comfy beds, spacious ergonomic workstations, plush chaise lounges, and large flat-screens. It’s well worth upgrading to one of the top-floor Skyline View Rooms for sweeping views of the city. Or, if you want to go all out, the Presidential Suite boasts a separate living and dining room and a luxe bathroom with a soaking tub. 

Where to Stay in Indianapolis, Indiana: Indianapolis Marriott Downtown

In the mornings, head down to Loaf + Vine market for fresh coffee and grab-and-go pastries. In the evenings, you can sip whiskey-infused beverages at Rye Bar and dine on elevated comfort food at Conner’s Kitchen + Bar. If you want to work off all those calories, the hotel also boasts a state-of-the-art gym.

8. Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown (Union Station)

Unique Indianapolis Hotels: Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown (Union Station)

If you want to stay in a piece of history, look no further than the Crowne Plaza. The hotel is housed in America’s first Union Station, which is still an active train station to this day! This architectural gem is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Crowne Plaza is best known for its 26 authentic Pullman train car guestrooms, which are brimming with historical throwbacks. Each of these unique rooms is themed around a different 1920s celebrity and boasts whimsical celebrity-themed decor. You can also opt for a more traditional modern room if you prefer. 

Cool Indianapolis Hotels: Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown (Union Station)

Explore the property and you’ll find a fully outfitted gym and a large indoor pool where you can fit a workout in. If you want to dine at the hotel, 123 West & Taggart’s Restaurant serves up excellent American fare. 

Avid sports fans will love watching Colts and Pacers games at the hotel’s sports-themed lounge. Or if you want to go to a game, Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse is just a few blocks away!

9. Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing

Best Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing

The Sheraton is an excellent option if shopping is on your to-do list during your visit to Indy. Tucked away in one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods, the hotel is directly connected to The Fashion Mall. Not only will you have easy access to a range of shops but the Keystone Museum of Art and iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway are both a stone’s throw away. 

After an action-packed day on the town, you’ll love crashing out in the contemporary rooms. All rooms boast plush beds, designated workstations, and large picture windows with stunning city views. Upgrade a Club Room and you’ll get access to an exclusive lounge where you can enjoy complimentary continental breakfasts and evening appetizers.

Boutique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing

When you’re not out on the town, you can swim laps in the indoor pool, soak in the hot tub, or work out in the exercise room. In the mornings, fill up on hearty American breakfasts at Keystone Café. At night, head over to Keystone Lounge for drinks and move on to Patio Keystone Crossings for an alfresco dinner. 

10. Hotel Broad Ripple

Best Indianapolis Hotels: Hotel Broad Ripple

If big hotel chains aren’t your thing, Hotel Broad Ripple is one of the best boutique hotels in Indianapolis. Hotel Broad Ripple is located in the suburbs of Indianapolis, so you’ll be a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the city center. 

Downtown is an easy 25-minute drive away. But there are plenty of quaint eateries, shops, and hiking trails right outside your door.

Indianapolis Boutique Hotels: Hotel Broad Ripple

Each of the 13 rooms of this charming bed and breakfast is individually decorated and completely unique. Some rooms, like Lodge Room 7, boast private balconies overlooking the Monon Trail and the White River. Whether you’re in town on business, for a romantic getaway, or for a fun weekend away, you’ll find a room that’s perfect for you!

Before heading out for the day, be sure to fill up on the lavish continental breakfast spread. In the evenings, you can mingle with your fellow guests over drinks at the hotel’s Bunkhouse Lounge. There’s also a lovely yard dotted with Adirondack chairs where you can sip your morning coffee or evening glass of wine. 

11. JW Marriott Indianapolis

Cool Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: JW Marriott Indianapolis

JW Marriott is yet another excellent hotel that’s connected to both the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium via an indoor walkway bridge. With stylish rooms and all sorts of awesome amenities, this is the perfect pick if you want to be right in the heart of the action.

One thing that makes the rooms and suites at JW Marriott stand out from the rest is that they all boast floor-to-ceiling windows offering incredible views of the city. You’ll also love the plush beds with oversized patterned headboards, the ergonomic workstations, and the modern ensuites. Snag one of the corner rooms for even better views of the city or White River State Park! 

Unique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana: JW Marriott Indianapolis

When it comes to food and drink, you’ll be spoiled for choice. You can sip your morning coffee at the hotel’s very own Starbucks, grab a snack at the on-site convenience store, watch the big game at the sports bar, and dine on Neapolitan-style pizza at OP Italian. The hotel also boasts a state-of-the-art gym if you want to keep up with your workout routine.

12. Omni Severin Hotel

Cool Indianapolis Hotels: Omni Severin Hotel

The Omni Severin is housed in a 100-year-old building that stands proud as the longest-running luxury hotel in downtown Indianapolis! So expect the perfect blend of historic charm and modern amenities. 

The hotel is connected to both the Circle Centre Mall and the Indianapolis Convention Center, and Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse are both a short stroll away. From shopping to dining to sports, this area has it all!

Best Indianapolis Hotels: Omni Severin Hotel

Explore the building, and you’ll find a heated indoor pool, a business center, and a fully outfitted fitness center. If you want to work out in your room, the staff at the front desk will give you a complimentary in-room fitness kit. They’ll also offer you a jogging map if you want to go for a run!

The Omni also boasts a Starbucks coffee, the farm-to-table 1913 Restaurant, a hip sports bar, and a chic wine bar. If you’re feeling lazy, wrap yourself in the plush bathrobe, get cozy on the ultra-comfy bed, and order dinner to your luxurious room! 

Thatis it – 12 of the best Indianapolis hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Indianapolis? Comment below so we can add them to the list!

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Best Boutique Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana

Frequently Asked Questions

Art lovers will definitely want to book a stay at The Alexander. Every room in this unique boutique hotel boasts curated artwork commissioned from local and international artists. You’ll feel like you’re staying in a museum!

Whether you’re in town for work or play, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown is the perfect pick! The Convention Center is right next door if you’re attending a conference or event. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by a range of excellent bars, restaurants, and museums.

The Sheraton is an excellent option if shopping is on your to-do list during your visit to Indy. Tucked away in one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods, the hotel is directly connected to The Fashion Mall. Not only will you have easy access to a range of shops but the Keystone Museum of Art and iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway are both a stone’s throw away.

Nick Wheatley

Nick took his first solo trip abroad to Ireland and Scotland when he was just 19. Since then he has visited over 70 countries around the world (plus 45 states in the USA). He coupled his passion for travel photography with Val’s passion for writing and thus Wandering Wheatleys was born. He now lives in Asheville with his two rambunctious kids, Humphrey and Wilhelminha. Besides photography, Nick loves eating the weirdest food he can find in a country (sheep’s brain currently sits in first place) and making Val get up an hour before sunrise to make sure he gets “the good light”.

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  • Santa Claus
  • Terre Haute
  • Winona Lake

Indianapolis, Indiana, is synonymous with NASCAR racing and the Indy 500, but there’s much more to this major metropolitan area in the heart of the Hoosier State.

The White River winds through the west side of downtown and offers urban adventures with a state park and zoo just a few blocks away.

Indy is known as the Crossroads of America for the many interstates that run to and through the city, making it a great place for a pit stop, weekend getaway, or full week of vacation.

Downtown Indy has six cultural districts to explore:

  • Wholesale District: An urban and historic melting pot makes this a great place if you want to sample a little bit of everything Indy has to offer.
  • Fountain Square: Shop unique shops while working up an appetite in this most historical of all districts, being active since the 1870s.
  • Market East: A foodie up-and-coming neighborhood with plenty of green spaces to explore.
  • Mass Ave: This is where you’ll find arts and entertainment of all kinds, from theater to art galleries to sculptures along the road.
  • Canal/White River State Park: Right in the heart of the city sits a state park along the river with a large zoo to explore. Check the calendar for local events happening here during your visit.
  • Indiana Avenue: This is an African American historical neighborhood with culture, food, and architecture to explore.

Indianapolis also has some great suburbs to explore, with Carmel and Fishers being the more traditional upscale suburban neighborhoods.

  • Warnings & Dangers in Indianapolis

OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM

There's a medium overall risk here, with Indy being named one of the most dangerous cities in America and a growing violent crime rate showing no signs of slowing down. Is there anything that makes Indianapolis exclusively more dangerous than, say, Chicago? No. It's just important for tourists to know there is a lot of violent crime here so they can take proper precautions.

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

IndyGo is the bus system here, but this city loves its cars, so it's not as popular as other modes of transportation and has its fair share of crime. Taxis, rideshares, and rental cars are available. Having a car here brings its own set of safety concerns, mainly car break-ins.

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

There's a medium risk here, with nearly 300 pickpockets in 2020, and that was the pandemic year with lockdowns and fewer people on the streets. You should carry small purses that can be across your body and keep wallets in your front pocket or in hidden jacket pockets.

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

Indianapolis gets a wide variety of storm risks, from winter blizzards and ice storms to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Flooding is another risk you need to be aware of when visiting. Extreme temperatures can happen in winter and summer.

MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM

The robbery risk is three times the national average and growing. This isn't a city where you want to drive through neighborhoods or just drive around randomly. Stick to main streets and use GPS to get from one destination to the next. If you are confronted by a robber, don't fight back. Try to remember as much as you can to be a good witness. The medium risk here is more about awareness and prevention than an ongoing major risk of getting robbed while walking down the street.

TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM

A medium-risk exists in this category as well since it's such a large city and transportation hub. Homeland Security will really beef up patrols and surveillance during the Indy 500 over Memorial Day weekend each year.

SCAMS RISK: LOW

There are a lot of scams here, but mainly focused on locals. Scammers are known for creating a sense of urgency and a "rock bottom deal" if you act "now." Don't fall for any scam like this. Don't send any money through a mobile app that isn't initiated by you, and never wire money to secure a rental home or condo.

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Women actually have a lower risk than men of being a victim of violent crime, according to 2020 crime data. The sexual assault rate is 30% higher here than the national average. The same medium risk exists for any gender, and you should avoid walking around alone at night.

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

Citizens Energy Group provides tap water for this region. There are three areas serviced and each one has its own separate Water Quality Report listing. For 2021, all water tested was found in full compliance with no violations. The utility has a Water Wizard FAQ section on its website if you want to learn more.

  • Safest Places to Visit in Indianapolis

The official tourism website for Indianapolis is visitindy.com, and you can download a visitor’s guide on the website without giving away any personal information if you’d like.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is massive, with five stories to explore and several world-record attractions.

Even walking by the museum is a photo op with a giant dinosaur wrapped around the front of the building.

If you’re visiting during the first Thursday of a month, tickets are discounted to just $6.

White River State Park sounds like it’s a long drive to get to, but it turns out this park is just west of downtown.

The park itself is great for taking a stroll and watching the river go by, but there are also several attractions here:

  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • White River Gardens
  • Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
  • NCAA Hall of Champions
  • Indiana State Museum

Mass Avenue touts itself as “45 Degrees for Ordinary,” so get ready for an eclectic tour of a unique neighborhood where you can feed your artistic soul, shopping spirit, and appetite.

Be sure to sample “The Best Chocolate in Town” while you’re there.

It’s worth the splurge to dine at St. Elmo Steakhouse downtown.

This restaurant has been serving patrons since 1902, and even Forbes magazine rates it as one of the top places to dine in the country.

The lowest-priced steak is $45, and prices go up to $135 for a cut of meat, so check out the pricey menu before you go.

Old World Gondoliers take you on a ride that will make you swear you’re in Italy.

You can take a gondola ride and be serenaded along the way or ride a cocktail yacht.

All boarding is at Fresco Cafe on Michigan Street.

Harrah’s Hoosier Park gives you the gaming action of Las Vegas while still being in the hub of Midwestern friendliness.

You have to be 21 years old to enter the casino, and you can also enjoy live horseracing here.

  • Places to Avoid in Indianapolis

South Meridian Street is the nightlife core of the city, and it recently had a shooting with hundreds of rounds fired at closing time.

While this is a great spot to enjoy nightclubs, bars, and live music, it has recently seen more crime happening due to a lot of intoxicated people and personal arguments that spill into public spaces.

“There isn’t this unlimited bag of resources that we can keep going to out there to protect a two-block area that you’d think grown adults should be able to control themselves in an environment like a bar,” IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said.

If you are going to enjoy the nightlife in South Meridian, please avoid being there at closing time, and don’t be baited into an argument.

The 200 and 300 blocks are seeing the highest number of crimes.

The recent surge in crime hasn’t left any neighborhood untouched.

There are some parts of town with higher crime rates, but they aren’t the typical spots a tourist would go anyway.

  • Safety Tips for Traveling to Indianapolis
  • The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) has an interactive crime map on its website, so please review that before your visit. Since crime rates are growing and changing neighborhoods at times, it’s good to see the most recent crimes and not have to rely on data from the year before. If you want to search for car break-ins near your hotel in the past month, you can set those search parameters.
  • The non-emergency line to IMPD is (317)327-3811. Store that number in your phone now in case you need it. For emergencies, you’ll dial 911. You should also look at the IMPD website to see which Police District you’ll be staying in or visiting to get contact information specific to that area.
  • You can request a ride-along with an IMPD officer if you’d like, and since you have to schedule that at least two weeks ahead of time, it’s easy to add it to your itinerary.
  • If you notice any suspicious activity that could be terrorism-related, you can call the local police or dial 1-877-226-1026 in Indiana. American law enforcement is very big on the concept of “See Something, Say Something,” so don’t ever assume it’s not any of your business to report something that seems off.
  • You can anonymously report crime information to Crime Stoppers by downloading the app or calling (317)262-TIPS (8477). You’d be surprised how even the smallest detail can help crack a case. Tips that lead to an arrest could be eligible for a reward.
  • For those who love the outdoors, download the Indiana Department of Natural Resources app. You’ll get all the information about water quality, fishing, hunting, and hiking. There are different license rules for anglers and hunters, and you want to know the water quality of the river or lake before you go swimming.
  • DowntownIndy.org has a list of all the parking spots and lots available in the city. There are more than 73,000 spaces, so you should have a wide variety to choose from, and this city does allow overnight parking in some areas if you are too drunk to drive or want to leave your car overnight after a concert.
  • The tourism bureau offers an Indy Daily Deals newsletter. You can sign up, and a link will be sent to your mobile device. You’ll get information about discounts for attractions or restaurants, helping you save money and know you’re visiting an approved vendor by the tourism board.
  • People in Indiana are pretty numb to any kind of severe weather but don’t follow their lead. I’ll admit, as a Midwesterner, I’ve grown pretty numb to things like tornado watches and warning sirens. However, I also know exactly how to get to safety in 2.5 seconds if need be. Be sure to use all the basic safety precautions if a tornado watch or severe thunderstorm watch has been issued, and don’t go outdoors for extended periods of time if storms are in the forecast.
  • If you are visiting during the winter, you’ll need to watch out for weather advisories related to snow or ice. The city, county, and state can all issue travel advisories or snow emergencies. In a worst-case scenario, you could get ticketed for driving when there’s an emergency declared.
  • So... How Safe Is Indianapolis Really?

Indianapolis is one of those cities where if you don’t go looking for trouble, you probably won’t find it.

The only caveat here is that trouble might find you based on nothing but terrible luck or being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

A growing trend in this area is juveniles being perpetrators of and victims of violent crime.

There’s no ongoing risk that tourists will be in danger, but stray bullets fueled by gangs or drug wars show no mercy.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor told local station WRTV that most violent crime starts with verbal disputes or social media posts, and criminals decide to handle things themselves.

“These are people upset with social media posts, feeling disrespected, parking spots, and just a variety of other reasons why people decide to pull the trigger,” Taylor said in November of 2021.

“None of which are good, and all of which are concerning.”

Car break-ins are another thing to worry about if you’re renting a car.

42% of all the 21,170 thefts in 2020 were because of car break-ins.

Many of those were related to cars left unlocked, so you improve your risk by simply locking the doors and keeping the windows rolled up.

Leave no personal belongings inside, not even your GPS holder.

Take your rental car paperwork with you to the hotel so you don’t have your personal information inside the car.

The northern suburbs of Indianapolis are much safer if the crime numbers really concern you, and you can read the articles we’ve written about those.

Going to small-town Indiana isn’t always going to fix the problem either, as high crime rates are happening across the state and the Midwest.

Just bring your common sense, situational awareness, and good safety steps with you to have a great time in Indy.

There’s a strong chance you won’t even notice any of the crime.

  • How Does Indianapolis Compare?
  • Useful Information

You'll need a U.S. Travel or Work Visa to get into the country. Check the U.S. State Department website to see if you're in a country that allows a Visa Waiver. This process can take several months, so start planning early.

The U.S. Dollar (USD) is the only currency allowed here. You can exchange currency at the airport or one of many banks in the city. Never use a public ATM here, especially at night. You can get by without cash here too. Using a credit card provides better fraud protection anyway.

The weather is cold in the winter and hot in the summer, but other than that, the weather can really fluctuate here. The joke is that you can have all four seasons in one day, and if you don't like the weather now - wait a few minutes, it will change. Bring layers of clothing, so you're not stuck sweating or freezing. You'll need good walking shoes and bug spray too.

Indianapolis International Airport is on the southwest side of town, about 20 minutes from downtown in smooth traffic. Plan for 30-45 minutes to be safe.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is critical to protecting your travel investment, baggage, and health. If you are renting a car, make sure you know what insurance is covered by your own car policy and what supplemental insurance might be smart. Ask your own insurance agent about this because the rental car company will try to sell you the highest-priced insurance.

Indianapolis Weather Averages (Temperatures)

  • Average High/Low Temperature

Indiana - Safety by City

Explore indianapolis.

  • 10 Safest Neighborhoods in Indianapolis
  • 14 Things to Do in Indianapolis With Kids
  • 14 Pros and Cons of Living in Indianapolis, IN
  • Where to Next?

Carmel

15 Reviews on Indianapolis

“Fishers, Noblesville, and Carmel are somewhat notorious for robberies, theft and the occasional murder.”

What… are you kidding? Where are the stats to back this up compared to other cities?

I now question all of the ratings on this site! This is so inaccurate!

Are we talking about Indianapolis, INDIANA? This is so far out if left field for some things…Earthquakes striking at any time? Notorious thefts in the suburbs? DMV needs to provide The Club with every car registration? Okay, I made that up, but that was a single exaggeration…Compared to the list of utter nonsense interspersed with a handful of truisms above. Indygirl called it right.

Indianapolis downtown is a war zone. You can’t walk around without being harassed by thugs and rioters. They have taken over downtown. An attorney just Aug. 25 was knocked in the head by a lead pipe and another person stabbed right after and this happened at 1/2 block from the circle. DO NOT COME TO INDIANAPOLIS UNARMED.

DO NOT COME TO INDIANAPOLIS UNARMED.

Who wrote this review???

I was born and raised in Indianapolis and though I have lived in Chicago for the past I years, I find it highly doubtful that Fishers and Caramel and Noblesville are known for their high crime. I mean come on. Those are some of the wealthiest places to live and are policed as such. Whomever wrote this review was WAY off.

This website is silly

Indianapolis is pretty bad, and most definitely got worse as of 2020, but Carmel, Noblesville and Fishers? C’mon now…that’s where people move to get out of Indy. I don’t know if I would recommend it in this day and age but I bet you could leave your doors unlocked in those suburban outskirts with few issues. If I ever travel, I know where not to get information from…

Very inaccurate. The Fishers/Carmel/Noblesville seems is one of the nicest areas near Indy. It’s fairy affluent, suburban, and very safe. Idk how they got this one detail so wrong? Check local crime data maps to get a more accurate idea of what areas are safe/not safe.

i’m going there tomorrow and I don’t think I want to go after reading this : (

for some reason my daughter wants to visit there she is 12 years old ill be sure to share this site with her

I’m from Los Angeles CA I feel like Indianapolis isn’t a good place to live crime violence bad kid summer time be lit I rather be in california it’s boring nothing to do in Indianapolis I’ll rather be in vegas

Sad reality

Well… I’ve lived in Indianapolis for about 10 years consistently…and the city in the past year since corona hit has been horrible. Downtown used to be so nice, such an urban escape…now there are homeless people gathered on all corners, at the City County Building (which used to be home to games, swings, etc.)…the drug Spice or “Katy” as it’s known here has taken over and you have to be careful where you go because someone might pop off on a crazy high…I’m so disappointed in this city. Definitely was not this bad a few years ago. The murder rate is ridiculous…I’m definitely thinking of moving elsewhere with my kids. The public schools have always been bad, but the charters are excellent (at least in my experience)..My kids attend school on the far west side at a charter and the teachers there have been great and learning they’ve received is phenomenal…im definitely disappointed in the city though. Its declined heavily in the past few years. Very sad to see. Not sure if it’s underfunded or that the funds are focused elsewhere but Indianapolis needs help so so bad. Very very sad to see what could be a great place spiral down because no one intervenes ..I definitely miss when I could safely walk downtown

Indianapolis has see better days

In recent years Indianapolis has gone downhill. It’s sad to see and experience but it’s happening. I visited this place 3 times until now, with 2-3 years in between. When I first came here, I think it was 2014 or 2015 things were pretty good and I would have recommended this city for a good travel experience. Now, after the pandemic hit, the city is unrecognizable for someone not living here. Too many homeless people, drugs and that unsafe feeling that follows you around.

The city is not as bad as some people say it is but it certainly needs some changes made. People need to feel safe again and homeless people need help as well. I would give it a 55 on the safety index, at the moment. It was once a 70+ for sure but not anymore. The city has a lot to offer besides the well known Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis Museum of Art is one of the places that you can and should visit. You’ll find many art pieces by Picasso, Rembrandt or Cezanne featured here. Near the museum there’s also the Fairbanks Park which is a nice visiting spot on its own.

The Central Canal should be a must ad by boat. Yes, you can paddle down the Central Canal. You can also walk on the pedestrian way, but I highly recommend you use a paddleboat or a kayak to really experience this.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is probably my favorite place in the city! And it’s certainly my kids’ favorite thing ever! He LOVED it here! This is the biggest museum for kids in the whole world! Definitely make a day out of experiencing everything this amazing place has to offer.

The Rhythm! Discovery Center is also a very different and interesting place to visit. You’ll find plenty of percussion instruments here (ones that are used now and some that have been forgotten).

its much worse than this. go to noblesivlee and carmel and the cops are trigger happy. go anywhere else and youre liable to get blasted if you look someone in the eye

Stayed at a crappy motel 6 at the nortwest exit onto I-465. Drug deals in the motel, heard some gunshots in the distance. Definitely had some shifty looking characters. Bring a gun and don’t make eye contact with people and you should be good

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Article Contents

  • Indianapolis : Safety by City
  • Overall Risk
  • Transport & Taxis Risk
  • Pickpockets Risk
  • Natural Disasters Risk
  • Mugging Risk
  • Terrorism Risk
  • Women Travelers Risk
  • Tap Water Risk
  • Weather Averages (Temperatures)
  • User Reviews
  • Share Your Experience

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Retro Indy: Favorite Indianapolis area restaurants that are gone but not forgotten

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2021.

The Iron Skillet, a beloved restaurant on the westside, shut its doors last month after nearly seven decades, at least for now. The owner says that he hopes a new buyer will resurrect the spot renowned for its pan-fried chicken but Indianapolis history is replete with once-popular restaurants that served their last meal years ago.

Here are a few favorites:

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The Tea Room at L.S. Ayres

The eighth floor of downtown department store L.S. Ayres & Co. was reserved for a luxurious dining experience for anyone who wanted to be served by waiters in crisp uniforms and clean their sticky fingers in finger bowls filled with water and rose petals. The tea room's chicken salad, chicken velvet soup and chicken pot pie were perennial favorites. Children looked forward to a special "hobo lunch" wrapped in a bandana and treats from the treasure chest if they were well-behaved. The tearoom closed in 1990 but the Indiana State Museum has recreated the Ayres Tea Room with similar menu items. It is open to the public during the holidays and available for private events year-round.

The Tee Pee Restaurants

The first Tee Pee Restaurant opened in the '30's on Fall Creek Parkway on a plot of land now owned by the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Co-owner Albert Ray McComb wanted to create a dine-in, take-out and drive-in restaurant that would attract customers during the Great Depression. The restaurant was known for the large tee pee on top of its roof and was open from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., "practically around the clock," according to a 1969 article in the Indianapolis Star. Specialties were burgers, seafood, steak, a special salad dressing and fresh pie. The drive-in trend caught on after World War II, especially with teenagers who hung out at the restaurant after school or on weekends. McComb opened locations on the southside and in the Nora neighborhood on the north side. But as the 70's hit, drive-ins fell out of style. All Tee Pee locations closed by the early 80s.

The Snooty Fox

This British-style pub was around for almost three decades before closing in 2011. In the now-Big Lug Canteen building in the northside Nora neighborhood, the restaurant received a makeover from the Food Network's show "Restaurant Impossible" with chef Robert Irvine in May 2011 which included improving décor and adding more British fare to the menu of soups, salads, steak, seafood and sandwiches. But the restaurant couldn't sustain itself after the changes and closed in October of the same year.

Sam's Subway

Sam Hochman started Sam's Subway on East 28th and Meridian Streets, selling kosher deli meats on New York-style bread as well as coffee, pastries, "black bottom" pie and his famous cheesecake. He and his sons expanded in the '50's and '60's, opening several restaurants around the city, including a cafeteria-style place at Eastgate shopping center; a classy club and restaurant at the Meadows shopping center; an eatery at Glendale shopping center; Miller's as well as Caves n' Caverns, a restaurant where guests would get their own little dinning enclave within a maze of tunnels creating the experience of eating in a cave. Sam's Subway went bankrupt in 1978.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Retro Indy: Favorite Indianapolis area restaurants that are gone but not forgotten

Ayres Tea Room, in February 1988. It looked much the same at that time that it did in days past. Luncheon guests lingered long after the rush hour crowd had departed.

65+ free live summer concerts around Central Indiana in 2024

travel in indianapolis area

For the price of free, you can enjoy plenty of opportunities to bask in live tunes from a comfortable spot on a lush green space as the weather warms up. Stages are popping up in parks, amphitheaters, wineries and other spaces all over Central Indiana to accommodate Hoosiers' love for al fresco rock, opera, country, jazz and more.

Here are more than 60 free concerts you can attend this summer . Some organizations, including Indy Parks, have yet to announce their summer series schedules, so check back often for updates to the below list.

Festival and one-off show dates

  • June 14: The Starting Block Party, to celebrate the coming U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials with music by The Main Squeeze, midwxst and DJ Space Bunz. Georgia Street downtown. indianasportscorp.org/events/the-starting-block-party
  • June 15: Bloombox Festival, with bands, vendors and artists creating original works. Harrison Center, 1505 N. Delaware St.  harrisoncenter.org/bloombox
  • July 3-4: CarmelFest, with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Actors Theatre of Indiana and more groups. carmelfest.net
  • Sept. 7: Opera in the Park, with soprano Angela Brown, Maestro Alfred Savia, and more Indianapolis Opera stars. MacAllister Amphitheater at Garfield Park, 2432 Conservatory Drive. indyopera.org
  • Sept. 28: Garfield Park Art + Music Festival, with local musicians and artists selling handmade goods. MacAllister Amphitheater. gpacarts.org/garfield-park-art-music-fest

OneAmerica Financial Concert Series

Georgia Street downtown. Full schedule and more info: indianasportscorp.org/events/oneamerica-financial-concert-series

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

Concerts start at 5:30 p.m. every night from June 15-23 during the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials. Highlights:

  • June 15: lovelytheband
  • June 20: Taylor Swift Night: The Taylor Party
  • June 23: Six Foot Blonde

Groovin' in the Garden at Easley Winery

205 N. College Ave. Full schedule and more information:  easleywinery.com

Concerts are from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturdays in June and July. Feel free to bring your own food or order it there. Seating runs out quickly, so bring your own chairs. Highlights:

  • June 15: Party of Two
  • July 6: Two for the Show
  • July 27: Black Velvet Duo

The Alley Sessions

The Alley at Library Square, beside The Cabaret at 924 N. Pennsylvania St. More information:  thecabaret.org .

Concerts start at 7 p.m. Full schedule:

  • July 19: Jared Michael & Premium Blend and Okara Imani
  • July 26: Grupo Bembé and Son de Esquina
  • Aug. 2: Indy Art and Soul Night, with Allison Victoria, Dexter Clardy of Shvdy Rollins and jus Will
  • Aug. 9: Goldie Ingram and Bashiri Asad

At the Palladium: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Dionne Warwick and more will be here for the 24-25 season

Fishers Community Concert Series

Nickel Plate District Amphitheater ,  6 Municipal Drive   in Fishers. Full schedule and more info:  npdamp.com .

Concerts at 7 p.m. Tuesdays in June and July, with a few exceptions. Patrons can bring chairs, blankets and food. Highlights:

  • June 4: Living Proof 
  • July 2: Country Summer
  • July 23: 2nd Wind

Concerts at the Commons

First Merchants Pavilion at Federal Hill Commons, 175 Logan St. in Noblesville. Full schedule and more info:  noblesvilleparks.org

Concerts are at 7 p.m. every other Saturday from June through September. Highlights:

  • June 22: Parrots of the Caribbean (Jimmy Buffett tribute)
  • July 27: No Fences (Garth Brooks tribute)
  • Sept. 14: High Infidelity (80s rock)

Noblesville Summer Concert Tour

Dillon Park, 6351 Midland Lane in Noblesville. Full schedule and more info:  noblesvilleparks.org

Concerts are at 7 p.m. on most Thursdays in June and July. Highlights:

  • June 13: Groove Smash
  • June 27: Jai Baker 3
  • July 25: Endless Summer Band

Clay Terrace Concert Series

South lawn near Orvis, 14250 Clay Terrace Blvd. in Carmel. More info: tinyurl.com/58j2jjw8

Concerts are at 7 p.m. most Thursdays from June 13-July 18. Full schedule:

  • June 13: Toy Factory
  • June 20: Endless Summer Band
  • June 27: Cook & Belle
  • July 11: My Yellow Rickshaw
  • July 18: Jambox

Summer Family Concert Series at the Gazebo

Carmel Gazebo, 3 Civic Square in Carmel. Full schedule and more info: carmelgazeboconcerts.org

Concerts are at 7 p.m. Wednesdays from May 29-Sept. 11. Highlights:

  • June 19: Toy Factory
  • July 17: The Doo
  • Sept. 4: Blue River Band

Late Night on Main

Carmel Arts & Design District, East Main Street and North Rangeline Road.  carmelporchfest.org

  • 7 p.m. June 15: Stella Luna & The Satellites
  • 7 p.m. July 20: Country Summer
  • 7 p.m. Aug. 17:  Midnight RedEye Band
  • Noon-6 p.m. Sept. 15: Carmel Porchfest 2024

Mallow Run Winery's Picnic Concert Series

Mallow Run Winery, 6964 W. Whiteland Road in Bargersville. Full schedule and more info:  mallowrun.com

Many shows are free between May 25 and Sept. 21. Music starts at 6 p.m. for the following. Highlights:

  • June 22:  Small Town John Mellencamp Tribute
  • July 27:  The Woomblies
  • Sept. 21:  Der Polkatz

Wine and music outdoors: Mallow Run Winery's Picnic Concert Series and special releases are back for 2024

Music in the Park

Blue River Memorial Park, 725 Lee Blvd. in Shelbyville.   7 p.m. on Fridays. More information:  shelbyparks.com .

Concerts begin at 7 p.m. Full schedule:

  • June 28: Bac to Mac (Fleetwood Mac tribute)
  • July 26: Don’t Rock the Jukebox (country music tribute)
  • Aug. 16: Thunderstruck (AC/DC tribute)
  • Sept. 13: No Fences (Garth Brooks tribute)

Greenwood Summer Concert Series

Greenwood Amphitheater, 300 S. Washington St. in Greenwood. Full schedule and more information:  greenwood.in.gov .

7 p.m. on most Saturdays between June 1 and Aug. 10. Highlights:

  • June 15: Crush Bon Jovi Experience
  • July 27: 90 Proof
  • Aug. 10: That ‘90s Band

Greenwood Park Mall Summer Concert Series

1251 U.S. Hwy 31 North in Greenwood. More information:  simon.com/mall/greenwood-park-mall

Concerts start at 6:30 p.m. at the outdoor fountain. Full schedule:

  • June 27: Garth Brooks tribute
  • July 11: Shania Twain tribute
  • July 18: Fleetwood Mac tribute
  • July 25: Morgan Wallen tribute

More concert news: 'Full House' star John Stamos will join The Beach Boys for Indianapolis show in July

Hummel Park Concert Series

Hummel Park Performing Arts Center, 5373 S. Sugar Grove Road in Plainfield. More information: tinyurl.com/pruce7mt

Concerts start at 7 p.m. on various dates from June-September. Full schedule:

  • June 1: Cornfield Mafia
  • July 27: Big Caddy Daddy
  • Aug. 24: No Fences
  • Sept. 7: Twisted Gold

Live by the Levee Summer Concert Series

Riverside Park Amphitheater, 302 S. Riverside Drive in Rushville. More information:  rushvilleamphitheater.com

Concerts start at 7 p.m. and headliner is at 8 p.m. Full schedule:

  • June 8: Excitable (Def Leppard tribute)
  • June 15: The Boy Band Night (Boy Band tribute)
  • July 20: Creedence Revived (CCR tribute)
  • Aug. 10: Run Forrest Run (90s tribute)
  • Sept. 7: Absolute Queen (Queen tribute)
  • Sept. 21: Boys In The Band (Alabama tribute)

Kokomo Summer Concert Series

Kokomo Performing Arts Pavilion at Foster Park, 721 W. Superior St. in Kokomo. Full schedule and more information:  visitkokomo.org

Concerts start at 6 p.m. and several main acts (listed below) will have an opener play as well. Highlights:

  • June 8: Material Girl & The Fame Monster
  • July 13: Firefighter’s Jeep Jam, featuring Check Your Head, a Beastie Boys tribute
  • Sept. 7: Uncle Kracker

Mooresville Summer Concert Series

Pioneer Park, 1101 Indianapolis Road in Mooresville. Full schedule and more information:  mooresvilleparks.com

Concerts start at 7 p.m. Highlights:

  • June 7: Bonham-Holdman
  • June 13: My Yellow Rickshaw
  • July 18: Chickenbone

Looking for things to do? Our newsletter has the best concerts, art, shows and more — and the stories behind them

Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.

'Too outside-y.' Read the most absurd 1-star reviews of Indiana state parks in time for summer

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Yelp reviewer "Philip B." from Highland had "no idea" why they made Indiana's famous sand dunes into a national park . While other Yelp users expressed admiration for its breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife, he remained unimpressed.

"Very underwhelming," he wrote in June 2022. "Don't waste your time. Unless you want to spend a vacation on the beach at Lake Michigan or climb sand dunes."

Gee, who would want to do that?

We get it. People are entitled to their opinions. If petting zoos had unicorns, online reviews would include comments like:

  • "The rainbows coming out of the unicorn's magic horns aren't all that impressive."
  • "None of the unicorns would pose for my Instagram photos."
  • "Honestly, it's just a slightly less fat rhinoceros, 1 out of 5 stars, do not recommend."

Indiana Dunes State Park is one of 23 others managed by the  Indiana State Parks System , which handles an additional seven small satellite locations, eight reservoir properties, two state forest recreation areas and two off-road riding areas. These are places where generations of Hoosiers have marveled at Indiana's natural beauty.

Of course, not everyone is dazzled, as evidenced by the following 1-star reviews, edited for clarity and length, from people who looked at these same places and thought, "Meh."

Others are reading: 10 popular Indiana state parks and what to know before visiting

Indiana Dunes State Park: 'Too sandy'

Why people go : Indiana Dunes State Park in Porter County is a popular summer destination. Its glacial sands "pushed and pulled by time" can rise nearly 250 feet, offering spectacular views of Lake Michigan's blue waters and roaring surf. Nature enthusiasts can saunter through 2,200 acres of lush, primitive landscape teeming with hundreds of species of birds. And that's the state park. There's a national park next door with 50 miles of hiking trails spread across 15,000 acres.

What the reviews say overall : The dunes have garnered upwards of 17,000 reviews between Google and Yelp, most of which are favorable. The national and state parks have earned 4.6 and 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google, respectively.

All of which failed to impress these people.

The 1-star reviews :

  • "The blue water is too wet and the golden sand is too hot. Don’t waste your time. The hiking trails are sandy and too outside-y." — Jennifer Ryan, March 2024.
  • "No swimming allowed due to waves that weren't that big." — Brian Reynolds, 2022.
  • "The flies were eating me alive." — Geogeann Coop, 2020.
  • "Our neighbor was a lunatic. He fed marshmallows to raccoons and harassed us to take part in viewing his nonsense. He taunted our lack of food supply." — Sam C., June 2019.
  • "Way too many idiots from Illinois there." — Scott Cronn, 2019.

How to get to the park anyway : Drive to 1600 N. 25 E, Chesterton, IN 46304 or visit the state park's official website at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Visitors to Indiana Dunes National Park can reach it via Interstate 94, the Indiana Toll Road (Interstate 80/90), U.S. Highways 12 and 20, Indiana State Road 49 and other state roads, according to park officials. The  Indiana Dunes Visitor Center  is located on Indiana State Road 49.

Turkey Run State Park: 'Not a single running turkey'

Why people go : Moss-covered rock formations, waterfalls and verdant greenery make for an enchanting hike at Turkey Run State Park . It sits about 30 minutes southwest of Crawfordsville. Among other amenities, there's a cabin commemorating Richard Lieber,  the father of Indiana's state park system. Midwest Living Magazine called Turkey Run one of " best places to hike " in the Midwest.

Overall : Turkey Run has earned 4.8 out of 5 stars on Google from upwards of 6,700 reviews.

The 1-star review :

  • "Been here about 10 times now...never seen a single running turkey. False advertising. The hiking trails were fun though." — Dimitris Valioulis, 2019.

How to get to the park : Drive to 8121 E. Park Road , in Marshall, Indiana.

Others are reading: Is this Indiana State Park in Marshall really the Midwest's best place for hiking?

Cecil M Harden Lake, Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area: You can't play your music (during quiet hours)

Why people go : Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area  is roughly one hour west of Indianapolis and nestled on Cecil M. Harden Lake. In addition to the park's forests and swimming areas, attendees can check out the historic  Mansfield Roller Mill , a flour mill from the 1880s.

Overall : The park has earned 4.6 out of 5 stars from more than 1,500 reviews on Google.

  • "I'm giving it 1 star because I wish the tourists would stay away. Most don't know how to drive, which results in accidents." — xFatalPhenomx, 2020.
  • "Worst camping site I have ever been to. You can't even play your music nor play corn hole after 11!" — Mikey Daugherty, 2017.

How to get to the park : Drive to 1588 S. Raccoon Parkway in Rockville, Indiana.

Scrub Hub: How are Indiana state park hiking trails designed?

McCormick's Creek State Park: The raccoons were doing what, now?

Why people go : McCormick's Creek  has the honor of being Indiana's  first state park.  About an hour away from Indianapolis outside of Bloomington, the park is known for its waterfalls, flowing creeks, limestone canyons and often hosts concerts at its amphitheater.

While the park has been closed since a deadly EF-3 tornado struck the area on March 31, 2023, crews have been busy making trails accessible again .

Overall : McCormick's Creek has upwards of 3,731 reviews on Google, most of which are favorable at 4.8 out of 5 stars. One lady's experience with raccoons, however, cost the park her 5-star rating.

  • "The raccoons at this park are out of control. ...We were asleep and a raccoon tore a hole in my tent and was eating the bread beside us. There was another raccoon in our firepit and another getting into our cooler," wrote Stevie Meyer on Google in 2015. "We tried going back to bed only to have the raccoon get back into my tent right beside me, hiss at me and run back."

How to get to the park : Drive to 250 McCormick's Creek Park Road in Spencer, Indiana, but be aware that not all of its facilities have reopened to the public.

While the campground and some park trails remain closed, McCormick's Creek State Park's nature center, Canyon Inn, cabins, most shelters and some hiking trails are now open, according to DNR. The public pool is scheduled to reopen Friday, May 1, while the Saddle Barn will remain closed. 

Tippecanoe River State Park: For some, if the mosquitoes don't bug you the rednecks will

Why people go : Tippecanoe River State Park attracts canoers and kayakers who want to experience some of the best river scenery Indiana has to offer. The state park is a sanctuary for bird species and a stop on the Indiana Birding Trail . Guests to the park have spotted warblers, wild ducks and red-headed woodpeckers. In addition to 23 miles of trails — 9 hiking-only with 14 miles reserved for both hiking and horse trails — the park has a 90-foot fire tower offering visitors a surrounding view of the countryside.

Overall : The park has mostly favorable ratings on Google, earning 4.6 out of 5 stars from 974 reviews. On Tripadvisor, Tippecanoe River State Park had 42 reviews — 18 rated it "excellent," 15 called the park "very good" and seven people said it was "average." The remaining two thought the park was "terrible."

The harshest critiques both from Google and Tripadvisor cited mosquitoes and loud music.

  • "The mosquitoes are like a biblical swarm." — Douglas McLanahan, May 2024.
  • "The campground is crowded in the midst of all that Indiana farmland with lots of trees. Trees sound good until you try to back your camper in. All the ones around us had scrape marks. Then there were the rednecks and screaming kids. They did shut up around 10 p.m., but lots of noise until then." — Goff42, June 2017.
  • "Beautiful area, but the air was swarming with mosquitoes and we had to pick ticks off our bodies and our dogs bodies for days." — Bill W. May 2014.

How to get to the park anyway : Drive to 4200 N US Hwy 35 in Winamac , Indiana.

Others are reading: Here's when every full moon shines in 2024

John Tufts covers trending news for the Indianapolis Star. Send him a news tip at  [email protected] .

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