Things to do in Indianapolis

About Indianapolis

The must-see attractions in Indianapolis include the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the historically rich Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, and the family-favorite Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Visitors should also explore the Indiana State Capitol for its stunning architecture and poignant history.
The top activities for kids feature a trip to the interactive and fun Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, encountering the wild at the Indianapolis Zoo, and unleashing their creativity at the Rhythm Discovery Center, all guaranteed to provide educational fun for the whole family.
Indianapolis offers an array of outdoor activities, including biking or walking the Cultural Trail, enjoying the expansive White River State Park, and kayaking along the placid Central Canal. Each provides a refreshing way to enjoy the city's natural beauty and dynamic public spaces.
For indoor exploration, visit the Eiteljorg Museum for a look into American Indian art, take a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, or immerse in interactive learning at the Indiana State Museum, all offering enriching experiences away from the elements.
The best Indianapolis tours encompass the 'Indy Attraction Pass,' which offers multi-venue access, self-guided walks in the historic districts, and culinary tours sampling the city's gastronomic delights. For sports fans, a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is essential.
The most popular museums include the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields for its extensive art collection, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for its family-friendly exhibits, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum for racing aficionados.
On rainy days, visitors can enjoy tours of the various renowned museums like the State Museum or the NCAA Hall of Champions, or participate in a tasting tour of Indianapolis’ local breweries, which offer a cozy retreat while delving into the local craft beer scene.
Short tours in Indianapolis include the self-guided audio tours of Monument Circle and the Central Canal, which provide rich historical context in bite-sized formats, perfect for those wanting to experience the city's highlights in a brief time frame.

Best Things to Do In Indianapolis

Explore the vibrant heart of Indiana with our comprehensive guide showcasing the treasures of Indianapolis, perfect for cultural enthusiasts.

Indianapolis: Eagle Creek Park

What is it?
One of the nation's largest city parks, with lush landscapes and ample outdoor activities.
Why you should go?
Eagle Creek Park is a natural sanctuary that offers a breath of fresh air to its visitors. As one of the top places to visit in Indianapolis, the park features extensive trails, a reservable picnic area, and a bird sanctuary. Whether you're looking to hike, fish, or simply relish the beauty of nature, this expansive green space presents a perfect escape from the urban hustle. Outdoor enthusiasts searching for things to do in Indianapolis will find the park's diverse ecosystems and recreational options creating a tranquil retreat for all ages.

Indianapolis: Mass Ave Arts District

What is it?
An eclectic and vibrant cultural hub known for its theaters, galleries, and boutiques.
Why you should go?
The Mass Ave Arts District pulsates with cultural vibrancy, making it a prime spot for those pondering what to do in Indianapolis. Lined with a mix of independent shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, it embodies the city's creative spirit. Visitors can enjoy live performances, peruse art exhibits, or engage in the district's spirited nightlife. The area's charisma transforms a simple walk into a memorable exploration of one of the most dynamic Indianapolis activities. For an immersive experience of the local scene, this district is not to be missed.

Indianapolis: Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

What is it?
A beautifully preserved historic home of America's 23rd president, offering glimpses into the late 1800s.
Why you should go?
The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site stands as a beacon of American history and is an essential stop among Indianapolis tours. This elegant Victorian home not only lets visitors step back in time to the Gilded Age but also sheds light on President Harrison's life and legacy. Educational tours offered at the site provide insight into the political landscape of the era and the Harrison family's private life. The home's original furnishings and personal artifacts make it one of the most intimate historical things to see in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis: The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

What is it?
A literary haven dedicated to the famed author, showcasing his works and personal items.
Why you should go?
The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library honors one of Indianapolis' most acclaimed literary figures. Showcasing Vonnegut's writings, personal collections, and memorabilia, this institution serves as a centerpiece for writers and readers alike. It offers not just an homage to his life but an interactive space for free expression and thought-provoking discussions. For those seeking intellectual and cultural enrichment, this museum provides a truly unique encounter, ranking it among the best things to do in Indianapolis for literature enthusiasts and culture vultures.

Indianapolis: The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

What is it?
A unique museum showcasing the art, history, and cultures of the American West and indigenous peoples.
Why you should go?
Regarded as one of the best Indianapolis excursions for art and culture, the Eiteljorg Museum presents a magnificent collection of Native American artworks, alongside masterpieces from the American West. Its exhibits provide a narrative on cultural diversity, history, and art through an impressive array of artifacts, paintings, and sculptures. Educational programs further enhance the visitor experience, making it an insightful exploration of America's rich heritage. For those charting out their itinerary of things to do in Indianapolis, the Eiteljorg Museum is a compelling and enriching stop.

Indianapolis: The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

What is it?
A renowned art museum surrounded by nature and innovative exhibits.
Why you should go?
As part of what to do in Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields offers an impressive collection of works ranging from ancient cultures to the modern day. With expansive galleries and a 152-acre garden campus, visitors can savor art in tandem with natural beauty. Seasonal exhibitions and interactive installations make it a stimulating encounter with the arts. Moreover, the Newfields campus integrates art with environments and events, ensuring there is always something new to experience, solidifying its status among the places to visit in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

What is it?
An iconic and historic motor racing museum located at the Speedway.
Why you should go?
One of the quintessential things to see in Indianapolis is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Sitting at the heart of the world's oldest continuously operating racetrack, the museum is a shrine to motorsport enthusiasts. Here, one can trace the evolution of racing cars, get up-close with past Indy 500 winners, and immerse in the Speedway's history. The museum provides a detailed exploration of the legends, technology, and traditions of the track. For any first-time visitor, it encapsulates the best of Indianapolis tours, combining education, history, and thrill.

Indianapolis: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

What is it?
The largest children's museum globally, offering dynamic learning experiences.
Why you should go?
When listing the best Indianapolis tours, a visit to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is imperative. Tailored to spark curiosity across all ages, this museum houses an impressive array of interactive exhibits, from a life-sized dinosaur showcase to a carousel of yesteryears. Its diverse collections cover topics like science, culture, and history, ensuring that the visit is as educational as it is entertaining. The museum's commitment to family-friendly exploration makes it a highlight among the things to do in Indianapolis, providing unforgettable Indianapolis excursions for both the young and the young at heart.

Indianapolis: White River State Park

What is it?
An urban oasis combining green space with cultural attractions.
Why you should go?
Positioned as a must-see, White River State Park distinguishes itself by being an amalgamation of green urban space and cultural institutions. It is home to attractions like the Indianapolis Zoo, an amphitheater, and several museums. One can indulge in paddle boating, explore the scenic canal walk, or attend a concert. The park's versatile offerings cater to the best Indianapolis tours by intertwining nature, entertainment, and educational stops, proving itself as a hub for fun things to do in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis: Indiana State Capitol

What is it?
An architectural marvel and the seat of state government.
Why you should go?
No Indianapolis excursions are complete without witnessing the grandeur of the Indiana State Capitol. This neoclassical gem charms visitors with its stunning architecture and inner workings of the state's legislative process. Public tours reveal the building's historic art and impressive design while providing insights into Indiana's political history. Situated in the heart of downtown, it stands as a symbol and an educational site, making it an intrinsic part of tours in Indianapolis and encapsulating the fusion of beautiful form and civic function.

TOP-5 tours in Indianapolis for first time visitors

  • Discover the rich tapestry of history and innovation with the 'Monumental Indianapolis' tour, a journey through the city's storied past and eye-catching memorials.
  • Embark on the 'Cultural Trail & Park Pursuits' tour highlighting the scenic beauty and artistically charged community spaces that define what to see in Indianapolis.
  • 'Speedway & Science' offers an exhilarating look at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway and engaging science museums, exemplifying fun things to do in Indianapolis.
  • The 'Historic Districts & Heritage' tour delves into the charming enclaves and architectural wonders, counting as some of the best things to do in Indianapolis.
  • 'Festival Fever' audio tour captures the vibrant array of festivals that stand as key Indianapolis activities throughout the year.

Fun things to do in Indianapolis with kids

For families discovering the joys of Indianapolis, the city is a playground of educational and exhilarating venues sure to delight children of all ages. Starting with The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, the largest of its kind globally, it offers interactive exhibits that span from a captivating Dinosaur exhibit to the Space Quest planetarium, urging inquisitive minds to explore and learn. A short jaunt away, the Indianapolis Zoo not only amazes with its animal encounters but also offers rides and the chance to feed giraffes, making it a perfect blend of adventure and wildlife education. Rounding out the fun is the Rhythm Discovery Center, an interactive percussion museum where kids can unleash their inner musician, an immersive experience that resonates with the city's cultural beat. Each attraction provides outstanding Indianapolis activities that spotlight family fun and create lifelong memories. Embrace these top-tier attractions as part of your things to do in Indianapolis with kids, bringing the pages of textbooks to thrilling life.

Things to do in Indianapolis with family

Family outings in Indianapolis are a mix of excitement, education, and entertainment with attractions suitable for all ages. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis stands out as a must-visit, where dynamic exhibits ranging from a life-like dinosaur park to a fully interactive space mission captivate young minds. Families can embark on an enriching journey through the past and present, making it a cornerstone among the places to visit in Indianapolis. Another gem is the Indianapolis Zoo, a perfect spot for animal lovers to connect with wildlife and enjoy attractions like the dolphin show and the butterfly garden. Lastly, White River State Park provides a sprawling green environment for families to bike, paddleboat, or simply enjoy a picnic. This park encompasses some of the best things to do in Indianapolis, from leisurely walks along the canal to cultural experiences at one of the many museums within its bounds. Together, these family-friendly Indianapolis activities ensure a trip filled with discovery and delight.

Free things to do in Indianapolis

Visitors looking for budget-friendly experiences will discover a wealth of free things to do in Indianapolis that are as enriching as they are cost-effective. The Indiana State Capitol boasts a majestic 19th-century architecture and offers complimentary guided tours that provide insight into the state's legislative history. A visit here combines cultural enrichment with the grandeur of Indiana's political heritage. The Indianapolis Artsgarden presents a visual and acoustic marvel, a glass-enclosed dome hosting numerous free concerts and cultural performances year-round, adding a melodic touch to the list of Indianapolis activities. For those seeking tranquility amidst city life, the expansive White River State Park offers lush landscapes and access to the iconic Canal Walk, encouraging leisurely strolls or jogs alongside the waterway. Each site contributes to the vibrant array of what to do in Indianapolis without dipping into your wallet, ensuring your visit is as affordable as it is enjoyable.

Cheap things to do in Indianapolis

Those with an eye for value will be delighted by the affordable attractions Indianapolis has to offer. Engage with the natural world at Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens, where a small entry fee grants you access to bountiful botanical collections and intricately landscaped grounds. For a minimal cost, families can delve into Indiana's natural history at the Indiana State Museum, featuring engaging exhibits without the hefty price tag. Additionally, art aficionados can browse the impressive and diverse collections at the Indianapolis Art Center for a small donation. These venues exemplify the variety of things to do in Indianapolis that won’t break the bank, showcasing the city's commitment to accessible cultural and educational experiences. The assortment of Indianapolis activities provides a glimpse into the myriad of opportunities for cost-effective exploration, perfect for travelers wanting to maximize experiences while minimizing expenses.

Things to do in Indianapolis for couples

Couples will find a charming array of activities in Indianapolis that blend romance with adventure. Enjoy a picturesque gondola ride along the serene Central Canal, offering a slice of Venice in the heart of Indiana, complete with gondoliers serenading you for an unforgettable experience. The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields provides an idyllic setting for art-loving duos, with its expansive galleries and the enchanting gardens where love flourishes amidst masterpieces and manicured landscapes. To add a dash of excitement, visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where racing enthusiasts can bond over the thrill of speed and the legacy of the iconic Indy 500. These experiences stand out among the places to visit in Indianapolis, catering to the spirit of love and discovery, and rank as must-do Indianapolis activities for partners sharing their journeys.

Things to do in Indianapolis at night

Indianapolis transforms as the sun sets, offering an array of nocturnal attractions that shine under the starlit sky. Jazz enthusiasts and couples can revel in the sultry ambiance of The Jazz Kitchen, featuring live music paired with a delectable dining experience, a perfect melody of sound and taste. Thrill-seekers and night owls alike will find the Speedway Indoor Karting a riveting destination, offering the adrenaline rush of high-speed racing in a state-of-the-art facility. For a more laid-back evening, a stroll through the luminous Monument Circle, followed by a visit to one of the local breweries or cozy cafes in the vicinity, provides a leisurely yet engaging night out. These attractions highlight the best of things to do in Indianapolis at night, tailoring to a variety of tastes and ensuring enchanting evenings filled with entertainment.