The Best Things to Do in Indianapolis: A Comprehensive Guide

The Best Things to Do in Indianapolis: A Comprehensive Guide

Embarking on a trip to Indianapolis can be both thrilling and a tad overwhelming, right? With an abundance of recommendations pouring in, it’s easy to feel like you’re swimming against a current of attractions, each more enticing than the last.

If you’re feeling swamped trying to sift through what to see and do, trust me – I get it.

But here’s some fantastic news: I’ve dedicated time for some serious urban exploration and good old-fashioned chit-chat with the locals. The result? A handcrafted guide that feels like it was made just for you.

And don’t miss this insider tip – White River State Park isn’t only an enchanting green retreat; it’s also hailed as one of Indy’s top spots! No matter if this is your initial rendezvous or yet another chapter in your ongoing romance with the city, my detailed guide is about to be your new best friend.

Get ready for an unforgettable escapade across Indianapolis’ vibrant landscape brimming with delightful surprises around every corner. Buckle up – we’re setting out on your quintessential adventure in Indy!

Key Takeaways

  • Indianapolis has many activities for everyone such as the world’s largest Children’s Museum and the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • There are lots of outdoor things to do like walking the Cultural Trail, paddling on Central Canal, or riding a hot air balloon.
  • For unique fun, try axe throwing or indoor go – kart racing in K1 Speed.
  • Family – friendly spots include Greatimes Family Fun Park and White River State Park with its zoo and museums.
  • The city is full of free attractions like strolling along Central Canal, visiting art centers, and enjoying parks.

Top Attractions in Indianapolis

The top attractions in Indianapolis offer something for everyone, from history and culture to sports and entertainment. Whether you’re visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis or exploring the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, there’s no shortage of must-see landmarks in this vibrant city.

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

I love taking kids to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It’s a place where they can touch, play, and learn all at once. This museum is the largest children’s museum in the world! Every exhibit is an adventure waiting to happen.

You’ll see dinosaur bones towering overhead and get to explore space like real astronauts.

Families should check out the Dinosphere where you can dig for fossils. And don’t miss the Carousel Wishes and Dreams gallery; it’s pure magic on a ride! There are also areas where kids can try being scientists or artists for a day.

With so many hands-on activities, your visit to this museum will be unforgettable.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is a must-visit for any motorsports enthusiast. Here, you can explore the rich history of the iconic Indy 500 race and see an impressive collection of vintage cars, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits.

The museum provides a comprehensive look at the evolution of auto racing, showcasing famous vehicles and legendary drivers who have left their mark on this historic track. With its immersive displays and engaging tours, visitors can truly experience the thrill and excitement of one of America’s most celebrated sporting events.

Indy 500 enthusiasts will be drawn to the museum’s extensive collection while casual fans will also find plenty to appreciate during their visit. From classic race cars to detailed accounts of key moments in racing history, there’s something captivating for everyone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Indiana State Museum

The Indiana State Museum showcases the state’s rich history, from its natural wonders to the Hoosier spirit. The museum offers engaging exhibits, including artifacts that trace Indiana’s journey from prehistoric times through modern days.

Visitors can explore a unique blend of science and culture at this iconic landmark, making it a must-see for anyone interested in understanding the essence of Indiana.

With its interactive displays and immersive experiences, the Indiana State Museum provides an insightful look into the state’s past and present. From geological formations to Native American heritage and contemporary art, this museum offers a comprehensive overview of what makes Indiana special.

Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo is a must-visit for animal lovers. It offers an exciting blend of wildlife and conservation, making it an engaging attraction for visitors of all ages. Home to over 3,800 animals representing 320 species, including the famous dolphin adventure and the stunning Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, the zoo provides a unique opportunity to get up close with wildlife in beautiful habitats.

Guests can also explore innovative exhibits like Deserts Dome and Oceans where they can witness fascinating animals from various ecosystems. The zoo’s commitment to education and conservation shines through interactive experiences such as feeding giraffes or riding on the White River Junction Train.

With its superb blend of entertainment and education, the Indianapolis Zoo promises an enriching experience for tourists seeking family-friendly fun or nature enthusiasts looking for a day immersed in biodiversity.

Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art offers an enriching cultural experience, featuring a wide array of art collections from around the world. With over 54,000 works spanning 5,000 years of history, this museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts exploring Indianapolis.

The stunning grounds also include diverse gardens and outdoor sculptures that add to the charm of the visit.

Visitors to Indianapolis seeking artistic inspiration can enjoy a mix of contemporary, historical, and traditional exhibits at the museum. Whether it’s admiring European masterpieces or strolling through its captivating outdoor spaces, this iconic institution promises an unforgettable cultural journey.

Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianapolis Colts, is a must-see for sports enthusiasts visiting Indianapolis. The stadium was specifically designed to house various events, including sporting competitions and concerts.

Visitors can take guided tours of the facility, getting an up-close look at its impressive retractable roof and unique architecture. As a hub of entertainment in the city, Lucas Oil Stadium hosts numerous events throughout the year, attracting locals and tourists alike.

The stadium’s central location makes it convenient for travelers to access other popular attractions nearby, like White River State Park and the Indiana State Museum. With its modern amenities and vibrant atmosphere during events, Lucas Oil Stadium offers a memorable experience for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Indianapolis’ energetic sports culture.

Outdoor Activities in Indianapolis

Explore the city’s beautiful outdoor spaces with a stroll along the Cultural Trail or a peaceful boat ride down the Central Canal. For those seeking adventure, try out hot air balloon rides or horseback riding at Natural Valley Ranch.

Cultural Trail

The Cultural Trail is a must-visit for tourists, offering a unique way to explore Indianapolis. This 8-mile urban pathway connects six cultural districts and showcases public art installations, green spaces, and vibrant neighborhoods.

It’s perfect for walking or biking, providing an immersive experience of the city’s diverse cultural offerings. The trail also links top attractions such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Mass Ave, making it an ideal way to dive into the heart of Indianapolis’ artistic and cultural scene while enjoying outdoor activities.

Central Canal

Nestled in the heart of Indianapolis, Central Canal offers picturesque views and a serene ambiance, perfect for leisurely walks or bike rides. The lush waterway is lined with charming cafes and shops, making it an ideal spot to soak in the city’s atmosphere.

As you stroll along the canal, you can admire public art installations and appreciate the blend of nature and urban surroundings.

The vibrant area around Central Canal hosts various events throughout the year and is a favorite among locals for outdoor concerts and festivals. Visitors can also opt for gondola rides to explore the canal from a unique perspective.

Parks and Recreational Areas

White River State Park is an essential stop for outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers beautiful green spaces, walking and biking trails, and scenic views of the Indianapolis skyline.

Home to several attractions such as the Indianapolis Zoo and the Eiteljorg Museum, it’s a perfect place for families and nature lovers alike.

Eagle Creek Park is another gem in Indianapolis, boasting over 3,900 acres of land with hiking trails, bird watching opportunities, and a reservoir for water activities like kayaking or paddleboarding.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Soaring over Indianapolis in a hot air balloon offers an unforgettable and breathtaking experience. The bird’s-eye view of the cityscape, landmarks, and scenic landscapes is truly captivating.

Drifting peacefully above the attractions like White River State Park and Central Canal provides a unique perspective on Indianapolis’ beauty. As you float gently through the sky, embracing the quiet thrill of hot air ballooning, it’s an adventure that should not be missed during your visit to Indianapolis.

Elevating high over Indy’s skyline allows for a panoramic view of must-see spots — a remarkable way to appreciate the city’s charm. Enjoying such a serene yet thrilling activity amidst excellent weather conditions makes hot air balloon rides one of the top-rated experiences in Indianapolis tourism guides – offering tourists an enchanting journey above this vibrant metropolitan gem.

Horseback Riding at Natural Valley Ranch

Experience the thrill of horseback riding at Natural Valley Ranch, where you can explore scenic trails and lush countryside just outside Indianapolis. Saddle up for an unforgettable adventure and discover the beauty of Indiana’s landscape from a different perspective.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, this activity offers a unique way to immerse yourself in nature and create lasting memories during your visit to Indianapolis.

At Natural Valley Ranch, indulge in an authentic equestrian experience while enjoying the tranquil surroundings of the Midwest. With friendly guides and well-trained horses, this activity is suitable for travelers seeking outdoor adventures amidst picturesque natural settings.

Unique and Fun Experiences

Looking for something out of the ordinary? Indianapolis offers unique and fun experiences such as axe throwing, dragster driving, and candlelight concerts. Whether you’re adventurous or looking for a new form of entertainment, there’s something for everyone in Indy!

Axe Throwing

Looking for a unique and thrilling experience in Indianapolis? Try axe throwing! Test your aim and release some adrenaline at the same time. It’s a popular activity among both locals and tourists, providing an exciting way to bond with friends or family.

Feel like a lumberjack for a day as you learn to throw axes with precision in a safe and controlled environment. Axe throwing is just one of the many fun and unconventional activities that Indianapolis has to offer.

Unleash your inner warrior at one of the city’s axe-throwing venues, where experienced instructors will guide you through this exhilarating experience. Whether you’re seeking adventure or looking for something new, axe throwing is an excellent addition to your itinerary when visiting Indianapolis.

Dragster Driving

Feeling the need for speed? Indianapolis has just the thing for adrenaline junkies – dragster driving! Experience the rush of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Feel like a pro as you take on the quarter-mile track, surrounded by the energy and excitement of this iconic racing city. Don’t miss out on this thrilling opportunity to feel the power of these high-performance machines right in the heart of Indianapolis.

With its rich motor-racing heritage, taking part in dragster driving is an absolute must-do while visiting Indianapolis. Whether you’re a die-hard racing fan or simply seeking an exhilarating experience, trying out dragster driving will certainly leave your heart racing and create unforgettable memories during your time in Indy.

Candlelight Concerts

Candlelight Concerts in Indianapolis offer a unique and enchanting musical experience. The events are held in historic and architecturally stunning venues, creating a magical ambiance for music lovers.

Visitors can enjoy live classical performances illuminated by the warm glow of candles, providing an intimate and immersive atmosphere.

These candlelit concerts showcase talented musicians performing timeless pieces from renowned composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin. Guests can savor the beautiful melodies surrounded by the elegant setting of these venues, making it a memorable evening for music enthusiasts seeking cultural experiences in Indianapolis.

Skyzone Trampoline Park

Adventurous travelers visiting Indianapolis should definitely check out Skyzone Trampoline Park. This indoor trampoline park offers an exhilarating experience, with interconnected trampolines, dodgeball courts, and foam pits for high-flying fun.

It’s a perfect spot for families and thrill-seekers alike, offering fitness programs, open jump times, and special events all year round. With its variety of activities and energetic atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Skyzone Trampoline Park is a popular choice among locals and tourists looking for exciting entertainment options in Indianapolis.

K1 Speed Indoor Go-Karting

If you’re looking for an exhilarating experience in Indianapolis, K1 Speed Indoor Go-Karting is a must-visit. This high-speed indoor karting facility offers an adrenaline-pumping racing experience for all ages, making it a perfect stop for families and thrill-seekers alike.

Situated in the heart of the city, near other popular attractions like Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis Zoo, K1 Speed provides an action-packed adventure that complements any visit to Indianapolis.

Upon arrival at K1 Speed Indoor Go-Karting, visitors can expect to find state-of-the-art electric go-karts capable of reaching speeds up to 45 mph. The venue boasts professionally designed tracks with hairpin turns and straightaways that promise an authentic racing atmosphere.

Family-Friendly Activities

Discover family-friendly activities that are perfect for kids of all ages. From fun parks to art centers and museums, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy together.

Greatimes Family Fun Park

Feel the thrill and excitement at Greatimes Family Fun Park, an all-in-one destination for family entertainment. Experience go-kart racing, mini-golf, bumper boats, and arcade games in a lively atmosphere.

With activities suitable for all ages, this park guarantees a day filled with laughter and fun. The park’s convenient location makes it easily accessible from anywhere in the city.

Unwind in Greatimes’ casual setting while enjoying various attractions such as batting cages and laser tag. The park’s affordable admission fees make it an ideal choice for families looking for budget-friendly entertainment options during their visit to Indianapolis.

White River State Park

White River State Park offers a range of activities for tourists visiting Indianapolis, including the picturesque Central Canal and scenic walking trails. The park is home to several attractions such as the Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens, and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Visitors can also enjoy outdoor concerts at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn or take a relaxing gondola ride along the canal. With its beautiful green spaces and cultural offerings, White River State Park provides an ideal blend of nature, history, and entertainment in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

  • Exciting activities in White River State Park
  • Indianapolis tourist spots
  • Outdoor concerts at Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn

Indianapolis Art Center

The Indianapolis Art Center offers an enriching cultural experience for art enthusiasts and curious travelers. Situated in the Broad Ripple Arts District, it showcases a diverse range of contemporary artwork and provides art education programs for all ages.

Visitors can explore exhibitions featuring local and international artists, participate in hands-on art classes, and even enjoy outdoor sculptures in the beautiful ArtsPark. The center also hosts events such as art fairs and workshops, offering engaging opportunities to immerse oneself in the vibrant arts scene of Indianapolis.

Indy visitors shouldn’t miss the chance to witness the dynamic artistic community at the Indianapolis Art Center while immersing themselves in creative expressions from various talented individuals.

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in Indianapolis captivates visitors with its unique insight into the life and works of the famous author. It’s a must-see for literature enthusiasts, showcasing Vonnegut’s personal artifacts, manuscripts, and artwork.

The museum also hosts various events, including book discussions and lectures, offering an immersive experience into Vonnegut’s impactful literary legacy. Located at 543 Indiana Ave., it is easily accessible for tourists wanting to delve into the world of this celebrated American writer.

Insider Tips and Local Favorites

Explore the free attractions in Indy, try out some local favorite food and drinks, discover off-the-beaten-path activities, find dog-friendly spots, learn about the best time to visit and check out recommended hotels and accommodations.

Free Things to Do in Indy

Explore the exciting free attractions in Indy. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the scenic Central Canal, taking in beautiful views and lively atmosphere. Discover the cultural side of Indianapolis with a visit to White River State Park, home to unique public art installations and regular events.

Don’t miss out on Eagle Creek Park for some outdoor fun, featuring hiking trails, birdwatching, and peaceful lakeside picnics. Experience the city’s vibrant arts scene at Indianapolis Art Center offering free exhibits and workshops for art enthusiasts of all ages.

Immerse yourself in history at Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library; admission is free on First Fridays.

Must-try food and drinks

Sink your teeth into the iconic breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, a local favorite and Indianapolis specialty. Sip on a refreshing craft beer from one of the city’s renowned breweries, such as Sun King Brewery or Indiana City Brewing Co.

Indulge in the delectable sugar cream pie, known as Indiana’s state pie and a must-try dessert while visiting. Don’t miss out on sampling the flavorful Indiana corn at various eateries around the city.

Enjoy farm-fresh dishes and seasonal delights at local farmers’ markets that showcase the region’s culinary diversity.

Off-the-beaten-path attractions and activities

Venture beyond the popular tourist spots and explore Indianapolis’ hidden gems. Discover unique experiences like the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, showcasing the renowned author’s legacy.

Embrace nature at Eagle Creek Park for hiking, birdwatching, and water activities amidst picturesque surroundings. Delve into local art at the Indianapolis Art Center, offering workshops and exhibitions to enrich your cultural experience.

Uncover offbeat attractions such as the Rhythm! Discovery Center, an interactive percussion museum highlighting music history. Step back in time at Crown Hill Cemetery, home to historic landmarks and stunning architecture.

Dog-friendly spots

Discovering Indianapolis with your furry friend is a delightful experience. Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque White River State Park, where you can explore walking paths and open spaces while enjoying beautiful views of the city skyline.

For a more urban adventure, head to Broad Ripple Village, known for its dog-friendly cafes and vibrant atmosphere. You can also visit Eagle Creek Park, offering serene lakeside trails and off-leash areas perfect for your four-legged companion to stretch their legs.

Uncover hidden gems in Indianapolis by exploring dog-friendly spots such as Highland Park or Paul Ruster Dog Park that offer ample space for your pet to play and socialize. Not forgetting our furry friends!

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Indianapolis is in the late spring or early fall, when the weather is mild and conducive to outdoor activities. The city experiences beautiful blooms and pleasant temperatures during these seasons, making it ideal for exploring attractions like White River State Park and enjoying outdoor events.

Additionally, visiting during May allows travelers to experience the iconic Indy 500 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is a must-see event for racing enthusiasts. Whether you’re interested in cultural experiences, sports events, or family-friendly outings, Indianapolis has something to offer during these times of the year.

Recommended hotels and accommodations

Looking for a comfortable stay in Indianapolis? The city offers a diverse range of hotel options to suit every traveler’s needs, from budget-friendly to luxurious accommodations. Downtown hotels like The Westin Indianapolis and Hyatt Regency Indianapolis provide convenience and easy access to popular attractions like White River State Park and Lucas Oil Stadium.

If you prefer a boutique experience, consider The Alexander, known for its unique art-inspired design. For those seeking extended stays or apartment-style living, the Staybridge Suites Indianapolis Downtown-Convention Center offers spacious suites with full kitchens.

Additionally, if you’re traveling with pets, both the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel and Le Méridien Indianapolis are pet-friendly options conveniently located near top attractions.


In conclusion, Indianapolis offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for all types of travelers. From world-class museums to outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

You’ve discovered top landmarks such as the Children’s Museum and the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Are you ready to explore the rich history, sports culture, and entertainment options that Indianapolis has to offer? Take advantage of these practical tips and start planning your unforgettable trip today! The impact of immersing yourself in the unique experiences and local favorites will create lasting memories.

Consider this guide a roadmap to unlocking the best that Indianapolis has to offer.

Interesting facts about Indianapolis


1. What are some must-see places in Indianapolis?

Some must-see places in Indianapolis include famous landmarks, local attractions, and exciting museums that offer cultural experiences for visitors.

2. Can you suggest any fun activities to do in Indianapolis?

You can enjoy a range of entertaining activities in Indianapolis such as sightseeing tours, attending lively events, and checking out entertainment options around the city.

3. Are there any unique events I should check out while visiting Indianapolis?

Yes, Indianapolis hosts various events throughout the year that showcase its rich culture and community spirit, making them worth adding to your travel guide.

4. What are some points of interest for travelers in Indianapolis?

Travelers will find many points of interest like historic landmarks, vibrant tourist spots, and engaging entertainment venues across Indianapolis.

5. How can I get information on the best things to do when I visit Indianapolis?

For up-to-date details on the best things to do during your trip, consult an inclusive travel guide tailored specifically for exploring all that is offered by this dynamic city.

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