Charming places to visit in Indianapolis, Indiana

Top tourist attractions in Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis, Indiana, has a lot of things to offer visitors. Whether you are a history buff or a nature lover, there is a place for you in Indiana. There are historical monuments, parks, and museums among the many places to visit in Indianapolis. There are also tons of things to do in Indianapolis for kids. So whether planning a family getaway or just visiting the city for the day, you will find something fun.

tourist attractions in Indianapolis

One of the most prominent landmarks in the city is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This 284-foot-tall monument honors all the veterans of war. The memorial is located in the downtown area of Indianapolis. It can be reached by 330 stairs or an elevator. A gift shop is also available.

Another important memorial is the Indiana World War Memorial. You will see military uniforms, weapons, and artifacts at the memorial. You will also find a museum dedicated to the soldiers of Indiana.

Indianapolis Central Library - places to visit in Indianapolis
Indianapolis Central Library – places to visit in Indianapolis

Another popular destination is the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. At this children’s museum, you will find interactive and educational exhibits. Whether you are traveling with kids or a parent, the museum will have something for everyone. Guests can participate in the interactive exhibits or go on a hands-on activity.

Those interested in the arts will want to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art. This museum houses a permanent collection of more than 54,000 works of art. In addition, several notable artists are represented in the museum. Other attractions include Chinese ceramics, textiles, and modern art.

Top 15 things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana

  1. Indianapolis Zoo
  2. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  3. Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  4. Soldiers & Sailors Monument
  5. Eagle Creek Park
  6. Newfields
  7. Fort Harrison State Park
  8. White River State Park
  9. Indiana State Museum
  10. Garfield Park
  11. Holliday Park
  12. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
  13. Indianapolis City Market
  14. Indiana War Memorial & Museum
  15. Indianapolis Canal Walk

things to do in Indianapolis
things to do in Indianapolis

Indianapolis Zoo

If you are looking for places to visit in Indianapolis, Indiana, you should consider a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo. This is a 64-acre cageless zoo that features a botanical garden and an aquarium. You can also find a variety of interactive exhibits and special events to make your visit more enjoyable.

The zoo boasts a large number of animals and plants. It’s one of the largest privately-funded zoos in the country. In addition, the zoo’s “biome” system provides an engaging experience for visitors of all ages.

The eye of the tiger in Indianapolis Zoo
The eye of the tiger in Indianapolis Zoo

As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Indianapolis Zoo participates in various conservation programs. One such program is the Species Survival Plans, a collection of conservation projects protecting endangered species.

Among the Indianapolis Zoo’s highlights is the Marsh Dolphin Theater, home to a daily dolphin show. Additionally, the zoo has a state-of-the-art dolphin pavilion, which allows you to get up close and personal with a dolphin.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a world-renowned museum for children. Located on the north side of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, it offers children a great place to explore the world. In addition to its collection of over 110,000 exhibit items, the museum also offers children the chance to engage in hands-on science activities.

It is free to enter the museum and free admission on the first Thursday of every month. If you want to visit the museum, you can book your ticket online or call.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis Welcome Center
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Welcome Center

One of the highlights of the museum is the Dinosphere exhibit. Kids and adults alike will love this interactive display. There are fossils from all over the world and real paleontologists to answer questions while you’re there.

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Another attraction is the National Geographic Treasures of the Earth exhibit. This fun interactive display includes a replica of an ancient Egyptian tomb, Chinese Terra Cotta Warriors, and a shipwreck from Captain Kidd’s voyage.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis is a city that offers a wide variety of fun things to do. From sporting events to shopping, there’s something for everyone to do in the capital of Indiana. However, if you’re looking for a unique experience, try visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This place is associated with the world’s most famous motorsports event, the Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an oval-shaped racing track with a 2.5-mile route that is home to the Indianapolis 500. It’s the perfect place to learn about the history of automotive racing or have a great time.

Visitors can learn more about the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by visiting the museum. This place features more than 37,500 square feet of exhibit space and an extensive memorabilia collection.

Soldiers & Sailors Monument

Soldiers & Sailors Monument Indianapolis is one of the most famous landmarks in the city. This monument was constructed in 1902 and is a symbol of Indianapolis. German architect Bruno Schmitz designed it.

The monument is made of gray oolitic limestone and is 284 feet six inches tall. It is located in the center of Indianapolis’ original Mile Square plat.

Indianapolis Soldier's and Sailor's Monument
Indianapolis Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument

The monument has a raised square base adorned with sculpture. At the bottom are four limestone figures representing Indiana Hoosiers, who served in the War of 1812 and the Spanish-American war.

A large obelisk is also situated at the monument. This obelisk is composed of Indiana limestone. In addition, there is an observation level that offers a 360-degree view of the city. This level requires 31 steps to reach.

Eagle Creek Park

Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. It features over 3,900 acres of natural woodlands, water, and open spaces. The park also has two nature preserves, a 36-hole golf course, and numerous outdoor recreational activities.

Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, Indiana
Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, Indiana

Eagle Creek Park’s acclaim as an ideal gathering spot for the Indy community goes beyond its scenic beauty. The park features several playgrounds, shelters, and picnic areas, making it a great place to spend an afternoon or a day.

The park is a popular destination for residents and tourists alike. Guests can enjoy various recreational activities, including hiking trails, water sports, and a zipline course. Also, visitors can get a taste of the local ecosystem by visiting the Earth Discovery Center, which offers a variety of environmental education programs.

Newfields

Newfields is an innovative campus offering dynamic experiences with art and nature. The 152-acre cultural campus is located just north of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. It includes a sculpture park, art galleries, a working greenhouse, a nature preserve, and The Garden. With a range of activities and exhibitions, it’s a perfect spot for a family outing, a weekend getaway, or even a business meeting.

Among its many attractions is the Lilly House, the historic home of the Lilly family. Also on the property is the Miller House and Garden, one of the nation’s most prominent mid-century modernist buildings.

Newfields
Newfields

Newfields also offers a wealth of educational opportunities, including an in-house preschool. There are also several performance spaces, including a performance space in the Toby and a sculpture park.

Newfields also features a multisensory exhibit, THE LUME Indianapolis, which transforms two-dimensional paintings into three-dimensional worlds.

Fort Harrison State Park

Fort Harrison State Park is an oasis of green in an urban setting. It is 1,700 acres in size and boasts a unique blend of history. The former Citizen’s Military Training Camp, World War II POW camp, and Civilian Conservation Corps camp are all preserved and made available for visitors.

Fort Harrison offers several attractions, including an 18-hole golf course, a water park, and hiking trails. In addition, there is a nature center and a dog park. Aside from these, there are picnic areas, playgrounds, and several sports fields.

Fort Harrison State Park, Indianapolis
Fort Harrison State Park, Indianapolis

The park’s name is a bit of a misnomer. Although it is a state park, it is located in northeast Indianapolis. It’s the closest park to the city center.

The best time to visit Fort Harrison is in the spring. Springtime brings a great variety of woodland wildflowers, and it’s the perfect season to see warblers flying north.

White River State Park

White River State Park, located in Indianapolis, is a 250-acre park along the White River. The park is a popular destination, as it offers a wide variety of attractions and activities to residents and visitors.

Visitors can explore the waterways, greenspaces, historic landmarks, and more that make up this urban cultural state park. In addition to its recreational and cultural amenities, the park also preserves and restores the natural environment.

White River State Park - Indianapolis
White River State Park – Indianapolis

The park is home to several attractions, including the NCAA Hall of Champions and the Indianapolis Zoo. It also boasts an IMAX Theater that showcases 3D IMAX films.

Visitors can explore the scenic canal, visit the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park, or go on a romantic gondola ride. There are also pedal boats and kayaks to enjoy.

Indiana State Museum

The Indiana State Museum is located in downtown Indianapolis in White River State Park. It is a large, eclectic museum that explores both science and history. You will find a variety of exhibits that cover the past, present, and future of Indiana.

The museum is home to Indiana’s only true IMAX theater. In addition to exhibits, the museum offers a wide range of programs and activities. There is also a Farmer’s Market Cafe. These special programs are designed for families and children.

Indiana State Museum Indianapolis
Indiana State Museum Indianapolis

The museum is a part of the more extensive Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites network of cultural sites. This network features eleven locations that preserve and interpret the history of the state and its people.

In the mid-1980s, the museum expanded its facility by purchasing nearby buildings. The natural history collection housed in the basement of the State Capitol building was moved to a more spacious room on the third floor. In addition, hundreds of cultural items were added to the collection.

Garfield Park

Garfield Park is a historic park in Indianapolis. It is one of the first city parks in the city. The park is located on the Southside of the city.

Garfield Park has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2003. This is due to the efforts of the Friends of Garfield Park. They are a nonprofit organization that helped bring free concerts, theater programs, and vintage movies to the park.

Garfield Park Indianapolis Indiana
Garfield Park, Indianapolis Indiana

Other attractions include the Garfield Park Conservatory, which features hundreds of tropical plants. The conservatory is open year-round. You can also attend weddings on the park’s grounds.

Garfield Park is located on the confluence of Bean Creek and Pleasant Run. It is accessible by foot and bicycle. In addition, the city’s Red Line bus runs through the area.

Holliday Park

Holliday Park is an Indianapolis park with 94 acres of green space, a beautiful nature center, and hiking trails. There are also several playgrounds.

The Nature Center is a 13,000-square-foot building with art galleries, indoor and outdoor wildlife observation areas, and a state-of-the-art exhibit hall. Visitors can also take classes in nature and science at the Nature Center.

Ruins color - Holliday Park, Indy
Ruins color – Holliday Park, Indy

Originally, Holliday Park was a botanical garden. It became an arboretum in the 1950s. In the 1980s, it underwent a significant renovation.

The park is now home to the Marion County Nature Center. Located just off the north parking lot, the Nature Center features discovery-based activities for people of all ages. Some programs are free, but some have a fee.

The park is home to the Indiana Daylily-Iris Society, a native plant society. Children can climb on a rock climbing wall and play on small slides.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is one of the world’s largest collections of racing cars and artifacts. It houses more than 300 cars, a dozen motorcycles, and a couple of thousand pieces of fine art.

The IMS Foundation, a nonprofit organization, operates the museum. In addition to the many car exhibits, the museum offers guided tours around the iconic IMS sites.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

The museum also has its share of special events, such as the annual Brickyard 400. This event ties the name “Indy” to automobile racing. However, the museum’s “Kiss the Bricks” tour is the most popular. It is a thirty-minute narrated tour that traces the history of the track.

Indianapolis City Market

Indianapolis City Market has been a landmark for over 120 years. The facility is located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis and features a beautiful historic building and a host of artisan products, foods, and entertainment.

The Indianapolis City Market was originally a semi-enclosed wooden market house with brick stalls. This building was constructed in the 1880s and has since been remodeled.

Indianapolis City Market
Indianapolis City Market

The original City Market was the primary public market in Indianapolis. It was opened in the year 1886. At the time, it possessed 246 stalls. Some of these stalls were open-sided, allowing merchants to sell grain, hay, and wood.

The City Market was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In the late 1970s, the city completed a major building renovation. New wings were added on either side of the original building.

The City Market building was designed by German architect D.A. Bohlen & Son, who also built the nearby Tomlinson Hall. Both buildings were constructed during a time of great emphasis on practical design.

Indianapolis City Market
Indianapolis City Market

The former Tomlinson Hall was destroyed by fire in 1958. However, a remnant arch of the building was discovered during the rehabilitation of the City Market.

During the 1950s and 60s, families started moving out of the city, putting a decline in the activity at the market. When the market reopened, activity was again at its peak.

Today, the City Market is an attractive location for lunch, shopping, and entertainment. In addition, visitors can find fresh flowers, local artisan goods, and more.

Indiana War Memorial & Museum

The Indiana War Memorial & Museum is a memorial that pays tribute to the men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. These heroes are honored through their statues, uniforms, documents, photos, and firearms.

The Indiana War Memorial is a 210-foot-tall monument. This impressive work of architecture is located in the downtown area of Indianapolis. It was initially built to honor the veterans of World War I. However, it has been expanded to include memorials for other wars.

Indiana Indianapolis - Cenotaph Square - Indiana World War Memorial Plaza
Indiana Indianapolis – Cenotaph Square – Indiana World War Memorial Plaza

A significant part of the museum is the lower level, which contains some exhibits. The USS Indianapolis (CA-35) gallery is one of the displays and features hundreds of artifacts. Another is the radio room, which shows the U.S. Navy’s radio equipment used in the 1940s. There are also thousands of flags and uniforms displayed on the main floor.

Indianapolis Canal Walk

The Indianapolis Canal Walk is a fun and exciting way to see downtown Indianapolis. Whether walking, running, or biking, you’ll appreciate this three-mile-long waterside promenade. It is free to enter and has a few exciting features.

For instance, there’s a small waterfall from a reconstructed canal lock gate. Footbridges also connect one side of the canal to the other.

Indianapolis - Canal Walk
Indianapolis – Canal Walk

One of the most fun things to do in Indy is to take in a daytime concert on the canal. This is a fun way to spend a summer day, especially if you have young kids to entertain.

Another fun thing to do is to ride the new water-friendly Barracuda water vehicles, which are available for rental. You can also try out the double and single peddle boats.

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