Indianapolis Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Indianapolis Trip Guide

Sports are a big deal in the capital city—consider the Indy 500, the Colts and the NCAA headquarters, to name a few. But pride extends to cultural destinations, too.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
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Indianapolis Museum of Art
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White River State Park
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Massachusetts Avenue
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Public Greens
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Broad Ripple Village This ethnically diverse neighborhood has an array of cafes, art galleries, shops and brewpubs in cottages and pastel storefronts. (317) 251-2782;

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. (800) 820-6214;

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. (317) 232-1882;

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 107-year-old home of the Indy 500 a pilgrimage site. On nonrace days, zip around the track in a race car reaching 130 mph. (800) 822-4639;

Indianapolis Museum of Art The current exhibit On the Flip Side: Secrets on the Backs of Paintings (through October 30, 2016) lets visitors look at all sides of certain pieces of its encyclopedic collection, revealing clues about the art
and artists.

Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens Set aside a few hours to explore the five biomes and 3 acres of gardens.

Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites 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. (317) 232-1637;

Massachusetts Avenue Alfresco dining options, comedy clubs, art galleries and a concert venue make dinner and a show a simple prospect.

NCAA Hall of Champions Interactive exhibits score your athletic abilities and 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.

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. (800) 665-9056;


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 A charming cafe tempts breakfast-lovers with croissant French toast and omelets stuffed with local ingredients. Five locations around Indy. (317) 925-2823;

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. (317) 631-3333;

Meridian Restaurant and Bar Candlelight brightens wood rafters above diners enjoying an eclectic mix of dishes, including wild boar Bolognese and grilled quail. (317) 466-1111;

Milktooth Breakfast is a 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.

Rathskeller The menu at this grand old place is authentically German. A seasonal outdoor biergarten adds to the enjoyment. (317) 636-0396; 

St. Elmo Steak House Filet mignon and incendiary shrimp cocktail have stood the test of time at this special-occasion, 114-year-old landmark, which also has the state’s largest wine cellar.  (317) 635-0636;

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. (317) 713-5000; 

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. (317) 822-9029;

Omni Severin Hotel The attention to service starts at the entrance, where bellmen welcome guests by name and offer them a bottle of water. The 424 rooms of the 1913 hotel were renovated in 2011; suites’ private terraces come with patio furniture. (317) 634-6664;

For information: Visit Indy (800) 323-4639;

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