Indianapolis is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. stat of Indiana and the seat of Marion County. As of 2017, Indianapolis is the third most populous city in the American Midwest and 16th most populous in the U.S., with an estimated population of 863,002. Indianapolis anchors the 25th largest economic region in the U.S., based primarily on the sectors of finance and insurance, manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health care, government, and wholesale trade.
Places to See in Indianapolis
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The largest children's museum in the world, and named one of the best by Child magazine, offers interactive exhibits exploring art, science, history and culture, a Dinosphere, and planetarium. Over one million visitors each year enjoy this five-level playground with a 43-foot brightly colored Dale Chihuly 'Fireworks of Glass' sculpture hanging in the middle and a fully rideable antique carousel on the top floor.
White River State Park
As America's only cultural urban state park, White River State Park offers more than 250 acres of green space filled with an array of cultural attractions, public art, and entertainment. Explore the park by bike, Segway, or your own two feet as you go door-to-door at some if Indy’s finest attractions including the Indianapolis Zoo, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, NCAA Hall of Champions, Indiana State Museum, and Victory Field.
Walk with the flamingos, go face-to-face with a tiger, touch a shark – the unique animal encounters available for everyone make the Indianapolis Zoo a must on your Indianapolis list. With five different animal habitat biomes to explore, guests will enjoy their visit year round, no matter what the weather is like outside. The Zoo is also home to the world's largest Orangutan Center.
Travel back in time and speak with residents in a real life prairie town. Be immersed in the Civil War and walk through different eras. In this outdoor, interactive theatre, your whole family will immediately speak with and work alongside resident actors as they perform chores and live their daily lives as it was way back when.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Take an IndyCar, pace car, or shuttle tour around the iconic 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway that welcomes 300,000 visitors each May, the Indy 500, is the ultimate family experience. Inside the oval is the Hall of Fame Museum, housing memorabilia, trophies and winning cars from the past century of open-wheel racing that will have your kids itching for a Matchbox car upgrade.
Indiana State Museum
Explore Indiana from the beginning of time through culture and science at the Indiana State Museum. Kids will find hands-on areas throughout most exhibits that really allow them to dig into real life history. Along the exterior of the museum, your family will discover artworks representing the 92 counties that make up the great state of Indiana.
NCAA Hall of Champions
The national headquarters of the NCAA and collegiate athletics is housed on the campus of White River State Park. The Hall of Champions explores the heart and dedication it takes to be a student-athlete in all 23 collegiate sports. The whole family can attempt a downhill skiing simulator, test their knowledge at sport-specific trivia, or shoot hoops in a 1930s-style gymnasium.
Places to Eat in Indianapolis
Bru Burger Bar’s chef style and classic burgers, sandwiches and salads were crafted with bold flavors to satisfy any burger enthusiast’s craving. Sleek granite countertop bar with seating, brick walls, and wooden tables give off an intimate and comfortable dining experience. In the warm months, enjoy the patio that overlooks Mass Ave. A hearty cheese and charcuterie “bru board” will start your meal off strong before you bite into gourmet beef, lamb, turkey and veggie burgers with toppings like sweet chili mayo and cucumber slaw or habanero hot sauce and havarti.
Martha Hoover’s Cafe Patachou is a must visit for both the farm-to-table sustainable menu and the impact of food and social change in Indianapolis. Multiple locations across the city have many things in common, such as the clean lines and fresh white walls that allow the light to focus on the bright and fresh plates. Farm fresh breakfasts of omelets and broken yolks or vegan Cuban breakfast. Locals will tell you the Patachou chicken salad is a lunch must.
St Elmo Steak House
St. Elmo Steak House is Indy’s award-winning old world style restaurant that proves great service and classic cooking methods make for a timeless menu worth visiting again and again. Early 20th century decor inside the bar, large room, and private dining areas features wood paneled and brick walls with carefully curated art and photos. World Famous Shrimp Cocktail with spicy, signature cocktail sauce, traditional steak cuts or chicken and seafood paired with potatoes or classic sides are known throughout the region.
Shapiro’s Delicatessen has served cafeteria-style sandwiches, soups, and Jewish favorites in downtown Indy for 110 years. Shapiro’s large and open dining room hosts a bakery and grocery store, self-serve cafeteria line, and windows that remind you you're in a busy downtown district. Corned beef and pastrami on rye, matzo ball soup, apricot rugelach, and bagels are their specialty.
The Loft at Trader’s Point Creamery
The Loft at Trader’s Point Creamery is a family farm that supplies a fully operating and sustainable restaurant located on Indy’s northwest fringe. The farm flows into the restaurant that mimics a barn loft with tall ceilings and wooden walls and supports that juxtapose with a 1950s diner-like dairy bar. Enjoy straight-from-the-farm charcuterie and cheese boards, the Farmhouse Smashed Burger, and the kid’s favorite Dairy Bar ice cream.
Mama Carolla’s Old Italian Restaurant
Mama Carolla’s is a Broad Ripple bungalow turned restaurant that serves classic, hearty Italian dishes in a relaxed dining experience that feels like being at your Italian grandmother’s home. Relax and enjoy yourself in cozy dining rooms or, during the summer months, try the open patio that overlooks a busy section of The Monon Trail. Stacked traditional beef lasagna and creamy tomato bolognese mains that should be followed with cannoli’s and Holly’s Homemade Ricotta Cake.
Mesh on Mass
Mesh Restaurant is a contemporary dining experience on Mass Ave that takes familiar home-style plates and gives them a chef’s touch. Granite tables, comfy bar chairs, yellow walls, and warm light let you step out of the busy street and into a relaxed and modern dining experience. Shareable plates like Kung Pao calamari and tuna nicoise to their staples of Amish chicken and mushroom strudel. If you’re here for brunch, get the breakfast burger loaded with hash browns, a fried egg, bacon, goat cheese, and dijon-maple gastrique.