The Inner Circle

Nine great things to do at Indy's most iconic destination-Monument Circle.


Every city has one—a famous landmark that brands the skyline, graces postcards, and captures the eye of the Goodyear blimp’s camera crew. Here, that sight is Monument Circle, and it’s a landmark that comes to life. Downtown’s hubbub revolves around the (1) Soldiers and Sailors Monument, built in 1902 out of Indiana limestone and standing 284 feet tall. Climb the steps or take the elevator to the observation area at the top, and visit the Civil War museum in the lower level. The sun-dappled steps are a favorite spot for people watching: sit and nosh on a New York–style slice from (2) Giorgio’s Pizza, a downtown fixture for 20 years, then enjoy a snack from (3) South Bend Chocolate Company, a confectioner that hails from South Bend, Indiana, and dishes up grilled sandwiches, ice cream and gourmet desserts. Find a spot on the south side of the Monument—within earshot of the rushing fountains that spill into cool turquoise pools—and watch headlines scroll across the (4) WIBC News Ticker. When you’re ready to admire the Circle’s architecture, start at the (5) Lacy Building and look up—the 1925 structure no longer has a miniature golf course on the roof, but the facade’s sculpted panels are original. If you’re a bird-watcher, use your cell phone to log on to (6) Market Tower’s Falcon Cam (, a realtime monitor of the peregrine falcon nest nearly 400 feet above the street. It’s easier to spot the architect’s initials carved over the south entrance of (7) Christ Church Cathedral. Built in 1857, it’s the oldest structure on the Circle. The Choir of Men and Boys has performed throughout Europe and offers a free Evensong performance every Thursday at 5:15 p.m. (8) Circle Tower is another sight to behold. Built eight years after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, the “hieroglyphics” above the Market Street door are a nod to the Egyptian craze of the day. Next door, (9) Hilbert Circle Theatre was originally one of the first movie palaces in the Midwest and is now home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, one of 17 year-round orchestras in the country. Happy hour precedes some Thursday performances.

At any spot on the Circle, you can look to the center and take a photo of the Monument. Go ahead. Everybody does.

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