Looking for all the best attractions in Indy? Our guide to all the best things to do in Indianapolis is all you need!
The racing capital of the world, Indianapolis, Indiana, is where top events like the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One Race, the Brickyard 400, and the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway draw fans from across the globe to witness the outstanding events.
And those aren’t the only big sports in Indianapolis. The city is home to more than a few big-name professional teams, including the NFL Indianapolis Colts, the NBA Indiana Pacers, and the WNBA Indiana Fever.
Outside of sports, Indianapolis is home to award-winning restaurants, craft breweries, renowned museums like the largest children’s museum in the world, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and National Historic Landmarks, like the Lilly House & Gardens, which dates back to 1907.
Indianapolis is full of history, art, culture, sports, and an incredible social scene. Many people go outside to attractions like White River State Park to visit famous attractions or remain active by hiking, biking, or kayaking.
When it comes to figuring out what to do in Indianapolis, the list is endless. However, Indianapolis has plenty to offer whether you’re a history buff, an art connoisseur, a foodie, a sports fan, or a nature lover.
And our list of the best things to do in Indianapolis is guaranteed to satisfy your traveling itch and be worthwhile for precious memories made with friends, family, or even solo!
Table of Contents
- The Best Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana
- 1) Discover Your Competitive Spirit At The NCAA Hall Of Champions
- 2) Catch Sight Of A Bald Eagle At Eagle Creek Park
- 3) Explore Automobile Racing History At The Famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- 4) Adventure Downtown Indianapolis
- 5) Poke Around Preserved Brains At The Indiana Medical History Museum
- 6) Learn How Indiana Was Shaped Through Interactive Exhibits At The Indiana State Museum
- 7) Find Endless Opportunities At White River State Park
- 8) Spend A Family Day At The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
- 9) Explore Artistic Expression At The Indianapolis Art Center
- 10) Muse Through A Wide Range Of Art At The Indianapolis Museum Of Art
- 11) From Marine Life To Exotic Plant Species, Witness It At The Indianapolis Zoo
- 12) Absorb The Diversity Of Our Nation’s History At The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
- 13) Buy Tickets To The NFL’s Colts Game At The Lucas Oil Stadium
- 14) Walk & Explore Downtown On The Indianapolis Cultural Trail
- 15) Tour The Historic Lilly House and Gardens
- 16) Visit The Home Of The 23rd U.S. President At The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
- 17) Bask In Panoramic Views Of The City At The Soldiers & Sailors Monument
- 18) Eat & Shop At The Indianapolis City Market
- 19) Find The Beat At The Rhythm! Discovery Center
- 20) Relax & Unwind At Holliday Park
- 21) Go To The Theatre
- Where to Stay in Indianapolis
The Best Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana
There is an abundance of fun things to do in Indianapolis during your trip that are worth your time.
From catching sight of a bald eagle at Eagle Creek Park to visiting the home of the 23rd President of the United States at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, to visiting the Indianapolis Museum of Art, our list includes all of the best Indianapolis activities!
1) Discover Your Competitive Spirit At The NCAA Hall Of Champions
This three-building complex, which includes the NCAA and NFHS headquarters and interactive museum, offers an abundance of activities to consider during your visit!
On the first level of the NCAA Hall Of Champions, discover the 24 sports represented by the NCAA through interactive trivia challenges, video highlights, artifacts, and team rankings.
Then, on the second level, get hands-on and compete virtually in this interactive area that features a 1930s retro gymnasium, sports simulators, a ski simulator, and more!
- Address: White River State Park, 700 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Opens at 12 pm on Sundays, Closed Mondays)
- Cost: $5
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2) Catch Sight Of A Bald Eagle At Eagle Creek Park
The largest park in Indianapolis, Eagle Creek Park is also one of the largest municipal parks in the United States and one of the top Indianapolis Attractions to visit.
Eagle Creek Park has welcomed over one million visitors in its 3,900-acre space of woods and ponds, including the Eagle Creek Reservoir.
Tourists and locals rally at this outstanding park to go fishing, hiking, boating, or birdwatch for a rare glimpse of a bald eagle. This is one of the most fun things to do in Indianapolis!
- Address: 7840 W 56th St, Indianapolis, IN 46254, United States
- Hours: 7 am – 6:30 pm
- Cost: $5 for parking or $1.50 for pedestrians
3) Explore Automobile Racing History At The Famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Formerly the home of the United States Grand Prix, the Motor Speedway is a famed automobile racing circuit that hosts other significant events, including the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon 200.
Here you can also find the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Visitors can explore the history of auto racing through one of the world’s exclusive collections of automotive and motor racing vehicles and artifacts.
The museum’s collection features over a century of auto racing culture and history, including vehicles that represent Formula One, NASCAR, drag racing, American short-tracking racing, and motorcycles.
You can also visit the Hall of Fame for an insider look at significant drivers, team owners, and personalities that have impacted the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation.
- Address: 4790 W 16th St, Indianapolis, Indiana 46222
- Hours/Cost: Visit the website for tickets and hours as they vary based on events
4) Adventure Downtown Indianapolis
Fondly referred to as “Mile Square,” downtown homes the exquisite Indiana State House, an architecturally stunning structure dating back to 1888, in its center.
Throughout downtown, you’ll find historical sites, event spaces, live music, public art, and plenty of shopping options to take part in.
History buffs need to head to the Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District downtown.
It is home to the Indiana War Memorial & Museum, the Medal of Honor Memorial, the Indiana War Memorial, the Korean War, the 9/11 Memorial, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) Memorial, the Indiana World War II, the Vietnam War Memorials, and the Indiana Gold Star Families Memorial, concluding Indianapolis’s title as the most acreage to honor veterans than any other city in the country.
Stop over to the Old National Centre for a live concert from top music artists. Then, check out Gainbridge Fieldhouse arena for a game to watch the Indiana Pacers of the NBA or the Indiana Fever of the WNBA play.
Finally, walk along the Canal Walk. This 3-mile loop follows the waterfront of the Central Canal. You can find some of the best views in the city on the Canal Walk!
The options are endless downtown! And on this guided tour and scavenger hunt, you can adventure historic sites, outdoor art, military memorials, and downtown Indianapolis to learn firsthand and experience the great history of Indianapolis.
5) Poke Around Preserved Brains At The Indiana Medical History Museum
Established on the grounds of what was previously the Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane, the Indiana Medical History Museum homes the oldest surviving pathology facility in the United Stations, the Old Pathology Building.
On the National Register of Historic Places, the museum was reestablished in 1969.
Visiting the Indiana Medical History Museum, explore the teaching amphitheater, the records room, the autopsy room, the anatomical museum that preserves specimens, many of which are brains, and the laboratories for photography, bacteriology, histology, and clinical chemistry.
The guided tours adventure the preserved Old Pathology Building and other exhibits, exploring the history of mental health care and forensic science.
- Address: 3270 Kirkbride Way, Indianapolis, Indiana 46222
- Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Wednesday – Saturday
- Cost: $10
6) Learn How Indiana Was Shaped Through Interactive Exhibits At The Indiana State Museum
The Indiana State Museum is a world-class institution that preserves, collects, and exhibits the monumental pieces of culture, history, science, and art of Indiana’s past dating back to prehistoric times to today.
This museum hosts three floors worth of space, and guests are inspired to learn about the events and people that have helped shape Indiana.
In addition, the museum building itself is an impressive structure designed with architectural prowess established from sandstone, limestone, glass, brick, and steel, all sourced from Indiana.
The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites (ISMHS) is a museum system with 12 locations, including the museum and 11 historic sites. Each historical site encourages visitors to increase their knowledge and absorb the impact of the past on the present.
- Address: 650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Wednesday – Sunday
- Cost: $16
7) Find Endless Opportunities At White River State Park
Found in downtown Indianapolis, White River State Park is bankside to its namesake, White River.
The park spans 250 acres, homing diverse, world-class attractions for everyone. The first attraction to call White River State Park home was the Indianapolis Zoo, established in 1988.
Since then, the park has become the home of various other notable attractions, including Indiana’s largest IMAX Theater, the NCAA Hall of Champions Museum, and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art.
Take part in one of these top attractions, rent a kayak or pedal boat to drift down the Central Canal, or stroll down the various walking paths. The options are endless in White River State Park!
- Address: 801 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States
- Hours: 5 am – 11 pm
- Cost: Free
8) Spend A Family Day At The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has dedicated its establishment to exceptional learning opportunities and experiences to encourage learning and curiosity in children of all ages.
Founded in 1925, the museum has become the world’s largest children’s museum and one of the best.
First, take the kids to gape over the impressive dinosaur fossils, like the 12,500-year-old Mastodon skeleton, in the planetarium that recreates three different archaeological sites, including a pirate shipwreck.
Then, investigate the 11 interactive galleries featuring various art and artifacts.
The kids will be brimming with excitement and joy before and after your visit to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum!
- Address: 3000 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46208, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Closes at 8 pm on Thursdays, Closed Mondays)
- Cost: Prices vary based on days and times, check the website for more info.
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9) Explore Artistic Expression At The Indianapolis Art Center
Established in 1934 during the Great Depression, the Indianapolis Art Center’s mission is to inspire creative expression in all who enter through their doors.
The 12-acre campus offers free admission so that anyone and everyone can take a class led by the center’s instructors, learn a new skill, muse over art, and create new connections.
Artistic expression is unhindered at the Indianapolis Art Center, where photography, painting, drawing, fashion, and more are welcome to be explored.
- Address: 820 E 67th St, Indianapolis, Indiana 46220, United States
- Hours: 9 am – 10 pm Mon-Fri, 9 am – 6 pm Saturdays, 12 pm – 6 pm Sundays
- Cost: Free
10) Muse Through A Wide Range Of Art At The Indianapolis Museum Of Art
Located on a 152-acre campus, the Indianapolis Museum Of Art hosts the most comprehensive collection of Neo-Impressionist paintings in North America.
Get close and personal to paintings by world-renowned artists like Picasso, Rembrandt, LeWitt, and Sherman. You can also see local Indiana art as well.
Explore a range of artistic styles of expression, including minimalism, abstract expressionism, and modern and contemporary art—adventure through art from different parts of the world, from ancient Greece to Asia.
For art lovers, exploring the Indianapolis Museum of Art is easily one of the most fun things to do in the city.
- Address: 4000 N Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, Indiana 46208
- Hours: 11 am – 4 pm (Closed Mondays)
- Cost: $20
11) From Marine Life To Exotic Plant Species, Witness It At The Indianapolis Zoo
With a zoo, botanical garden, and aquarium, the Indianapolis Zoo homes a vast expanse of unique nature and wildlife on a stretch of 64 acres.
As one of the United States’ largest privately funded zoos, this established zoo is dedicated to protecting nature and inspiring conservation efforts.
You can access all the exhibits with admission, including presentations, demonstrations, and keepers’ chats. We highly recommend experiencing the daily Dolphin Presentation, where you can get in the water with the dolphins!
- Address: 1200 W Washington St, Indianapolis, Indiana 46222
- Hours: 12 pm – 9 pm (Closes at 10 pm on Fri/Sat)
- Cost: Prices range from $16.25 – $32.75 (Check the website for more info)
12) Absorb The Diversity Of Our Nation’s History At The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, or the Eiteljorg Museum as commonly referred to, shares the stories and history of the peoples of North America.
Through its impressive permanent collection, featuring beadwork, photographs, hides, and other installations, the impactful history and culture of Native American art, culture, and history are shared.
Immerse yourself in the diverse cultures and artistic expression of the West and Native America at Eiteljorg Museum, honing a renowned national reputation as a premier cultural institution.
- Address: 500 W Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Opens at 12 pm on Sundays)
- Cost: $15
13) Buy Tickets To The NFL’s Colts Game At The Lucas Oil Stadium
A multi-purpose stadium, the Lucas Oil Stadium is the home field of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and the Drum Corps International Championships.
The Lucas Oil Stadium hosts the Colts football games and other national and international sporting events and sought-out performances from big names like Luke Combs.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn about the stadium’s impactful history, or buy a ticket to a game or concert for an unforgettable trip to Indianapolis!
- Address: 500 S Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46225, United States
- Cost/Hours: Visit the website for events and tickets
14) Walk & Explore Downtown On The Indianapolis Cultural Trail
Officially termed the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick but commonly referred to as the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, this trail in downtown Indianapolis connects three unique public spaces to make it easy for locals and tourists to adventure and discover.
And it’s one of the best things to do in Indianapolis for good reason!
The trail’s purpose of establishment is to combine an eight-mile-long linear park with busy downtown streets to connect neighborhoods and other cultural amenities. This design was established to enhance the quality of life and encourage activity and engagement in the community.
The bricked trail is designed purposely for bicyclists, with a sidewalk for pedestrians added for most of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Visit local shops and cafes and find unique stores and museums as you navigate this popular trail!
15) Tour The Historic Lilly House and Gardens
Lilly House and Gardens frequently referred to as Oldfields, is a house museum and historic estate settled on 26 acres.
A National Historic Landmark, Lilly House is a 20th-century country estate founded by the Landon family in 1907.
The architecture and design of the historic home were French-inspired, surrounding the home with vibrant greenhouses.
The Lilly family purchased the estate and more property and donated 56 acres to the Art Association of Indianapolis. This donation would proceed with the establishment of Newsfield, the renowned art museum.
Tours of Lilly House and Gardens allow the opportunity to witness eight historic rooms full of genuine furnishings and artifacts from the Lilly family, including the garage with its 20th-century car.
- Address: 4000 N Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208, United States
- Hours: 11 am – 5 pm (Closed Mondays)
- Cost: Free
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16) Visit The Home Of The 23rd U.S. President At The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
The former home of the 23rd President of the United States, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, previously known as the Benjamin Harrison Home, was established in 1874-1875. It includes 16 rooms and Italianate Victorian-era architecture and design.
President Benjamin Harrison is the only president elected from Indiana, and the site plays a unique role in Indianapolis’ history.
For history buffs, this is one of the best things to do in Indianapolis to learn about the city’s and nation’s history. It’s even located in the Old Northside Historic District, which is a residential neighborhood full of historic buildings.
Through the three floors, ten rooms, 10,000+ artifacts, and reconstructed carriage house available to be explored on tour, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site is full of historical memorabilia and opportunities to learn more about Indiana’s role in United States history.
- Address: 1230 N Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN 46202, United States
- Hours: 10 am – 3:30 pm (Opens at 12 pm on Sundays)
- Cost: $14
17) Bask In Panoramic Views Of The City At The Soldiers & Sailors Monument
Standing almost 285 feet tall, the Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Monument is formerly recognized as one of the world’s most impressive monuments.
The neoclassical structure commemorates Hoosier, or Indiana men, veterans who served before World War I. On each corner of the monument are four statues representing the Navy, Artillery, Infantry, and Cavalry.
Many tourists and locals come to witness the grandeur of the monument and go out on the observation deck featuring panoramic views of the downtown Indianapolis skyline.
- Address: 1 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States
- Hours: 10:30 am – 5:30 pm Friday – Sunday
- Cost: $2
18) Eat & Shop At The Indianapolis City Market
Operating since 1866, the Indianapolis City Market is a massive food hall full of vendors that includes a farmer’s market.
The market is the gateway to Monument Circle and the East Market cultural district. Tourists and locals come to buy fresh produce and locally sourced products, find carefully picked souvenirs, buy flower bouquets, sip on craft beers, socialize with family and friends, and eat hand-crafted dishes.
The market is favored as one of the best things to do in Indianapolis for its leap into the city’s social scene and culture while supporting local businesses.
- Address: 222 E Market St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States
- Hours: 7 am – 9 pm Tuesday – Friday, 8 am – 6 pm Saturdays, Closed Sundays, 7 am – 6 pm Mondays
19) Find The Beat At The Rhythm! Discovery Center
At Rhythm! Discovery Center, visitors are invited to explore the history of percussion through exhibits, archives, and interactive opportunities to play percussion first-hand.
As the world’s only interactive drum and percussion museum, the center’s creative vision has extended to the Percussive Arts Society, the most prominent member-based international percussion organization in the world.
Through interactive exhibits and an impressive collection of historical artifacts and percussion instruments, the history of percussion is preserved and celebrated with all who enter through the center’s doors.
- Address: Claypool Court Building, 110 W Washington Street A, Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Friday -Monday (Opens at 12 pm on Sundays)
- Cost: $12
20) Relax & Unwind At Holliday Park
Featuring 94 acres of trails, a nature center, a playground, and an arboretum, Holliday Park hones the title as one of the premier public parks in Indianapolis and one of the best things to do in Indianapolis.
Go on a hike of over 3.5 miles of scenic trails or stroll along the banks of White River to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
First, visit the nature center to learn more about local wildlife, plants, and conservation efforts. Then, take the kids to the playgrounds to play and socialize, surrounded by vibrant nature.
Admission to Holliday Park and the Nature Center is free, so don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to explore this premier park!
- Address: 6363 Spring Mill Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46260, United States
- Hours: 9 am – 5 pm
- Cost: Free
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21) Go To The Theatre
There are some great options for attending the theatre while visiting Indianapolis.
Indiana Repertory Theatre is one amazing regional theatre that is a member of the League of Resident Theatres.
Throughout the season, nine or ten plays are usually performed on two different stages, as well as holiday shows, like Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, during the holiday season.
Tickets are available to watch one of the plays at this professional regional theatre boasting more than 50 years of success!
Also, check out the Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre where you can enjoy a high-quality meal with your show.
The Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre opened in 1973 and is a favorite among locals and tourists in the city.
Where to Stay in Indianapolis
Now that you know the best things to do in Indianapolis, let’s check out the best places to stay during your trip!
Best Budget Hotel in Indianapolis
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Indianapolis Airport is only six miles from downtown Indy and all its famous attractions and activities, like the Lucas Oil Stadium. Each room is designed with cleanliness and comfort so you can relax and unwind during your stay.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Indianapolis
Only 12 miles from downtown, the family-owned Drury Plaza Hotel Indianapolis Carmel is conveniently located near top attractions. Guests are served convenient accommodations like free Wifi, breakfast, and 5:30 Kickback, which features a rotating menu of snacks and beverages.
Best Luxury Hotel in Indianapolis
Ironworks Hotel Indy is a 19th-century-inspired industrial design hotel featuring modern amenities.
The rooms at this luxury hotel are all inspired by different designs, from the Traditional Room, accented by industrial charm, brick accent walls, and rainfall shower heads, to the Legacy Suite, designed with wood accents, exposed brick, a king bed, and a queen-size leather sleeper sofa.
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