Racing… corn… Lucas Oil Stadium… these are all things that come to mind when out-of-towners think of Indianapolis. However, this is one city that isn’t to be underestimated! In fact, Indianapolis is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the Midwest thanks to its large amount of tech start-ups and partnerships with companies like Salesforce and Amazon.
There is so much to this great city that should bump it up to the top of your traveling priority list. Whether you live hours away or are just a short 30-minute drive, here are the top seven reasons why Indianapolis is a great place to visit.
Incredible Walkability and Transportation
Starting in the heart of the city, downtown Indianapolis is an incredibly walkable area. You can enjoy all the hustle and bustle in the heart of downtown exploring Monument Circle or shopping at Circle Centre Mall. From there, in just a 10 to 15-minute walk, you can easily be in the quaint Mass Ave Area painting at Mimosa and a Masterpiece or enjoying a handcrafted drink at the Broken Beaker Distillery. Don’t feel like walking? Or exploring one of Indy’s vibrant neighborhoods? Find one of the new Bird or Lime scooters or a Pacers Bikeshare station and zip all around the city in a matter of no time. You can also take advantage of the city’s electric car-sharing program, BlueIndy, which hosts stations all across the city.
Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries
Indianapolis is home to several breweries, wineries and distilleries, each creating a unique experience. Starting with breweries, the city has more than 40 that allow patrons to taste different flavors, explore and walk away with some of their favorites. Some of the most popular breweries include Black Acre Brewing Co. in Irvington, FLAT12 Bierwerks downtown or Brugge Brasserie in Broad Ripple. Wondering how you can explore them all? Take one of the many Indy Breweries Tours!
If breweries aren’t your thing, don’t fret. The city is home to more than 10 wineries and tasting rooms with selections ranging from super sweet moscatos to deep red cabernet sauvignons. Make a trip to take a walk down the Indy Wine Trail, where you can visit and sample from four different award-winning locations.
And last but not least, those looking for a great cocktail, Indianapolis is home to more than five distilleries. Creativity is key, and owners strive to exceed customer expectations.
Sports and Racing
If you come to Indianapolis, of course you have to at least drive by the monumental Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which spans two and a half miles. However, if you aren’t around for a race (which everyone should at least experience the Indy 500 once in their lifetime!), visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. On your way back into town, drop by the NCAA Hall of Champions to see neat exhibitions honoring all things student-athlete related. Once there, you are not far at all from the home of the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. You can walk around the building to check out statues and large banners of some of the team’s most prominent figures. Love soccer? Lucas Oil Stadium also hosts the Indy Eleven soccer team, with great prices for tickets. The Pacers are not too far from Lucas Oil Stadium at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which also doubles as a great event space. Catch a game or event to attend and explore exhibitions and fun facts about the Pacers. If you love to run, the city frequently hosts fun 5Ks to participate in, such as the Color Run in the summer or the Drumstick Dash for Thanksgiving. You can also sign up for the Indy Monumental Marathon, which is grouped into the country’s top 20 largest marathons. Parts of the city shut down for runners to run a full marathon, half marathon or 5K.
Playground for History Buffs
Indianapolis is the perfect city for those who love history. It honors its roots and moments in history so well, in so many different ways. One of the first places to visit is the Indiana Historical Society. They offer collections and exhibits to help you take a look at the state’s past, excelling in storytelling to help bring the past to life. The city has also paid homage to medical history at the Indiana Medical History Museum. This museum showcases early psychiatry and modern medicine, with guided tours Thursday through Saturday. In addition, walks throughout the streets of downtown Indianapolis, city parks and other sides of town can take you back in time. Monument Circle’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument is the centerpiece of downtown, with a variety of sculptures honoring important Hoosier figures starting in the 1800s. Last, Indiana was home to 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison. Visit his quaint home in downtown’s Lockerbie Square to find a vast collection of artifacts from the president and his family.
Unique, Fun Activities
You will never run out of fun things to check out in Indianapolis. In fact, the city is home to so many unique places to do something different, memorable and exciting. A few places and experiences to check out include:
- Books & Brews: Love beer and books? Combine your love for both at your nearest Books & Brews. B&B is all about getting people off their phones and connecting with one another about favorite reads, check out new books and grab a beer. Plus, 10% of all B&B proceeds are donated to nonprofit IndyReads.
- Escape Room: Grab your friends, family or co-workers and schedule an “escape” at the Escape Room Indianapolis. Perfect for those that love puzzles and critical thinking, you will be safely locked in a room for 60 minutes. It is your task to find clues and solve various puzzles that will lead you to the keys so you can escape! They offer a variety of rooms and difficulty levels.
- Rustic Driving Range & Miniature Golf: Tucked away on the southeast side of the city, this miniature golf and driving range will keep you busy all day. And don’t mistake this for any average putt-putt. The miniature golf course is designed on real grass with different challenges to overcome on each hole. For a quick round, try the nine-hole course, or spend a little more time on the 18-hole course. You can also stop by to grab a bucket of golf balls and relax on the driving range.
- Punch Bowl Social: Punch Bowl Social in downtown Indianapolis mixes fun and games with delicious food and handcrafted adult beverages. They offer free activities such as board games, cards and giant Jenga. Or, you can pay to play ping pong, pool giant Scrabble, Bonzini or foosball. You can also go bowling, rent a room for karaoke, or play one of their many vintage arcade games.
Big City Feel with Small Town Affordability
When traveling to many other major metropolitan cities you can easily spend hundreds of dollars a night on a hotel room, not including $100+ to park, tips and spending more than $200 on dinner. Indianapolis? Cut your budget in half without sacrificing quality or experience! On average, nightly hotel rates are around $135, depending on the side of town (there are lower prices in great areas further away from downtown). You can also take advantage of free parking at several hotels or downtown, $20 to $40 per night. For dining, there are several upscale options that are perfect to treat yourself without breaking the bank. On your list, add Ralston’s Drafthouse in the Mass Ave. area, Fire by the Monon in Broad Ripple (where dogs are always welcome) or The Legend in historic Irvington.
Small Businesses and Hoosier Hospitality
Indianapolis is home to several small businesses and one of the best things you’ll find in Indy that you can’t anywhere else is the Hoosier hospitality that comes with it. Visit small, local stores with homemade merchandise, greeted by the owners that made them. There are smiles all around and unique items to help you find the perfect gift or just the thing you weren’t looking for. Explore local shops in a variety of neighborhoods including Mass Ave., Fletcher Place, Fountain Square, Broad Ripple, Irvington, the Old Northside and more. When visiting Indianapolis neighborhoods, you’ll be welcomed as if it was your own.