Even though The Windy City tends to steal the thunder from many of the cities in the Midwest, one that you shouldn’t overlook is Indianapolis. From arts and culture to great eats, there’s plenty to see and do.
See and Do
It’s no surprise the city that’s most famous for the Indy 500 and all things NASCAR has a world-class racetrack and an accompanying museum that makes for a fun afternoon. Throughout the year, aspiring drivers can take part in the Indy Racing Experience Driving Program, which allows regular folks to get behind the wheel for an unforgettable thrill ride. If you’re not feeling that brave, you can always opt for a more laid-back grounds tour, or check out the Hall of Fame Museum.
Fans of the prolific author will love this unique library, which pays tribute to his works and advocates his principles of “free expression, common decency, and peaceful coexistence”. Each year in early November, the library actually hosts VonnegutFest, an event which features discussions, panels, and special guests.
More than 50,000 art pieces are housed within the IMA, including permanent collections of American, European, Asian, African, and Contemporary art. Rotating exhibitions also keep things fresh and interesting; right now, you can learn about secrets hidden on the backs of paintings, Japanese ceramics, automobile art, and more.
Little ones (and the young at heart) will love this downtown attraction, which features exhibits dedicated to dinosaurs, science, healthy living, and more. The museum is also home to the only Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle museum exhibit in the whole country!
You might not even believe that this park sits smack-dab in the center of downtown Indianapolis. Indeed, it’s an oasis in the midst of a Midwestern metropolis, with 250 acres of lushness to explore. Walk, run, segway, or bike through the sole urban park in the entire state, or take a pedal boat ride down the adjacent canal.
Grab a bite to eat
It’s an iconic Indianapolis eatery, known not only for its steaks but for its spicy shrimp cocktail that might just clear your sinuses. The old-fashioned atmosphere, with plenty of dark wood, soft lighting, and charming touches like bookshelves, is the perfect place to socialize with family and friends or enjoy a romantic dinner.
Serving up pies since the 80’s, it’s fair to say Bazbeaux knows a thing or two about pizzas and how to top them. For instance, their Pizza Alla Quattro Formaggio which consists of the perfect blend of ricotta, romano, cheddar, mozzerella and provolone cheeses, topped with bacon and mushrooms.
When you’re in Indy and craving fresh sandwiches filled to the brim with locally-sourced meats and vegetables, a trip to Shapiro’s is in order. And don’t forget to tag on a dessert. It’s listed at the top of their menu for good reason.
Originally published Oct 20, 2015. Updated May 24, 2021.