Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Anderson, IN

  • Published 2022/12/06

Anderson is 30 miles northeast of Indianapolis in Madison County, Indiana.

This city was named after William Anderson.

He founded a village in Delaware along the White River in the late 1800s, which grew into the city it is today.

Anderson is a quintessential Midwest city renowned for its history and recreation activities, a perfect alternative destination besides Indianapolis.

It amplifies the same charm as the state’s capital through its vibrant community, offering visitors plenty of recreation, leisure, and sights to see.

Like most prosperous cities, Anderson, the county seat of Madison County, had to endure an economic crisis due to deindustrialization in the mid-1970s and 1980s.

However, it eventually bounced back and even ranked among the top 100 Forbes List for the best places for business in the United States’ smaller metro areas.

From a tourism point of view, Anderson is a hidden gem full of surprises and charming destinations you won’t expect.

Check out this impressive list of the best things to do in Anderson, Indiana.

Explore the Outdoors at Mounds State Park

The grounds of Mounds State Park

Kim Oliver /

Mounds State Park is an archeological and historical attraction in Anderson.

You can visit this park along Mounds Road.

Explore a vast archeological site featuring mounds constructed by the indigenous Adena Culture over 2,100 years ago.

The mounds are part of over ten fascinating earthworks constructed by prehistoric Indians or the Adena-Hopewell people.

According to archeological surveys, the largest mound, the ” Great Mound,” has existed since 160 B.C.

These mounds served as the Native Americans’ religious sites.

Foliage at Mounds State Park

Jake Sewell /

At the same time, this location serves as the natives to see the astronomical alignment of the planets and stars.

Visiting the Mounds State Park is a fascinating activity.

You’re taken back to the prehistoric age by seeing the mounds up close.

At the same time, don’t forget to drop by the nature center at Mounds State Park.

It’s where you can see animals in its wildlife viewing room and enjoy interactive games and activities for everyone.

Welcome sign of Mounds State Park

Lgideon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Travel to the Past at the Museum of Madison County History

There’s no better way to uncover a place’s backstory than visiting a museum.

Check out the Museum of Madison County History along W. 11th Street.

This museum is excellent for learning about Anderson and Madison County’s extensive and fascinating history.

One of the best sections of this museum is the WWII County Heroes, which tells the story of Madison County’s war heroes.

Also, check out the Native Americans’ permanent display and the model trains exhibit.

Many more fascinating exhibits are worth checking out at the Museum of Madison County History, and you’ll end up spending your day there.

Beat the Other Team at White River Paintball

White River Paintball is a popular attraction in the city along S. New Columbus Road.

This attraction is an excellent place to bring your friends or family for an adrenaline-pumping paintball battle.

Like most top-notch paintball arenas, this one has a full range of gear and themes for players.

You can choose battle types from a president’s theme, capture the flag, ambush, medic, and freeze tag.

Besides White River Paintball, the area has a park and a popular walking trail that are worth visiting.

Roam the Anderson Center for the Arts

Exterior of the Anderson Center for the Arts

Bruce Alan Bennett /

The first place on your list should be the Anderson Center for the Arts.

This vast museum and arts institution along Hst W 10th Street is famous for its extensive artwork collection.

It also boasts the best-looking buildings in Anderson’s downtown area.

It’s inside a Beaux-Arts Carnegie building, Anderson’s former public library in the 1900s.

Today, it’s one of the city’s top tourist attractions.

Wandering its art museum and exhibits allows you to see the best contemporary artworks from local and foreign artists.

Also, you can join its art workshops or catch art-related events at the Anderson Center for the Arts.

Step inside the Gruenewald Historic House

The Gruenewald Historic House is one of Downtown Anderson’s top attractions.

You can visit this historic house along Main Street, which has stood since the mid-1800s.

For locals, this house is a living museum featuring artifacts, heirlooms, and original furnishings dating back to 1873.

It mainly features guided tours throughout the house.

It’s also a top-notch events center for meetings and special programs to keep the heritage of Madison County alive.

The house, which has French Second Empire architecture and design, instantly captures a passerby’s attention because of its uniqueness and intricacy.

While inside, you’ll see up close various sections, rooms, and furniture which date to the 1800s.

Don’t forget to include the Gruenewald Historic House in your itinerary during your Anderson travel adventure.

Watch Young Racers at the Anderson Sertoma Mayor’s Cup Grand Prix

The annual Anderson Sertoma Mayor’s Cup Grand Prix is a go-kart racing event in Downtown Anderson every May.

What makes this go-kart racing more exciting and fun to watch is it features young toddlers who strut their stuff on the streets in an action-packed race.

The race coincides with the NHRA U.S. Nationals, one of the nation’s most significant races held at Indianapolis Raceway.

Watching the kids racing in their go-karts is one of Anderson’s unique events.

Besides the excitement, the Anderson Sertoma Mayor’s Cup is a wholesome activity that could inspire your toddler to follow in the footsteps of these young racers.

Stroll through Downtown Anderson

Tower hotel at Downtown Anderson

Nealsoad, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stroll through the city’s heart at Downtown Anderson to immerse with the locals and explore hidden gems.

This downtown area is where you’ll find most of the restaurants, bars, art galleries, and businesses in Anderson.

At the same time, it’s where most of the city’s cultural and community events happen, making it a must-visit location.

You’ll also see up close numerous well-preserved 19th and mid-20th-century buildings.

The road of Downtown Anderson

Publichall, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Most of these buildings have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Strolling through downtown Anderson is a mixture of leisure and historical experience.

You’ll pass by historical attractions such as the Gruenewald House, Anderson Bank Building, Carnegie Library, and the Paramount Theatre.

Of course, don’t forget to drop by restaurants or cafes while strolling for quality leisure time.

Eat and Learn History at the 1925 PubHouse

The 1925 PubHouse is a famous restaurant at the Grandview Public Golf Course in Anderson.

This restaurant is renowned for its top-notch steaks and signature dishes, serving locals and visitors in the city for many years.

However, it’s best known for its rich history that dates back to 1927.

The restaurant hosted a luncheon event by the Anderson Business and Professional Women’s Club.

The luncheon’s guests included the famous Amelia Earhart and other famous personalities.

To certify its claims, the restaurant has various photos of Earhart in its dining room, which you can see hanging on its wall.

Besides history, the 1925 PubHouse serves mouthwatering steaks such as the New York strip, ribeye, filet mignon, and its signature 1925 PubHouse tenderloin.

Book a table at this historic restaurant and enjoy its food and fascinating backstories.

Try Your Luck at Harrah’s Hoosier Park & Casino

Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is the best place to enjoy games and betting while exploring Anderson.

You can visit this casino and horse racing venue along Dan Patch Circle.

This casino, owned by Caesars Entertainment, features a standardbred racetrack.

At the same time, it has an extensive gaming arena with over 2,000 state-of-the-art gaming slots you can get your hands on.

Also, you can place your bet at its regular horse racing, adding more excitement to your visit there.

Drop by the Harrah Hoosier Park Racing & Casino if you’re not in the mood to explore the outdoors.

See a Top-Notch Show at the Paramount Theater

Paramount theatre at Downtown Anderson

Bruce Alan Bennett /

The Paramount Theater is a gorgeous place to watch shows of all kinds.

You can visit this theater along Meridian Street.

It’s a historic theater that has operated since the 1920s.

In addition, it has produced countless Broadway-style shows, stage plays, and concerts.

Facade of the Paramount Theater

Publichall, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ll see the gorgeous interior design of the theater, particularly its ceiling that symbolizes the night sky, offering the patrons an outdoor ambiance while watching the show.

The Paramount Theater can accommodate as many as 1,700 patrons and regularly hosts various shows throughout the year.

Drop by this theater to catch a worthwhile show.

Take a Break at the Shadyside Memorial Park

Head to the Shadyside Memorial Park for a relaxing day with nature.

You can visit this park along Killbuck Creek.

Visiting this community park allows you to enjoy its tranquil atmosphere.

It makes a perfect place to take a break after a busy day roaming the city.

Historically, the park was once a private recreation space for Union Traction Company’s employees in the late 1800s.

However, Madison County purchased the park in the 1920s as a dedication to the region’s war veterans.

Today, it remains a charming place for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Shadyside Memorial Park has all the amenities you’d want to see in an excellent community park, making it a nice place to spend time.

Feel the Rush at Anderson Speedway

Anderson Speedway is a quarter-mile racecourse regularly hosting stock car racing and other racing vehicles.

You can visit this speedway along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, a few minutes from downtown Anderson.

Every summer, this speedway draws thousands of locals throughout Madison County.

They flock to the speedway to witness some of the most exciting races from various racing vehicles.

It’s an exciting place to immerse with Anderson’s locals cheering for their favorite drivers, outracing each other on the speedway.

Anderson Speedway guarantees a fabulous time watching races, whether you’re a racing fan or a casual tourist who wants to have fun.

Walk Down Memory Lane at the Bronnenberg House

Exterior of the Bronnenberg House

User:Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bronnenberg House is another must-visit historical site in Anderson.

This historic house is along Mounds Road near the visitor center of Mounds State Park.

This four-story Federal-style house has stood since 1850.

It was formerly owned by a German immigrant who helped preserve the archeological mounds discovered in the area.

Today, the house, including its sprawling farm and other structures, remained intact and has become a popular destination for historical enthusiasts.

You should learn many fascinating historical details and backstories while touring the Bronnenberg House and its entire property.

After a tour, you can visit the Mounds State Park to check out the archeological mounds from prehistoric Indians.

Meet the Locals at the Anderson City Market

Anderson City Market has provided locals with fresh produce and specialties since the 2010s.

You can visit this charming marketplace along E. 5th Street.

It’s a seasonal market that runs from May through October.

Over a dozen vendors display not just your typical fresh produce.

They also sell local specialties such as food, preserves, handicrafts, gifts, and artworks, which you can buy as souvenirs.

At the same time, it’s an excellent place for foodies to treat their tastebuds since Anderson City Market is a well-known location to taste local dishes.

Above all, it’s a nice place to immerse with the locals and witness how they browse at a lively home such as this market.

Commune with Nature at the Rangeline Nature Preserve

Head to the Rangeline Nature Preserve to top your Anderson travel adventure.

You can visit this 180-acre nature preserve downriver from Mounds State Park.

It’s one of Anderson’s best places to engage in various outdoor activities.

It’s a well-known destination for hiking, mountain biking, and sightseeing.

Travel to this nature preserve if you’re up for spending the day outdoors.

Besides, you can still enjoy a peaceful picnic with your friends or family or cast your line at the river to catch some fish.

You won’t run out of fun activities at the Rangeline Nature Preserve, making it a recommended place to visit before returning home.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your interests, you should find something exciting to do in Anderson, Indiana.

It has plenty of parks, historical sites, and recreational activities that will fill you with fond memories, especially with your family or friends.

Consider this charming city in Indiana’s Madison County as your next destination.

Lastly, pin this post if you’re looking for an excellent itinerary of the best things to do in Anderson, Indiana.

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