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Unique Things To Do In Indianapolis

by Pankaj Upreti
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Things To Do In Indianapolis

This place has been Indiana’s capital since 1820. The midwest city has always been a really great tourist attraction and as such it boasts a number of things to do while you are here. The city is known for its museums and the Indianapolis 500, an annual car race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This race is the city’s claim to fame and it is known to draw in thousands of Motor enthusiasts every year. Even if you are not in the city for the Indianapolis 500, you can still find a lot to do and see while you are here. Here is our list of the best things to do in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

This racetrack is the prized jewel of Indy and as such makes for a really great attraction.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway | Photo Credit – Josh Hallett

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a racetrack that hosts three races: the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Race, and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. The Racetrack can accommodate more than 250000 people with even more on the grounds.

The track is a 2.5 mile loop that was originally designed as a test track but later began to host regular fixtures due to its successes. If you are in Indianapolis, then coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway should certainly be on your bucket list. This racetrack is the prized jewel of Indy and as such makes for a really great attraction.

Central Canal

One of the best and most well known attractions of Indy, the central canal was used to bring goods to and from the city and runs through the White River State Park.
Central Canal | Photo Credit – Jay Denney

One of the best and most well known attractions of Indy, the central canal was used to bring goods to and from the city and runs through the White River State Park. Now, the central canal is one of the best tourist attractions of the city of Indianapolis Indiana.

You can rent paddleboats and kayaks and row down the canal, taking in the views of downtown Indianapolis. You can find kayaks on rent at the spot opposite to the Eiteljorg Museum. Another attraction that goes along the Central Canal is the Canal Walk, which is a walkable path running from 11th street to the White River State Park.

Many tourists who come to Indy visit the Canal walk as it offers not only scenic views, but also the best in shops and restaurants. Certainly one of the top things to do in Indianapolis.

White River State Park

 Featuring open green spaces and many attractions that make Indy what it is, the State Park is a must visit when you are here.
White River State Park | Photo Credit – adstarkel

This great park along the white river offers a visitor a much needed escape from city life. Featuring open green spaces and many attractions that make Indy what it is, the State Park is a must visit when you are here.

Apart from being an attraction on its own, the park is home to a number of Indianapolis Indiana attractions. They are the Indianapolis zoo, the Eiteljorg Museum, the Indiana State Museum, the Canal Walk, the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial and the NCAA Hall of Champions.

Please be sure to visit the White River State Park once you find yourself in Downtown Indianapolis.

Eiteljorg Museum Of American Indian And Western Art

Find this museum at the entrance to the White River State park. The museum features a great collection of western paintings and sculptures as well as the works of Taos Society of Artists and Indian art.

Artists such as Frederick S. Remington and Charles M. Russell feature their work here as well as landscape artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. Find paintings, sculptures, and more works of art here at the Eiteljorg museum which is a must visit when you are looking for things to do in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo | Photo Credit – Jean

Another addition to the list of attractions in the White River Park. The Indianapolis Zoo is a major entity that not only is a zoo, botanical garden, and aquarium, but also is an important player in wildlife conservation and research around the world.

The botanical garden in the Indianapolis zoo is known to feature permanent and changing garden exhibits that showcase the flora from around the world. Other regions of the zoo are the Oceans aquarium which is home to a coral reef ecosystem and a number of artificially designed habitats that help visitors learn about the natural environments the animals live in.

The zoo features a great number of exotic animals, from giraffes, elephants, rhinos and more. You can even find exhibits on red pandas and go birdwatching at the Indianapolis zoo.

Monument Circle

Monument Circle | Photo Credit – Steve Baker

One of the most important landmarks of Indianapolis Indiana, the Monument Circle features a number of memorials and landmarks since 1902. These monuments commemorate various aspects and events of American history such as the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Memorial.

There is also the Mausoleum and Memorial Hall and the Circle Center Mall. There are many sculptures and museums around the monuments, one of the most famous is the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum.

The Indiana World War Memorial is a monument that honors soldiers who have lost their lives in war. Another monument is the Shrine Room. There is also a museum featuring military artifacts and is dedicated to the Indiana Military.

Children’s Museum Of Indianapolis

Children’s Museum | Photo Credit – anjanettew

One of the best things for children is a visit to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. This is the largest children’s museum in the world. Displays on technology, archeology, science, and culture make up the museum and these exhibits are extremely interesting, innovative, and interactive.

When you arrive at the Children’s museum the first thing that you will see is the Brontosaurus peeking inside the top floor. The Dinosphere exhibit is one the most famous and visited exhibits in the Children’s museum. It recreates the environment from 65 million years ago and you can also get to touch a real T REX bone.

There are many dinosaurs on display at the children’s museum and there is a recently discovered species that has been named the Dracorex Hogwartsia after the famous Harry Potter franchise. There are many other attractions in the children’s museum on music, toys and pop culture and more. The Children’s museum of Indianapolis is located at 3000 N. Meridian Street Indianapolis Indiana.

Indianapolis Museum Of Art

Find the Indianapolis Museum of Art in the Newfields park. Alongside is the Lilly House, which is an estate from 1913 that displays essential furnishings and art. There is also a multi-sector garden divided into regions named the Formal Garden, the Ravine Garden, and Rain Garden, and more.

There is also the Fairbanks Park which is a 100 acre park. The Indianapolis Museum of Art has a number of galleries that has works by art legends such as Rembrandt, Cezanne, Picasso, and O’Keefe. An area of the Indianapolis Museum of Art is the Krannert Pavilion which is a section devoted to Asian art and American art.

This section features art from the pre Colombian times to the present day. Another section is the Hulman Pavilion that features works from the Baroque period through Neo-Impressionism. The Indianapolis Museum of art is located at 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis Indiana.

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Benjamin Harrison’s house located at 1230 North Delaware Street is open to the public for viewing. It was built in 1874-75 and in the Victorian style. The house imparts information about the president such as his law career, his military career and his achievements during his lifetime.

There are personal items of the president on display and the home also features many events going on throughout the year.

Rhythm! Discovery Center

Museum | Photo Credit – Valerie Everett

This center is a museum of percussion instruments. The museum explores not only the cultural and social aspect of the percussion instruments, but also the science behind them. The museum features many artifacts from all over the world.

Visitors here can come and see instruments from all over the world, some of them unique and even long forgotten. You can take part in the interactive exhibits of the museum where you can get to play hundreds of these instruments.

You can also get a lot of informative stuff on music exploring all the science and evolution of percussion music through the ages. Not only the educational exhibits, you can also find concerts happening at the Rhythm! Discovery Center.

Eagle Creek Park And Nature Preserve

Eagle Creek Park | Photo Credit – Steve Baker

One of the largest municipal parks in the US, Eagle Creek Park, and Nature Preserve has a lot of things to offer you. From visiting their beach to water paddling, kayaking, and canoeing, the park has so much to offer that it makes for an excellent day trip on its own.

You can even take sailing lessons at the Eagle Creek Park during the summer months. Great for camping out with your family, the Eagle Creek Park has a playground, offers beach volleyball and a zipline adventure.

There is also a golf course known as the Eagle Creek Golf Club and there are many concerts for you to attend here all throughout the summer. Eagle Creek is known to be a great fishing spot, so make a day out of fishing and kayaking in the clear waters of the preserve.

Indiana State Museum

Museum | Photo Credit – Valerie Everett

A site that explores the natural and cultural history of the state of Indiana, the Indiana State Museum is a multifloor building featuring a great number of exhibits. The natural history of the state is explored on the first floor of the museum where you can learn about the geology and extinct fauna of the region.

There is an ice tunnel here that recreates the inside of a glacier and features a mastodon replica. On the second floor, you can find the cultural past of the museum. Find exhibits about the native populations along with Civil War artifacts and more. The museum is also known to host puppet shows and has a naturalist’s lab.

Catacombs Tour

When you are in Indianapolis, you will find that a local pastime is a haunted attractions. Tomlinson Hall located in Whistler Plaza burned down in 1958. The result was a huge maze of corridors and a place where you can spend some time pretending to be a tomb explorer.

These corridors have a distinctive Roman feel to them making them really like ancient catacombs guarding a secret. You can take the catacomb tour on the first and third Saturday of each month. This experience can certainly be included in the best things to do in Indianapolis.

Gravity Hill

This is a very well known local attraction. When you are here, you will find that you will defy gravity and start to roll uphill.

Naptown Roller Derby

Indy is home to the Naptown Roller Derby where you can watch the roller derby girls perform all the cool skating stuff.
Naptown Roller Derby | Photo Credit – Serge Melki

While you are here, you will find many things to do. Indianapolis In is home to the Naptown Roller Derby where you can watch the roller derby girls perform all the cool skating stuff.

Museum Of Miniature Houses

Carmel Indiana is home to the museum of miniature houses, a place featuring mini sized buildings that have been painted and created with absolute perfection.

Indiana and Indianapolis is filled with oddities like these and you can make a day trip out of visiting these places and capturing all 0f them on camera.

Holiday Park Ruins

Holiday Park Ruins | Photo Credit – Valerie Everett

A skyscraper that existed in NYC in the 1890s was demolished and a piece of it made its way here in Indianapolis. There are statues and ruins here that feature racial diversity and unity through them.

Holcomb Observatory And Planetarium

This place is one of the largest public observatories in the world and the best part is that admission is absolutely free. You can look through the telescopes and if you want to visit the planetarium, then you need only give away $5.

Stargazing is a really well known activity here and you can enjoy in on any of the clear nights you find when you are in Indianapolis Indiana.

Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium is a great place to catch games and it make for a really fun trip to attend them. However, even if there are no games going on at the Lucas Oil Stadium, you can still come here and tour the grounds.

Tours are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and we assure you that it is certainly going to be really worthwhile to attend what is among the best things to do in Indianapolis.


Paintball is a well known sport around Indianapolis and you can pick any of the many companies that offer paintball. The Indy Acres Paintball, the Indy Paintball Battleground and the Paintball Indianapolis.

If you find that your day is a rainy one, it doesn’t matter as you can just go to Dark Armies and enjoy a round of paintball indoors.

Indiana State Police Museum

Old Cars | Photo Credit – www.twin-loc.fr

Admission is free to the Indiana State Police Museum in Indianapolis. Among the best things to do in Indianapolis with kids and family, you can learn about the history of the police force as well as some of the well known criminals.

There are old cars on display at the museum which can be a great lesson in learning the history of the police force in Indianapolis.

Public Art

Indianapolis features some of the great murals you can find on your walking tours around the city. Some of the best things to do in Indianapolis are taking in the beauty of these street art pieces.

Follow the cultural trail of these public art pieces sanctioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis and walk around the city trying to find as many as you can in one day.

Kurt Vonnegut Museum

One of the great American novelists, Kurt Vonnegut is paid homage to in the Kurt Vonnegut Museum in Indy.
Kurt Vonnegut Museum | Photo Credit – Dustin Batt

One of the great American novelists, Kurt Vonnegut is paid homage to in the Kurt Vonnegut Museum in Indianapolis. The museum provides an educational experience on community well being, free expression and peace among people.

The Cultural Trail

The Cultural Trail | Photo Credit – Eric Fischer

This is a pretty and planned path that takes you around the city with the best things in Indianapolis on route. Beautiful and serene, the cultural trail takes you through some of the best places in the city like its public art and famous buildings.

You can rent a bike to travel the path and you can even hop in for a guided bike tour for only $35. The cultural trail is one of the top things to do in Indianapolis.

Tapper’s Arcade Bar

Enjoy an evening at the Tapper’s Arcade Bar by playing the most fun arcade games and ordering the best of craft beer. Some of the most classic games that you played while growing up are available here like Dragon’s Quest, Tron, Pinball and more.

You can eat food right here or even get out own food from the outside, making an evening at the Tappers Arcade Bar one of the most wholesome things to do in Indianapolis.

Indiana Medical History Museum

Even if you are not, you will not be disappointed with what you see at the Indiana Medical History Museum,Indy.
Amphitheaters | Photo Credit – The359

Where the Central State Hospital of Indiana once stood, the Indiana Medical History Museum now exists. A great thing to do in Indianapolis, the museum preserves its classic interiors from the 60s and features some of the strangest medical cases from Indianapolis and even around the world.

There are laboratories, amphitheaters and more at the museum. This is a fun spot that you must visit if you belong to the medical field. Even if you are not, you will not be disappointed with what you see at the Indiana Medical History Museum.

Lockerbie Square Historic District

This place is on the national register of historic places and is certainly one of the most well known places to visit in Indianapolis. Take a walking tour and you will get to see 25 residential buildings built from the 1850s to 1930.

This district lets you see how the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis was like around a century ago. The buildings of the district have been built in the Queen Anne and Italianate styles.

There are new buildings also, such as the North Vermont Street Home and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. Enjoy the Lockerbie Square Historic District to get a taste of the past of Indy.

White Rabbit Cabaret

Burlesque Shows | Photo Credit – Steve Baker

The White Rabbit Cabaret hosts small performances around the city of Indianapolis. The location is the hotspot for many Burlesque troupes that come here at the Fountain Square. Not just known for Burlesque shows, the White Rabbit Cabaret is also known to host racing themed shows and comedy specials.

You can even find live music here and interactive activities such as spelling bees and more. You certainly must visit the White Rabbit Cabaret when you find yourself in Indy.

Museum Of Psychophonics

This museum is dedicated to bring you the most obscure and underground cultures in Indianapolis such as Afrofuturism. Find the museum in the Fountain Square of Indianapolis, the place is wrapped in mystery and has a distinctive allure to it.

The design of the museum is quite unconventional and so is the music that you will find here upon entering. All in all, the museum of Psychophonics is really one of the cool things to do in Indianapolis.

This was our list of the top things to do in Indianapolis. This city is known for its great views and most of all, for its love of racing. Coming here will certainly make for a really great vacation and one that will give you stories for a lifetime.

In light of the COVID 19 pandemic, please be sure to always take care of the social distancing and personal hygiene norms. Protect yourself while travelling and there will absolutely be no reason for your travel plans to take a hit.

We hope you enjoyed our list and please do let us know in the comments below how you plan on visiting Indianapolis or if you already have and have been to any of these places we mentioned, let us know in the comments below.

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