09/12/2022

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27 Fun & Best Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana

27 Fun & Best Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis is located in Marion County and is the state capital of Indiana. Its geographical location puts it almost exactly in the center of the state, while its designation as the capital city makes it home to dozens of unique museums, colleges, art venues, historic sites, and parks.

Known as “Indy” by the locals, this vibrant city features a National Historic Landmark Memorial, famous fine Indianapolis craft beers, the NCAA hall of fame museum, and more than one woodland wildlife preserve. Prior to these modern attractions, the area was originally home to some of the tribes of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.

In 1768, the Six Nations deeded almost 5,000 square miles of land to a Philadelphia trading company as payment for goods taken illegally by members of several different Six Nations tribes. The new owners of this land named the area Indiana, meaning “Land of the Indians.” When Indiana became a state in 1816, it kept this name.

Today, museums such as the Eiteljorg Museum feature exhibits that honor the American Indians who inhabited the area during the days it belonged to the Six Nations. The word Indianapolis was derived from the new state’s name with the Greek word “polis” (city) added. The state’s capital can therefore be roughly translated as “City of the Land of the Indians.” Now you know!

This rich Indianapolis history can be seen in Indiana art collections, tourist attractions, and historic places throughout the city. Interested yet? Read on for more!

Indianapolis 3 Day Indy Attraction Pass
1. Indianapolis: 3-Day Indy Attraction Pass
Top Recommendation


The Indianapolis 3-Day Attraction Pass is the perfect way to experience all the best that the city has to offer. From White River State Park to the Children’s Museum, there are a variety of attractions that will appeal to all ages and interests. With this pass, you can visit as many attractions as you like during normal operating hours, so you can spend as much or as little time at each destination as you want. Plus, the pass is delivered to your phone for safe and convenient mobile entry, so you can hit the ground running when you arrive in Indianapolis.

Fountain Square Food Tour
2. Fountain Square Food Tour


! On this unique tour, you’ll use all your senses to explore one of Indianapolis’ most vibrant neighborhoods. From locally-owned eateries to art galleries and theaters, there’s plenty to see and do in Fountain Square. You’ll start your tour at the local meadery, where you’ll sample small-batch meads and learn about this delicious honey wine. Next, it’s off to enjoy some globally-inspired cuisine. French, Greek, and Thai specialties are just a few of the options you’ll have to choose from.

Walking Tour of Downtown Indianapolis Sights Stories
3. Smartphone-Guided Walking Tour of Downtown Indianapolis Sights & Stories


This innovative tour allows you to discover the city at your own pace, in the privacy of your own group. Led by your smartphone, you’ll visit iconic spots, learn about their stories, and discover fun facts and trivia. With the knowledge of a local in your pocket, you’re sure to have a great time exploring the city on-foot.

TLDR

Below is a list of a few of the must-see Indianapolis tourist attractions.

  • Most significant landmark – Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
  • Best park – Eagle Creek Park
  • Best free activity – Indianapolis Cultural Trail
  • Best activity for kids – Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  • Best activity for adults – The Indianapolis Art Center
  • Best food – High Velocity
  • Best nightlife – Howl at the Moon
  • Best all-around accommodationConrad Indianapolis

Best and Fun Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana

1. Eiteljorg Museum

Address: 500 West Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

The Eiteljorg Museum was founded by Harrison Eiteljorg and other civic leaders in 1989 with the goal of honoring and appreciating the American Indians who were the original inhabitants of the area now known as the state of Indiana. It features exhibits that showcase art, stories, and archaeological finds from both the Native American cultures and the early American West. Though often referred to by its abbreviated name, the full name of this amazing institution is the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Some of the most popular exhibits include those which reflect the museum’s name and display American Indians and Western art. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum features special exhibits such as Contemporary Native Art and the annual Quest for the West public exhibition.

Featured artists are also highlighted with special exhibits and appearances throughout the year. In addition, an outdoor garden showcases stunning artwork by artists throughout North America. For more information on the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, please visit the website.

If you’re looking for a place to stay that will complement your day at the museum, consider Conrad Indianapolis. It features artwork by Dali, Picasso, Warhol, and others and is very close to the Eiteljorg Museum.

2. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Address: 3000 North Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208

Known as the world’s largest children’s museum, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a true one-of-a-kind experience that adults and kids will both enjoy! In addition to the miniature town setting most children’s museums display, there are also a variety of other hands-on exhibits, including an interactive walk-through of the International Space Station, a glimpse of ancient art and culture at the National Geographic Treasures of the Earth exhibit, the Playscape, and the Lilly Theater with live performances.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is so large that families should plan on spending at least an entire day just exploring! There is an exhibit that looks back at the days when the railroad was first introduced to the area, a functioning carousel, a 5-story blown glass exhibit, and an American POP culture area. Visitors can also experience the Dinosphere, where you can walk through a landscape filled with life-sized dinosaurs and learn about this amazing part of Earth’s history.

With a number of additional permanent exhibits as well as special exhibits and events, this children’s museum will educate and entertain for hours. Since most of the areas are hands-on, kids will especially love everything this museum has to offer! The SpringHill Suites by Marriott Indianapolis Keystone is a nice accommodation to consider in this neighborhood.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Lafayette, Indiana

3. Canal Walk

Canal Walk

Address: 801 West Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

The Canal Walk is a favorite location for both locals and tourists. A part of the Indiana Central Canal, the Canal Walk is a waterside promenade that offers beautiful views of the water for a romantic evening stroll, an early morning jog, or a lovely bike ride through the downtown area.

Visitors can also rent pedal boats at the Indiana State Museum to take onto the water itself. Gondola rides and kayak rentals may also be available depending on the time of year.

The Canal Walk is a 3-mile path that runs north through Downtown Indianapolis between the White River State Park and 11th Street. It offers stunning views of the Downtown Indianapolis skyline as well as fun interactions with some of the ducks and geese that also find the canal a delightful place to visit.

Dog walking, sightseeing, and relaxing on one of the promenade benches are other popular activities along this lovely walk. Sleepy? If you’re looking for a cozy place to stay close to this downtown location, try out the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Greenwood, Indiana

4. Indianapolis Museum of Art

Address: 4000 North Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN 46208

The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields features a vast collection of art from multiple artists and genres. The museum is considered to have the most comprehensive collection of Neo-Impressionist art and paintings in North America and provides a comfortable and accessible viewing experience.

In addition to the Neo-Impressionist collection, the Indianapolis Museum of Art features masterpieces by Rembrandt, Cezanne, Picasso, and Lichtenstein, among others. Additional art genres on display include Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, and works in contemporary design.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art also contains a collection of art from around the world, including pieces from ancient Greece, South America, and Asia, as well as several fascinating photographic displays. Be sure to check out the Museum and Garden Gift Shop on your way out!

To ensure the art on display is accessible to everyone, the museum provides special assistance for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who are partially-sighted or blind, and offers a program for individuals with dementia.

5. The Lilly House

The Lilly House

Address: 4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46208

Also located on the Newfields art and nature campus is the Lilly House. Built in 1907, this French-inspired estate features beautiful architecture and grand landscapes that continue to invite admiration more than a hundred years later.

The Lilly House and gardens have undergone painstaking restorations to return much of the home to its 1930s appearance. The first floor of the house features furniture, art, and decorations that were owned and used by the Lilly family during the years they lived on the estate.

The upper and lower levels of this national historic landmark offer displays, public event spaces, and sweeping views of the lovely gardens. The Lilly House even has a garage with an early 20th-century car on display to make the picture complete.

Tours are self-guided and can be accessed through the use of a mobile phone. The home is accessible, and service animals are welcome, though strollers must be left outside.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Warsaw, Indiana

6. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park

Address: 4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46208

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park feature outdoor contemporary works of art, a 35-acre lake, and the largest pollinator meadow in the city of Indianapolis. Located on the Newfields grounds, this lovely space is both a nature center and a place to enjoy some unique interactive art.

Kids love to jump around the large fiberglass bones at the “Funky Bones” exhibit or climb through a concrete tunnel at the “Park of the Laments” exhibit. The other side of this tunnel opens onto a quiet garden with 3,000 individual plants of more than 50 species.

The art and nature park also features some amazing bird-watching opportunities. A 50-foot high platform offers birds 25-square feet of nesting space. The platform provides nesting grounds for a variety of bird species, including great-horned owls, black-crowned night herons, ospreys, and bald eagles! A bird feeder attracts even more birds and has its own live camera feed, so guests can enjoy these feathered visitors on the grounds as well as at home!

7. Fountain Square Food Tour

Address: Intersection of Virginia Ave at Shelby and Prospect Streets, Indianapolis, IN 46203

The Fountain Square Food Tour is the perfect way to see the beautiful Fountain Square district while also sampling some of the best food and drink in Indianapolis! This 3-hour walking tour stops at several different local restaurants and bars so guests can sample a variety of cuisines ranging from international foods to Midwestern favorites. The tour also offers a sampling of locally-brewed ciders and meads, as well as other favorites.

In addition to all the great fare, this amazing food tour provides a glimpse of some of the area’s famous buildings, landmarks, and history. This includes an outside look at the Fountain Square Theatre and the Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery. The tour cost includes all taxes and fees, food tasting, lunch, gratuities, and drinks (unless otherwise specified).

See Related: Best Boston Tours | Food, Walking, and Sightseeing

8. Duckpin Bowling

Address: 1105 Prospect St., Indianapolis, IN 46203

Located in the Fountain Square Theatre building, this original duckpin bowling alley first opened in 1928. Following years of abandonment, the bowling alley was restored and reopened in 1993 with its original 1930s duckpin lanes.

This early 1900s style of bowling uses a smaller bowling ball and smaller pins and is played using slightly different rules than today’s standard bowling. Though once a very popular sport, duckpin bowling lanes now exist mainly in the Eastern United States, with only two exceptions. One of those exceptions is found in Indianapolis, Indiana!

The bowling alley offers two different duckpin experiences: action duckpin bowling and atomic duckpin bowling. The atomic bowling option features all authentic 1950s and 1960s equipment and seats 98 people in the café area.

The action duckpin option has 8 lanes of bowling, a billiards table, and seats 110 people in the café area. The cafes in both areas offer fare ranging from appetizers and salads to burgers and pizza. There is also a catered menu available for private parties or larger groups.

Though walk-ins are welcome, lane availability cannot be guaranteed without reservations. To book a lane or to learn more about this traditional bowling experience, be sure to visit the website!

See Related: Best Minnesota Foods You Need to Try

9. Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Address: 4790 West 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46222

Known as the Racing Capital of the World, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is the oldest racetrack in the United States that has continually remained in use. It hosted its first race in 1909 and has been the home of some of the most famous motor races in the world.

These races include the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon 200, and before its change in location, the IMS was also the home of the United States Grand Prix. In addition to these events, the speedway is known for being the largest seating facility in the world and hosting the largest single-day sporting event in the world (the Indianapolis 500).

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway also offers visitors the chance to participate in all the excitement outside of race-day activities. Other opportunities include the Indy Racing Experience Driving Program, where guests get to drive an NTT IndyCar Series vehicle that has competed in the Indianapolis 500.

There is also the Indy Racing Experience Two-Seat Ride that puts guests in a modified NTT IndyCar Series vehicle. An experienced driver takes the passenger around the track at racing speeds and g-forces that only professional drivers get to feel.

In addition to these on-track opportunities, there are also several different grounds tours that guests can enjoy. These include the “Kiss the Bricks” tour, the Golf Cart Tour, and a Behind the Scenes tour.

For more information on everything, you can experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, visit this website. After the track experience, Holiday Inn Indianapolis Airport, an IHG Hotel, is a good lodge if you wish to spend a night.

See Related: Best Day Car Rentals

10. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Address: 4750 West 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46222

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum pays homage to the 100-year history of motor racing in Indianapolis. Uniquely placed inside the motor speedway racing oval itself, the museum features exhibits dedicated to racing history as well as cultural themes relating to the racing world. Both permanent and mini-exhibits are on display, as are a collection of race cars, racing trophies, automobiles, and other racing-related media and documents.

The hosts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum are responsible for leading the tours of the speedway itself (as outlined in #9) as well as providing special guided tours of the museum. An additional View From the Top Tour is also available for those who wish to see the famous Victory Podium and the Pagoda during their visit.

Tour times, tickets, and pricing are subject to change, so please click here for more information on the museum and reservations. If you’d like to stay close to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, consider this comfy rental with all the amenities of your home!

11. Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo

Address: 1200 West Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46222

The Indianapolis Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the United States that does not receive government funding. For more than 50 years, it has functioned as a non-profit zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden that features some of the most unique exhibits in the country! These include the nation’s largest shark touch pool, an underwater dolphin viewing dome that is the only one of its kind in the world, and hives with more than 20,000 honey bees!

The Indianapolis Zoo sits on sprawling 64 acres of land and features the White River Gardens, the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, and animal-feeding opportunities. Also located on the grounds are a variety of rides and attractions that include a carousel, roller coaster, skyline ride, and train. Children ages 5 and under will enjoy the fully accessible Tots Treehouse and Play Area, where they can jump, climb, and swing just like the orangutans!

The Indianapolis Zoo also offers overnight adventures, an in-water Dolphin Adventure, and a Sloth Adventure for those who would like an even greater hands-on experience. Please note that some of these activities may require an additional fee. This 3-day Indy Tour will guide you through this attraction and a lot more.

See Related: Tourist-Friendly Native Indian Reservations to Visit

12. White River State Park

White River State Park

Address: 801 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

White River State Park in Downtown Indianapolis provides 250 acres of green space, nature trails, beautiful landscapes, and amazing attractions. Visitors can find the Indiana State Museum and IMAX Theater, TCU Amphitheater, Indianapolis Zoo, and Eiteljorg Museum within the state park. Also located here is Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians Triple-A baseball team and the NCAA Hall of Champions.

The lovely park and its trails can be enjoyed on foot or by bicycle. A bike rental shop in the White River State Park offers fun on wheels with a variety of bicycles and 4-wheel vehicles that fit the needs of every skill level.

This amazing park features several public art exhibits as well as the Urban Wilderness Trail that wanders along the White River. The trail is so full of native Indiana wildlife and vegetation that you won’t believe you’re actually in the middle of a city! The White River State Park hosts events throughout the year and also has rental spaces available for weddings and other special occasions.

13. Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

Address: 543 Indiana Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46202

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is dedicated to honoring and preserving the many artistic contributions of Kurt Vonnegut. The late artist, writer, and teacher was an Indianapolis native who left a lasting legacy of education and cultural inspiration that has impacted both the city and the nation.

The museum offers visitors the opportunity to see the writer’s actual typewriter, reading glasses, and other personal pieces on loan from his family. His Purple Heart and artwork are also available for viewing.

In addition to the items on display, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library offers workshops, classes, and special events for the Indianapolis community as well as visitors from around the world. A museum store provides unique merchandise and memorabilia to help inspire guests long after their visit is over.

See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota: History, Culture, and Art

14. Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Address: 132 West Walnut Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Located in Downtown Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an 8-mile walking and biking path that connects many different neighborhoods, entertainment venues, and cultural districts throughout the city. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail also connects three public spaces in the downtown area: Lugar Plaza, Downtown Canal Walk, and Georgia Street.

At Lugar Plaza, visitors can enjoy a picnic on the lawn, let their kids play in the splash pad, relax on the swings, or just take the time to enjoy the city skyline. The 3-mile Canal Walk (#3 on the list) lets guests take a stroll along the river, enjoy a bike ride, or let the kids play at Downtown Indianapolis’ newest and largest playground, the Colts Canal Playspace.

Finally, Georgia Street features restaurants, quick access to event venues such as the Convention Center or Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and a vibrant environment for an evening with friends.

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is a unique way to see the city while also experiencing the vibe of the diverse neighborhoods. Its close proximity to restaurants, bars, and other venues makes it perfect for an outing with friends.

15. Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium

Address: 500 South Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225

Indianapolis, Indiana, is home to more than a few famous sports teams and facilities. This includes the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. In addition to game-day activities, visitors can also visit the field for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Public tours usually last about 75 minutes and provide access to an NFL locker room, the press box, the field, and other areas normally off-limits to the public. Special private tours can also be scheduled in advance for an additional fee.

In addition to football, the Lucas Oil Stadium hosts special events for marching bands, band competitions, live concerts, and Supercross. Located near the stadium and its events is the amazing restaurant, High Velocity. This highly-rated, sports-themed eatery features more than 60 TVs, local beer, and amazingly good food!

See Related: Best Road Trip Games For Couples

16. Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Address: 125 S Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Indianapolis is home to the Indiana Pacers. This NBA basketball team plays at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse, a venue that hosts sporting events as well as live concerts and performances. The building was constructed to be reminiscent of the fieldhouse gymnasiums that are common across the state of Indiana and was intended to bring a sense of cozy familiarity to the downtown skyline.

Additional events held at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse include rodeos, conventions, ice skating performances, high school championships, and the national FFA convention. Though the fieldhouse is not currently offering tours of the facility, that policy may change in the future, and visitors are encouraged to check the website for updates.

17. NCAA Hall of Champions

NCAA Hall of Champions

Address: White River State Park, 700 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

The NCAA Hall of Champions museum is dedicated to honoring talented athletes, coaches, and other participants in collegiate sports. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is responsible for regulating the rules and policies of intercollegiate sports for both men’s and women’s athletics.

This hall of fame museum provides an in-depth look at what it takes for athletes to enter the world of collegiate-level competition. The NCAA Hall of Champions features two floors of exhibits that represent all 24 of the current NCAA sports.

These interactive displays include trivia, college sports artifacts and memorabilia, video highlights, and current rankings. Also featured at the museum is a play area with sports simulators, a ski simulator, and a 1930s-style retro gym. This hands-on museum is a must-see for every sports enthusiast!

See Related: Best National Parks in the Midwest (+ NPS Sites)

18. Rhythm! Discovery Center

Address: Claypool Court Building, 110 West Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

On the list of fun things to do in Indianapolis is the Rhythm! Discovery Center. This unique percussion museum provides an interactive experience with a wide variety of percussion instruments ranging from drums and cymbals to tam-tams and tambourines.

The discovery center also features special events, live performances, and special exhibits throughout the year. Visitors can explore their interest in rhythm and percussion by jamming in the Grove Space, learning about the earliest percussion instruments, and seeing the Celestaphone, an instrument made of meteorites!

The Rhythm! Discovery Center provides opportunities for school group tours and larger group tours upon request. Each tour will feature a guided walk through the center and a facilitated interactive drum circle. This imaginative space is one of the best places to visit in Indianapolis!

19. Indiana Medical History Museum

Address: 3270 Kirkbride Way, Indianapolis, IN 46222

Located where the Central State Hospital once stood, the Indiana Medical History Museum is one of the most unique Indianapolis tourist attractions. It provides a look at the history of medicine and psychiatry by introducing visitors to early techniques and methodologies.

The Old Pathology Building at the museum once housed the Pathological Department, which was dedicated to discovering the physical causes behind mental health and mental diseases. Completed in 1896, this building is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest surviving pathology facility in the nation.

On display at this unique museum is the original Pathological Department with its equipment intact. Exhibits feature several laboratories, the library, the records room, and the reception room. The autopsy and anatomical museum are also must-see exhibits, with the latter containing preserved brains and other anatomical specimens.

In addition to the equipment and specimens available for viewing, this museum which was once called the “Indiana Hospital for the Insane,” hosts special events and programs on topics including mental health, both past and present, forensic science, and careers in health. Tours of the Indiana Medical History Museum must be scheduled in advance. Self-guided tours of The Medicinal Plant Garden at the museum are also available.

See Related: Best Travel Juicers to Stay Healthy on the Go

20. Indiana State Museum

Indiana State Museum

Address: 650 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204

The Indiana State Museum is a unique way to explore the state of Indiana and is one of the most interesting Indianapolis activities. While the museum does feature an Indianapolis site with displays, exhibits, and activities, there are also 12 other sites located throughout the state.

These additional sites include the Angel Mounds in Evansville, the Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, and the Whitewater Canal in Metamora. The Indianapolis location of the museum features 3 floors of exhibits and displays that cover an amazing array of topics.

Look deep into Indiana’s past by visiting the Ancient Seas exhibit, view the huge skeletons of the Ice Age animals that once roamed the state at the Frozen Reign exhibit, or learn about Indiana’s American Indian history by viewing the First Nations exhibit. Also featured are displays that focus on the natural regions of Indiana, the history of how Indiana became a state, Indiana’s pioneer past, and the people who helped the state become what it is today.

The amazing Indiana State Museum offers delectable dishes at two different restaurants and an engaging museum gift shop, making the location one of the best places to see in Indianapolis.

21. Eagle Creek Park

Eagle Creek Park

Address: 7840 West 56th St., Indianapolis, IN 46254

Situated on 5,400 acres of land and water, Eagle Creek Park is one of the top 10 largest municipal parks in the United States. It features a lake, hiking trails, nature centers, walking trails, boating, fishing, and more. The park consists of terrain that includes meadows, woods, lakes, ponds, and a reservoir. There are also many different plant and animal species native to Indiana and opportunities to observe them in their natural habitat.

The Earth Discovery Center located within the park is an amazing chance to see some of the wildlife up close! The Exhibit Hall contains different species of reptiles, fish, amphibians, and snakes. A beehive, plant displays, artwork, and other exhibits are also found in the discovery center. Educational programs and special events take place throughout the year and offer even more opportunities to learn about the natural environment of Eagle Creek Park.

Also located on the park grounds is the Ornithology Center. Eagle Creek Park is known as an excellent birding location with species such as the bald eagle, double-crested cormorant, grebe, and loon frequenting the area. The center is situated on top of a bluff that overlooks the bird sanctuary. The variety of habitats surrounding the Ornithology Center makes it perfect for year-round birding.

See Related: Best State and National Parks in South Carolina

22. Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Address: 1230 North Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

As the former home of the 23rd President of the United States, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site features the beautiful 10,000-square-foot home of Benjamin Harrison and his family. Built in Italianate Victorian style, this lovely national historic landmark gives visitors the chance to experience life in the late 1800s.

The home showcases many of the decorations, furniture, and artwork that was once owned by President Harrison. Several poignant political artifacts and memorabilia are also on display.

The red barn behind the home serves as the Welcome Center, where guided tours start each day. Though the tours usually run at scheduled intervals, the special events hosted at home may interrupt these times. Please check for operating hours before you plan your visit to ensure tours are running as expected. For more information on the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, please click here.

23. Soldiers and Sailors Monument & Indiana War Memorial Museum

27 Fun & Best Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana

Address: 1 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is a stunning tribute to the Indiana-born men and women who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Frontier Wars, and the Spanish-American War. This monument and official memorial stands over 284 feet high and is made from gray oolitic limestone that was taken from the quarries in Owen County, Indiana.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument features a variety of sculptures that are placed on the structure as well as around it. These sculptures depict different branches of the early military as well as other military themes. There is also an observatory within the monument that can be reached by climbing 330 stairs to an elevation of more than 230 feet above the street. An elevator is available for a small fee.

Due to COVID restrictions, the inside of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument may have limited operating hours or may be subject to closures. The best way to determine current operating hours is to call the number listed on this website.

If you’d like to learn more about the conflicts that have defined American history and the sacrifices of those who served, you should pay a visit to the Indiana War Memorial Museum, just a few minutes away.

Indiana War Monument
Image by Brent Moore/CC BY-NC 2.0

Address: IWM,55 E Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 4620

Part of the simply lovely Lockerbie Square Historic District, this free museum has a number of exhibits surrounding the history of Indiana’s fighting men and women from all the services. Not only that, the building itself serves as a war memorial and is a stunning piece of architecture you won’t want to miss.

See Related: Best Military Museums in Europe

24. Old Northside Historic District

Address: Indianapolis, IN

As one of the locations privileged to be on the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Northside Historic District features some of the most beautiful examples of late 19th-century Victorian-style homes. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, this part of Indianapolis was the most sought-after location for the wealthy and elite in the area.

Notable residents included former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, founder of Butler University, Ovid Butler, and famous Indiana author Meredith Nicholson. The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site and home (#20 on this list) and the Morris-Butler House are both located in the Old Northside Historic District, and both are also featured on the National Register of Historic Places.

There are three parks located within the boundaries of the Old Northside Historic District. These include Great Oak Commons, Shawn Grove Park, and the Frank and Judy O’Bannon Soccer Park.

Great Oak Commons is styled after a Victorian walking park, complete with a gazebo, gas lighting, a flowering garden, and a central fountain. The Shawn Grove Park features children’s play equipment, and the soccer park is home to children’s summer soccer leagues.

25. The Indianapolis Art Center

The Indianapolis Art Center

Address: 820 East 67th St., Indianapolis, IN 46220

The Indianapolis Art Center provides a unique blend of art and nature. In addition to serving as an art exhibit hall with new displays throughout the year, the art center campus also offers professional art classes for all skill levels.

The classes offered to cover an impressive range of subjects, including acrylic painting, pottery, drawing, glasswork, welding, sewing, lapidary, photography, blacksmithing, woodwork, and more. Classes range in length and do require a fee and registration.

In addition to the gallery and art classes, the Indianapolis Art Center also features the ARTSPARK, a 9.5-acre outdoor sculpture park that contains beautiful green spaces, walking trails, and even a canoe launch. The ARTSPARK and gallery are free of charge, and visitors are not required to take a class in order to explore the building and grounds. To learn more about the ARTSPARK, follow this link. To find out more about the many classes offered on campus, check the classes page.

If you want to end your day of visual arts with some performing arts, check out Howl at the Moon. This unique venue offers specialty drinks by the bucket, features amazing live music, and gives guests the opportunity to dance the night away or just sit and sip while hanging out with friends!

See Related: Visiting The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis

26. Monon Trail

Address: Indianapolis, IN

Once used by the Monon Railroad, this 25-mile stretch of land has set a national example for other “rail-to-trail” conversions. When the railroad no longer had use for its miles of rail tracks, they were converted to a paved bike and pedestrian path that now links the cities of Carmel and Sheridan by passing through Indianapolis. It is part of an official bike interstate known as the USBR35, and has been entered into the “Rail Trail Hall of Fame.”

This uniquely beautiful rail conversion passes over bridges, along miles of scenic countryside, and through diverse neighborhoods as it traverses land once seen only by railroad workers. The fall foliage provides a stunning backdrop during the autumn months, while the lush green leaves and grasses offer rejuvenating surroundings during the warmer months.

Parts of the trail pass through neighborhoods where small restaurants and eateries provide a tempting location for a quick break. Regardless of whether you’re interested in a short walk or a long bike ride, the Monon Trail will be sure to delight you!

27. Holliday Park

Holliday Park

Address: 6363 Spring Mill Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46260

Holliday Park is one of the oldest parks in Indianapolis. The land was donated in 1916 by John and Evaline Holliday, and throughout the decades, it has provided access to the natural beauty of the Indiana flora and fauna. The park features more than 3.5 miles of hiking and walking trails as well as a playground, nature center, pond, wetlands, and acres of lovely green space.

In addition to the natural features, the park is also home to the Holliday Park Ruins. This one-of-a-kind display showcases three massive statues that were once part of the Western Electric Company building located in New York City.

When the building was torn down, the electric company held a competition throughout the U.S. to see which city should be awarded the mammoth statues. Indianapolis won, and the statues were moved to their new home and their specially-designed display area, now known as the Holliday Park Ruins.

The nature center and Habitat Hall located on the park grounds are other must-see experiences, especially for families with children. It contains a bird viewing and feeding platform, live animal enclosures, and interactive exhibits to enthrall guests of all ages.

See Related: Flyover States That Aren’t Boring

FAQ

Is Indianapolis worth visiting?

Yes! Indianapolis, Indiana, is a vibrant city with so much to do! Eagle Creek Park, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art are just a few of the diverse options available to visitors.

What is Indianapolis known for?

Indianapolis is perhaps best known for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500. It is also famous for being the birthplace of the 23rd U.S. President, Benjamin Harrison. Its many outdoor spaces also make Indianapolis, Indiana, a great location for birding.

What are the best things to do in Indianapolis with kids?

Kids will love the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Nature Center at Holliday Park, and duckpin bowling. Older kids may also enjoy watching a game at the Lucas Oil Stadium or checking out the Rhythm! Discovery Center.

What are some fun, cheap things to do in Indianapolis?

The Indianapolis Art Center, the Monon Trail, White River State Park, and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail are all free or cheap things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana. The ruins at Holliday Park or a visit to the Old Northside Historic District are other inexpensive options.

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