Indianapolis, IN, often referred to as the “Crossroads of America,” is a rich city that offers diverse activities to captivate residents and visitors alike. From the roar of engines at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the serene beauty of the city’s parks and gardens, this bustling Midwestern hub has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to rent an apartment in Indianapolis or purchase a home in the area, the “Circle City” has many compelling experiences waiting for you to discover and savor. Keep reading this Redfin article to discover 9 of the best things to do in Indianapolis.
1. Go on a food tour
Indianapolis boasts a dynamic food scene, from traditional Hoosier comfort food to globally inspired cuisine. The city is known for its burgeoning craft beer scene, complemented by an ever-expanding array of restaurants, food trucks, and farmers’ markets.
Culinary Crossroads says, “Our favorite activities definitely involve trying new restaurants in downtown Indy, especially in the Fountain Square, Fletcher Place, and Broad Ripple neighborhoods and the surrounding suburbs. Be sure to check out The Garage Food Hall and all the great restaurants and nightspots on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indy.”
Taste Indianapolis adds where they would go for every meal of the day. “My ideal day in Indy starts with a coffee from Coat Check Coffee, a local coffee shop in the Athenaeum building off Mass Ave downtown. From there, I’d bike the Monon Trail to Petite Chou for lunch, an adorable cafe just off the canal in Broad Ripple known for French classics like crepes, steak frites, onion soup, and profiteroles. Regarding dinner, King Dough is my favorite pizza shop in the city with incredible Neapolitan-style pizza and an awesome cocktail and wine list.”
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2. Grab a drink at Kismetic Brewing Company
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“Visit Kismetic Brewing Company for the best locally brewed beer in Indy, a little off the beaten path and a true hidden gem,” remarks Indy Walking Tours. “It’s Hoosier-owned and operated, has a fun and friendly atmosphere, and every beer on the menu is excellent. Our favorite is the Schwartz beer, which is their award-winning dark lager.”
3. Play a round of pickleball
Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport across the US, with numerous outdoor and indoor courts available for all ages and skill levels.
“What’s one favorite thing to do for so many in Indianapolis? Pickleball,” raves Indy Pickleball Club. “The fastest-growing sport in America is being played in more places, both indoors and outdoors, with many folks willing to give lessons, clinics, and corporate team building. People are playing because they learn quickly and get to be competitive at various levels. There are many great places to play, including Ellenberger Park, Cyntheanne Park, Meadowlark Park, Greenwood, Columbus, and Plainfield.”
4. Check out the Indy Nite Ride
The Indy Nite Ride, or “Night Indianapolis Tour of Exquisite Homes,” is an annual nighttime cycling event held in Indianapolis, typically taking place in June. Cyclists of all skill levels come together to enjoy a unique and leisurely ride through the city’s streets, passing by beautifully lit landmarks and neighborhoods.
“Every year, the Indy NITE Ride is a must. It’s families, friends, and individuals taking over the Indy streets for an evening ride of fitness, fun, and no cars,” states Indiana Small Wheel Enthusiasts
5. Pay a visit to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the largest children’s museum in the world, covering nearly 500,000 square feet and offering a wide range of interactive exhibits and educational programs for children of all ages.
Kelly McPhail Photography says, “When we go to Indianapolis, it’s to go to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. From the outdoor sports park to the special exhibits like Barbie, Minecraft, and Dinosphere, The Children’s Museum is perfect for all people.”
She also provides some pro tips, like planning your visit earlier or later in the day to avoid the crowds, talking to the experts, finding a staff person or volunteer to get your questions answered, and joining the interactive fun at a variety of daily programs in the Scienceworks, Dinosphere, Sports Legends, and Playscape.
6. Check out a live sporting event
Triangle Lawn Games says, “If you are a sports fan, Indy has many options, from AAA baseball to NFL football to NBA basketball and more.”
Indianapolis, often called the “Racing Capital of the World,” is home to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Indianapolis 500 is held annually. Additionally, the city takes immense pride in its professional sports teams, including the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, WNBA’s Indiana Fever, and the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, fostering a passionate sports culture.
7. Visit a local park
Indianapolis boasts an extensive park system featuring over 200 parks and green spaces.
“One of my favorite activities is visiting one of our many parks, especially Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park,” Robin Lanning of Tactive notes. “Located just northeast of the city in Lawrence Township, this former military property was opened by Teddy Roosevelt to honor President Harrison and is a perfect spot for picnics, hikes, and bird spotting.”
8. Celebrate local festivals
“Our favorite event of the year is our annual trip to Conner Prairie in the fall for their Headless Horseman Festival. In addition, Waterman’s Family Farm provides the best apple cider slushies on crisp fall days,” states local Diana Ratcliff Photography.
9. See animals at the Indianapolis Zoo
Founded in 1964, the Indianapolis Zoo spans approximately 64 acres and is home to over 1,200 animals representing approximately 230 species worldwide. The zoo is celebrated for its commitment to animal conservation and education, participating in numerous breeding programs for endangered species. Visitors can explore a variety of immersive exhibits, including the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, the Deserts Dome, and the Oceans exhibit.