Recognized by New York City based Project for Public Spaces as the biggest and boldest move by any American city, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an urban revitalization and beautification project that has garnered international attention. The 8-mile brick path safely separated from car traffic by acres of new landscaping and $2 million in public art inspires movement around the city’s main attractions. The trail links hotels and the convention center to six cultural districts, each with its own unique flavor of dining, shopping, and entertainment. Bikes are available at hotels, two downtown rental locations, and through a citywide bike share program. ActiveIndy Tours coordinates guided walking, biking, and jogging tours for groups.
Home to the greatest spectacle in racing and the world's largest single-day sporting event - the Indy 500, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be expereinced in a variety of ways all year long. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum offers guided track tours where visitors can "kiss the bricks," stand on Victory Podium, and learn a century of history and tradition. The Indy Racing Experience gets adrenaline pumping by going 180 mph around the track in a real IndyCar with a professional driver behind the wheel. Victory Laps offer a more approachable 60 mph track lap in a real Indy Car, NASCAR, or pace car. Groups can test their skills with friendly competition at Speedway Indoor Karting, a multi-level karting track owned by a former Indy 500 driver and team owner. At Dallara IndyCar Factory, learn the engineering and advanced technology behind the world’s fastest sport.
The world’s largest and most impressive children’s museum can be found in Indianapolis, making for memorable outings with the entire family. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis boasts five levels of interactive exhibits exploring art, science, history, and culture as well as a Dinosphere, planetarium, and working vintage carousel. Dale Chihuly’s 43-foot Fireworks of Glass sculpture cascading from the ceiling is awe-inspiring. An all new $35 million Sports Legends Experience permanent exhibit comes online in 2018, capitalizing on Indy’s sports heritage.
Robert Indiana’s original LOVE sculpture can actually be found at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, not in Philly or New York City. Newfields: A Place for Nature and the Arts encompasses 152 acres of manicured gardens and grounds encompassing a prominent former estate and contemporary sculpture park, as well as 50,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of history.
The Indianapolis Zoo is home to an internationally-acclaimed permanent exhibit, the International Orangutan Center. Visitors are enlightened and empowered to protect these amazing yet endangered animals through interactive engagement on the ground and in the air along the Hutan Trail.
Indy is home to more monuments and memorials honoring U.S. veterans than any other city in the country, aside from Washington, DC. Explore the grand architecture and symbolism of six memorials throughout downtown. The Soldiers & Sailors Monument anchors Monument Circle in the heart of the city and provides an eagle-eye view from the top observation deck. Inside the Indiana World War Memorial is a breathtaking shrine room and acoustically perfect theater. The War Memorial anchors American Legion Mall, a five-block park containing the American Legion’s headquarters as well as World War II, Korean, and Vietnam memorials. The Congressional Medal of Honor, 9/11, and USS Indianapolis Memorials can be found along the scenic Central Canal.
Discover the Midwest’s only authentic duckpin bowling lanes located in a vintage theatre building in downtown’s historic Fountain Square neighborhood. This nostalgic game uses smaller pins and balls with no finger holes, making for a fun time for all. No skills required! Two alleys in the building are reminiscent of the 1930’s and 1950’s, with authentic décor, pool tables, and jukeboxes.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, renowned author Kurt Vonnegut always claimed the city shaped him and defined his life. He and his family also helped shape the city, and his literary, artistic, and cultural contributions are celebrated at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. A larger than life mural of him peering out over Mass Ave is also worth a look. Eat a meal in the new private dining space at Bluebeard, a Vonnegut themed restaurant serving a contemporary menu sourced locally. Fans and history buffs can also visit the country’s third largest cemetery, Crown Hill Cemetary, just north of the city and see the resting place of the Vonnegut family and another famous Indy writer, James Whitcomb Riley (whose museum home is also worth a look).
The NCAA's national headquarters, home of the Hall of Champions, can be found in Indy’s 250-acre White River State Park, an urban oasis in the heart of the city. This interactive museum explores the heart and dedication it takes to be a student-athlete in all 23 collegiate sports. Guests can attempt a downhill skiing simulator, shoot hoops in a 1930’s style gymnasium, and test their knowledge at sports specific trivia.
Indy’s craft beer scene is booming. The city’s largest and most successful brewery, Sun King, holds the record for winning more gold medals than any other brewery at the Great American Beer Fest (8), and its popular core series beers are distributed throughout the state and also in Chicago and Louisville. Ranging from small taprooms to large warehouses, each brewery has its own unique flavor and offers pints for all palates. Guided tours of favorite local breweries are available through Indy Brew Bus and Brewery Tours of Indianapolis, or arrange a beer laden city tour with Handle Bar Indy.
Located in White River State Park just steps from downtown hotels, the stunning Eiteljorg Museum displays the largest collection of Native American Indian and Western art east of the Mississippi and the only of its kind in the Midwest. An impressive contemporary art collection is ranked among the world’s best and joined by traditional works from renowned artists such as Georgia O’Keefe, Frederic Remington, T.C. Cannon, and Andy Warhol. While you're there grab a bite at the Eiteljorg Cafe and enjoy beautiful views of the Central Canal.
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park is a Smithsonian affiliate and engages visitors in 19th century life in Indiana through interpreters and hands-on activities. Among the scenic prairieland are an 1863 Civil War Journey, 1859 Balloon Voyage, 1836 Prairietown, and Follow the North Star slave journey. During the summer months, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra plays concerts at Conner Prairie’s outdoor amphitheater.