Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Indianapolis, IN

  • Published 2023/03/18

Indianapolis is a vibrant metropolis known for plenty of good stuff.

It’s home to almost a million sports lovers.

It’s also the capital of Indiana and the county seat of Marion County.

One of the main things that makes Indianapolis a great city is its top-notch sports events at world-class sports venues.

It has earned recognition as the “Racing Capital of the World,” hosting three of the world’s biggest professional races.

At the same time, it’s home to numerous professional sports teams, such as the Indiana Pacers of the NBA and the Indiana Colts in the NFL.

This city, founded in 1821, has come a long way from being a small crossroads during the advent of railroading.

You should consider Indianapolis an excellent travel destination.

For more ideas, read the guide below to the best things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Explore Indianapolis at Monument Circle

Bird's eye view of Monument Circle

Ted Alexander Somerville /

Visit Monument Circle to start your Indianapolis adventure.

Locating this famous tourist attraction is easy since it’s in the heart of Indianapolis’ downtown area.

One of the best reasons to visit this place is to get acquainted with the city’s downtown area upon arriving in Indianapolis.

Monument Circle lit up during twilight

Sean Pavone /

You’ll see larger-than-life statues of sailors and soldiers at the 284-foot-tall monument.

At the same time, you can join locals taking breaks from work or school.

Monument Circle is a fantastic place to visit while appreciating its beauty and lively atmosphere.

Annual yoga festival at Monument Circle

Ted Alexander Somerville /

Meet the Animals of the Indianapolis Zoo

Entrance to Indianapolis Zoo /

Indianapolis Zoo is near Monument Circle.

Since it’s one of the city’s top tourist attractions, remember to spend time with your family at this zoo.

This zoo, situated along W. Washington Street, spans over 64 acres.

Giraffe at Indianapolis Zoo

Laura E. Johnson /

It has welcomed millions of visitors worldwide since its opening in 1944.

It has become the home of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, which still manages it.

It houses a massive aquarium, animal enclosures, themed sections, and a botanical garden.

Indianapolis Zoo 2 /

While wandering inside, you’ll see majestic lions, elephants, tigers, orangutans, exotic birds, and reptiles.

See over 4,000 animals from 320 species at the Indianapolis Zoo, making it a recommended attraction to include in your itinerary.

Macaque at Indianapolis Zoo

Katie Halverson /

Enjoy the Outdoors at the White River State Park

Boating at White River State Park

Rachael Martin /

White River State Park is where most of Indianapolis’ major attractions are.

You can visit this massive state park along W. Washington Street.

It boasts gorgeous tourist attractions, offering distinct everyone experiences within the massive area it covers.

Picnic area at White River State Park

Danita Delimont /

This 250-acre park has vast green spaces, forests, trails, and waterways featuring the natural beauty of Indianapolis.

Some of the most notable attractions within this state park are the Indianapolis Zoo, museums, hall of fame exhibits, and sports venues.

With all that in mind, you’ll likely wander the White River State Park.

Families relaxing at White River State Park

Eileen_10 /

Look Back at Racing History in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Exterior view of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Jonathan Weiss /

Head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum for a fascinating historical side trip.

You can visit this museum along West 16th Street.

Inside this museum is a vast collection of artifacts and memorabilia that thoroughly details the rich racing history of Indiana.

Visiting this museum is a must-do in Indianapolis since its renowned worldwide as one of the best places to watch racing events.

Exhibit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Bruce Alan Bennett /

To learn how this city became a mecca of racing, you must see the exhibits of the fantastic racing vehicles displayed inside.

At the same time, enjoy watching, reading, and seeing up close plenty of items relevant to racing, such as trophies, photos, films, and gear.

You’re guaranteed an excellent time inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, whether on a guided or self-guided tour.

Display of sports cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Bruce Alan Bennett /

Browse the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Exterior view of the  Indianapolis Museum of Art

hakkun, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Indianapolis Museum of Art is a beautiful place to immerse yourself in excellent artwork.

You can visit this art museum along Michigan Road.

Prepare to get blown away by this art museum’s massive comprehensive art collection covering various art genres and disciplines.

It’s home to over 54,000 pieces of artwork from various artists worldwide.

Art exhibits at  Indianapolis Museum of Art

Sailko, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Inside you’ll see artworks from Asia, Europe, Africa, and America, making it one of the most diverse art museums in the region.

Besides fine art, you’ll also come across other art forms, such as design, ceramic, photography, and textiles, courtesy of dozens of renowned artists.

You can also attend art-related events at the Indianapolis Museum of Art to complete your experience visiting this famous attraction.

Interior view of the  Indianapolis Museum of Art

Mike Steele, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Watch the Colts at the Lucas Oil Stadium

Distant view of the Lucas Oil Stadium

Sean Pavone /

The Indianapolis Colts is one of the city’s sports clubs that play at the Lucas Oil Stadium.

You can watch one of the Colts’ home games at this stadium along S. Capitol Avenue.

Join over 70,000 Colts fans cheering for the team in this massive stadium.

This football stadium features a retractable roof giving you a weatherproof football-watching experience.

Football game at Lucas Oil Stadium

Jamie Lamor Thompson /

At the same time, it has modern equipment that offers you more convenience and the ultimate football experience.

The NFL season usually runs from September to February; the C0lts play over 20 games at the Lucas Oil Stadium.

Book your seats at this massive football stadium and enjoy top-notch football action.

Interior view of the Lucas Oil Stadium

Sopotnicki /

Travel Back in Time at the Indiana State Museum

Stunning exterior of  Indiana State Museum

f11photo /

Indiana State Museum is the best place for historical enthusiasts to browse through the state’s fascinating history.

You can visit this museum along Washington Street.

This museum has thousands of historical artifacts dating back to the Ice Age.

Entryway to Indiana State Museum

Eric Glenn /

One of its permanent exhibits is the life-sized replica of an Ice Age cave featuring fossils of dire wolves and saber-tooth tigers.

At the same time, you’ll also come across exhibits about Indiana’s Native Americans, rocks and minerals, natural history, and other fascinating historical artifacts.

Check out more than 452,000 historical artifacts at the Indiana State Museum.

Hang Out at the Holliday Park

Fountain at Holliday Park

Nicholas J Klein /

Nothing can go wrong if you spend your day at the lovely Holliday Park along Spring Mill Road.

This charming park spans over 94 acres.

It features gorgeous sights and attractions about Indiana’s rich history, which you won’t expect in a park.

Stunning view of the Holliday Park

Nicholas J Klein /

It has a gorgeous arboretum and a nature center that you can visit.

It also has a children’s playground and a hiking trail taking you to some of its most scenic spots.

Statue at Holliday Park

Nicholas J Klein /

Many locals love to pass the time at this park, while some enjoy picnicking, playing sports, or walking their dogs.

With all that in mind, Holliday Park is the perfect location for a cost-free activity in Indianapolis.

Walkway at Holliday Park

Nicholas J Klein /

Discover Culture and Arts at Eiteljorg Museum

Statue outside the Eiteljorg Museum

Stephen B. Goodwin /

Eiteljorg Museum is a unique museum featuring the West and Native Americans’ history, culture, and arts.

You can visit this museum along W. Washington Street.

You’re guaranteed to enjoy exploring this museum and discovering fascinating backstories, whether you’re an art lover or not.

Since it’s the only museum in the Midwest, many historians and art lovers flock to see its rare collection detailing the West American and Native American arts.

Entrance to Eiteljorg Museum

Umut Tolga Pehlivan /

Some of the museum’s permanent collections include Georgia O’Keefe, Andy Warhol, and Frederic Remington’s works.

At the same time, Eiteljorg Museum has a collection of contemporary native art.

It also hosts the Indian Market and Festival, adding more fascination to this lovely museum.

Let Your Kids Play at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Exterior view of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

James Kirkikis /

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a massive, themed museum where kids can have a fantastic time.

You can visit this place along N. Meridian Street.

This children’s museum covers over 472,900 square feet.

It is home to over 11 galleries, earning the record as the world’s most extensive children’s museum.

Dinosaur fossils at Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Russ Vance /

One of its best sections is the planetarium, dinosaur gallery, the National Geographic Treasures of the Earth exhibit, and plenty more.

Besides its main attractions, this children’s museum houses an awe-inspiring 12,500-year-old mastodon skeleton and a vintage carousel.

When traveling with your kids in Indianapolis, remember to bring them to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Colorful centre art piece at Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Russ Vance /

Traverse the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Signage of Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is a unique outdoor attraction that takes you to some of the most fascinating spots in the city.

You can start traversing this trail along W. Walnut Street.

If you want a convenient way to explore Indianapolis attractions on foot, go to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

In that case, this trail is your go-to destination.

View of Indianapolis Cultural Trail

KYPhua /

The trail stretches over eight miles and is known as the “Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick.”

While hiking, you’ll pass a mixture of urban neighborhoods, parks, art installations, and historical attractions throughout the city.

Besides, you’ll also pass by plenty of charming shops and cafes along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, adding more excitement to your hiking experience.

Rental bikes for Indianapolis Cultural Trail

JustPixs /

Explore the Market Street Catacombs

One of the most fascinating and odd attractions you’ll likely visit in Indianapolis is the Market Street Catacombs.

You can access these so-called “catacombs” along E. Market Street.

Below Indianapolis streets lies a network of tunnels constructed over a century ago, spanning over 20,000 feet.

These tunnels were made from limestone and bricks, interconnecting various sections and layers of Indianapolis.

Although these tunnels aren’t actual catacombs, locals named them such because of their similarity.

These tunnels served as an underground transport network for local produce and meat to keep them under desirable temperatures before being refrigerated at stores.

Today, the Market Street Catacombs serve as a historical attraction that reflects Indianapolis’ locals’ ingenuity to transport goods back in the 1880s.

Walk down Memory Lane at the Lockerbie Square Historic District

Facade of a brick building at Lockerbie Square Historic District

Momoneymoproblemz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lockerbie Square Historic District is one of the most excellent places to see Indianapolis’ past.

This block is home to over 30 historical buildings and houses constructed between 1855 and 1930.

Amazingly, most of these buildings have been included in the National Register of Historic Places to preserve their historical value.

Strolling through the streets of this historical district allows you to travel back in time and immerse in the city’s rich history.

Buildings at Lockerbie Square Historic District

Momoneymoproblemz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the same time, marvel at the elegantly designed Queen Anne and Italianate-style buildings.

One of the most notable historical buildings in the area is the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, known for its Victorian-style architecture.

Visiting the Lockerbie Square Historic District is a terrific way to experience what Indianapolis looked like back in the day.

See a Home Run at the Victory Field

Entrance to the Victory Field /

The Indianapolis Indians regularly play home games at Victory Field for Minor League Baseball.

This massive baseball stadium along W. Maryland Street is one of the testaments of Indianapolis’ love for sports.

It can accommodate 14,200 baseball fans watching the Indians during their home games.

Top view of the Victory Field

Eileen_10 /

Watching a top-notch MLB baseball game at this stadium is a fantastic experience.

So, book your seat at the Victory Field with your friends or fellow baseball fans and witness how locals support their home team.

People watching a baseball match at Victory Field

Yonikasz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tour the Indiana State Capitol

Magnificient exterior of the Indiana State Capitol /

Join the fascinating tours inside the Indiana State Capitol before wrapping up your Indianapolis adventure.

You can visit this gorgeous capitol building along W. Washington Street.

Like most capitol buildings in the nation, this one also offers free guided tours.

This capitol building is renowned for its Renaissance Revival-style architecture constructed in 1888.

Stained glass dome at Indiana State Capitol

Eddie J. Rodriquez /

Its stained-glass dome is a rare design for state capitols, while its rotunda is adorned with elegant designs.

The tour inside the Indiana State Capitol usually lasts 30 to 45 minutes.

It’s a fascinating experience that takes you to various sections and chambers in the building.

Interior view of the Indiana State Capitol

Eddie J. Rodriquez /

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a lone traveler or with friends or family, Indianapolis has something worthwhile waiting for you.

Its rich history, love for sports, and vibrant community make Indianapolis a fantastic travel destination.

Pin this travel post as your itinerary to explore the best things to do in Indianapolis.

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