Planning a trip to the Hoosier state? Indianapolis is without a doubt a great slice of Americana that’s perfect for any visitor. Stop in and see all the fun you can have no matter your age. With kids or just the grownups, you’ll find plenty to pack your itinerary with and make memories to bring back home with you.
Here are 15 things to do in Indianapolis for everyone!
15. Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
(image via Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre)
If you need a date-night idea or something family-friendly, there’s one place that fits the bill – Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. This place offers professional Broadway shows as well as children’s theatre productions all while serving up delicious roast beef and scrumptious desserts. For families with smaller children though, there is specific Children’s Theater shows ideal for little ones over the age of 3. You can introduce them to theater young and get them used to sitting and admiring the show. No matter what, it’s a guaranteed good time that will leave you full and satisfied.
14. Rhythm! Discovery Center
(image via Rhythm! Discovery Center)
Visit Rhythm! Discovery Center for an incredible interactive experience that everyone will love. This place is one of the leading percussion museums in the world with a variety of educational exhibits that are so fun, that kids won’t realize they’re learning something new. Head into the soundproof rooms and show off your musical creativity by banging on the drums after learning about the history of percussion. It’s such fun for everyone to march to the beat of their own – rhythm.
13. K1 Speed Indianapolis
(image via K1 Speed Indianapolis)
When the kids are jealous you got to ride in the race car – take them to K1 Speed Indianapolis. This place offers high-performing go-karts for adults and children. Plus, you’ll love all the racing memorabilia and gaming area too. The karts can go up to 40mph too so it gives you a chance to race against your family to decide who gets to pick the next activity on your itinerary. Oh, and if you hate the smell of gas from traditional go-karts, you’ll be happy to know these babies are electric-powered.
12. Duckpin Bowling
(image via Duckpin Bowling)
Sure, you can go bowling at home, but can you go Duckpin Bowling? Not unless you live in Indianapolis. This fun place does things a little differently with vintage styles from the 1930s and a whole different way of scoring. You’ll catch on fast once you get into the game and then have plenty of time to enjoy a meal and take a tour. It’s fun for all ages and even those without children love getting into the game.
11. Dallara IndyCar Factory
(image via Dallara IndyCar Factory)
When all your traveling companions are into racing, don’t just stop at the speedway. Make time to visit the Dallara IndyCar Factory. This sprawling venue features plenty of interactive exhibits that let you get behind the wheel in a racing simulation. You can even go one better and hop in with a professional driver to experience the ultimate thrill. If you’d rather spin your feet than your wheels, the factory tour brings you where masterful technicians build the chassis for racing cars. Don’t leave without getting a photo with the DW12 so you can put it on the mantle when you get home.
10. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
(image via Children’s Museum of Indianapolis)
When you still need more to do with kids in Indianapolis, the Children’s Museum has you covered. This interactive museum has so much to do, you could spend all day here roaming through its 5 levels. It’s the biggest museum of its kind in the world too, and it comes with a towering Bumblebee movie prop and a Fireworks of Glass sculpture that will impress anyone.
Little ones will love the antique carousel while older children will certainly find favor with the Sports Legend Experience that lets kids kick footballs into goals, race cars, and play mini-golf. What makes this place so exceptional though is that every activity is divided by skills and ages so children of any age can find something to do.
9. Lockerbie Square Historic District
(image via Lockerbie Square Historic District)
Calling all history and architecture buffs! Lockerbie Square Historic District is the place to be to see the styles of Italianate and Queen Anne in pristinely-preserved form. Take a walking tour and check out the 25 different places of residence here, built between 1855 and 1930. There are some newer ones too which provide a unique contrast that includes the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, a Victorian beauty through and through!
8. Market Street Catacombs
Underneath the city, tunnels were made over a century ago that span 20,000 feet. No need to shake in your boots though. They’re not actual catacombs. These underground tunnels were used to move produce and meat while keeping them cool. Since Indianapolis loves spooky things, the term “catacombs” just stuck and now you can go discover them. However, they’re not open to the public all year so it’s wise to book an appointment first. If you can’t get one, the City Market just above is always a good place to stop for delicious food and a little history too.
7. Walk, Shop, and Dine
(image via Indianapolis Cultural Trail)
When everyone you’re traveling with wants to do something different, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail comes to the rescue. This 8-mile trail starts in the downtown area, leading you through fascinating points in the city. There are hip neighborhoods and art districts that lead the way to quaint boutiques and places to eat. Try out a food tour where you get the best of everything. You’ll be glad you’re walking to burn off those calories after you get a taste of that food. Pop in a bar and grab a drink too to unwind after all that walking.
6. Lucas Oil Stadium
(image via Lucas Oil Stadium)
If you’re into sports, stop by the Lucas Oil Stadium. Events range from Colts games to Indy Eleven soccer. There are also concerts held at this venue, but if nothing is on schedule while you’re in town, stop by anyway. They offer tours of the stadium grounds plus you can grab a bite to eat, shop for gifts, or simply breathe in the air of champions while you’re there.
5. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
(image via Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum)
Get ready to start your engines at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. If you’re a racing fan, you’ve got to come and see the speedway which hosts the Indy 500. The museum has a massive collection of race vehicles and all kinds of memorabilia. Take a guided tour at the speedway and don’t forget to pick up souvenirs of your adventures!
4. Indianapolis Zoo
(image via Indianapolis Zoo)
Whether you’re traveling with children or simply adore animals, come to have a fun day at the Indianapolis Zoo. You’ll get a chance to take a gander at over 3,800 different animals here. It boasts the most orangutans in all of North America and you can interact with them through a touch screen at the exhibit. There’s also the Dolphin Pavilion where you can walk underneath a viewing dome while watching them swim above.
3. Get Outdoors
(image via White River State Park)
Indianapolis has many parks that allow you to get outside and embrace a beautiful day. If time is a factor though, don’t miss stopping by the White River State Park. With gorgeous nature trails and peaceful areas, you may want to grab something delicious at one of the local eateries and picnic with it to partake in the view. The Canal Walk gives you a tranquil walking space plus afterward, you can find your way to other local attractions from there with ease.
Another park to make time for is Holliday Park which unlocks the key to Indiana’s history. There’s an arboretum, nature center, and playground that makes it a prime place for families. Check out the ruins of a former New York skyscraper that was converted into incredible works of art. In the summer, the concerts here shouldn’t be missed so plan your trip accordingly!
2. Indianapolis Museum of Art
(image via Indianapolis Museum of Art)
NYC isn’t the only place with impressive art museums. If you find yourself in Indianapolis, be sure to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art. See over 54,000 works of art from all over the world that include ceramics, textiles, designs, and stunning masterpieces. While that’s sure to give you much to see, the Lilly House and Gardens is a part of this museum and a National Historic Landmark. Nestled upon lush, well-manicured lands, this impressive estate still retains its original look from the 1930s. It’s the chance to enjoy Indianapolis in the past while being in the present!
1. Monument Circle
Right smack in the middle of the city, you’ve simply got to stop and get photos at Monument Circle. Don’t be confused if someone mentions the Soldiers and Sailors Monument because that’s the same thing. It was built to honor soldiers and sailors that served our country. Along with other statues, this symbolic monument resides by the memorial grounds where you can take the time to explore a museum about the Civil War. During the holidays, don’t miss it at night, because it gets decked out in lights for a most spectacular sight!
As you can see, Indianapolis has a lot to offer everyone. If you are looking to do more in the surrounding area, check out other weekend trips from nearby Indianapolis, Indiana.
These areas are perfect for a quick day trip or a long weekend getaway. Explore our favorite things to do or peruse some pre-built itineraries.