Discovering the Art, History, and Fast Cars of Indianapolis
There are so many wonderful destinations throughout the American Midwest; places that are steeped in history, have the nicest locals imaginable, and that offer plenty of great pastimes that will keep you entertained for the entirety of your visit. Indianapolis, often referred to as the "Crossroads of America," is definitely one of those cities! Known for its iconic motor racing tradition, fascinating arts scene, and family-friendly attractions, Indianapolis truly has something for everyone. If you’re planning a trip to Indianapolis or simply looking for some travel inspiration, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading to discover the best things to do and see in this lovely city, ensuring that your visit to Indianapolis is nothing short of remarkable.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
It’s not a visit to Indianapolis without stopping by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! This is where the legendary Indianapolis 500 race is held every year in May, typically on the Sunday during Memorial Day Weekend. If you can plan your visit around this time and make it to this race, recognized as the largest single-day sporting event in the world, you can surely expect an exciting day you’ll never forget.
If you’re in Indianapolis any other time of year, you can still visit for guided tours and to explore the remarkable Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Here, you’ll learn about the long history of the Indy 500, which had its inaugural race in 1911. You’ll get a fascinating look into the history of the track, see vintage cars, memorabilia, and other intriguing exhibits. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is easily the epicenter of this region and a must-see when you’re in town.
Parks and Trails
If you want a little break from the city and to explore the surrounding natural areas, there’s plenty to enjoy around Indianapolis. Eagle Creek Park is an expansive place that features beautiful woodlands, peaceful meadows, and a 1,300-acre reservoir that’s perfect for activities like fishing and kayaking. There are more than 10 miles of hiking trails throughout Eagle Creek, so you get your steps in while keeping an eye out for bald eagles, great blue herons, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, and beavers. Be sure to stop by the Earth Discovery Center to check out the nature exhibits and additional information about the park and its ecosystems.
Holliday Park is another great spot that boast an extensive trail system, the most notable being the Marott Park Loop, which leads hikers through gorgeous woodlands. Holliday Park also has a fantastic playground for the kids to climb and play on as well as an interesting sculpture of ruins that definitely stands out.
White River State Park is an urban park that’s situated in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Located right along the White River, this park has lovely walking and biking trails, scenic views, vast green spaces, and several of the city’s main attractions like the Indianapolis Zoo and the Indiana State Museum. Visitors can enjoy the walk along the Central Canal, rent paddleboats, or explore the Indianapolis Cultural Trail to see awesome art installments and colorful gardens. Whether taking a delightful afternoon stroll, attending a concert at the amphitheater, or enjoying a picnic under the shady trees, this park is an ideal setting for both entertainment and relaxation in the heart of Indianapolis.
If you’re visiting with little ones, you can’t miss out on a day spent at the largest children’s museum in the world! The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has a plethora of interactive and accessible exhibits, educational displays, a planetarium, and a theater. Both children and grown-ups are guaranteed a day filled with fun and learning when here. Walk amongst life-sized dinosaur replicas, be transported to Greece, and reach for the stars in the museum’s International Space Station. With plenty of engaging displays and hands-on activities, this museum ensures that each and every visitor leaves with a newfound appreciation for science and history.
For the art enthusiasts out there, the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields is an awe-inspiriting place that has a highly impressive collection of masterpieces. Set on a sprawling 152-acre campus, the museum features an extensive assortment of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from various periods and cultures. After you’ve taken the time to meander through the many galleries, head outside for a stroll through the beautiful gardens and grounds, where contemporary art installations coexist with stunning landscapes. The Eiteljorg Museum is another wonderful art museum that’s dedicated to Native American and Western art. This museum pays homage to the indigenous peoples of the American West, showcasing their phenomenal creations and stories. There’s no doubt that you’ll leave the Eiteljorj Museum moved and inspired.
Lastly, the Indiana Historical Society, offers a glimpse into the state’s rich history and culture. Recognized as one of the country’s oldest and largest historical societies and situated in the grandiose Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, this museum invites patrons to explore Indiana’s past through exhibits, archival materials, and historical artifacts. Each of these institutions have played important roles in preserving and celebrating everything that has helped shaped Indiana, making them essential stops for those eager to learn more about the Hoosier State in an interesting and inspiring way.
Indianapolis is sometimes referred to as “Circle City,” which can be credited to the existence of the 284-foot Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument built on Monument Circle in the nucleus of downtown. This monument has been a symbol of the city since the early 20th century and the circle as a whole is surrounded by local shops, the historic Columbia Club, and the Hilbert Circle Theatre, which is home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Events like concerts and festivals are also held at Monument Circle throughout the year, providing an excellent opportunity for engaging with the community. Visitors are able to climb to the top of the monument for panoramic views of the city and swing by the gift shop, and during the holiday season the monument is quite the sight to see as it’s decorated as a massive, sparkling Christmas tree. Monument Circle is synonymous with Indianapolis and should definitely be near the top of your list of places to explore while in the city.
Enjoying Everything the Crossroads of America has to Offer
There’s no question that Indianapolis is a one-of-a-kind and enriching destination. The city is steeped in history waiting to be explored while also offering picturesque natural areas, thrilling events, and exciting adventures for the whole family. From the adrenaline rush you’ll find at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the peaceful surroundings of Eagle Creek Park and the educational wonders of the Children's Museum, Indianapolis is a place to embark on a journey of discovery and enjoyment. We’re willing to bet that Indianapolis will surprise and charm you, leaving you with treasured memories that you won’t soon forget.