15 Best Things To Do In Indianapolis: Top-Rated Attractions 2022
Indiana’s capital city, Indianapolis, offers travelers many unique things to see and do (some completely free). Visit great museums like the Indianapolis Museum of Art, stroll through downtown White River State Park with kids, and tour the historic district of Lockerbie Square.
Explore the zoo, go shopping, have a delicious breakfast, a romantic dinner, and see a performance at the theater in the evening. Here are the best things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1. Indianapolis Museum of Art
The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) is a vast encyclopedic art museum located downtown Indianapolis. The museum features a permanent collection of more than 54,000 works from Europe, America, Africa, and Asia spanning a wide spectrum of genres. Visitors can admire works by famous artists such as Paul Gauguin and JMW Turner and see Chinese ceramics, textiles, and modern design.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art is one of Indy’s best things to do. To promote an interest in the arts through the presentation and performance of artistic assets, the museum hosts various events throughout the year, including films, performances, classes, lectures, and community outreach programs.
Address: 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, Indiana
2. Canal and White River State Park
Canal and White River State Park is a beautiful green oasis located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, where the public can enjoy various outdoor activities and find quiet places to relax.
White River State Park features 250 acres of green space with a network of walking and jogging trails, shady picnic spots, and relaxing places. This is a great place to visit if you’re wondering what to do in Indianapolis with the whole family.
Dotted over the canal and park are some of the city’s most popular and fascinating museums, architecture, attractions, and other entertainment, including the Indianapolis Zoo, Lawn at White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians, and the western art, Indiana State Museum and the NCAA Hall of Champions.
The Canal Walk is a 3-mile loop on the downtown waterfront that’s packed with joggers, walkers, bikers, pedal boats, and gondolas enjoying a traffic-free workout.
3. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Hall of Fame Museum
Located on the grounds of the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Hall of Fame Museum is one of the top attractions in Indianapolis and is dedicated to the world of automobiles and auto racing.
Designated a National Historic Landmark, the museum features an exceptional collection of racing vehicles and automobile memorabilia associated with the Indianapolis 500, including motorcycles, dragsters, and automobiles that have set world land speed records.
Visitors can take informative tours of the Speedway, including stops at the Victory Platform, the garage area, and the Gasoline Alley Hospitality Suite. Narrated track tours are also available, covering a lap around the 2.5-mile oval track on a dedicated bus.
Address: 4790 West 16th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
4. Indianapolis Art Center
The Indianapolis Art Center, one of the nation’s largest community arts centers and one of the best things to do in Indianapolis, offers art classes, educational programs, community events, and workshops for the public to foster community interactive art education.
Based at the Marilyn K. Glick School of Art, the Center is home to three public art galleries displaying local art, 11 state-of-the-art studios in which classes and workshops are held, an auditorium with 224 seats for special performances and shows, and a library for educational and research purposes.
The Center also features ArtsPark, a nine-acre outdoor creativity and sculpture garden located in one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods that showcase various public art.
Address: 820 East 67th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
5. Lockerbie Square Historic District, Indianapolis, Indiana
Known for its beautifully preserved Italian and Queen Anne architecture, the Lockerbie Square Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of Indianapolis’ most famous historic regions. Lockerbie Square People’s Club manages the district, promoting and inspiring interest in the area’s revitalization.
Visitors can enjoy walking tours of the area, including exploring twenty-five historic residences built between 1855 and 1930 and some newer ones like North Vermont Street Home.
One of the district’s famous buildings is the James Whitcomb Riley Home Museum, which was the home of the famous poet for over 23 years and featured a collection of elegant Victorian furniture and architecture.
6. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Founded by Harrison Eiteljorg, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art includes a contemporary collection of Western and Native American art and cultural objects, named one of the best in the world.
Includes works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Charles Russell, and Frederic Remington. The institution also presents a variety of world-class exhibits on a variety of diverse topics, such as “The History of Guns and Motorcycles” and “Jewish Lives in the West.”
The museum offers dynamic educational programs and workshops for the public and surrounding communities.
Address: 500 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
7. Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis
Located in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum features an annual calendar of exhibits exploring Indiana art, science, and culture. It is home to the largest IMAX theater in the state.
Constructed of steel, brick, and glass, the building is a work of art in its own right, and the galleries, housing more than 452,000 artifacts in collections, span three floors.
The museum offers various educational programs and participates in community projects throughout the year and special events. Can visitors enjoy refreshments and light meals at the Farmers Market Caf? in the museum.
Address: 650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, Indiana
8. GRT Glass Design, Indianapolis, Indiana
GRT Glass Design is a unique glass design and manufacturing studio that designs, produces, ships, and installs art glass products worldwide.
Founded in 1987, the award-winning studio produces traditional and modern glassworks and the highest quality architectural art glass for various buildings and structures throughout the world.
The GRT offers “Glass Play Days” when visitors have the opportunity to make their art glass at the GRT Glass Design Studio. Classes are held two Saturdays per month to teach students how to create an exclusive glass work of art while having fun at the same time!
Address: 6400 Brookville Rd, Indianapolis, Indiana
9. Indiana Repertory Theater
Indiana Repertory Theater (IRT) is a professional regional theater that performs a variety of shows each season on two stages. The Indiana Theater, which was once Paramount Pictures’ Publix Theater and was converted to host the IRT, produces nine to ten plays per season, with its participants performing multiple shows.
By producing high-quality shows, the company aims to provide audiences with engaging, inspiring, and exciting performances and to help build a strong and vibrant community. Modern productions have included “The Great Gatsby,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “A Christmas Carol.”
Address: 140 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
10. The Indianapolis Zoo
Home to more than 3,800 animals representing 320 species, the Indianapolis Zoo features a zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden. Located in White River Park, the zoo is organized into biomes (areas of the planet with similar climates, plants, and animals). It features a variety of exhibits, habitats, and displays that showcase the zoo’s inhabitants.
The zoo is famous for its state-of-the-art dolphin pavilion, which adheres to a combination of approaches to dolphin-human interaction. Suppose you’re looking for the best things to do in Indianapolis with kids. In that case, the Indianapolis Zoo is not to be missed.
It is home to the Underwater Dolphin Dome, where you can see dolphins from under the water. The Marsh Dolphin Theater features a large pool and a seaside village scene. It hosts a daily dolphin show Dolphin In-Water Adventure, An interactive dolphin program.
Address: 1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, Indiana
11. Indiana Historical Society
The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) maintains the nation’s best library and research archives on Indiana and the Old Northwest-based at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. It offers visitors an experience unique and unforgettable education called “Indiana Experience.”
Visitors can relive history on this fascinating journey, featuring interactive exhibits and three-dimensional displays at “You are There,” virtual tours across the state of Indiana at “Destination Indiana,” and immersion in the musical world of the legend of Hoosier Cole.
Porter in the popular “Cole Porter Room.” Go to the W. Brooks and Wanda Y. Fortune Laboratory of History for in-depth insight into the work involved in the investigation. The society also produces and organizes art exhibitions and offers programs for youth, adults, and families.
Address: 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
12. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an 8-mile urban pedestrian and bicycle trail in downtown Indianapolis that was created to connect neighborhoods, cultural districts, and entertainment services and provide an outdoor recreational space for the public to enjoy.
As you progress through the city, the trail offers a variety of fun things to see and do, from beautiful gardens and green spaces to sculpture and artwork.
You’ll also find cultural districts, local shops, restaurants and cafes, and world-class attractions. Enjoy a relaxing bike tour of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, teaching you about the trail’s history, and exploring various works of art, historic neighborhoods, and cultural districts along the way.
13. Oldfields-Lilly House & Gardens, Indianapolis, Indiana
Located on the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Oldfields – Lilly House & Gardens is a very well-kept estate that houses the Lilly House Historical Museum.
Once the home of JK Lilly (Junior), the mansion has been exquisitely restored to its former 1930 glory and is now open to the public, paying tribute to the late Indianapolis businessman.
Acclaimed landscape architecture studio Olmsted Brothers of Central Park fame designed the surrounding gardens, which feature a variety of manicured gardens and habitats, including Orchard, Ravine, Rain Garden, and Four Seasons Garden. The farm is open every day between April and January.
Address: 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, Indiana
14. Historic Indiana Ghost Walks and Tours
Created to introduce the public to the spirits of the city and promote research on folklore and ghosts, the company offers ghost rides and tours, making the world of the paranormal accessible to all. Visitors can enjoy walking or bus tours of some of the city’s most haunted areas.
The “Underground Rail Tour,” where you can learn about the city’s plan to help the fugitives escape, is a favorite among visitors!
Other fascinating tours include the “Howling Hamilton County Bus Tour,” which explores the streets of Hamilton County, the “Chilling Chatham Arch-Lockerbie Tour,” which takes a chilling look at the Theater District in downtown Indianapolis.
And the “Nefarious Noblesville Ghost Walks,” where visitors can meet the dead in bars and breweries.
15. The Tamale Place, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Tamale Place prides itself on serving authentic Mexican food using traditional preparation methods. Tamales are made in the same way as centuries ago by the “nixtamalization” process of boiling, washing, and grinding cornflour into fresh masa and turning it into fresh handmade tamales, tortillas, and corn chips.
With four locations throughout the city, Tamale Place is family-owned and operated and has quickly become one of the city’s favorite places to buy fresh and traditional Mexican tamales. Eat, order or have The Tamale Place attend a special event.
Address: 1155 E. Stop 11 Rd, Indianapolis, Indiana
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things To Do In Indianapolis
What is the number 1 attraction in Indiana?
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art, Indianapolis. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art is situated at the White River State Park entrance in downtown Indiana. It holds the remarkable collection assembled by the Indianapolis businessman Harrison Eiteljorg.
Is there anything interesting in Indianapolis?
Besides the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum (which is a must-see for most visitors), the city offers the truly wonderful Indianapolis Museum of Art. If you’re traveling with kids in tow, you’ll definitely want to spend a few hours at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
What is Indianapolis best known for?
The city is home to three Fortune 500 companies, two major league sports clubs, four university campuses, and several museums, including the world’s largest children’s museum. However, the city is perhaps best known for annually hosting the world’s largest single-day sporting event, the Indianapolis 500.
Is Indianapolis worth visiting?
Indy is a small city, bursting with attractions
You may have to drive a bit to get to some key sights (such as the state fairgrounds, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway), but they’re well worth the trip.
What food is Indiana known for?
Indiana is known for some signature foods – persimmon pudding, pork tenderloin sandwiches, sugar cream pie, among others. Submit your favorite Indiana recipe to our online database of “Hoosier favorites.” Food in Hoosier History Corn and hogs have played a significant role throughout the history of the state.
Is Indianapolis Downtown safe?
Downtown Indianapolis is a relatively safe area to visit and the general consensus among residents is that downtown is safe. The safest area of downtown is within the Mile Square region.
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