There's so much to do in Indianapolis that it's hard to take it all in. The following (purely subjective) list of ten of Indianapolis's top attractions may help you to find a starting point, or discover a treasure you hadn't previously considered.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is as much fun for adults as it is for kids, and it's nearly impossible to take it all in in a day, making this destination worthy of multiple trips. You can explore the worlds of trains and dinosaurs, ride a carousel, and explore all sorts of scientific phenomenon. Playscapes with its hands-on activities is a preschooler's dream come true. Add the Lilly Theater and the SpaceQuest planetarium, a gift shop and eatery options, and this facility lives up to its billing as the largest children's museum in the world.
Photo by Ellie Snyder
The Indianapolis Museum of Art is everything you'd expect in an art museum: a modern, multi-story building filled with works of art from every era, in quiet and elegant surroundings. On the grounds of the IMA is the Oldfields estate, a beautifully restored country estate from the 1930s, where historical facts about Indy abound. Surrounding the estate are the Oldfields gardens -- breathtaking in bloom and a peaceful retreat any time of the year.
The Indianapolis Zoo is a world-class facility that places an emphasis on conservation and research. Visit the biomes featuring animals of the forest, desert, plains and oceans. For those who like a little one-on-one interaction, don't miss the Encounters Biome, where visitors are encouraged to interact with the animals and learn by doing rather than observing. And be sure to take in a dolphin show in the marine mammals exhibit.
The White River State Park includes the aforementioned zoo and much, much more. You can also explore the Old West and Native American culture at the Eiteljorg Museum, learn all about the Hoosier state at the Indiana State Museum, see a 3-D movie on the six-story screen at the IMAX theater, honor those who've served our country at the Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial, take in an Indianapolis Indians minor-league baseball game, or engage in some pedal-power to explore the park and the historical Central Canal by bike or boat.
Part of the Indy-Greenways network, the Monon Trail is suitable for walking, biking and roller-blading. The rail-trail spans 10 miles running northward from downtown Indianapolis, and another 5 miles into Hamilton County, and features a variety of landscapes and neighborhoods along the way, including the White River, the 64th Street Depot, and the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Trail services in Nora and Broad Ripple include drinking fountains, parks, restaurants, ice cream shops, and bicycle shops. Take your dog, your kids, or your friends and get moving!
The new Central Library downtown is a sight to behold and a facility to be proud of. The library features a beautiful atrium supported by steel arches and offering a view of the sky, a cafe, reading rooms, the Nina Mason Pulliam Indianapolis Special Collections Room filled with collections of archival materials, a unique cookbook and menu collection, public computers with free wireless Internet access and Microsoft Office software, and over 2 million books, movies and music.
Take in a musical, a concert, or a comedy show, and you'll be impressed not only by the star-studded quality of the performances, but by the architectural features of this historic theatre as well. The Murat Shrine Temple was constructed in 1909 and the building’s architecture reflects distinct Egyptian and Arabian influences in the arched hallways, copper roofs, and detailed brick patterns, along with stunning stained glass windows.
This is the place to go to see your favorite bands and musicians live. From rock to country, the nation's most popular music acts are likely to make this venue a stop on their latest tour. An outdoor venue, reserved seats are covered by a roof and feature concrete flooring, while lawn seats allow you to take your own blankets or chairs and stake out a spot on the hill that rises behind it, watch the performance on video screens, and not miss a beat on the audio side for a fraction of the cost.
See the 2007 Super Bowl world championship football team in action at Indianapolis's new Lucas Oil Stadium. It's top-notch sports in a top-notch facility, featuring a retractable roof over a seven-level facility that seats 63,000 fans.
Experience life in the mid-1800s at Conner Prairie, where the people you'll meet will have you convinced that you've stepped back in time. Visit Lenape Camp with its wigwams and trading post; the Conner Homestead and barn featuring animal encounters; Prairietown with its inn, schoolhouse, and shops representative of the time; and Liberty Corner, featuring a Quaker meeting house, another schoolhouse, and a Victorian-era farmhouse.