We are sometimes blessed with the opportunity to travel with Husbandman on some of his work trips. We’ve had a chance to visit Indianapolis twice now, and have discovered that there is a lot to do for cheap, or, even better, for free!
This list is not intended to mention EVERYTHING there is to do in Indy; I’m just outlining things that our family has done when visiting. I’ve intentionally left off some things that might be fun to do someday, but we just couldn’t fit into our budget.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
For one thing, it’s easy to find! The Soldiers and Sailors monument was originally built to honor veterans of the American Civil War. It was then expanded to honor veterans of other wars as well. This monument is in the very center of downtown, and it is massive. I actually didn’t understand how big it was until we were walking toward it and I saw how tiny the people milling about on the ground were in comparison. Each part of the monument is a work of art on its own.
The inside of the monument is an observation tower. You can choose to walk all the way up, or pay $2 to take a very old (kinda scary!) elevator.
Once you get to the top, you can ride the elevator down for free. The tower is open Friday – Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
A tour of the Indiana Statehouse is absolutely essential for those interested in history, civics, or architecture.
If you have children younger than school age, it might be better for you to take the self guided tour, but I highly recommend the guided tour. Find out about their schedule here.
Update: Statehouse Education Center
This new interactive education center is something that opened after my family last visited, but I fully intend to visit the next time we go.
Colts Canal Playspace
I cannot express how much my kids loved this playspace. Ok, I can; we went two days in a row. They had so much fun, and I did too.
The park is situated along the canal, and a short walk from Quills Coffee.
We were able to play, go get a snack and use the restroom at Quills, then go back and play some more.
Indianapolis City Market
The Indianapolis City Market reminded me very much of the Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario where we used to live. I loved looking down on all the hustle and bustle from Mile Square Coffee in the mezzanine.
The Nature Center and playground at Holliday Park were so much fun. I also loved “The Ruins”, an attraction created from the components of a 19th century building.
The Learning Curve at The Indianapolis Public Library
Our family is almost guaranteed to visit the library whenever we visit a new city. I try to check to see what is going on so we can plan to attend any free events.
The Learning Curve is an area specially designed for kids, teens and families. On our first visit to Indy we were fortunate to attend a free wildlife show in the learning curve.
Even if you don’t have kids, please just go to check out the phenomenal architecture. The way the original building from 1917 and the 2007 addition work together is wonderful.
Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden
At only $2 per person, this was well worth it. We enjoyed the conservatory most.
The sunken gardens are pretty, but really not very interesting to children. It’d be a nice place to hold a formal event.
So there you have it. These are the things we enjoyed on our two trips to Indianapolis. When we go back next, I’m sure there will be more to do. I hope I’ve given you a few ideas for a trip of your own!