fun things to do in Indianapolis

The capital of the Hoosier state and one of the Midwest’s most underrated destinations, Indianapolis is a vibrant city full of pleasant surprises. From dazzling art to lip-smacking food (check out the Indianapolis City Market), a rich history and diverse entertainment options, the “Circle City” has something exciting for each and every type of visitor.

Sports fans, make a beeline for a Pacers’ game or hear the engines rev at the infamous Indy 500 track. Art lovers, take in the masterpieces at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. History buffs, head to Monument Circle or the Indiana Medical History Museum. And outdoor enthusiasts, you’ll be spoiled for choice by the city’s sprawling urban parks and nearby forests.

A perfect destination to bring your family to, take your kids to the Indianapolis Zoo to meet Komodo dragons and red pandas, or take them to blow off some energy at Skyzone Trampoline Park. In the summer, head to Nature Valley Ranch for a family bonding time horseback riding!

Whether you’re a longtime Hoosier or a first-time visitor, the selection of things to do in Indianapolis will never disappoint.

1 – See what the fuss is about at Monument Circle

Monument Circle in Indianapolis

Surrounding the iconic 284-foot-tall Soldiers and Sailors Monument, this iconic spot is the beating heart of Downtown Indi, regularly hosting festivals and never shy of a vibrant and lively atmosphere.

Standing tall in the middle of a traffic circle, the limestone memorial offers striking views from its observation deck and acts as the center point for the city’s biggest events, with no shortage of local food trucks and occasional light shows after sunset.

Directions in Google Maps

2 – Take the whole family to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Traveling with energetic kids in tow? Then head straight for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in the United Northwest Area! As officially the world’s largest children’s museum, this Indi staple sells itself as a must-see family attraction that’ll keep the whole clan entertained and engaged all day long!

With a whopping five floors of interactive galleries and displays, including an impressive railroad exhibition, as well as countless rotating exhibits, there’s so much to do at this world-class museum:

Wander through the Dinosaur Park; explore the magic of water; take a trip through Dale Chihuly’s Fireworks of Glass; move your body at the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience; learn about geology at Treasures of the Earth, or take a seat for a live, funny, and educational theater show!

3 – Ride along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

If you’ve got a bike or are in the mood to rent one (or don’t mind a decent walk), then look no further than Indy’s very own Cultural Trail — an eight-mile paved route that takes visitors seamlessly past some of the city’s most famous attractions!

Whether your taste is for art galleries, parks, monuments, museums, or gardens, a trip down this tourist-friendly route — which passes through no loess than six quirky neighborhoods: Mass Ave, Fountain Square, The Canal & White River State Park, Indiana Avenue, the Wholesale District and Market East — is sure to be a highlight of your trip!

4 – Learn all about Indiana at the Indiana State Museum

Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis
credit to Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites

For a comprehensive exploration of the Hoosier state’s history and heritage, look no further than the Indiana State Museum — formerly housed inside the old Indianapolis City Hall, the Museum (with over 500,000 objects) became too big and too popular in recent years and has found its new home among the greenery of White River State Park.

With 40,000 feet and three levels of exhibition space, dedicated to everything from prehistoric times through to modern art and natural sciences, this is your go-to destination if you’re looking for something educational.

Plus, for a little bonus, the Museum is also home to the state’s largest IMAX screen, so grab the popcorn and enjoy a film that’s both educational and entertaining!

5 – Make some new furry friends at the Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo
credit to Indianapolis Zoo

Also in White River State Park, this beloved Indi attraction is regularly atop traveler’s list of things to do in Indianapolis, welcoming over a million visitors per year and acting as the home of more than 3,800 cute and cuddly animals (and a few odd).

Spread across 64 acres of land and with twice as many exhibits as any other zoo in the state, you’ll find everything from the rare and endangered — including white rhinos, Amur tigers, Guinea baboons, red pandas, and Komodo dragons — to the most common of cheeky monkeys and slithery snakes!

With plenty of relaxation spots like their water lily garden (the perfect place for a picnic) and quiet paths where you can take your time admiring the animals, as well as live feedings and trainer shows, the Indianapolis Zoo is one of those places that makes you feel like a kid again.

6 – Visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Perhaps best known for its spot on the NASCAR calendar with the Indy 500, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the home of racing in Indianapolis, is also a must-see for lovers of all things fast and furious!

Sitting inside the middle of the famous 2.5-mile oval track, the Museum covers two whole floors with dozens of historic cars (including those that won the coveted rave), motorcycles, engines and memorabilia dating back to the late 1800s.

While the rotating exhibits come and go, the undisputed highlight is the permanent fixture of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame — a must for any devout petrolhead.

Hot tip: for the most in-depth experience, consider joining a guided tour.

7 – Put the pedal to the metal with an Indy Racing Experience

Indy Racing Experience, Indianapolis

After learning all about racing history, it’s time to get behind the wheel of an open-wheel chassis Indycar yourself!

At the hair-raising Indy Racing Experience, you’ll be taken for a ride in one of their two-seaters with an expert driver teaching you how to handle it on the track.

Prepare yourself for speeds up to 180mph and feel what it’s like to race around the famous Oval — or one of the other unique tracks around the city available on certain race day weekends — and hold on for dear life!

If you prefer watching the pros racing, book your tickets now.

8 – Experience a music concert unlike anywhere else at a candlelight concert

candlelight concerts in Indianapolis
credit to Candlelight Experience / Fever

Focus on the music when you book tickets to an exciting Candlelit Concert, where you can get the experience of entering one of the best music venues in Indianapolis, and be charmed by the light of thousands of candles, as the music suddenly captivates the audience.

No other gimmicks, or artificial lights – just you, the music, and the flickering candles. If you’re traveling with your partner, this is a perfect date idea, but if not, it’s still an experience worth considering!

Listen to classical renditions of your favorite artists, from Taylor Swift’s music to Vivaldi and Hans Zimmer. With tickets starting as low as $35 USD, this experience is one not to miss out on!

9 – Step back in time at the Lilly House and Gardens

Lilly House and Gardens, Indianapolis

An absolutely stunning example of an early 20th-century country estate, this extraordinary French chateau-style home is filled with antique furniture, classic paintings and Victorian decor to match its grand exterior.

The Lilly House has been lovingly restored and is considered a National Historic Landmark, but you can still step inside for a guided tour of this unique piece of history and learn all about what life was like over 100 years ago (complete with old-school cars loaned from the Speedway Museum for that finishing touch).

Hot tip: if you’re looking to save a few bucks, free guided walks through the sprawling gardens are offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm between April and September.

10 – Learn about a great author at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Indianapolis
credit to Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

One for the literature lovers, this underrated attraction just around the corner from the Canal Walk dives into the life, work, and times of one of America’s finest satirical authors.

From the man who brought you Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast Of Champions comes a museum dedicated to Vonnegut’s legacy as an author and social critic.

Even if you’re not an avid fan of the man, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is still well worth a visit for its insightful collection of memorabilia and personal items — all best appreciated with an expert-led guided tour of the old building.

11 – Pay respects at the Indiana War Memorial

Indiana War Memorial, Indianapolis

Another not-to-miss place in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis, the incredible Indiana War Memorial museum and shrine pays tribute to all those who served (and sacrificed) for American freedom over the years, originally built in 1924 to honor the veterans of World War I.

Besides the foreboding mausoleum-style memorial that often finds itself on postcards, the landmark is just as famous for its museum: inside the building itself, you’ll find 30,000 square feet of military artifacts spanning the Revolutionary War to the modern day.

12 – Jump around at Skyzone Trampoline Park

Skyzone Trampoline Park, Indianapolis
credit to Skyzone Trampoline Park

Brimming with all sorts of fun, Skyzone Trampoline Park offers visitors of all ages an exciting time, especially on rainy days, with everything from a rousing game of Ultimate Dodgeball, jumping around in the Foam Zone, dunking some Skyhoops, and even Skyjousting!

Adults, blow off some steam and join the fun at the Freestyle Jump area, where you can jump around to your heart’s content. With activities just about for everyone in your group, whether you’re going with friends or family, the Skyzone is the place to be!

To reserve your tickets, please make sure to head to Skyzone’s website, and select the admission you’re interested in.

13 – Get cultured at the Indianapolis Art Center

Indianapolis Art Center
creedit to Indianapolis Art Center

Another great city attraction that’s always free to enjoy, this local gallery has been curating the best of modern and contemporary art for over 100 years, offering classes, workshops, and regular events along the way.

The Indianapolis Art Center is home to some truly stunning exhibits (especially if you’re into photography or sculptures), but it’s also a wonderful place just to walk around in: don’t miss the outdoor sculpture garden or the peaceful cafe, where you can grab yourself an alfresco lunch while admiring some of the center’s best pieces.

Despite being a 20-minute drive from the main haunts of Downtown Indy, with over 50 annual exhibitions to choose from, it’s well worth the trip.

Sponsored placement

Discover A Sensational Dining Experience

Celebrate with an unforgettable twist at Dining in the Dark, where a blindfolded dinner elevates your senses of taste and smell. Perfect for couples, families, and friends looking for a distinctive dining experience, this event invites you to explore flavors and aromas in a completely new way.

14 – Get competitive with an ax-throwing outing!

ax-throwing in Indianapolis
credit to Bad Axe Throwing Indy

It’s time to unleash the inner lumberjack!

At Bad Axe Throwing Indy, you can learn the basics of throwing sharp hatchets at wooden targets (in a safe and friendly environment) — it’s like darts or bowling, but with axes!

With safety-focused instructors on hand to show you the ropes and orchestrate competitive games, plus a good selection of wines and beers to enjoy after hitting the bullseye a few times, it makes for a fun outing with friends or a quirky date night activity!

15 – Saddle up at the Natural Valley Ranch!

Natural Valley Ranch, Indianapolis
credit to Natural Valley Ranch

Just a short drive outside of Indianapolis in scenic Hendricks County, the beloved Natural Valley Ranch is home to diverse horseback riding trails and an onsite campground that provides a perfect change of pace from the hustle and bustle of big city life — plus, it’s one of the few places in the region where you can see certain wildlife species up close (keep your eyes peeled!).

For families looking for some summertime fun, choose from guided rides through the woods, first-timer lessons, trots along White Lick Creek, and even birthday parties.

16 – Lace on the roller skates

Fun Factory, Indianapolis

At fan-favorite spots like the Fun Factory (formerly Wheels of Wonder), you can enjoy a night out on the rink with friends, turn the nostalgia into overdrive, or let your kids burn off some energy at one of their many themed nights.

In addition to all-ages skating sessions, there are a handful of arcade games, all-you-can-eat pizza nights (typically on Sundays and Wednesdays), and skating lessons.

Hot tip: while the Fun Factory is affordable any night of the week, head there on Tuesdays for $2 admission!

17 – Get lost in the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art
credit to Indianapolis Museum of Art

A treat for local art lovers, the Indianapolis Museum of Art has been hosting fascinating exhibitions since its opening in 1883.

Sitting on over 150 acres of pristine grounds in Newfields (the same location on which you’ll find Lily House and The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park), the Museum is home to an impressive collection of more than 50,000 pieces highlighted by the spectacular Asian art display.

Whether wandering around at your own pace or following an expert guide, you can easily spend days exploring pieces from Egyptian mummies to impressionist masterpieces, not to mention the sprawling surrounding gardens.

18 – Check out the many events and sports games happening at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum

Indiana Farmers Coliseum
credit to Indy Fuel

Located on the grounds of the famous Indiana State Fairgrounds, is the Indiana Farmers Coliseum – the hub for all things entertainment, from sports to livestock shows, music, auto shows, and so much more!

Check the calendar to find the different array of events (over 150 annual events that take place to be exact!) that draw in annual crowds of over 1 million people, and make sure to catch a game from IUPUI Jaguars or Indy Fuel. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, there is surely an event waiting for you.

No matter what time of the year you’re visiting, something is happening at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.

Fun fact: this was the venue in which the Beatles played in 1964! It was their only performance in Indiana.

19 – Stroll along the Central Canal

Central Canal, Indianapolis

Tracking through the heart of Downtown Indy and up to the north, the Central Canal is more than just a pretty waterway — it’s also one of the city’s most scenic spots for exercise (walking, jogging, or bike-riding) and people-watching.

The view of the downtown Indianapolis Skyline from the canal is impressive, the walk at and just after sunset is romantic, and the array of shops and restaurants branching off from the main route is diverse and welcoming — all up, a non-negotiable destination for a late afternoon stroll.

Of course, with a range of boats sailing through the canal, you can jump aboard a cruise for a new perspective altogether.

Directions in Google Maps

20 – Go Dragster driving!

Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis
credit to Lucas Oil Raceway

Craving an insatiable need for speed?

Head out to the Lucas Oil Raceway, where you can rev your engines at a test track in a 2-Seated Dragsters, reaching mind-numbing speeds of well above 140 mph!

Rubber will be burning, the adrenaline will be pumping, and — regardless if you opt for the passenger or driver package, or even the 1/4 mile runs — you’ll have memories to last a lifetime.

If you wish to watch the pros racing, check out the events calendar.

21 – Visit The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis
credit to The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Found on Washington Street, right next to Military Park, this very unique museum in downtown Indianapolis is all about celebrating and displaying the cultures of Native Americans across North America, with a special focus on painting, sculpture and jewelry-making.

With over 74,000 square feet devoted to beautiful art (and even an outdoor amphitheater), this wonderful Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art — housed within an award-winning building — has something for everyone, from young children who’ll love the colorful fine art, to history buffs who’ll revel in the fascinating stories of America’s ancestors.

22 – Drift around corners at K1 Speed

karting in Indianapolis
credit to K-Speed Indy

Not quite ready for an actual dragster race or a hot lap on the Indy circuit?

Drawing racers of all experience levels, K-Speed Indy offers an indoor go-kart racing opportunity like no other.

With high-performance electric go-karts capable of reaching speeds in excess of 45 mph (and with custom race packages to make your outing even more fun), this venue is not only the most convenient place to get behind the wheel but it’s also the perfect place to bring friends and loved ones for a day of high-speed fun, with racing memorabilia, comfy couches, and plenty of food and drink to boot.

23 – Go sky-high in a hot air balloon ride

hot air balloon ride in Indianapolis
credit to Action Duckpin Bowl

Offering the perfect blend of thrills and relaxation, as you soar above the city skyline, you’ll see everything from Monument Circle to Eagle Creek Park in a whole new light.

While the pre-sunset wakeup might be a struggle, as you glide across the sky and the urban landscape morphs into rolling fields and forests, you’ll be glad that you put in the effort — and this unforgettable experience is worth every bit of sleepiness.

24 – Go bowling!

bowling in Indianapolis

A perfect indoor activity for a rainy day, or for when you just want to hang out with friends, bowling is always a good time.

With plenty of lanes spread across multiple locations around the city, and arcade games, retro tunes, there are endless opportunities to have fun at this classic American pastime!

If you’re not sure where to start, Action Duckpin Bowl in Fountain Square has been around for almost a century, with eight old-school lanes of duckpin bowling and a sizeable eaterie too!

25 – Peer into outdated treatment methods at the Indiana Medical History Museum

Medical History Museum, Indianapolis
credt to Indiana Medical History Museum

Obscure yet certainly fascinating, the Indiana Medical History Museum is home to some of the weirdest medical memorabilia around with a topsy-turvy history to boot, sitting atop the grounds of what once held the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane (later renamed to Central Indiana Hospital).

Venturing into the stories and development of psychiatric treatment, with a host of exhibits both eye-opening and gripping — over 15,000 in total including autopsy tables, iron lungs, and chemical laboratory equipment — this museum is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

26 – Check out Greatimes Family Fun Park

Greatimes Family Fun Park, Indianapolis
credits to Greatimes Family Fun Park

Keeping kids entertained for hours, Greatimes Family Fun Park is a great destination to visit if you’re looking for sunny-day things to do in Indianapolis — and, located just 15 minutes drive down the I-65 from Downtown, it’s easy to get to as well.

With bumper cars (and bumper boats), go-karts, mini-golf and arcade games galore — not to mention a substantial restaurant area with plenty of options, this amusement center has something both kids of age and kids at heart can enjoy!

27 – Shout “Touchdown!” at Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

Home to the Indianapolis Colts and a hot-ticket concert venue, Lucas Oil Stadium is an iconic hub of activity in Downtown Indy.

As one of the largest stadiums in Indiana and one of the most impressive football stadiums across the United States, this venue is a must-see for any sporting enthusiast.

With guided tours available throughout the year (and even parking available) to get a behind-the-scenes look at the sport and the stadium, and regular sell-out crowds (and did someone say tailgating?) it’s easy to see why so many people flock here every matchday!

28 – Lose yourself in the live music at the best music venues

best music venues in Indianapolis
credit to Howl At The Moon

Situated in a neighborhood near Indianapolis, check out the musical acts taking center stage at Emerson Theater, from indie rock bands to country and more!

The Hi Fi is a music venue that has been going strong since 1884! With a capacity of 400 people, this venue is perfect for enjoying an intimate evening of music, no matter the genre.

From live music to dance parties and even burlesque shows, the number of events that take place at the Vogue Theatre is definitely exciting, and worth looking into!

The Old National Centre dons beautiful exterior architecture, and nothing but music and fun on the inside, so check their calendar for upcoming shows that catch your eye!

Enjoy a warm summer concert at the TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park, or during those chilly winter nights, head to Howl at the Moon Indianapolis and order yourself a typical bucket drink.

29 – Play laser tag (and bowl a round) at Royal Pin!

Royal Pin, Indianapolis
credit to Royal Pin

A classic bowling alley with a twist, Royal Pin not only dishes up a handful of ten pin lanes, but also a multi-level, black-lit, maze of lasers and obstacles in its ever-exciting Pirate’s Quest Laser Tag!

Throw in arcades, birthday parties and bookable corporate events, and three locations across the city — Woodville, Western, Castlewood and Beech Grove — and you’ve got simple access to a great couple of hours of competitive fun no matter where you’re staying!

30 – Ride the Ferris wheel at the Indiana State Fair Midway!

Indiana State Fair Midway, Indianapolis

A hub of activity in summer, the Indiana State Fair Midway is a huge attraction for families and thrill-seekers alike, typically running from late July to late August right next to The Track of Champions!

With over 100 rides across 11 acres — including roller coasters, Ferris wheels and plenty more that whirl you around at high speeds — this renowned fairground has been delighting visitors since, believe it or not, the mid-1800s!.

With deep-fried food galore (make sure to try the fried cheesecake), potato sack slides, carnival games, candy apples, and more, so long as your visit lines up, it makes for quintessential visiting.

31 – Hop around all of the Newfields attractions

Newfields, Indianapolis
Winterlights festival / credit to Newfields @Facebook

Calling itself “a place for nature and the arts”, with a relaxing and picturesque exterior and cultural activities week in, week out, Newfields makes for a beautiful area to stroll around — especially if visiting during the Winterlights festival.

Home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Lily House, Fairbanks Park, and no shortage of well-manicured gardens — oh, and a beer garden for all of you thirsty travelers —there’s plenty here to see and do no matter the weather forecast.

32 – Take in a baseball game at Victory Field

Victory Field, Indianapolis

Home to the minor league’s Indianapolis Indians, Victory Field is an iconic sports stadium and home-away-from-home for many locals. Tucked away in White River State Park on the west side of downtown, it’s easy to get to, an easy walk from the canal, and is constantly full of excitement.

With its own bars on-site (and plenty of other restaurant options surrounding it) there’s no shortage of ways to take in an evening here — just be sure you get your tickets early!

33 – Pamper yourself at a spa

best spas in Indianapolis

Europe Day Spa instantly relaxes its guests inside the peaceful space, from the music to the aromatherapy perfuming the air. Choose between a Swedish massage, a 60-minute renewing treatment with specialized oils, or an exfoliating facial.

Receive a wide offering of beauty and pampering options at Transformations Salon and Spa, featuring everything from a European manicure to the perfect facial and hair treatments. Come out looking as good as you feel with a makeover to top off the experience!

No. 7 Salon and Spa is a full-service spa ready to rejuvenate your body with its relaxing feet and hand massages, as well as a Seasonal Body Polish that will leave your skin feeling more hydrated than ever.

34 – Swing through the treetops on zip lines at Go Ape!

zip lining in Indianapolis
credit to Go Ape

Ready to swing from tree to tree like Tarzan?

Go Ape at Eagle Creek Park is the perfect way to test your limits, with its high-ropes course and collection of zip lines (the longest of which is a whopping 305 feet!), swings and challenges requiring at least two hours to complete — all the while suspended some 40 feet up into the lush woodland canopy!

Outside of the adventure park itself, with ample opportunities for fishing, boating, and hiking, Eagle Creek Park is a hot destination for nature-loving locals.

35 – Whisk away a day at Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve

Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve, Indianapolis

To elaborate on that (#33), the Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve is far more than just a fun day out with Go Ape. With over 3,900 acres of stunning woodlands — making it one of the nation’s largest urban parks — this is a great place to get back to nature.

There are plenty of trails for hikers and horse-riders alike, along with catch-and-release fishing opportunities in the Eagle Creek Reservoir.

Check out the swimming area, dog park, golf course and sailing club; and then kick up your feet with a well-earned snack from Rick’s Boatyard Café.

Keep in mind: there’s usually a $5 or $6 entry fee per car.

36 – Watch an NBA game at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

It’s a family-friendly sports haven, and one of the best-kept secrets in Indy.

As the stomping ground of none other than the coveted Indiana Pacers of the NBA (plus the WNBA’s Indiana Fever), it’s no surprise that the Fieldhouse is one of the most famous buildings in Indianapolis, and with good reason.

When the Pacers play, the roar in the 20,000-capacity stadium is deafening, likewise when the long list of A-list performers take center stage. So whether it’s for a ball game or a concert, be sure to add this iconic spot to the list.

37 – Learn about local history at the Indiana Historical Society

Indiana Historical Society
credit to Indiana Historical Society

From learning about its most notable residents like Holocaust survivors and other notable figures to temporary exhibits showcasing the role that the state of Indiana had in the shaping of the country, and so much more, lose yourself at the Indiana Historical Society for an afternoon.

Take a peek at what Indianapolis looked like during its humble beginnings, and how it’s transformed throughout the years, or read through the different collections from social services, to politics, women in Indiana, the Civil War, and more.

Purchase your tickets in advance on their website, and don’t forget to stop by for some lunch at Stardust Terrace Cafe, or walk through the Basile History Market not too far!

38 – Tee off on a golf course

golf courses in Indianapolis
credit to The Brickyard Crossing

Offering absolutely no shortage of fine fairways, there’s a golf course within an easy drive of most anywhere in Indianapolis.

So grab your clubs, and head out to any one of the top-class courses that call this city home: from The Brickyard Crossing, boasting views over Indy’s famous racetrack; or Highland Park Golf Course with its picturesque landscape — not forgetting Greenwood Hills, the Maplewood Golf Course, and the South Grove Golf Course too — all of which are stunning in their own right.

Prefer to try something a little different? There’s always frisbee golf or glow-in-the-dark mini-golf!

39 – Hit the drums at the Rhythm! Discovery Center

Rhythm! Discovery Center, Indianapolis
credit to Rhythm! Discovery Center

Boasting the impressive claim to fame of being the world’s foremost interactive drum and percussion museum, Rhythm! Discovery Center promises to be a world of fun for the whole family.

Smack-bang in the middle of Downtown, with a handful of welcoming educational programs to enhance the hands-on exhibits and musical instrument displays, you’ll be banging and tapping away in no time!

40 – Take a drive to the historic Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie, Indianapolis
credit to Conner Prairie

There’s always something happening at Conner Prairie, Indianapolis’ much-loved living history museum that sits just 40 minutes away by car in charming Hamilton County.

A National Historic Landmark for decades, this 800-acre site is home to a collection of historic structures — including the William Conner home and Indian campgrounds— as well as a kid-friendly corn maze and petting zoo.

Hot tip: after touring the Prairie, if you fancy a drink and an indoor activity, Pinheads Alley’s Alehouse is just around the corner with cold beers and bowling lanes to boot.

41 – Run around town with a scavenger game!

scavenger game in Indianapolis

A lively way to see the city and many of its hidden gems that other run-of-the-mill tourists would usually overlook, fast-paced scavenger hunts are a great way to get your heart rate up, put your problem-solving skills to the test and tick off Indy’s main landmarks all at once.

Led from the convenience of your phone, the adventures involve solving clues and riddles that ultimately lead you on a path of city sites, with plenty of photo opportunities, local trivia nuggets, and fun competitions along the way.

Best of all? You can even do a zombie hunt!

42 – Feel the shivers on an Indiana ghost walk

Indiana ghost walk, Indianapolis

If you’ve got an appetite for the paranormal and crave a good spine-tingling story, then head out on one of the city’s ghost walks to get up close and personal with the darker side of Indianapolis history.

With a vast array of tours running throughout each week, you’ll be able to explore the haunted past at your own pace — from popular haunts such as the Allison Mansion and Central State Hospital to less well-known spots such as the Indianapolis Athletic Club (believed to be the home of the ghost of a fireman).

43 – Check out the Indiana State Fair’s annual Monster Truck Show!

Indiana State Fair’s annual Monster Truck Show, Indianapolis

Sink your teeth into the ultimate monster truck experience at the Indiana State Fair, which usually takes place around August (although, fun fact, when it started in the mid-1800s was held in October).

The engines roar, the tires shred and mud flies as these massive beasts take to the dirt in a spectacular display of power! Whether it’s your first or fifteenth time at a monster truck show, the heart-in-mouth adrenaline is electric.

Besides the shows, the jamboree is a sight to see in its own right — with some 2,000 decorated 4WDs all congregated in one spot!

44 – Check out Holliday Park

Holliday Park, Indianapolis

A sublime spot for an afternoon stroll on a sunny summer’s day, Holliday Park is a scenic oasis teeming with trees, trails and wildlife.

Located along the banks of the White River, this urban park sees plenty of visitors throughout the year taking advantage of its 95 acres of woodland paths, kid-friendly playgrounds, and 13,000-square-foot Nature Center.

If you happen to be visiting in the fall, the colors are magical; year-round, the historic 19th-century ruins attract plenty of history buffs and photographers.

45 – Head underground to the catacombs

catacombs, Indianapolis

Bet you didn’t know Indy had Catacombs! You can explore the city’s subterranean secrets on an exclusive underground tour of this former high-trafficked route, which has been transformed into a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers accessible via the northeast corner of Market and Delaware streets.

The catacombs, dating back to the late 1880s, were once used as a means of transporting and storing goods from the overhead market (because temperatures were cool underground and therefore better preserved meats) before it was eventually abandoned, but still boasts remnants of the once-grand Tomlinson Hall.

Take note: tours usually only run the first and third Saturdays of each month, May through October, so be sure to check ahead.

46 – Cool off at one of the area’s many waterparks

waterparks in Indianapolis
credit to Big Splash Adventure Water Park & Hotel

Have fun in the water at one of Indianapolis’ many splash pads and pools! From May to September, when the sun beats down at up to 95 °F, there’s no shortage of places for you and your family to cool down.

Freedom Springs Water Park over in Greenwood, just 20 minutes south of the city, boasts a lazy river, three notable water slides, and a kid-friendly play zone.

The Big Splash Adventure Water Park & Hotel is indoors, meaning you can enjoy the facilities on a rainy day, and offers an adults-only hot tub, slides, water playground, and obstacle course — and, thanks to its location near Hoosier National Forest, makes for a perfect stop on a one- or two-day getaway from Indy.

For something more local, the Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center is a popular spot, likewise the enormous Splashin’ Safari Water Park at Holiday World which comes with roller coasters and a giant wave pool.

47 – Embrace the college spirit at the NCAA Hall of Champions

NCAA Hall of Champions, Indianapolis

It’s no secret that America obsesses over its college sport, and there’s no better place to learn about all 24 of them than here in White River State Park.

That’s why sports fans regularly love the NCAA Hall of Champions, an exciting and highly interactive experience that puts you behind the scenes at some of college sports’ greatest moments and lets you experience first-hand some of the remarkable stories and artifacts that have made these universities and colleges famous.

The Hall also serves as a museum where you can learn about big-name college sports teams, their coaching staffs, players, mascots, cheerleaders and even some popular school traditions!

48 – Grab a bite and souvenir from the Indianapolis City Market

Indianapolis City Market

No matter the season, you can’t go wrong at this historic downtown destination.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy old-school charm when visiting Indianapolis City Market: grab a beer and take in live music; check out local artisans selling everything from fresh meats to handmade soaps; grab a bouquet of fresh flowers, or sample delicacies from food stands offering up flavors from all over the world.

But, perhaps the most fun you can have is taking a tour through the Market itself. With friendly locals at the helm, guided group tours of this historic landmark teach all about the Market’s long and storied history and uncover the hidden gems most tourists overlook.

49 – Learn a new craft at GRT Glass Design

GRT Glass Design, Indianapolis
credit to GRT Glass Design

An artistic haven, GRT Glass Design creates hand-blown glass art that is both functional and eye-catching.

Far from just a gallery and workshop, however, they offer a variety of classes to take part in the process for all kinds of ages and experience levels. Of course, you can always simply admire their incredible finished products at the on-site shop.

50 – Secure a table at the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis

Experience the best in evening entertainment when you visit Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre — from comedy to drama, they have it all!

With a professional stage and an intimate setting, this local landmark’s shows are sure to please any type of audience member — especially the peckish kind, with multi-course meals served right at your table so that you don’t miss out on any of the amazing action!

Choose from Broadway classics like Kinky Boots or Phantom of the Opera, seasonal spectaculars like It’s a Wonderful Life or A Beef & Boards Christmas, or check the calendar to see what’s coming up next!

51 – Go to a concert at Ruoff Music Center

Ruoff Music Center, Indianapolis
credit to Ruoff Music Center

An amphitheater with over 6,000 seats, the Ruoff Music Center is a popular music concert spot for many locals and big names in music of all different genres, from country, rock, pop, and R&B.

Be sure to check out their headlining schedule to see who will be performing when you’re in town and make sure to book your tickets for a lively time listening to great music!

When booking your tickets to a show at the amphitheater, many locals recommend booking lawn seating if it’s available, for a variety of reasons starting with the significant price drop and more room to dance and jump to your favorite songs!

52 – Have a feast at Harry and Izzy’s Steakhouse

Harry and Izzy’s Steakhousee, Indianapolis
credit to Harry and Izzy’s Steakhouse

Recently taking Indy by storm, the three-location (for now) Harry and Izzy’s Steakhouse brings an ever-evolving menu in an air of 1930’s speakeasy that makes each visit a scrumptious new experience.

With specialties like fried ravioli, sliders, and creme brûlée, and a mouthwatering steak menu that seldom disappoints, their commitment to freshness is obvious in every dish they serve.

53 – Get a little buzzed by going wine-tasting!

wine tasting in Indianapolis

While not widely known among visitors, locals are more than happy to share how Indiana is a top-tier state for wine aficionados, with over 30 wineries dotted throughout the Hoosier State.

Not sure where to start? The Peace Water Winery is a common favorite, likewise the Veteran-owned B Legendary Wine Boutique.

Enjoy a charcuterie board with your wine at Urban Vines Winery & Brewery, with wine tastings taking place on Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll be able to sample some of their best, organic, and award-winning wines. Not such a fan of wine? They also host beer tastings too!

Sip the wines at Easley Winery, from whites to sparkling and rose. If you can, try to step in on a Saturday, typically in the middle of the month, to enjoy free live music!

Buck Creek Winery is an international award-winning winery, that offers a variety of 3,000 grapevines on 4 ½ acres of land. Come get a tour of the vineyards, as you sample that award-winning vino!

54 – Throw down a picnic rug at Garfield Park

Garfield Park, Indianapolis

Admire the architecture of a bygone era while enjoying peaceful surroundings at this historic landmark in Indianapolis. And when we say historic, we mean it; the Garfield Park is officially the oldest in Indianapolis, dating back to the late 1800s.

Constructed to feel relaxing in every nook and cranny, the 128-acre Park is best known for its enchanting, 10000-square-foot tropical Conservatory.

However, a leisurely walk along one of its many trails will also reveal the MacAllister Center for the Performing Arts, an outdoor pool, plenty of picnic shelters and sports courts (tennis, basketball, softball, and an outdoor gym), playgrounds, and a sledding hill for the winter.

55 – Grab tickets for the Indiana Repertory Theatre

Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis
credit to Indiana Repertory Theatre

A world-class theatre and stunning building on downtown Washington St, the Indiana Repertory Theatre puts on a vibrant display of top-notch performances by local and national talent year-round.

With a range of shows on the calendar, from Broadway classics to new works being developed right here in Indy and seasonal specials like Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, there’s always something new and exciting taking center stage.

56 – Get buzzed at some Indianapolis breweries

best breweries in Indianapolis
credit to Sun King Brewing Co

Explore the wide variety of craft beers being created all over Indianapolis by heading to one of the many breweries that exist throughout the city.

Whether you want a light and crisp lager, a dark and malty porter or stout, or something in between — there’s likely a brewery on your radar waiting to slake your thirst for all things hoppy.

While you’re certainly not short of options, Sun King Brewing Co is the biggest, baddest brewery going around — as the second-largest in the state, its reputation precedes it. The Chilly Water Brewing Company has raked in its fair share of awards. with its Built to Last Pilsner and Hop Wonder IPA two notables brews.

Still thirsty? The Amber Ale or Backyard Porter at Fountain Square Brew Co. comes highly recommended, as do the Belgian dubbels and German hefeweizen at Bier Brewery!

57 – Check off the attractions in White River State Park

White River State Park, Indianapolis

This massive park in the heart of Downtown Indy is so much more than a green space — White River State Park is an experience full of cultural events and a lively atmosphere, and it’s officially the only urban state park in Indiana.

With attractions like the Indianapolis Zoo, The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and Victory Field (home to MLB team – The Indianapolis Indians), not to mention the adored Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens, you’ll be able to spend hours at this beloved destination.

58 – Dine at the coveted St. Elmo Steak House

St. Elmo Steak House, Indianapolis
credit to St. Elmo Steak House

End your foodie treasure hunt with a bang at one of Indy’s most iconic dining destinations, St. Elmo Steak House — a 120-year-old locale that boasts the claim as the city’s Indianapolis steakhouse

Located inside the Circle Centre Mall downtown, this establishment serves up modern-day cocktails of every which kind, perfected throughout its storied history as a hotspot for politicians and celebrities.

As one of Forbes’ 10 classic restaurants in the country, it’s certainly one of the essential things to do in Indianapolis.

59 – Stop into the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Indianapolis
credit to Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, found up in the Northside Historic District, is a goldmine for history buffs and those interested in learning about the nation’s 23rd president.

With tours that take visitors through all parts of his life in his former home — from his boyhood days to early political career as a U.S senator and role in the American Civil War — it’s a comprehensive look at one of the most fascinating men to have led America.

Hot tip: While you’re there, make sure to check out the Candlelight Theatre — a unique take on the traditional play, taking place inside the mansion itself!

60 – Get competitive at Tappers Arcade Bar

Tappers Arcade Bar, Indianapolis
credit to Tappers Arcade Bar

With a huge range of arcade machines from all eras, Tappers Arcade Bar is an homage to the golden age of gaming.

A true ode to classic arcades and pinball machines everywhere, this place has everything you could want for a night of tipsy retro fun.

Throw in the nibbly bar food, a full cocktail menu with nightly specials, and ice-cold beer on tap and you’re in for quite the evening.

61 – Become part of the show at White Rabbit Cabaret

White Rabbit Cabaret, Indianapolis
credit to Brian Moore

High energy, a brash attitude and the best burlesque talent in town — White Rabbit Cabaret is one of those places that can’t be missed.

Taking place in the heart of Fountain Square, it’s an immersive experience from start to finish as audience members are encouraged to drink up and get involved with live music, comedy, acrobats and more.

62 – Meet some thirsty friends on a pub crawl

pub-crawl in Indianapolis
credit to Mousetrap

Get ready for an unusually fun bar experience at The Handlebar, also known as the “Pedal Pub”. This bar on wheels requires guests to pedal using the pedals underneath their seat, making this a fun bar on wheels!

Try the variety of craft beers and fascinating flavors from pumpkin ales to Belgian black ales at Tomlinson Tap Room, and for wine lovers, check out the race car-themed wine bar at Foyt Wine Vault.

Mousetrap has been entertaining patrons since the 70s, and today it’s still going strong! Be part of a drinking tradition, join the fun as you order your food and drinks, and play a game of pool and darts with the locals.

63 – Get panoramic views of Indy all around you at the best Rooftop bars

best rooftop bars in Indianapolis
credit to Plat 99

Serving up vibrant and fresh foods, and incredibly refreshing cocktails, The Rooftop Garden is the place to be for both the hospitality, vibe and of course the abundant views of downtown Indianapolis.

Catch the stunning sunset at Plat 99, located at the Alexander Hotel. After oohing and ahhing for the sunset, the DJ starts their set, and the drinks begin to flow abundantly, as the flickering lights of downtown start to light up.

Looking for a rooftop bar with delectable dishes? Consider landing at The Eagle’s Nest, a unique revolving rooftop that will ensure literal 360-degree views without you having to get up. Order yourself a crafted cocktail, as your steak or fish is being prepared.

How to get to Indianapolis?

The main airport to fly into when traveling to Indianapolis is the Indianapolis International Airport, and though there is a shuttle that takes visitors from the airport to downtown, it is not express or always reliable.

To ensure you get into town and to your hotel easily, consider pre-booking an airport transfer, effectively transporting you in less than 20 minutes.

Visiting Indianapolis on a budget?

If it’s your first time visiting Indy and you’re looking to tick off as many of the main activities as possible without breaking the bank, say hello to the Indy Attraction Pass!

Choose from one or three-day passes, and then spend as much or as little time as you like at the long list of included destinations:

Spend a day in White River State Park, go to the Children’s Museum, enjoy the old-school Conner Prairie, head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the Indianapolis Zoo, or The Children’s Museum Of Indianapolis, just to name a few!

With free entry to dozens of beloved attractions as well as discounts on restaurants, it should at least be considered. Click below to find out more.

Where to stay in Indianapolis?

With a diverse selection of hotels, hostels, AirBNBs and couch-surfing options — from budget-friendly bunk-bed joints to 5-star all-inclusive hotels — it’s not as easy as you might think to find the ideal place to stay in Indianapolis.

If you’re after luxury, all of Bottleworks Hotel, Ironworks Hotel Indy, and Conrad Indianapolis dish up opulent amenities and lavish furnishings. Or, for something a little more mid-tier yet still well and truly trendy, check out the Hotel Broad Ripple.

For more of a historic sleepover, the Crowne Plaza at Union Station is well worth a visit — over a century old!

For a budget option that includes breakfast, don’t look further than staying at the Staybridge Suites Indianapolis Downtown, whereas the name describes, you’ll be staying in the heart of Indianapolis, close to the main attractions. This hotel is a steal with an indoor pool, fast wi-fi, and high-quality front desk attention!

Where to go next?

Once you’ve discovered all the gems to see in Indianapolis, make sure to head to some of the other major cities dotting the U.S. Midwest region.

From St. Louis to Chicago, which offers cosmopolitan vibes with courteous hospitality, you’ll enjoy heading to a locally beloved Cardinals game with views of St. Louis Arch in St. Louis, while exploring all the magical shopping on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and snapping your photo inside the Bean!

Detroit, Michigan offers a unique look into its once-booming car production industry at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, as well as the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant.

Ohio has a few cities to explore as well, from Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati!

Travel south, and find a long list of things to do in Louisville Kentucky, from strolling through Historic Frankfort Avenue, and if you go to Nashville, prepare for endless nights of live music of all genres!

Final thoughts

Did you get a few ideas to add to your own list of must-do things to do in Indianapolis?

From its lively downtown scene with revolving rooftop bars, and drive around Monument Circle, to exploring on foot the Indianapolis Cultural Trail or putting the gas on your plan to experience some Indy Car Racing – The Hoosier City has a lot to offer!

Happy travels!

Evan Bryce Riddle is a versatile and ambitious content producer whose passion for globetrotting runs deep. When he’s not crafting travel content, Evan is the Content Executive at Australia’s leading digital marketing agency, managing end-to-end video production and written content to build brands to 7 and 8 figures. Evan has also spearheaded content for world-leading digital media channels (TheRichest, TheTravel), written multiple published books, photographed weddings, and hosts the coveted MegaMinds podcast – a handful of highlights from his 10+ year content and marketing career. Where does the love for travel come from? Born in Melbourne, Australia but having grown up in Hollywood, Evan fell in love with international jetsetting from a young age. Fast forward to today and he’s visited 30+ countries, highlighted by a 4-year stint in vibrant Montreal.