28 Fun & Unique Things to Do in Indianapolis | 2023 (with Photos)
In the heart of the United States lies Indianapolis, the capital city of Indiana. When visiting Indianapolis, you are visiting a bustling metropolis with a rich history, thriving arts and culture scene, and plenty of attractions for visitors of all ages.
Known as the "Crossroads of America," Indianapolis boasts a central location that makes it an ideal destination for travelers from across the country. From the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway to world-class museums and galleries on Washington St, there are countless amazing things to do in Indianapolis.
That being said, in this article, we'll explore 28 of the best attractions and activities to enjoy in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Most Recommended Thing to Do
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Top Choice Hotel
JW Marriott Indianapolis
Our Top Choice Restaurant
St. Elmo Steak House
Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife
Best Time to Visit
Spring and fall are the best times to visit.
The average temperature in Indianapolis, United States:
Cars, buses, bikes, trains, scooters - many possibilities!
Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)
My Top Recommendation
Indianapolis, the vibrant capital city of Indiana, holds a special place in my heart. If you're looking to uncover the hidden gems of this remarkable city, you don't want to miss exploring the charming streets of the historic district. Take a leisurely stroll along Massachusetts Avenue, lined with quaint boutiques, art galleries, and delightful cafes. The atmosphere is brimming with creativity and warmth, making it the perfect spot to embrace the local culture and indulge in some retail therapy.
For a dose of history and a breathtaking view, head to the iconic Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Monument Circle. Climb to the top, where the observation deck offers panoramic vistas of the bustling city below. As evening falls, immerse yourself in the enchantment of the Fountain Square neighborhood. This bohemian enclave boasts a lively arts scene, live music venues, and enticing restaurants serving up diverse cuisine. No visit to Indianapolis would be complete without trying some of their famous tenderloin sandwiches, a culinary staple that will leave your taste buds dancing.
Uncover the soul of Indianapolis by visiting the Indianapolis Museum of Art, an oasis of art and nature. Explore its vast collection, including contemporary works and ancient artifacts, while wandering through enchanting gardens that invite moments of serenity and reflection.
Indianapolis offers a blend of history, culture, and culinary delights that will leave you captivated. So, pack your bags, embark on this exciting journey, and let your personal adventure in Indianapolis begin!
What You'll Need to Bring
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Lightweight clothing
- Portable water bottle
- Camera or phone with a good camera
- Travel guide or map of Indianapolis
- Cash or credit cards
- Suitable travel adapter for electronic devices
- Snacks or food for on-the-go
- Positive attitude and a sense of adventure
Table of Contents
1. Visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art
To start big, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is the number one attraction for art lovers in the city as it features various striking art collections. When you visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art, you can enjoy works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Monet, among other legends.
In addition to its impressive collection, the Indianapolis Museum of Art offers a range of programs and events for visitors of all ages, including guided tours, workshops, and special exhibitions.
This is easily one of the best things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana, particularly on a rainy day.
2. Get in Touch with Nature at Eagle Creek Park
As big as they come, Eagle Creek Park is one of the largest city parks in the United States, covering more than 3,900 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and meadows. There is also a dog park in the area.
Eagle Creek Park and Eagle Creek Reservoir offer a wide range of activities for visitors, including hiking trails, fishing, boating, and birdwatching.
With its tranquil setting and abundance of natural beauty, Eagle Creek Park is the perfect place to relax and unwind. It is one of the most fun things to do in Indianapolis for nature lovers.
3. Explore Indiana Medical History Museum
On the theme of museums, we have the Indiana Medical History Museum. This is a unique and fascinating attraction that offers visitors a glimpse into the history of medicine.
Housed in the oldest surviving pathology laboratory in the United States, the Indiana Medical History Museum features a range of exhibits and artifacts that showcase the evolution of medical science over the past century.
Once there, you can explore the laboratory, view historic medical equipment, and learn about the groundbreaking medical discoveries that took place in Indiana.
4. Be inspired at Indianapolis Art Center
To meet your muses for the day, head to the Indianapolis Art Center, a hub of creativity and inspiration in the city.
The Indianapolis Art Center offers a range of classes and workshops for artists of all skill levels, as well as modern and contemporary art exhibitions throughout the year.
Whether you're an aspiring artist or simply appreciate the arts, the Indianapolis Art Center should be on your list.
5. Feel the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
For everyone fast and furious, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is the top attraction and a part of the National Register.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum houses an impressive collection of vintage and modern race cars, including many that have won the iconic Indianapolis 500.
Also, you can take a tour of the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where you can see the track up close and learn about the history of this iconic race. Also, it offers a Gasoline Alley hospitality suite.
6. Behold Soldiers' and Sailors' monuments
In the heart of downtown Indianapolis, you can find The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, a towering national historical landmark at Fairbanks Art and Nature Park along a canal walk.
The Sailors Monument, which was completed in 1902, commemorates Indiana's veterans and is adorned with intricate sculptures and reliefs.
Tourists and locals alike love to climb to the top of the Sailors Monument monument for stunning views of the city or take a guided tour to learn about its history and significance.
7. Explore the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is a unique and engaging museum on Washington St that showcases the art, history, and culture of the American West.
Nested in the green space, the museum hosts an extensive collection that includes Native American art and artifacts, as well as paintings and sculptures by some of the most celebrated Western artists of the 20th century.
With its fascinating exhibits and immersive experiences, the Eiteljorg Museum is another museum you would not like to miss, along with its museum store.
Also, it is one of only two museums east of the Mississippi that explore both Native America and American West art.
8. Check the Indiana State Museum
To add another one, The Indiana State Museum on Washington St is a comprehensive museum that showcases the natural and cultural Indiana history.
The Indiana State Museum's exhibits cover everything from prehistoric fossils to modern-day sports legends, making it a fascinating destination for visitors of all ages.
With interactive exhibits, immersive experiences, and a range of special events and programs, the Indiana State Museum is on a list of Indiana's best museums.
9. Follow the Indianapolis Cultural Trail
For some outdoor activity, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is a world-class urban bike and pedestrian trail that connects many of the city's cultural and historical landmarks.
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail spans eight miles and passes through several distinct neighborhoods, offering visitors a unique perspective on Indianapolis, Indiana, and its green space.
Whether you prefer walking, running, or cycling, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is one of the best things to do in Indianapolis to discover the city's vibrant culture and history.
10. Fun for the whole family at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The world's largest children's museum, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis hosts over 120,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 120,000 artifacts in its collection.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis on Meridian St offers a range of interactive exhibits and activities for children of all ages, making it a perfect destination for families.
From dinosaurs to space exploration, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis on Meridian St also makes a perfect school trip.
11. Learn at Kurt Vonnegut Museum
And the last museum on the list, the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is a unique and thought-provoking attraction in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The museum celebrates the life and work of the legendary author Kurt Vonnegut, who called Indianapolis his hometown.
Admirers of work can explore the museum's exhibits and collections and attend events and programs, while the curious learn about Vonnegut's legacy as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
For more famous people, there is always the NCAA Hall of Fame Museum.
12. Dine and gaze at downtown Indianapolis skyline
The downtown Indianapolis skyline is a stunning sight, and several restaurants and bars offer great views of the city. Also, it is the home of Central State Hospital.
From upscale rooftop bars to casual cafes, there's a wide range of dining options to choose from on Washington Street, Illinois Street, and Maryland St.
Whether you're looking for a romantic evening or a fun night out with friends, dining and gazing at the downtown Indianapolis skyline is a nice touch to the evening.
13. Catch an event at Lucas Oil Stadium
The Lucas Oil Stadium ****is a state-of-the-art stadium in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana that hosts a range of sporting events and concerts throughout the year.
You can get tickets to an Indianapolis Colts game if you are a football fan, or simply tour the stadium if you prefer to have a knowledgeable guide show you around.
With its impressive design and world-class amenities, the stadium is a world-renowned destination for Indianapolis Colts fans and music lovers alike.
14. Take kids to Indianapolis Zoo
For the whole family, the Indianapolis Zoo is a popular attraction in Washington St that offers a range of exhibits and experiences for animal lovers of all ages.
With over 1,200 animals and 47 acres of exhibits, the Indianapolis Zoo is one of the best things to do in Indianapolis with kids.
15. Revive history at Lilly House
Restored to its former glory, the Lilly House is a historic mansion and a national historic landmark.
It is up to you to explore the Lilly House's stunning architecture, original furnishings, and beautiful gardens.
With guided tours, special events, and educational programs, the Lilly House is a great way to revive history in Indianapolis, Indiana.
16. Spend a Day in Nature at White River State Park
To get away from the hustle a bit and breathe in some fresh air, you should visit White River, State Park. The White River State Park is a 250-acre urban central park located in downtown Indianapolis.
The park near Washington St features several attractions, including the Indianapolis Zoo, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the Indiana State Museum.
With its scenic trails and green spaces, White River State Park is a perfect destination for nature lovers. If you are looking for things to do in Indianapolis outdoors, White River State Park is the answer.
17. Feel the Vacation Vibes at Holliday Park
To mention another park, Holliday Park is a charming 94-acre nature park located in the heart of Indianapolis, Indiana.
The nature park features a range of amenities, including playgrounds, hiking trails, picnic areas, and a nature center.
With its scenic beauty and tranquil atmosphere, Holliday Park is a great place to feel on holiday without ever leaving the city, along with the Natural Valley Ranch.
18. Explore Science at Discovery Center
The Discovery Center on Vermont St is an interactive science museum that offers a range of exhibits and activities for children and adults.
Kids and adults alike can explore the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on exhibits, workshops, and special events.
With its engaging programs and fun atmosphere, the Discovery Center is a family top destination in Indianapolis.
(note: image was generated from Airbrush, when I searched about “Discover Center in Vermont St., Indianapolis,” the results are about the Indiana Medical History Museum which is the one that is based in Vermont Street. There is also a “Rhythm Discovery Center’ which exhibits music and instruments, but there is no “Science Discovery Center.”)
19. Go Shopping in Indianapolis City Market
Indianapolis City Market is a historic public market located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.
The market features a range of vendors selling everything from fresh produce and meats to artisanal cheeses and baked goods.
With its lively atmosphere and delicious offerings, Indianapolis City Market is a great destination for foodies and shoppers alike.
20. Catch a Game at Victory Field
If you are up for a day at a local stadium, Victory Field is a minor league baseball stadium located in downtown Indianapolis.
The stadium is home to the Indianapolis Indians, the triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With its stunning views of the city skyline and its lively atmosphere, Victory Field is a great place to catch a game and enjoy some classic ballpark fare.
21. Enjoy Performing Arts at the Indiana Repertory Theater
For watching a live show, the Indiana Repertory Theater is a professional regional theater located in downtown Indianapolis.
The theater offers a range of performances throughout the year, including classics, contemporary works, and holiday productions.
With its talented actors and engaging productions, the Indiana Repertory Theater on Washington Street is a distinct destination for performing arts lovers.
22. Explore Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, a National Historic Landmark
For a day of history, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is a historic house museum and a national historic landmark located in the Old Northside neighborhood of Indianapolis.
The site features the preserved home of the 23rd President of the United States, President Benjamin Harrison, as well as exhibits, gardens, and events.
23. Stay Solemn at Indiana World War Memorial
The Indiana World War Memorial is a historic landmark located in downtown Indianapolis. The memorial honors the Hoosiers who served and died in World War I and subsequent wars.
With its striking architecture and solemn atmosphere, the Indiana War Memorial Plaza and the nearby Military Park are two important things to do in Indianapolis for those seeking to pay their respects and learn about Indiana's military history.
24. Check Out the USS Indianapolis Memorial
The USS Indianapolis Memorial is a tribute to the 880 sailors and Marines who lost their lives when a ship sank in the final days of World War II.
The memorial, located on the Canal Walk in downtown Indianapolis, is a somber and moving tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of those who served.
25. Visit Lockerbie Square Historic District
To enjoy a pleasant stroll, head to the Lockerbie Square Historic District. This historic neighborhood is located just east of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lockerbie Square Historic District features a variety of architectural styles from the 19th and early 20th centuries, including Victorian, Italianate, and Federal-style homes.
With its charming streets and unique character, Lockerbie Square Historic District is a wonderful place to stroll and a national historic landmark.
26. Learn More About the Indiana Historical Society
The Indiana Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that strives to promote and celebrate the history of Indiana.
The society offers a variety of educational resources, exhibits, and programs to help visitors explore and learn more about the state's rich cultural heritage.
A visit to the Indiana Historical Society is a great way to deepen your understanding of Indiana's past and present. This is one of the best things to do in Indianapolis if you love history and culture.
27. Stroll Around Northside Historic District
The Northside Historic District is a charming neighborhood in Indianapolis that features a variety of architectural styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
With its tree-lined streets and picturesque homes, the district is a wonderful place to take a leisurely stroll and soak up the area's rich history and beauty.
The district also features North Vermont Street Home. This is one of the best things to do in Indianapolis if you are looking for picturesque and free daytime activities.
28. Experience Indianapolis With Kids at Conner Prairie
To finish the list, we have one for history admirers and children alike. Conner Prairie is an interactive history park located just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana that provides a fun and engaging learning experience for visitors of all ages.
With its hands-on exhibits, reenactments, and outdoor activities, Conner Prairie is the perfect destination for families looking to experience Indianapolis uniquely and memorably. If you have small kids with you, Conner Prairie is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Indianapolis.
FAQs About Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana
Let's take a look at some frequently asked questions about things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana.
What do people in Indianapolis do for fun?
There are a lot of fun things to do in Indianapolis. It is common to dine with a view of the Indianapolis skyline at the central canal, as well as attend an event at Lucas Oil Stadium. For a unique experience, you can visit Central Canal Walk, Lilly House, and Capitol Ave.
How can I spend a day in Indianapolis?
You can spend a day in Indianapolis visiting many different and unique museums of Indianapolis. An Indianapolis museum of your choice, and the choice is vast - from Indiana State Museum and Eiteljorg Museum to Indiana War Memorial Museum and NCAA Hall of Fame Museum. Also, there is the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eagle creek park, and White River State Park.
Summing Up: Fun & Unique Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana
As you can see, there are a ton of fun things to do in Indianapolis. Whether you're interested in the Indianapolis Indians, history, nature, or sports, Indianapolis has something to offer.
Take a stroll through the White River State Park or visit the Indiana Medical History Museum to delve into the city's rich past. Catch a game at Lucas Oil Stadium during the day or enjoy various night activities in Indianapolis.
For the kids, there is the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Zoo, and Conner Prairie. For a cultural experience, explore the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.
No matter what you're interested in, Indianapolis is sure to have something that will capture your attention and imagination.