Indianapolis Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Indianapolis Trip Guide

Sports are a big deal in the capital city—consider the Indy 500, the Colts, the Pacers and the NCAA Hall of Champions, to name a few. But explore cultural destinations, too, including art, history and children's museums. Check out our guide for what to see, where to eat and where to stay in Indianapolis.


Broad Ripple Village This ethnically diverse neighborhood has an array of cafes, art galleries, shops and brewpubs in cottages and pastel storefronts.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis A dinosaur peeking into the building foreshadows the playfulness of displays inside the world’s largest children’s museum. Board an airplane and soar over the Forbidden City in the Take Me There: China exhibit.

Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center  At the Indiana Experience, visitors investigate the state via interactive stage sets, a multimedia theater and touchscreens. The Cole Porter Room focuses on the Hoosier’s life and his music.

Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery Veteran Travis Barnes serves drinks named after the military phonetic alphabet (Victor Vodka, Romeo Rum) in a barnlike tasting room with exposed beams.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Fans consider the 108-year-old home of the Indy 500 a pilgrimage site. On nonrace days, zip around the track in a race car reaching 130 mph.

Indianapolis Museum of Art The current exhibit What Lies Beneath (through August 6, 2017) lets visitors look at paintings that have clues under the surface about the art's significant.

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens Set aside a few hours to explore the five biomes and 3 acres of gardens. Book ahead for an Animal Art Adventure if you'd like to work with an animal to create a painting.

Indiana State Museum  Exhibits inspire a fresh appreciation for the state. Take a whiff of spices used by pioneer women and learn about the railroad’s impact on the region.

Massachusetts Avenue Alfresco dining options, comedy clubs, art galleries, theaters and a concert venue make it easy to plan dinner and a show.

Massachusetts Avenue

Massachusetts Avenue

NCAA Hall of Champions Two levels of interactive exhibits let you score both your athletic abilities and your knowledge of all 24 NCAA sports.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument The tallest Civil War monument in the nation soars 284 feet into the air in central Indianapolis. Take the elevator (or climb 330 steps) to the observation deck.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park: 100 Acres Modern sculptures—like Roy Lichtenstein’s Five Brushstrokes—dot the former quarry’s woodlands, meadows and lake next to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

White River State Park Follow the path along the river as it flows past some of the city’s top attractions: the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Indiana State Museum and the NCAA Hall of Champions. Rent bikes and boats, or take a Segway tour of the 250-acre area hugging downtown.


Bru Burger Bar Order one of a dozen chef-inspired variations to a basic burger, including the namesake topped with Taleggio cheese and onions.

Cafe Patachou Local ingredients shine in the lineup of omelets, waffles and Broken Yolk Sandwiches (fried eggs with add-ons like avocado and salmon).

The Cake Bake Shop French music, bejeweled light fixtures and servers with flowing skirts transport visitors to a Parisian bakery complete with macarons and cupcakes.

Harry and Izzy’s The younger, less-expensive sister of St. Elmo Steak House maintains an upscale atmosphere with rich wood interiors and items like a prime rib sandwich with horseradish sauce.

The Libertine Liquor Bar Prohibition-era cocktails stand out, along with gourmet small plates. Try the signature deviled eggs flavor trio or the bacon flight served with homemade sauces.

Marrow Chef John Adams calls his menu "global soul food." Travel the world with dishes such as Iraqi-style lamb and eggplant stew or boudin sausage balls with Creole marmalade and kimchi remoulade.

Meridian Restaurant and Bar Candlelight brightens wood rafters above diners enjoying an eclectic mix of dishes, including wild boar and duck leg confit.

Milktooth Breakfast is serious business here: no decaf coffee and no modifications allowed. We love the eggy Dutch baby pancake topped with salted Meyer lemon curd and local strawberries.

Public Greens An à la carte menu of about 20 small-plate options changes based on what’s growing in the adjacent garden at Indy’s first restaurant in which all profits help feed at-risk and food-insecure children.

Public Greens

Public Greens

Rathskeller The menu at this grand old place is authentically German. A seasonal outdoor biergarten adds to the enjoyment. 

St. Elmo Steak House Filet mignon and incendiary shrimp cocktail have stood the test of time at this special-occasion, 115-year-old landmark, which also has the state’s largest wine cellar.

Tinker Street Restaurant and Wine Bar Passing by this small brick building on the outskirts of downtown means missing out on farm-to-table small plates of mushroom bruschetta, pork belly with kimchi, and s’more pot de crème (with marshmallow and candied hickory nuts).


The Alexander Works from the Indianapolis Museum of Art decorate the lobby of this boutique hotel. Many of the 209 rooms contain featherbeds and granite counter tops.

Conrad Indianapolis All rooms feature plush bedding and marble in the bathrooms, but if you want to splurge, book one of four suites with original art by Picasso, Dalí and Warhol. 

JW Marriott Indianapolis  Most guests stay at this 33-story blue-glass behemoth for convenient access to downtown and for the hotel’s connection to the Indiana Convention Center.

Le Meridien Indianapolis A $13 million renovation updated the 100-room 1928 hotel with a modern palette of black, white and gray. Kick back with a handcrafted cocktail and acharcuterie plate in the Spoke and Steele restaurant.

Omni Severin Hotel The attention to service starts at the entrance, where bellmen welcome guests by name and offer them a bottle of water. Crystal chandeliers and marble staircases in the public areas recall the hotel's 1913 elegance, but the 424 rooms are thoroughly updated.

For information: Visit Indy

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