attractions in Indianapolis

11 top tourist attractions in Indianapolis

Indianapolis, a quintessential Midwest city and capital of Indiana, is located southeast of Lake Michigan on the White River. It’s almost right in the center of Indiana, on a site selected by ten government commissioners in 1820 for the new state capital. Indianapolis has lots to do, from taking an evening stroll on the Canal Walk after dinner on the water to visiting downtown. However, its world fame comes from the “Indianapolis 500”, the auto race held annually on the Sunday before Memorial Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is the world’s largest one-day sporting event and attracts hundreds of thousands of motorsport fans.

1 Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art
 

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is located north of the city center in the spacious Newfields Park. The museum is housed in four pavilions: the Krannert Pavilion, which is devoted to American art, from pre-Columbian times to the present (including Edward Hopper’s Hotel lobby ) and Asian art; the Hulman Pavilion, with paintings from Baroque to Neo-Impressionism, and the Eiteljorg Gallery of African and South Pacific Art ; the Clowes Pavilion with medieval and Renaissance art, 18th-century British painting and watercolors by Turner; and the Lilly Pavilion, with British and American furniture and silver, as well as German porcelain.

Address: 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://discovernewfields.org/do-and-see/places-to-go/indianapolis-museum-art

Read also: Where is the prettiest beach in Greece?

2 Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Children's Museum of Indianapolis jennlynndesign / photo modified
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis jennlynndesign / photo modified
 

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a great place to take the family for an afternoon of educational fun. The museum is full of interesting, innovative and interactive displays aimed at young visitors. Some of the displays include topics related to transportation, science, culture and archaeology. Some of the museum’s biggest hits are the dinosaurs – including the brontosaurus that tries to peek at the top floor. The Dinosphere exhibit recreates the world the dinosaurs lived in, allowing visitors to experience the sights and sounds of 65 million years ago and even touch a real Tyrannosaurus Rex bone. Among the dinosaurs on display is a recently discovered species named Dracorex Hogwartsieen in honor of Harry Potter’s alma mater. Other attractions include a series of interactive exhibits on music, toys, pop culture, science and space travel.

Adres: 3000 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://www.childrensmuseum.org/

3 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway momentcaptured1 / photo modified
Indianapolis Motor Speedway momentcaptured1 / photo modified
 

America’s most celebrated auto race, the legendary Indianapolis 500, is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, seven miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis. It is only used for this race and two others: the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Race and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. The track, a 2.5-mile oval, was originally designed as a test track for automobiles, but the first 500-mile race in 1911 was so successful that it became a permanent fixture. Over time, the track, originally paved with stones (still used to mark the finish line), was adapted to cope with increasingly higher speeds. Spectator accommodation was also increased and the speedway can now accommodate more than 250,000 people in the stands and more than 150,000 on the ground.

Address: 4790 W 16th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/

4 Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve

Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve Serge Melki / photo modified
Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve Serge Melki / photo modified
 

Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, covering 5,300 acres including both land and water recreational facilities. In addition to a small beach, visitors can rent watercraft at the marina, including kayaks, pontoon boats and canoes, and even take sailing lessons in the summer. Eagle Creek is also a popular fishing spot, known for its walleye and largemouth bass. For children and families there is a playground, beach volleyball and a treetop adventure course with cable cars. There is a 36-hole golf course at Eagle Creek Golf Club and the park hosts regular concerts throughout the summer.

Address: 7840 W 56th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://eaglecreekpark.org/

5 Monument Circle

Monument Circle
Monument Circle
 

The Soldier’s and Sailor’s Memorial is located in Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis and is the city’s most important landmark. Completed in 1902 after five years of construction, this limestone monument commemorates the lives lost in the Civil War. North of the monument sits the Mausoleum and Memorial Hall and three blocks to the south is the large Circle Center Mall . The monument contains several sculptures honoring previous leaders, the Colonel’s Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, and an observation deck.

The Indiana World War Memorial is another important tribute. This imposing square monument stands as a silent reminder of the folly of war and honors the fallen soldiers. The Shrine Room on the 3rd floor symbolizes peace and unity, as it was built with building materials from all over the world. Also in the war memorial is a museum dedicated to Indiana’s soldiers. Exhibits include an AH-1 Cobra Attack helicopter, military uniforms and weapons, and other military-related artifacts and information.

Address: 51 E. Michigan Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://www.in.gov/iwm/

6 White River State Park

White River State Park
White River State Park
 

White River State Park is a great place to escape the fast pace of the city. Once inside the park, it’s hard to believe you’re in downtown Indianapolis. White River State Park features expansive green spaces and is home to some of the city’s top tourist attractions, including the Indianapolis Zoo, a baseball park, the Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana State Museum, an Imax theater , NCAA Hall of Champions , and the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial . The Canal Walk , a 3-mile waterfront pedestrian mall that runs along the central canal, begins in the park and runs north to 11th Street. Popular with runners and cyclists, this is also a lovely place for tourists to stroll and access many of the city’s sights, shops and restaurants.

Official site: www.whiteriverstatepark.org

7 Eiteljorg Museum of Native American and Western Art

Eiteljorg Museum of Native American and Western Art susi.bsu / photo modified
Eiteljorg Museum of Native American and Western Art susi.bsu / photo modified
 

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art is located at the entrance to White River State Park . The museum features a remarkable collection curated by Indianapolis businessman Harrison Eiteljorg. It covers Western painting and sculpture from the early 19th century, including works by landscape architects Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, and photographs and sculpture by leading Western artists Frederick S. Remington and Charles M. Russell. Also on display is an extensive collection of works from the Taos Society of Artists and Indian arts and crafts from across North America.

Adres: 500 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://www.eiteljorg.org/

8 Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo
Indianapolis Zoo
 

The Indianapolis Zoo opened in 1964 and today plays an important role in global conservation and research. Located in White River State Park , it contains not only a zoo, but also an aquarium and a botanical garden. The botanical garden covers three hectares and includes both permanent and changing gardens representing flora from all over the world. The Oceans aquarium features multiple tanks, including an ecosystem of coral reefs. The zoo’s animals are distributed among different habitats, which have been recreated to give both visitors and the animal residents the feeling of a natural environment. The Plains animals are among the zoo’s most popular, including some of the largest and most dramatic animals, such as giraffes, elephants, rhinos and zebras. The Forests habitat allows visitors to walk among soaring birds and see animals like the mischievous red panda peering out of the trees.

Adres: 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: www.indianapoliszoo.com

9 Benjamin Harrison Presidential site

Benjamin Harrison Presidential site jimbowen0306 / posted photo
Benjamin Harrison Presidential site jimbowen0306 / posted photo
 

Benjamin Harrison, who was elected president of the United States in 1888, died in Indianapolis in 1901. His home at 1230 North Delaware Street, with its original Victorian furnishings, is open to the public. Benjamin Harrison’s sixteen-room Italianate Victorian house, built in 1874–75, played a prominent role in his campaign for the presidency. Visitors can learn about Harrison’s skills as a lawyer, the cases he brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, his reputation as a military leader of men, his conservation efforts, his expertise in foreign affairs and his expansion of the U.S. Navy . This home of the 23rd President of the United States is also filled with Harrison’s personal items. The house also hosts several special events throughout the year, including a President’s Day celebration.

Address: 1230 N. Delaware Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://www.presidentbenjaminharrison.org/

10 Ritme! Discovery Center

Djembe drum Afrikaans percussion instrument
Djembe drum Afrikaans percussion instrument
 

Founded in 2009, the Rhythm! Discovery Center is a museum of percussion instruments. Exhibits explore every aspect of percussion, from its historical and cultural role in shaping music to the physics of sound waves. The museum also has a collection of artifacts from around the world, giving visitors the chance to see unique and long-forgotten instruments. In addition to the ‘Groove Space’, where you can play hundreds of instruments, exhibits include interactive experiences that explore topics such as the evolution of electronic percussion, ‘found’ percussion and experimentation with sound. The museum also organizes educational programs and concerts.

Adres: 110 W. Washington Street, Suite A, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: https://rhythmdiscoverycenter.org/

11 Indiana State Museum

Indiana State Museum Alan Levine / photo modified
Indiana State Museum Alan Levine / photo modified
 

Located in downtown Indianapolis’ White River State Park , the Indiana State Museum offers a variety of exhibits and experiences that explore the state’s natural and cultural history. The museum’s first floor focuses on the state’s natural history, including its geology and long-extinct inhabitants. Here you can walk through an “ice” tunnel that recreates the experience of being in a glacier and viewing an ancient mastodon. The second floor is dedicated to the region’s cultural past, beginning with an extensive exhibit showcasing the lives and traditions of the native people. You’ll also find exhibits relating to more recent Hoosier history, including artifacts from the Civil War and other important cultural topics. The museum also houses a hands-on naturalist laboratory and regularly hosts puppet shows.

Address: 650 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana

Official site: www.indianamuseum.org

Where to Stay in Indianapolis for Sightseeing

Whether you’re visiting Indianapolis for the NASCAR Indianapolis 500 race or just to see the sights, downtown is the best place to stay. Families may want to stay a bit west to be near the Indianapolis Zoo, but cultural women and history buffs will want to stay in the Wholesale District close to the museums, memorials and the state capital. Sports fans will probably want to stand a bit south near Lucas Oil Stadium. Below are some highly rated hotels in great locations:

  • Luxury Hotels: Located in the heart of downtown, Le Meridien Indianapolis is one of the city’s top luxury hotels. It is in a prime location and is connected to Circle Center Mall via Skyway. The Conrad is a 23-storey hotel offering 5-star luxury. It is just a short walk from the city’s famous Monument Circle. For a chic boutique option with an eclectic art collection, head to The Alexander, half a mile from the Amtrak station and within walking distance of Lucas Oil Stadium.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: The Hampton Inn Indianapolis Downtown is located in the beautifully restored 1929 Chesapeake Building, once the headquarters of the Big Four Railroad. It is in the Warehouse District, the city’s lively entertainment district. Families may want to consider the Hilton, which has large rooms, an indoor pool and is just a mile walk from the zoo. The Courtyard Indianapolis at the Capitol is located directly behind the State Capitol building in a prime location, with canalside walking paths and convenient parking.
  • Budget Hotels: At the higher end of the budget category, Staybridge Suites offers comfortable rooms and is conveniently located next to Lucas Oil Stadium and Crane Bay Event Center. Located close to the trendy Wholesale District, La Quinta Inn & Suites offers good value given its excellent location. Just two miles to the northwest of downtown and 2.5 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the Sleep Inn & Suites and Conference Center, with a small pool.

Read also:

Top-Rated Attractions and Places to Visit in Arizona

Top-Rated Attractions and Places to Visit in Utah

Top 10 Best Beaches in the USA: Our Ultimate Guide to Sun, Surf, and Sand

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *