Marie is a lifelong Hoosier who grew up around Fort Wayne, Indiana. But ever since she attended college at IUPUI, Indianapolis has felt like home to her. She loves the sense of community and vibrancy here in the city, as well as the delicious local restaurants around town. Marie now works as social media manager at Malibu C and the Director of Social Media at MORE Magazine. And in her free time, you can find her out eating and drinking with friends or going on a walk with her dog, Bruno.
Insider Guide: There’s Something for Everyone in Indianapolis
Whether you are looking for relaxation, adventure, a night out with friends, or family time, there’s something for everyone in Indianapolis.
We are known for our Hoosier Hospitality and sense of community. The Indy Region provides visitors and residents alike with a vibrancy and culture that gives you the chance to grow and connect to the people and places around you. If someone tells you that Indianapolis doesn’t have much to offer, they have never experienced our amazing Circle City in the Midwest.
Indianapolis is a city of neighborhoods and communities. You can live on the South Side or Near North, and there’s always plenty of liveliness and activities for all ages. Maybe you’re looking for some family fun over the weekend or a great way to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Indy has it for you!
If you’re looking at Indianapolis as someone moving in soon or a local wanting to learn more of what your city offers, take a dive into this Indy Insider Guide and get inspired for your next adventure in the 317.
MUST SEE ATTRACTIONS
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a historic racing venue and home to the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500. The speedway, or IMS as the locals call it, is also home to Nascar’s famous Brickyard 400.
It covers over 1,000 acres and features a 2.5-mile oval track, as well as several other tracks and facilities.
You can take a guided tour of the speedway, which includes a visit to the famous Yard of Bricks, the Pagoda, and the Victory Podium. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to a collection of race cars and memorabilia from the history of this storied track.
If you’re a concertgoer, the Indy 500 Snake Pit is a lively and energetic festival with several electronic music DJs performing throughout the race. Most attendees dress in a red, white, and blue or race theme. It’s an amazing time with friends and a great way to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a must-visit attraction for everyone, but especially racing fans and visitors interested in the history of American motorsports.
Monument Circle is what gives Indianapolis our name, “The Circle City.” It is an historic landmark located in the heart of Downtown Indy. It is home to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a 284-foot tall structure that commemorates Indiana’s Civil War veterans. You can take an elevator to the top of the monument for panoramic views of the city.
This is a popular gathering place if you’re a visitor or an Indy local. “The Circle” as many of us call this iconic Indianapolis hotspot hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and parades.
But the winter holiday season is when Indy’s Monument Circle shines brightest. The Friday after Thanksgiving, thousands of people show up at The Circle (regardless of weather) to watch the monument transform into one of the world’s largest Christmas trees. This iconic event is called the Circle of Lights and I could not recommend it more. If you are new to Indy or you’ve been here forever but never made the trip downtown for this event, you need to mark your calendars for this year’s tree lighting.
But if you miss the lighting you can still celebrate the season and experience the tree of lights and stop in to the South Bend Chocolate Factory and get a peppermint hot chocolate!
The Canal Walk
The Canal Walk is a scenic waterway that winds through the west side of downtown Indianapolis. It covers over three miles and features several pedestrian bridges, public art installations, and historic buildings. Take a leisurely stroll solo, with friends, or with your pup along the canal.
To explore the surrounding Downtown Indy area even more you can rent a Pacer’s Bikeshare.
The Canal Walk also features several restaurants, cafes, and a watercraft rental facility where visitors can rent paddle boats, kayaks, and gondolas with singing gondoliers. If you are hungry grab a table at Fresco Italian Cafe for a refreshing lemonade and some yummy pizza. If you need a caffeine pitstop, pop in at Quills Coffee! If you just love spending time in the sun, bring a good book, blanket, and water, so you can grab a spot and spend all day reading and people-watching.
Indianapolis Cultural Trail
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is a world-class urban trail that connects several neighborhoods and cultural districts throughout downtown Indianapolis. It covers over eight miles and features several public art installations, green spaces, and other amenities.
Enjoy a walk, bike, or jog along the trail and explore the city’s unique neighborhoods, including Fountain Square, Mass Ave, and the Wholesale District. The trail also features several rest stops and amenities, including bike repair stations, water fountains, and public restrooms.
Indy is currently expanding the Cultural Trail throughout downtown, meaning soon Indy residents and visitors will have more miles to explore around South Street, Indiana Avenue, and the White River.
Unlike the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the Monon Trail is a popular way for Indy residents to get from the north side of Indy to downtown and vice versa. It’s not unheard of for people to bike from Carmel to Broad Ripple or all the way downtown.
The Monon Trail is over 25 miles long with opportunities all along the way to stop for delicious food, fun drinks, and local shops. Because it is such a long trail, walkers and bike riders can go from picturesque green spaces to densely populated urban areas and back again.
ICONIC MUSIC VENUES
Whether you love live bands or DJs, The Vogue has you covered, hosting some of the best local and national acts around. And if a fun theme night is more your vibe it has those too! You should definitely experience Latin nights for great energy, music, and dancing.
With multiple bars throughout and a large dance floor, it really is a great place for a night out with friends to listen to great music.
Jazz music put Indy on the map and I love how Jazz Kitchen keeps that heritage top of mind.
It showcases a variety of local and national jazz acts, as well as a menu of Cajun and Creole-inspired dishes. It’s a great venue for Indianapolis residents to enjoy a night of music and good food in a cozy, intimate setting.
Jazz Kitchen is also a great way to celebrate Mardi Gras without traveling to New Orleans. Check out their lineup of artists now and decide when you can get there next or for your first time. It is absolutely worth a night out on the town.
MIDWEST BREWERIES AND WINERIES
Urban Vines Winery
Located in Westfield, IN, Urban Vines Winery is a beautiful location to celebrate any occasion or just a simple night out for a delicious wine tasting with friends or a partner.
There’s live music and wide-open land to lay out a blanket or sit at a picnic table during the warmer months. During the colder season, you can rent igloos to stay nice and cozy while still experiencing a fun ambiance. Be sure to enjoy a yummy charcuterie spread with your wine.
If you end up not finishing the wine, they’ll re-cork it for you to take home!
Chilly Water Brewing Company
Chilly Water Brewing Company is one of the many local breweries and taprooms in the Indy Region. It’s located just outside of downtown in Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods. It’s right on the border of both so each likes to claim Chilly Water as their own, and for good reason!
It features a variety of craft beers and a menu of pub fare and small plates that change seasonally throughout the year. You can enjoy a beer flight while playing board games with friends or watching sports on one of the big-screen TVs.
AND SO MUCH MORE
Broad Ripple Farmers Market
I love supporting local businesses, farmers, and vendors around the Indy Region. One of the best ways to do this is to stop by the Broad Ripple Farmers Market each week!
This market has you covered for local produce, baked goods, spices, or even elixirs to amplify your cocktails or mocktails. There’s also a variety of options for breakfast, brunch, or lunch at and around the market.
During the colder months, The Broad Ripple Farmers Market moves indoors at the old Glendale Mall location off Keystone Avenue. The outdoor location during the warmer weather has changed in previous years, but the 2023 outdoor market will be located near Lowe’s off Rural St. and Keystone Avenue. Stop by every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
HandleBar – Pedal Bar
What better way to explore Indianapolis than pedaling your way through it with friends and some jamz? The HandleBar is a great activity for large groups who want to bar hop or just vibe out on the town.
You and your friends get to choose destinations to stop at during a private group tour. I’ve found some great hidden gems and a few of my favorite drinks and bars this way. The HandleBar staff really brings the energy and will keep everyone’s energy up for the entire tour.
16-Bit Bar + Arcade
16-Bit is a popular nightlife spot in Indianapolis for fun with friends, drinks, and arcade games.
It features a wide range of classic arcade games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Skee-Ball. That means you can get all of your competitive juices flowing while enjoying a drink with friends.
When the weather is nice, you can also head out patio area to hang out with your friends in the sunshine while playing yard games.
And I could keep going on and on and on about the things you can do in Indy.
Indianapolis is a city with something for everyone. This vibrant city always has places and events to explore and discover, from its rich history and culture to its thriving arts scene and outdoor activities. As the 317 continues to expand, we are finding more ways to connect and make Indianapolis a great to live
Whether you are a sports fan, foodie, or art lover, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Indianapolis.