September 6, 2019

City Spotlight: Indianapolis

Why visit Indianapolis, Indiana?

  • Home to the Indy 500 Motor Speedway
  • Largest children’s museum in the world
  • Hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails and great public parks
  • Dozens of museums and cultural attractions

Frontdesk welcomes you to Indianapolis, IN! Indianapolis is nicknamed “Crossroads of America” and often shortened to just “Indy.” It is most well known for the Indy 500 annual car race. Located in central Indiana, Indy offers a plethora of activities whether you like to spend time outdoors, with your family, or exploring tourist attractions. Indianapolis also has an up-and-coming food scene with great restaurants and bars.

Indianapolis Vacations

Indianapolis offers lots to do for those visiting on vacation, whether you prefer to keep it low-key and explore at your own pace or you want to fit in as many activities as you can. No matter what you enjoy doing with your time, Indy will have something for you.

Indianapolis Business Trips

Indianapolis is a popular business trip destination. The city has numerous restaurants and cafes that make great business meeting locations and there are plenty of fun things to do that you can fit into your free time as well.

Indianapolis Neighborhoods

Downtown (Mile Square)

Downtown Indianapolis, also called Mile Square, is where the bulk of activities are located, including all the cultural attractions within White River State Park. Downtown is separated into several districts, including the Wholesale District, which has world-class shopping, sports, concerts, theatre, and dining, and the Mass Ave Arts District. Even though it is located Downtown, Mass Ave presents another culture. This five-block area is filled with theaters, restaurants, art galleries, and many boutiques. Definitely a local favorite. 

Lockerbie Square

Lockerbie Square is a historic district and small suburb of downtown Indy. The neighborhood is rich with history and charm as the oldest intact residential neighborhood of the city. In Lockerbie Square, you will find many historic homes as well as a little peace and quiet.

Fountain Square

Fountain Square is a quirky neighborhood located just southeast of downtown. Here you will find ethnic eateries, antique and vintage shops, duckpin bowling, offbeat nightlife, and art galleries. Among other unique spots, you’ll find Nine Lives, Indianapolis’ first cat cafe.

Broad Ripple

This neighborhood is located about twenty minutes north of downtown and offers a mix of bars/clubs, art galleries, music venues, restaurants, and indie shops. Broad Ripple is popular with college students and young professionals, largely due to the thriving bar scene and proximity to Butler University. The neighborhood is also home to the Indianapolis Art Center.

What is there to do in Indianapolis?

Whether you prefer hiking, going to the zoo, or visiting top tourist attractions, Indianapolis has no shortage of things to do – and great places to eat! Here are a few of the attractions and hotspots we recommend checking out while in Indianapolis, IN.

Motor Speedway

You can’t visit Indianapolis without spending time at the Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. Depending on when you’re visiting, you may have the chance to watch one of the big races. Or, visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which has a museum, hall of fame, gift shop, and offers several different track and behind-the-scenes tours.

Photo from the official Instagram of imsmuseum

Fun for the Family

Indianapolis is definitely a family-friendly city; after all, it is home to the world’s largest children’s museum! The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has five floors of interactive exhibits about American pop culture, Ancient Greece, Egypt, space, dinosaurs, Chihuly glassworks, and much more. The city also boasts the Indianapolis Zoo which is home to over 2,000 animals separated into five biomes: Oceans, Forests, Deserts, Flights of Fancy, and Plains.

Explore White River State Park & the Canal

Don’t let the name fool you! While WRSP certainly has plenty of green space to enjoy (Military Park, the Central Canal, White River itself), some of the most popular cultural attractions in downtown Indy are also located along this stretch of land. Attractions include the aforementioned Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indiana State Museum, and more. Explore by foot, bike, segway, or boat!

Photo from the official Instagram visitindy page of White River State Park in Indianapolis Indiana

More Outdoor Activities

Indianapolis has hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, so if you’re looking to focus on time spent purely outdoors, you’re in the right city. In fact, there are so many trails that we wrote a whole separate article to cover them! You can also check out Holliday Park about 20 minutes north of downtown, which features a nature center, arboretum, and playground in addition to trails.

Photo from the official Instagram of indystar Verified of Holliday Park

Restaurants & Bars

Indianapolis’ food scene is up-and-coming, with lots of great new digs popping up. Start your morning off right with brunch at Milktooth, a fine diner that serves comfort food with an innovative twist. For a lunch you can feel good about, eat at Public Greens. The self-described “urban kitchen with a mission” not only has great vegetarian/vegan-friendly food, but also helps provide after-school meals to at-risk kids. Have a nice dinner out at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse – a famous restaurant in the city that has been enjoyed by celebrities from Jimmy Fallon to U2.

When it comes to bars, you’ll want to check out Bluebeard – a nod to the writer and Indy native Kurt Vonnegut – for a cocktail or two. The bar is decorated with old books and typewriters and has a nice patio for the warmer months. If you’re in the mood for something even more eclectic, Union 50 has skeeball, shuffleboard, great drinks, and wine on tap – plus it’s located right on Mass Ave.

What should I stay in Indianapolis?

The best place to stay in Indianapolis is in the heart of downtown, close to all the action and attractions. Frontdesk offers many beautiful apartment suites that are trendy, secure, and have many amenities. We recommend this chic one bedroom conveniently located steps from Monument Circle, this updated two bedroom in a gorgeous historic building, or you can pick another Frontdesk rental in Indianapolis.

Frequently Asked Questions About Indianapolis

The city was founded in 1821.
An Indiana Supreme Court judge picked the name Indianapolis by sticking the state’s name together with the Greek word for “city.”
The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is the world’s oldest automobile race, which began in 1911. The race is held annually over Memorial Day Weekend in Indianapolis.

Kurt Vonnegut (writer), David Letterman (talk show host), Brendan Fraser (actor), Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (R&B producer/performer), Benjamin Harrison (23rd US President), and Larry Bird (CEO of the Pacers).

Weather in Indianapolis varies by season and sometimes even by the day! Winters are cold and windy while summers are warm and humid. No matter the time of year, pack in layers.

Visiting Indianapolis?

You’ll need Frontdesk’s Indianapolis Guidebook. It’s curated by local experts and filled with only the best bars, restaurants, and places to visit.

DOWNLOAD TODAY!

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