An exceptionally vibrant city, Indianapolis, Indiana, is the epicenter of business opportunities, entertainment, fun and lip-smacking food. The city has dazzling art treasures, rich history, and the locals treat you like their very own.
The largest city in terms of population in Indiana, Indianapolis also has no lack of forests and urban parks. There’s something of interest for every sports lover, nature lover, adventure and thrill seeking individuals, foodies, and just about everyone.
Ready for a grand adventure? Here are 37+ things to do in Indianapolis that guarantee you’ll have a great time!
CANAL WALK- CENTRAL CANAL
The Central Canal of Indiana houses the Canal Walk, which first came into shape in 1800s. Since then, the interstate commerce-facilitating structure has come a long way, and after its refurbishment, this waterside promenade became a popular place for walkers, bikers, and runners.
If you wish to catch sightseers, bikers, runners and walkers from all walks of life, you only need to head to this downtown 3-mile loop. You can also rent a pedal boat at the west side of the Indiana State Museum for some waterside exploration.
If you wish to see Native American culture depicted in the arts, including jewelry-making, sculpture and painting at its best, then visit Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. This city attraction sits on Washington Street, beside Military Park, and features a spectacular display of mesmerizing Native American art.
The facility sits within an award-winning, state-of-the-art building, where history buffs, children and nearly everyone is sure to have a fascinating experience. Read the captivating tales of America’s ancestors and admire the colorful artwork that fills this popular museum. You won’t regret it!
THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF INDIANAPOLIS
If you’re visiting Indianapolis with kids, then you must head straight to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for a great family experience. This is the largest children’s museum in the world! Seriously! The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is comprised of five floors filled with stunning displays and galleries.
You’ll also find a miniature golf course here — which kids and adults alike will love. The whole clan is sure to have a grand time at the Dinosaur Park, rotating exhibits, railroad exhibition and lots more.
Fun and learning happen together here, all thanks to the Geological Treasures of the Earth and the comical live shows at the educational theater. This museum is a can’t-miss attraction.
THE GARAGE AT BOTTLEWORKS
Do you wish to see the best of the food and vendors market in Indianapolis? Then head over to the Garage at Bottleworks where a 30,000-square foot community houses a variety of beverage and food vendors.
The Hall also boasts a spectacular array of industrial architecture, terracotta facades featuring 1930s Art Deco, and more. An endless number of vendors, top culinary talents of the city, visitors, craftsmen, residents and supporters gather at this place to sell their craft and entertain people visiting from all parts of the world here.
Living Room Theaters, J’s Lobster & Fish Market and Lick Ice Cream are some of the top vendors you must visit while here.
LUCAS OIL RACEWAY
If you’re a speed and thrill lover, you must start exploring the fabulous Indianapolis city by experiencing its love for speed firsthand. Lucas Oil Raceway is where you will find this thrilling experience and a rush of adrenaline unlike anything you’ve ever felt before.
With a full schedule of events, the raceway hosts more than 100 dates of racing on its three tracks.
This raceway is where you can rev your engines like you’ve always dreamed of, driving faster than a bullet at 140 mph in a two-seater dragster. Lucas Oil Raceway is where you make lifetime memories as the rubber burns and your adrenaline pumps, both as a passenger or in a driver package.
TRADERS POINT CREAMERY
You’ve seen nothing of Indianapolis till you visit the artisan, award-winning creamery and top level organic dairy farm of the city — Traders Point Creamery. Sitting a 20-minute drive away from downtown Indianapolis, this attraction boasts a farm to table restaurant, lip-smacking treats at the Dairy Bar, an excursion around the farm, and a charming farm store.
At this exclusive creamery and dairy farm, you can try some of the most delicious and 100% grassfed dairy products, including ice cream, cheese, milk and more. If you’re a dairy product lover, don’t forget to visit this delightful place and participate in the self-guided farm walks.
SOLDIERS & SAILORS MONUMENT/MONUMENT CIRCLE
The moment you step foot in Indianapolis, you’ll have many encouraging you to visit Monument Circle as soon as you can. Monument Circle is an iconic spot that promises a lively, vibrant, colorful and energetic atmosphere.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument stands tall and proud in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis, right in the traffic circle. The memorial is an exquisite sight to behold in its limestone glory, promising striking views you’ve never beheld before from the observation deck.
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located minutes from downtown Indianapolis, and is known as “The Greatest Racecourse In The World.” Every Memorial Day weekend, this amazing course hosts the largest sporting event in the world — The Indianapolis 500.
In addition to the Indy 500, many other racing events are held here throughout the year — making it a great spot to visit and watch a race.
If you’re not visiting during a race — no worries! There’s still plenty to do! Take a 90-minute golf cart tour of the grounds, or take the Kiss The Bricks tour, and enjoy a 30-minute narrated lap around the famed IMS oval with a stop at the “Yard of Bricks.”
If you’re visiting during a NTT IndyCar Series Race Weekend, you can participate in the Indy Race Experience. The INDYCAR Experience offers race fans the opportunity to ride and drive in real NTT INDYCAR Series Cars! How cool is that?
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MUSEUM
Do you adore the fast and furious life? Well, here’s a chance to fulfill that fantasy because at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, you’ll see the best of racing.
The museum sprawls across two large floors and offers 37,500 square feet of exhibit space featuring cars, trophies, photographs, racing records, memorabilia, and fine art. Although there’s special emphasis on the Indy 500, there is so much more to see here too.
The museum’s collection features race cars from many series: IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, USAC Sprints and Midgets, motorcycle racing, and drag racing. They also offer track tours and guided museum tours.
LOCKERBIE SQUARE HISTORIC DISTRICT
Take a fascinating trip into the past at the Lockerbie Square Historic District. Walk the area and enjoy the unparalleled architectural beauty here.
The district includes examples of vernacular cottages as well as high-style brick residences from the mid to late-19th century. You will love wandering through Italianate and Queen Anne styles of architecture at this location, exhibiting what the first 25 residences looked like in 1855 to 1930.
If you would love to see Indiana from a century ago, you only need to make your way to this district. Along with exploring the old architectural styles, you will also get a chance to see the newer ones, including the Museum Home of James Whitcomb Riley and North Vermont Street Home.
If you don’t have the chance to sit through an actual hot lap or dragster race on the Indiana circuit, then here is the next best option for you. K1 Speed promises a thrilling indoor go-kart experience for racers of all levels.
Give yourself a tremendously exciting experience on the incredible electric go-karts here. The go-karts reach speeds exceeding 45 MPH and the custom packages guarantee an even more fulfilling experience for all visitors.
Families and friends will thank you for a lovely outing and the chance of getting behind the wheel for an exhilarating high-speed ride.
BEEF & BOARDS DINNER THEATRE
For the best evening entertainment in Indianapolis, you must plan an outing or two at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. There’s drama, comedy, and all things fun here. The intimate setting, an impressive professional stage, and shows that serve as the city’s local landmark, make it a must-visit for everyone.
At this city attraction, you will have a delightful multi-course meal at your table while watching the show on stage. For the best stage performance experience, be sure to take your pick from Broadway classics.
INDIANAPOLIS CITY MARKET
The City Market is one of the most historic and iconic destinations in Downtown Indianapolis. This bustling marketplace has endless varieties of fun, flavors, and experiences to offer, with old-school charm oozing out of its every corner.
From live music to delicious mugs of cold beer, artisans offering handmade soaps to fresh meats that win your heart, the City Market is a wonder in itself. Whatever you name here, you are sure to find it at the Market. Do not miss the exquisite delicacies at the food stands, the guided market tour, or the fresh-flower bouquets here.
Indianapolis City Market is on the National Register of Historic Places and offers tours of the Romanesque underground catacombs! Say, what?! (It’s true!)
An exclusive tour of the underground and a chance to unravel the subterranean secrets of the city is just what you need to satiate your adventure and thrill needs. The Catacombs Tour at The City Market is where you can make this happen, where the once trafficked-route is now a labyrinth of chambers and tunnels.
Revisit the past and see what it was like in the Catacombs in the 1800s, where stored goods of the overhead markets and transporters once traveled. If you’re planning to book a tour here, be sure to check ahead as the exclusive tours usually run only on certain days.
Visit Conner Prairie for a chance to visit the living history museum of Indianapolis up close. This attraction is one of the best outdoor museums that improve, celebrate and explore human experiences. At this museum, you will have individualized and unique experiences that run throughout the seasons of the year.
This museum combines science with history and explores the cultural and natural heritage of Indianapolis.
Explore the Makesmith Workshop, take part in the animal encounters, fly high in the 1859 balloon voyage (it’s a tethered, helium-filled balloon), visit the Treetop Outpost, and so much more.
GONDOLA RIDES: OLD WORLD GONDOLIERS
Set your spirit free and open your mind to exploring the wonders of the Old World Gondoliers. Live out your Italian dreams right in the middle of Indianapolis on a trip with Old World Gondoliers.
A private gondola ride with world-famous singing gondoliers ensure you will enjoy the most fulfilling and unique journey into the past. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the canal while relaxing in your private gondola!
Come see the most visually exciting art exhibitions on display at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. You will get to experience some of the most mind-boggling and inspiring curated shows, put together by emerging artists and talented students of this city.
The Artsgarden is a prime hub of cultural and arts events. Here, you will learn interesting and fun facts about how the facility involves architecture and spins it with love, romance, mystery and the Klingon Empire.
CRISPUS ATTUCKS MUSEUM
The Crispus Attucks Museum houses memorabilia from the first all African American high school.
This museum’s name pays tribute to a black man, Crispus Attuck, who died as a hero in the American Revolution. The museum is named after the school of the same name.
Explore the museum and learn more about the school and the impact it made on the community.
INDIANA STATE FAIR MIDWAY
The Indianapolis State Fair is held at the end of the summer every year at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis. Hop aboard the Ferris wheel, enjoy fair rides, play games, check out the competitions, win prizes, and get your fill of yummy fair food.
The Indiana State Fair cannot be missed!
MONON RAIL TRAIL
The Monon Rail Trail is a landmark attraction in Indianapolis. The 26-mile paved trail is perfect for walking, biking, and cross-country skiing.
The trails stretches from the town of Sheridan in the north, extends south through Westfield, Carmel, Broad Ripple, and passes by the Indiana State Fairgrounds before intersecting with the Indianapolis Cultural Trail on the east end of Massachusetts Avenue. There are entry points along the way, with plenty of free parking, making it easy to find a good spot to start exploring.
The trail travels through cities and neighborhoods, allowing you to visit city parks, the Indianapolis Art Center, downtown Indianapolis, and more.
EAGLE CREEK PARK AND NATURE PRESERVE
Reserve a day to spend at the stunning Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve in Indianapolis. This attraction is comprised of 3,900 acres of mesmerizing woodlands and the best of nature. In addition to being among the largest of urban parks of the nation, it also features a series of trails that are a dream for horseback riders and bikers to explore.
You can also try your hand at fishing at this attraction because the EAGLE Creek Reservoir is home to a variety of fish species that fishers love to catch. There’s plenty of fun for everyone here, with a sailing club, golf course, dog park and swimming area all under one facility.
LILLY HOUSE AND GARDENS
The Lilly House and Gardens is where you can step back in time and revisit the most gorgeous country estate of the early 20th century. You won’t want to take your eyes off the extraordinarily beautiful French chateau home and its beautiful collection of antique furniture.
The grand exterior, the matching Victorian décor and the classic paintings would make you want to gaze at them in awe and admiration all day. For a complete tour of this National Historic Landmark, try booking a guided tour to learn all about this place’s remarkable history.
KURT VONNEGUT MUSEUM AND LIBRARY
Literature lovers are in for a treat at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, which pays tribute to one of the greatest authors of all time. Literature lovers will love the literary treasures that dwell in this place.
Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis, and he published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five nonfiction works during his 50 year career.
At this museum, you will learn all about the great life, incredible work, and more about the times when Vonnegut was alive. Vonnegut created a legacy that few have been able to beat, in the form of novels Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions.
VIRGINIA B. FAIRBANKS ART & NATURE PARK
The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park is one of the country’s largest parks of museums and art. You will find it at Newfields, spanning for 100 acres and comprised of untamed meadows, wetlands and woodlands. There is also a delightful lake here spanning 35 acres.
Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park has an ongoing commission of site-specific artworks, including exhibitions, art projects and discussions. If you want to see the action underway for strengthening the reciprocal relationships between the natural world and contemporary arts, here is where you can find it.
TAPPERS ARCADE BAR
Indulge in some healthy competition at Tappers Arcade Bar. There’s a huge range of fascinating arcade machines from different times. Tappers pays tribute to the golden age of gaming, and you can enjoy the best of gaming firsthand here.
Every corner of the arcade bar features pinball and arcade machines and promises a night of retro tipsy fun for all. Bring your partner or friends and enjoy a thrilling gaming night, while enjoying a full cocktail menu with nibbly bar food and cold beer on tap.
INDIANAPOLIS CULTURAL TRAIL
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail invites bikers and walkers out to explore one of the most gorgeous trails in the city. The Cultural Trail stretches for eight miles and takes visitors seamlessly to some of the most amazing attractions in the city.
Explore the city via the trail and see art galleries, gardens, museums, monuments, parks and neighborhoods along the way.
FORT HARRISON STATE PARK HOOSIER TRAIL RIDES
Hoosier Trail Rides at Fort Harrison State Park is where you can go horseback riding, hay riding, or take riding lessons.
Participants only need to be more than 6 years old and have a passion for riding to enjoy the pony rides, horse rides, hay rides and similar activities that Hoosier Trail Rides offers.
DANIEL’S FAMILY VINEYARD & WINERY
Indulge in a sensational variety of locally produced red and white wines at Daniel’s Family Vineyard & Winery. This attraction in Indianapolis is a full production winery and also an event venue. This wine production facility also has a private wine club.
Some of the wine varieties here offer an experience for your taste buds that no other wineries of the world will offer. The picturesque venue and the chance of lazily sipping some of the most delicious and luxurious-tasting wines is an indulgence you deserve.
THE EXCHANGE WHISKEY BAR
Looking for the best whiskeys in the country? Head over to The Exchange Whiskey Bar in Indianapolis. This bar offers more than 450 varieties of whiskies, as well as craft cocktails, featuring a burst of flavors and colors that only geniuses can craft.
This whiskey bar promises a tantalizing journey down the whiskey world for each of your tourist’s taste buds.
INDIANA MEDICAL HISTORY MUSEUM
A fun yet educational spot, the Indiana Medical History Museum beckons all medicine workers and those who have a thirst for knowledge. While this attraction does not have the glitz and glam most vacationers look for, it does have a range of exquisitely fun things to explore.
There’s the Old Pathology Building, which is one of the most historically valuable buildings of the National Register. You will also get a chance to learn firsthand about mental wellness and the underlying causes giving rise to mental illness.
BIG WOODS SPEEDWAY
Indianapolis’ historic downtown Speedway is home to the Big Woods Speedway, one of the biggest restaurant chains in Indianapolis. This is one of the most iconic and elite dining places of the city, sprawling for 7,000 square feet and consisting of an outdoor beer garden, patio seating, Nashville brew pub and a private event bar on a floor.
At this restaurant, you can enjoy an extensive pizza menu, delectable brews and other favorite crafts of Indiana State.
INDIANAPOLIS MUSEUM OF ART AT NEWFIELDS
Downtown Indianapolis beckons all art lovers. If you’re a fan of local art, give your senses a lavish treat by visiting Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. The museum features a mind-blowing collection of Asian art displays, displaying more than 50,000 stunning pieces.
You can choose to explore the Museum of Art on your own or opt for a guided tour, where experts will walk you through impressionist masterpieces, Egyptian mummies and the surrounding gardens.
WHITE RIVER STATE PARK
If you’re looking for a host of attractions within one area, then head over to the White River State Park. The Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana State Museum, Victory Field and many more popular attractions of the city sit clustered around this gorgeous green space.
You can spend hours upon hours at this beloved destination and have your fill of the lively atmosphere and the cultural events that happen here regularly.
PUBLIC ART TOUR
Being a cultural hub, Indianapolis is home to a plethora of talented artists. These emerging gems use an immense amount of mediums who bring the best of art to an already vibrant and colorful city.
While neighborhoods like Fountain Square, Broad Ripple and others have been blossoming lately, one such in particular is the arts community.
The Public Art Tour is where you can access all art representations for free. Enjoy a self-guided walking tour of more than 40 outdoor locations, near and around downtown, of works highlighting sports, historic landmarks, famous Hoosiers, and artists of color.
Use the online map to learn more about the artwork and the artists who created them.
MASS AVE ARTS DISTRICT
The Mass Ave Arts District area is a hub where you can find the best art galleries, restaurants, theaters and boutiques for visitors, locals and tourists. Here is where most of the excitement in the city happens, for you will encounter something unique at every block. Art museums in the Mass Ave Arts District have particularly been a favorite of the crowds for a long time.
Find gifts to take back home, sip cocktails, try the best cuisines Indianapolis has to offer, or see the city at its best in the Mass Ave Arts District.
HARRAH’S HOOSIER PARK
Indiana City is greatly popular for harness racing, and Harrah’s Hoosier Park is where you can experience the excitement.
From an active racing season to simulcast wagering, Hoosier Park is a hotspot of fierce action. To add to your incredible experience here, round off the outing with a fine meal at the All-American Steakhouse and the casino within the park’s facility.
INDIANA STATE MUSEUM
Indiana State Museum sits inside the city hall of Old Indianapolis. Here, you can learn all you want about the heritage and rich state history. The museum comprises three exhibition spaces, displaying everything related to natural sciences, modern art and prehistoric times.
You’ll find a year-round calendar of events here too, that explore Indiana art, science, and culture, from both the past and present.
Farmers Market Café, an IMAX screen and snacking facilities make this place both educational and fun for visitors.
LUCAS OIL STADIUM
Enjoy concerts, events, and more at the home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts with a visit to Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. Games at Lucas Oil Stadium cannot be beat.
Lucas Oil Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in downtown Indianapolis that opened in 2008. With sporting events and more hosted here throughout the year — this is where all the action is.
In addition to events, you can also take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium. With a retractable roof and amazing seats, this is one stadium you don’t want to miss.
Things To Do In Indianapolis FAQ
What is Indianapolis famous for?
Indianapolis is best known for its car racing. Known as the racing capital of the world, Indianapolis is host to three of the world’s highest-attended single-day events: the Indy 500, the Brickyard 400 and the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race.
Is Indianapolis worth a visit?
Indianapolis is definitely worth a visit! You’ll find a vibrant downtown filled with restaurants, shops, and attractions, as well as outdoor adventures, sports, and more.
When is the best time of year to visit Indianapolis, Indiana?
Summertime is a great time to visit Indianapolis, Indiana! In the summer, you’ll find pleasant temperatures and lots of outdoor activities and events.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO INDIANA
- YOUR INDIANA VACATION
- FRENCH LICK: 17 Awesome Things To Do In French Lick Indiana
- FORT WAYNE: 18 Super Fun Things To Do In Fort Wayne, Indiana
- BEST OF INDIANA: 21 Amazing Things To Do In Indiana You Can’t Miss
WHERE TO STAY IN INDIANAPOLIS
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