If you are taking a trip to or near Indianapolis, be sure to check out these sights before you leave. Some may be in guide books and some may not, but be sure to check out these 15 of my must see places in Indy to really experience the city.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Located in Monument Circle, this Indianapolis icon has a great observation deck accessed by elevator or stairs, and an interesting war museum located in the basement. The stairs can be a bit much, so I would suggest the elevator unless you are really in shape. Of course the time I did walk up the stairs was only because the elevator was broken down, plus I carried my then six month old daughter to the top. Talk about exercise! In hindsight I probably should have waited until the elevator was fixed.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
The world’s largest children’s museum has exhibits and fun for children of all ages. This is my kids’ favorite place to go. There are so many neat things in here. It is very fun at Christmas time, when they have an “ice” slide from the second floor to the first. It looked so fun I had to bargain with and convince my daughter to go on it with me. She ended up loving it and we had to walk back up three more times to ride it over and over.
St. Elmo’s Steakhouse
This restaurant has been an Indianapolis landmark since 1902. Stop in and try the world famous spicy shrimp cocktail.
Check out this drive-in movie theater for a double feature, before all the drive-ins are gone. It is great to sit outside or in your car and watch a couple of movies. To be honest until I found this one I had only heard stories from my parents about going to the drive in and had never actually seen one. The only problem is that the planes fly over quite a bit on their way to the airport, but it is easily overlooked for the experience, in my opinion.
I love this artsy little section of Massachusetts Aveue. It features great boutique shopping, a unique toy store, and lots of restaurant options. My kids spent hours in the toy store, and I spent hours looking at all the jewelry in Silver in the City. It’s a cute little block of town, plus I love to shop local.
Crown Hill Cemetery
Before you say your idea of a tourist attraction isn’t a cemetery, let me point out that the hill has some of the most amazing views of the city, houses the grave of James Whitcomb Riley, and takes some spectacular pictures with its amazing and artful tombstones. I spent hours in here taking pictures, and it’s a good place to go to relax and think.
This beautiful canal offers great views of the city, a lovely evening walk, bike rentals, paddleboat rentals, and lots of waterfront dining opportunities. The canal is probably my favorite place in Indianapolis. I have walked around it countless times, as well as riding a paddleboat on it (tip: do not ride with a boyfriend who likes to prank or you will probably end up under one of the fountains. Also, paddleboats do not turn as fast as said boyfriends think they would.) and enjoyed many sunsets here. My favorite time to go to the canal is sunset. Be sure to bring your camera.
The Slippery Noodle Inn
Be sure to check out Indiana’s oldest bar while you are in town. Here you can check out live music, good food, and good drinks.
This neighborhood on the outskirts of Indianapolis was named after Washington Irving because it reminded the original townsfolk of Sleepy Hollow. Staying true to the creepy original vibe, you can find ghost tours here and a huge Halloween Festival. You can also find coffee shops, boutiques, and a lovely park.
The Indianapolis World War Memorial
This massive monolith houses a world war museum in the lower levels and a gigantic and awe-inspiring shrine upstairs. Definitely a must see as pictures do not do the shrine justice. It literally took my breath away.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art
This free admission art museum houses many works of art, an outdoor arts park, as well as the Lilly house museum and Gardens. The house does have an entrance fee but the gardens are free to enjoy.
City County Building Observation Deck
The tallest observation deck in the city offers great views and photo opportunities, as well as many pieces of Indianapolis history. I was intrigued by all of the historic items in the room, and I got some of the best picture I have ever taken of Indy.
The Indianapolis Zoo
This beautiful zoo houses the only 360 degree dolphin dome, along with many spacious animal exhibits, a butterfly conservatory, and gardens. The zoo is definitely near the top of the list of my favorite Indianapolis attractions. I could spend hours under the dolphins watching them play. My kids love riding the train and get super excited when it goes through the tunnel. Plus I love teaching my kids about respecting all kinds of animals. There is also a carousel that my kids have to ride every time, as well as a roller coaster that I haven’t yet talked them into riding.
Lucas Oil Stadium
The massive home of Superbowl XLVI and the Indianapolis Colts has a retractable roof and seats 67,000 people. For a minimal fee you can tour the stadium, and the tour hits all the cool spots including the press box, the playing field and the locker rooms. Tours run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and are first come, first serve.
Indianapolis has a lot more to offer as well, so enjoy your trip to Indianapolis and see as much as you can.