Wherever your vacation rental is located in Indiana’s capital city, you’re bound to be near incredible restaurants, varied shopping experiences, monuments and memorials, entertaining attractions, and wide-open spaces. This city is teeming with places to go and things to see. With so many places to visit in Indianapolis, Indiana, it’s hard to know where to start to pack the most into your vacation. Read ahead to see some of the best spots to stop at during a vacation to Naptown.
White River State Park
Downtown Indianapolis is near many of the city’s main attractions, including the 250-acre White River State Park. This massive green space in the heart of the city offers stunning views of the skyline, and makes it feel as if you are miles away with its peaceful layout and a large area to spread out and get some relaxation. Enjoy a picnic in one of the many green spaces or visit one of the many attractions there.
Cooldown at the Central Canal as you take a gondola ride, paddleboat, or kayak along the three-mile loop. Collections relating to the art, culture, and history of the American West and Native Americans are showcased at the Eiteljorg Museum. There are so many things to do here that it can be easy to make an entire afternoon out of a visit by taking in the sights and sounds of this wonderful city.
Pro traveler tip: The Indianapolis Zoo is also located in the fun-filled state park. Since opening in 1964 this zoo has become a world-class attraction. Hosting the preservation of a wide variety of plant and animal species from around the world makes this place just one more reason to visit this fantastic park.
Also inside the park, you can visit Indianapolis Zoo to see over 1,600 animals, as well as 23,000 species of plants. Inside the 64-acre zoo, be sure to go to the orangutan center, or check out the viewing dome to see dolphins underwater. Kids love the special displays, such as penguins painting works of art. A water garden, glass-enclosed conservatory, and botanical gardens will all add to your experience. Take a walk on the wild side and be sure to stop by this world-class attraction where one can witness many of their favorite animals from around the world. This zoo is a fantastic option for solo travelers and families alike.
Pro traveler tip: Take the visit to this wonderful zoo a step further by looking into a family-oriented program, which is generally a deeper dive into the science of the animals, as well as a more in-depth and behind-the-scenes run-through of the zoo.
The Cultural Trail
The Cultural Trail is a unique attraction that links White River State Park to the downtown area. It’s an eight-mile trail suitable for hiking or biking along with ten art installations along the way. Mapped routes are available to choose between eight paths along the trail. Take a stroll on this unique path that brings travelers through a variety of landscapes from urban inner-city streets to wide open green spaces.
Foodies love the food tours along the trail, giving behind-the-scenes access to some of the finest culinary hotspots in Indianapolis. Take part in the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare program, and rent a bike from any of the 29 stations easily found around the trail. This path is a great way to get a feel for the city and get some much-needed time outdoors and in the sun, all while seeing some of the city’s best attractions and areas.
Pro traveler tip: Be sure to pack a camera because along this path one can find many different art exhibits that make for great photos to commemorate a wonderful time in this beautiful city.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art is to the north of the downtown area and houses over 500,000 works of art. One of the United States’ largest art museums, it includes works by Caravaggio, El Greco, and Rembrandt, as well as ancient Greek pottery, American Impressionist paintings, and even international and national traveling exhibitions.
Next to the museum, the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park covers 100 acres and showcases art installations in the wetlands and woodlands. It also has an incredibly serene 35-acre lake where you can take a moment to just sit down and relax.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum. Explore three recreations of archaeological sites, including an International Space Station exhibit and an Egyptian tomb. Kids will love the dinosaur exhibit which includes an archaeological dig and a mastodon skeleton. Discover what’s in the universe at the planetarium, race on the race track, and take part in the basketball experience.
Pro traveler tip: The Indianapolis Attraction Pass is the best way to explore many of the city’s best attractions and museums without having to deal with the hassle of buying a new ticket for every one of them.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Host of the Indianapolis 500, one of the world’s three most important motorsport races, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a must for speed demons. Visit the speedway’s museum to see numerous cars and race memorabilia, watch Indy 500 footage in the theater, and enjoy a tour of the grounds. Tours of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are also available all year long. Get a feel for the amount of work that goes into this high-speed spectacle by visiting here and you might even get the chance to see a race taking place during your visit. The sheer power of these machines will be sure to thrill any spectator.
Pro traveler tip: Be sure to check online ahead of your visit to coordinate a time when you can witness an actual race! While the grounds and the museum are fantastic attractions to see on their own, nothing beats getting to feel the speed of these magnificent machines.
Where to Stay in Indy
Mile Square is the urban center of Indianapolis. This is the place where just about anything and everything that this city has to offer can be found. With historic urban areas, arenas for both sports and entertainment, and a multitude of museums, this neighborhood is great for those who want just about everything at their fingertips.
Broad Ripple is a neighborhood that is perfect for those that want a more laid-back and free-spirited vacation in Naptown. With boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants from around the world, and plenty of microbreweries and nightlife options, this hip neighborhood is a fantastic option for travelers that want to have fun on a much more personalized scale. This very walkable neighborhood is also home to many urban greenspaces offering plenty of opportunities to get some relaxation with a picnic or book.
Enjoy an incredible stay filled with arts, culture, nature, and much more when you take a vacation to Indianapolis! This capital city of Indiana is consistently showing up more and more on people’s lists of places to take a vacation. This unique city offers many sights and attractions that can go pound for pound with many other major resort and vacation towns across the country. This is a culturally diverse city with a bustling food and arts scene, as well as just as much sports action as any other major city. Naptown is certain to have options for any type of traveler coming here to have a great time. A wonderful midwestern-style vacation awaits in Indianapolis!