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Total Guide to Your Trip in Indianapolis, Indiana

Ashley Akridge - Freelance Writer

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If you're traveling to Indianapolis and looking for fun activities and tourist attractions, this is the page you want to be on. You will find a list of things to do when you are in Indianapolis, including 13 best things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana. If you are interested in finding out about restaurants, hotels, and other places to stay near the attractions on our list, please make sure to scroll down below the main content. Let's get started!


13 Best Things to do in Indianapolis

Aerial view of Indianapolis downtown Indiana

Children's Museum

The Children's Museum is one of the best Indianapolis attractions for families. It's a perfect place to spend a day with kids (or adults) who want to learn more about science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The museum has been operating since 1925 and hosts several permanent exhibitions as well as seasonal events. This is also a great place for kids' birthday parties or for field trips for school groups. Whether you're traveling solo or with a family, this is one of the top things to do in Indianapolis!

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Building

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to the largest collection of Indianapolis 500 memorabilia in the world. The museum has a special exhibit dedicated entirely to women in auto racing, as well as a rotating exhibit that highlights classic cars. Be sure to check out their display of all the winning cars from previous Indy races. After seeing the museum you can walk over to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and see where the famous Indy 500 happens each year.

Indiana World War Memorial

The Indiana World War Memorial in University Park in downtown Indianapolis

The Indiana World War Memorial is located at the center of Indianapolis, Indiana and honors those who served in WWI. It is an important historical monument comprising five interconnected buildings and a memorial plaza. The architectural style is neoclassical, with stately pillars and a roof featuring a large dome.

The Depew Memorial Fountain (completed in 1919) in University Park in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana with the Indiana World War Memorial in the background

All around you will see statues and fountains, including five bronze statues representing the branches of military service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard). Because this place holds so much history for our country, it's definitely worth visiting!

Newfields


Newfields might be the most unique, diverse, and awe-inspiring location in Indianapolis. With a history that dates back to 1873, the site of Newfields Park is known for its architectural beauty, wide variety of plants and animals (including more than 175 species of birds), a theater that hosts free shows every Saturday night—and for being a bit off the beaten path.


But what makes Newfields so special is that it has come to be home to more than just an impressive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings. If you want to make sure you're taking advantage of all there is to do in this amazing place, read our list below then make plans for your next adventure there today.

Monument Circle

Aerial view of Monument Circle, Indianapolis downtown Indiana

Located at the heart of Indianapolis, this national historic landmark is home to the largest outdoor monument in the state. Goddess of Liberty, a 32-ton bronze statue topping the monument, oversees downtown traffic and its 350+ shops, restaurants and attractions.

Soldiers & Sailors Monument

Soldiers' And Sailors' Monument In Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

As you explore the Indianapolis Museum of Art and walk around the surrounding grounds in Monument Circle, be sure to make a stop at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument. This 284-foot tall war memorial was built in 1902 and honors both soldiers who fought in regional wars (American Revolution, American Civil War, Mexican American War, and the Spanish American War) as well as Hoosiers who fought abroad in World Wars I and II.


The monument is made up of Indiana limestone with a bronze statue sitting on top that represents "Indiana" returning home from war. Climbing to the top will give you amazing views of downtown Indy, but if stairs aren't your thing then take an elevator directly to the observation level. You can also visit other parts of this building like its museum of military history or its historical exhibits on Indiana's role during wartime.

Indianapolis Zoo

Entrance to the Indianapolis Zoo

Indy is a city with over 500,000 residents and rich history. From the Indianapolis Zoo to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there's much for visitors to do in this city. The Indianapolis Zoo was founded in 1964 and has been just as welcoming ever since.

Southern White Rhinoceros at the Indianoplis Zoo in Indianapolis, Indiana

Visitors can see nearly 1,700 animals from all over the world on more than 64 acres of zoo grounds. The zoo is home to animals like lions, tigers, giraffes, and zebras. Indy also has a gift shop and cafe perfect for families who want to explore the zoo together.

White River State Park

Indianapolis skyline and White River State Park, Indiana

A scenic urban park located in downtown Indianapolis, White River State Park is home to many of the city's top attractions and a wide variety of activities. They include an IMAX theater, an NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indianapolis Zoo, a botanical garden, an outdoor music venue and the only Major League Baseball stadium in Indiana. With so much to do here, it is a great place to visit for a day out with the family.

NCAA Hall of Champions

NCAA Hall of Champions, Indianapolis

For sports fans, the NCAA Hall of Champions is a must-see attraction. The museum contains exhibits about the history of college sports and interactive displays for visitors of all ages. Take your time to explore the Hall of Champions and come away knowing more about college sports than you ever thought possible!

Eagle Creek Park

Eagle Creek Reservoir, Indiana, USA

Known as the largest municipal park in the nation, Eagle Creek Park spans over 3,900 acres in Indianapolis. Located on the northwest side of town, this National Wildlife Refuge offers visitors a wide range of recreational activities and natural beauty.


The main attraction is Eagle Creek Reservoir. The reservoir is ideal for many water activities including boating, swimming and fishing. The beaches offer a great place to relax and take in some rays while observing all kinds of different wildlife. If you don't have your own boat or jet ski, rentals are available from local marinas that surround the park area. With over 100 miles of hiking trails located throughout Eagle Creek Park, there is something for everyone!

Fort Harrison State Park

OldStone bridge and pond-Fort Harrison Indiana

Fort Harrison State Park is a popular place for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The park was originally created as a military fort in the early 1900s, so it has lots of history.


Visitors can explore the Indiana War Memorial Museum or take a stroll along the Fall Creek Trail that runs through the park. There is also an equestrian center, golf course and two places to stay overnight—the Fort Harrison Inn & Suites and the Harrison's Trace Campground. The inn features 121 rooms filled with period antiques, while the campground offers 194 Class A sites with showers and restrooms nearby. There's also a restaurant on-site called No Name Bar & Grill that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks.

Indiana State Museum

Downtown Indianapolis with the canal walk and Indiana State Museum in the foreground

The Indiana State Museum is a museum located on the west side of White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis. The museum has four floors with exhibits ranging from history to natural history, as well as science and culture. With over 125,000 square feet of space, the museum is the fourth-largest in the state.

Indianapolis City Market

City Market in Indianapolis

The Indianapolis City Market, a historic public market and one of the premier attractions in the city, is a must-visit for foodies and those with an interest in local history. The building was originally constructed in 1886 to house butchers and dairy farmers who could not afford to sell their products at other markets. In 1986, it was renovated into the impressive structure it is today. The Market features several restaurants and food vendors selling prepared dishes as well as fresh meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. There are also numerous shops selling clothing and souvenirs. Be sure to check out the Tomlinson Tap Room on the second floor—it's one of only two designated heritage sites in Indiana!

10 restaurants to try in Indianapolis

People snacking under Silver umbrellas at a cafe in the Canal District of Indianapolis, IN

Out of the thousands of restaurants in Indianapolis, Indiana, many are trying to stand out and make their mark on the local market. These 10 restaurants are where culinary enthusiasts will find the best grub in Indianapolis.


St. Elmo Steak House


St. Elmo Steak House is one of the most famous restaurants in Indianapolis, and it's easy to see why. They have an amazing array of steaks to choose from, including a 12 oz. Filet Mignon and a 16 oz. New York Strip Steak, be sure to try their 18 oz. Ribeye if you're there on a Friday or Saturday night—it's their specialty for those nights! If you want something different, try their Bourbon Barrel-aged Steak Sauce (prepared by local distillery 8 Seconds). Also consider getting their fresh from the market seafood options like shrimp scampi or crab cakes, or perhaps lobster bisque soup before your main course? Whatever choice you make will leave your stomach satisfied!


Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse


If you're looking for a fancy steakhouse, Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse is just the place. They serve up amazing cuts of meat in an elegant environment. You can even try their Picanha, which is bacon-wrapped sirloin that's known as one of the best cuts of steak. The restaurant also offers caipirinhas, the national cocktail of Brazil that's made with cachaça (a Brazilian rum), sugar, and muddled limes. While you're there, be sure to check out their Market Table & Feijoada Bar, which has over 30 seasonal salads, sides, and soups that are all inspired by Brazilian cuisine.


The Eagle


You can't leave out The Eagle when talking about the best restaurants in Indianapolis, IN. It's a highly-regarded restaurant that specializes in Southern food. Try their fried chicken, which comes with two sides like mac and cheese or collard greens. If you're looking for something different, try their southern fried chicken sandwich (which is delicious!). Whether you're headed to this restaurant for lunch or dinner, make sure you get there early because it gets really crowded!


Nada


Nada is known for its Mexican-inspired food made with fresh ingredients. From lunch to dinner, you can choose from a variety of tacos and ceviche, or go for the crowd favorite guacamole. While you're there, check out their signature cocktails and tequila-infused drinks. If you're looking for a night filled with delicious food and fun conversation, Nada is where it's at.


Buca di Beppo


In the mood for some Italian food? Whether you're looking for a traditional fine dining experience, or something more offbeat, there's an option for you. Buca di Beppo is a classic family style Italian restaurant where you can find all the favorites: spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana, shrimp scampi, lasagna and so much more.


Weber Grill Restaurant


If you're looking for a place to chow down on beautifully prepared meat, try Weber Grill. They offer some of the best cuts of steak in Indianapolis. The restaurant is chain-owned, so there are several locations throughout the country, but the one in Indianapolis offers a unique atmosphere rooted in 20th century nostalgia. The menu offers some of the most delicious steaks around—including filet mignon and porterhouse—and they also have great burgers, salads and apps like shrimp cocktail or hot spinach artichoke dip. If you want to visit something quintessentially Hoosier while getting a great meal at the same time, Weber's is your spot.


The Old Spaghetti Factory


The Old Spaghetti Factory is a chain Italian restaurant with locations throughout the United States. The Indianapolis location, which opened in 1982, is located in a historic building that was formerly used as a railway station.


In addition to its unique setting and history, The Old Spaghetti Factory is known for its classic Italian meals that are served family style and are perfect for large groups of friends or family. The menu includes an array of spaghetti dishes (including vegetarian options), salads and sandwiches. The cost of your meal also includes unlimited bread and their famous spumoni ice cream.


The Rathskeller


Rathskeller, located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, is the place to visit if you're craving some traditional German food. The restaurant has been a staple of Indianapolis since the 1930s and serves up a variety of authentic dishes, including braised pork shank and homemade spaetzle. If you are not in the mood for German cuisine, Rathskeller also offers an American menu featuring your favorite steakhouse classics.


While you dine, be sure to enjoy one of the more than 100 beers from around the world available on tap and in bottles. There's nothing like a tall glass of traditional German beer with dinner!


Yard House


Yard House is a modern public house where food and beer lovers unite. Ideal for before or after a game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse or Lucas Oil Stadium, Yard House is an upscale-casual eatery known for great food, classic rock music and 130 taps of imported, craft and specialty ales & lagers. Whether you're in the mood for a grilled burger and a pint of your favorite ale, or seared ahi and a chilled martini, Yard House has something for everyone. The menu is deep with quality choices, the food is always fresh and the atmosphere bustles with energy.


Bazbeaux


If you're in Indianapolis and craving pizza, Bazbeaux is your place. Although they serve a variety of gourmet pizzas, the Bazbeaux is what the restaurant is known for. It's a massive pizza with pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and black olives piled high on top of a generous helping of mozzarella cheese. The dough is thin and crispy—but not so crispy that it crumbles or falls apart—and has just the right amount of seasoning on it to give it some flavor without overpowering your tastebuds.

Fountain Square Food Tour


Come explore one of Indianapolis' most vibrant neighborhoods on a walking food tour of the Fountain Square district. As the home to a diverse array of restaurants, Fountain Square is the destination for lovers of French, Greek, and Thai specialties. And with an up-and-coming craft brewery and meadery scene, this neighborhood is sure to impress even the pickiest beer and wine connoisseur. On this 3-hour walking food tour, you'll visit the top local spots to eat and drink in this trendy area. You can sip locally brewed cider and mead (honey wine) while sampling some delicious foods along the way!

5 Hotel ideas for staying in Indianapolis

The JW Marriott rises beyond the flooded White River in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana

When you stay in Indianapolis, Indiana you are in for a treat. Whether you're getting married, having an anniversary, or just want to explore the city, the "Circle City" offers endless opportunities to make your trip fun and unforgettable. If you are looking for hotels in Indianapolis or other accommodations there are plenty of options to choose from. Below are five of the most popular hotels for tourists staying in Indianapolis.


Bottleworks Hotel


If you want to experience a part of Indianapolis history, check out the Bottleworks Hotel. This hotel is located in the historic Coke building, which was built in 1931 and is now a National Historic Landmark. The Bottleworks District serves as an arts and entertainment center with restaurants, boutiques, music venues, and more.


The Bottleworks Hotel features 215 guestrooms that incorporate vintage details with modern luxuries like rain showers and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a rooftop bar called BRU Burger Bar that offers views of downtown Indianapolis and has an outdoor fireplace for cooler months. There's also a spa with treatments based on Indiana ingredients such as cornflower oils and scents from lavender farms on property. Other amenities include a fitness center and pet rooms for your furry friends to enjoy during your stay!

Ironworks Hotel Indy


The Ironworks Hotel Indy is a boutique hotel that stands out from the crowd with its industrial-chic look. The lobby is a well-lit, modern space filled with exposed brick walls, wood floors and furniture, metal furnishings and metal bike racks to hold your wheels. Guest rooms are just as stylish, featuring reclaimed wood beds and desks, flat-panel TVs in the rooms and bathrooms, and historic black-and-white photographs on the walls. The location of this hotel is also a big draw: it's right next door to Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Indianapolis Colts), making it an ideal option for travelers who are in town for a game or event at one of Indianapolis' sports venues.

The Alexander


The Alexander is a boutique hotel located in the city's arts and theater district, close to some of the finest museums, parks and gardens Indianapolis has to offer. Their on-site restaurant, Plat 99, serves up twists on classic American dishes in a modernist dining room with eclectic decor. The hotel also features cocktails at their bar, Lylo, and coffee shop Libertine.


As one of Indy's boutique hotels, The Alexander offers guests a uniquely personalized experience. This stylish retreat has bright white walls punctuated with colorful accents that give way to contemporary art installations showcasing local artists. While you're here take advantage of amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi access and 24-hour concierge services to curate your stay from start to finish.

JW Marriott Indianapolis


JW Marriott Indianapolis is a luxury hotel in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis. Guests will find themselves right in the middle of everything, with plenty of entertainment and dining options to peruse. The hotel is connected to the Indiana Convention Center, which hosts many events and conventions throughout the year. It is also a short drive from popular sports venues such as Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


Guests at JW Marriott Indianapolis will be able to enjoy 5-star service and amenities, including an on-site spa, 5 restaurants (including one featuring Italian fare), an indoor pool, fitness center/gym, 24-hour front desk service with concierge services available upon request.

Hotel Indy


If you're looking for a hotel that's right in the middle of it all, consider Hotel Indy. Not only is it located on Monument Circle, but also within walking distance of the city's major attractions. Whether your travel plans include a visit to Bankers Life Fieldhouse or the Indianapolis Zoo, you'll feel right at home at this location.


The hotel offers free Wi-Fi to guests and even has movie nights in its lobby throughout the week where they show classic films. On top of that, Hotel Indy has its own spa and fitness center! The on-site restaurant features local craft beer selections and serves breakfast through dinner each day.

Final Thoughts

Aerial view of Indianapolis downtown with Statehouse in Indiana

If you haven't been to Indianapolis yet, we'd like to encourage you to do so. Indianapolis is a great city with a wonderful vibe and a lot of history. It also has a lot to see and do, plus plenty of food and drink to be had. Whether you're looking for the bougie side of things or an adventure waiting to happen, Indianapolis just might have what you are looking for! Have fun – and don't forget the Colts and Pacers!

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