Okay, we’re going to admit one thing right up front: We think Indy is a great place to visit or live. In fact, we genuinely believe that, as a whole, Indiana has something to appeal to everyone. Just the same, it’s a pretty big deal to us that Forbes has acknowledged Indiana as one of the top 25 destinations of 2020.
Here’s why Forbes says Indiana is a destination hotspot this year along with a few observations of our own regarding the state’s charms and attractions:
Indy Celebrates Its 200th Birthday
Indianapolis started out as the dream of a few dozen settlers 200 years ago — and its continued prosperity and growth are something to be celebrated. The city is working hard to put together bicentennial celebrations that reflect individual artistic and cultural communities as well as the city-wide celebration and identity.
While plans are still in process for many of the events, you can expect the entire year to be full of lively surprises.
Indiana Dunes National Park Turns One
Indiana Dunes National Park has only been formally in existence since 2019, making it the nation’s newest national park — but it’s definitely something to see. You can check out Mount Baldy, the park’s ever-shifting dune mountain or spend time on the freshwater beaches.
If beaches aren’t your thing, the Dunes also have 50 miles worth of hiking trails to explore and world-class birding. If you love flora more than fauna, you’ll enjoy the fact that the park boasts more than 1,100 native species of plants. Geocaching is also part of the fun you can experience there, and there are regular seasonal events held throughout the year.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
The largest children’s museum in the whole world, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, was founded back in 1925 and now encompasses 481,000 square feet of buildings and 30 acres of land. It’s a family-friendly place that knows how to engage children of all ages — and those who are just young at heart.
You can explore both the inside and outside areas of the museum’s grounds, including thirteen permanent exhibits, several temporary ones and at least 130,000 different artifacts on display.
Newfields Museum of Art
Newfields is described by Forbes as the kind of art museum that’s “geared toward people who don’t typically go to art museums.” You can shop for unique curiosities and gifts, dine at the beer garden or cafe with your friends, and explore the multitude of temporary exhibits and permanent collections.
Wednesdays and Fridays, Newfields hosts a “wee Wonders” class that’s designed to encourage young imaginations and get kids involved in the hands-on aspect of art through gallery hunts and pretend play. There are also yoga classes, film series events and more — making this one of the best places to explore all year around.
The Madam Walker Legacy Center
While currently closed for renovations, the Madam Walker Legacy Center expects to reopen soon once renovations and updates to the 1920’s building are complete. The Center is not only part of Indy’s historical legacy, but it’s also been part of the city’s African American heritage since the very beginning.
Once the Center reopens, it’s expected to continue its long-standing tradition of providing the arts and cultural community with a meeting place, social center and venue for events. In fact, it’s anticipated that the Center will be even better than before, once renovations are finished.
The Bottleworks Neighborhood
The Bottleworks District — once home to a bottling facility for Coca-Cola — is just a wonderfully cool mix of the past and the present, combining the historic neighborhood with a fusion of food, art, work and cultural attractions.
A $300 million mixed-use development in the heart of Indy, the Bottleworks offers a food hall, hotel accommodations, 175,000 square feet of retail space for visitors to explore and 180,000 square feet of office space for creative types of all sorts.
The Indianapolis Zoo
While not referenced on the Forbes list, we believe that no list of Indy attractions would be complete without mentioning the Indianapolis Zoo. Located in White River State Park in the heart of the city (which is, itself, also great to explore), the facility is actually a zoo, a botanical garden and an aquarium joined together.
Open all year, the Zoo houses around 230 different species of animals and 47,000 plants across 64 acres of diverse indoor and outdoor habitats. While you’re there, you and the kids can feed the flamingos or giraffes, share a seed stick with a budgie and ride the endangered species carousel.
The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500
Did you think we’d forget about the Indy 500? Never fear! We figure that Forbes left it off the list of things to do in Indianapolis only because it (almost) goes without mentioning.
Billed as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indy 500 will celebrate its 104th run in 2020. Whether you’re brand new to the Brickyard or you’ve been there before, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement surrounding this race and the other events held throughout the year.
All of this information tells you one thing: Indiana is the place to head in 2020 whether you’re just seeking a little bit of adventure in your life, trying to broaden your horizons or actively looking to relocate somewhere interesting.