I think we could all agree that Indianapolis is a fantastic city if you know where to look. For example, if you just walk around the center of downtown, you may not know about Mass Ave, Fletcher Place, Fountain Square or Broad Ripple. So many hip areas right under your nose! That is why we decided to compile a list of 15 things to do for under $15 in Indy.
Free Museum Days – Our museums in Indy are wonderful, but they are also expensive. If you are a museum lover fear not! All the Indy museums offer free days. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offers $5 admission the First Thursday of every month from 4:00-8:00pm. Newfields, formerly known as the IMA, offers free admission from 4:00-9:00 the first Thursday of each month. The Eiteljorg and Indiana State Museum offer discounted admission on the first Tuesday of the month.
Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden – Garfield Park Conservatory is a 10,000-square-foot wonderland. As the title suggests, the park is made up of the conservatory, sunken garden and, of course, the grounds. Admission is $2 per person and visitors can come any day of the week, though hours vary. Visitors can also go on Conservatory Guided Tours the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month at 2:30pm, free with admission.
Explore the Canal – The Canal. That idyllic beautiful section of waterway located slightly to the West of the center of downtown. Of course, there are lots of fun things to do on the Canal including eating out, attending a museum, biking, or, perhaps the most unique activity, boating. Wheel fun rentals (the name is already too clever) rents boats per hour. Prices depend on the type of boat: pedal boats are $35, kayaks are $20, and double kayaks are $25.
Trader’s Point Creamery Tour – One of the best hidden secrets in central Indiana is Trader’s Point Creamery. “Traders Point Creamery is an organic, 100% grassfed dairy farm and artisan creamery in Zionsville.” What you may not know about the Creamery is they have a restaurant and dairy bar on site. They also offer private guided tours of the farm for $9 per person Tuesday-Friday from April-October. A yogurt single or “milk shot” is even included in the tour!
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and Tours – In my experience, when you say you are from Indiana while abroad, people tend to bring up the Indianapolis 500 or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What many do not know is that IMS also has a museum on site. Visitors can look at previous cars that won the Indy 500 among other items for only $10. Various tours are also offered of the track starting at $20 for adults and $10 for kids (a little bit above the $15 mark for this article).
Indianapolis Arts Garden Concerts – For all of those who work in downtown Indianapolis, what you are about to read is valuable knowledge. Multiple times a week at 12:15pm, free concerts take place in the Indianapolis Arts Garden. This past month featured performers in every style from Jazz Piano to Country Rock. The days of the week vary so be sure to check their website here: (https://indyarts.org/artsgarden/artsgarden-events) for specifics.
Monon Trail – Do I need to say anything more? I didn’t think so.
Indianapolis Indian’s Game – Regardless of whether baseball is your thing or not, Indianapolis Indian’s games are a blast to attend. When I was younger, I just liked to walk around the park, stopping at the various booths along the way. Of course, there are lots of concessions and places to picnic. If you are looking for a deal, be sure to attend a Tuesday game as tickets are 2-for-1. When you buy tickets, be sure to check if there are any free giveaways that night!
Farmer’s Markets – What could be better than local produce, baked goods, and vendors? Absolutely nothing. If you cannot tell already, we are big fans of Farmer’s Markets here at F.C. Tucker. We even wrote a whole article highlighting 30 farmer’s markets in central Indiana. See it here: http://www.talktotucker.com/talk/map/indy-area-farmers-markets/. The beauty of farmer’s markets is that you can spend as much or as little money as you want, so that $15 limit is definitely doable.
Rent a bike and ride the Indianapolis Cultural Trail – Besides the Monon, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a loop around downtown Indianapolis, is a great place to bike around Indy. Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry. The Indy Pacers Bikeshare program offers bike rentals – you may have seen the yellow bikes around Indy before! Potential users need to download the app and choose which membership works best for them. Details can be found on their website here: https://www.pacersbikeshare.org/top-nav-pages/rates-membership/rates2.
Go Swing Dancing in Fountain Square – If you are a dancer, you will love this next inexpensive option. At various times throughout the week, Fountain Square hosts swing dancing nights. Organizers of the swing dancing nights offer swing dancing lessons before the actual dance – so don’t worry if you are not a swing dancing expert! If you attend the lesson and the dance it is $14, but if you attend the dance only it is $12.
Salsa Dancing at the Jazz Kitchen – Love to dance, but swing dancing is not your thing? You will be happy to hear that the Jazz Kitchen hosts a Latin Dance Party every Thursday from 5:00pm-2:00am. You may be thinking, that is a lot of time to be dancing – what do you do for the whole time? Well from 5:00-10:00pm guests can eat and at 8:00pm the dancing begins. There is even a dance lesson at 8:30pm. Prices vary so be sure to check the website for specifics!
Soldiers & Sailors Monument – One of the most iconic sites in Indy is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. You know, the one in the center of Monument Circle? Though taking pictures by the monument is fun, what many people do not know is that you can go in the monument from 10:30-5:30 Friday-Sunday for free. Visitors can climb the 331 steps to the observation deck or can ride an elevator 90% of the way, only having to climb the last 31 steps.
Indiana State Capitol Tour – I think everyone could agree that the outside of the Indiana State Capitol is beautiful. What is even more beautiful? The inside of the Capitol. The good news is that everyone can visit with free tours happening all the time. Various tours are offered Monday-Saturday at various times. The Statehouse offers three different tours: Welcome Tour, Statehouse Tour, and School Tour. All are free but vary in length! Check out more details here: https://www.in.gov/idoa/2430.htm.
Visit the Indianapolis Central Library – Last but certainly not least, if you are not a resident of Marion County, you may have never seen the Indianapolis Public Library’s Central Library. In 2007, the Library underwent an expansion, combining the traditional Cret Building with the, “new six-story glass steel-framed addition designed by Evan Wollen.” Anyone is free to walk in to explore, but you do need a library card to check anything out!
Needless to say, Indianapolis is a fabulous city – you only need to know where to look! We recognize that we could not highlight everything in Indianapolis. What is your favorite thing to do for under $15?