A few days in Indianapolis- what interesting things can be done?

Next week, I’ll be heading over to Indianapolis with the debate team I coach for the National Championships. While I love and adore my students, I can accept and acknowledge that they’ve really dropped the ball in regard to preparing for this tournament, so it’s pretty darned likely that come Wednesday (eliminations), we will all have quite a bit of spare time on our hands until we leave on Saturday evening.

While I more than welcome suggestions of things to do with the kids (six boys, all between 16 and 18), I will also be one of two coaches from our team present and the other coach and I are planning to split babysitting responsibilities so the other can go do some fun things.

So, any ideas? No offense to Indianapolis, but TripAdvisor makes it seem like the most boring place in the world if you aren’t interested in NASCAR. Is the art museum worth it? My interests lean more toward history, but I always like to experience stuff that’s unique to the city I’m in. Great restaurants for with or without the kids would also be excellent!

I have to go to Indy next month for a two-week convention, so I’ll be watching the thread with interest.

I used to go to Indy fairly often and had the good fortune to stay with friends that lived near Broad Ripple. Its a good spot for adults and possibly teens shops, good food, bars, music and all walk-able. Being a goofball I always wanted to go to the Children’s Museum (supposedly awesome) I never did. Indy is a kind of mild mid-western city but the people are nice and summer weather has been good to me.

That’s all I have

Here is a link


Have fun


Dropped the ball, huh? No real master debaters on the team?

(somebody was going to. Might as well be me)

The Benjamin Harrison House is in Indianapolis. I did the tour as a student and enjoyed it.


I was in Berlin once and found a very cool clock which worked by means of water flowing through glass tubes. When I did a web search later, I found that there’s a very similar one (probably made by the same artist) at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. Don’t know if you’d have to pay the admission to see it, but it’s about all I know that’s in Indianapolis.

It’s a two-hour drive to Dayton, where they have some preserved sites from the Wright brothers, if that’s the sort of history that interests you.

Cracker Barrel.

If you like zoos, the zoo in Indy is pretty nice, they even have dolphins. And there is a really nice botanical garden right next to it.

The art museum I visited was great too.

Particularly since you say you like history. Outdoor living history park. Thier site makes them look more kid-aimed than they are. There is a lot of great history geek stuff, especially when you can get the better interpreters to talk to you. I spent the day there a couple years ago with a couple historian friends and we all had a great time.

Make sure to get a tenderloin sandwich while you’re there. It’s a Hoosier specialty.

I always enjoy the zoo and the Children’s Museum.

22 year old male here, born and raised not far from Indy. There’s nothing to do.

Seriously though, if you only have to kill a few days, you can manage. I actually recommend the Children’s Museum as it can be quite interesting and different than what you’ve seen before. As previously mentioned, the zoo is also a nice way to spend a day. If you’re into the Civil War, the War Memorial would be a good place to visit. If you and your crew know how to ice skate, the Pan Am Plaza is kind of interesting (though nothing too special).

What is your mode of transportation going to be? If you’re taking a car, I’d just drive to Chicago in the morning and head back at night; it’s bound to be more interesting that Indy. Also, with all due respect to Mrs. Cake, I’ve been to Conner Prairie a few times (though never since young adulthood) and found it boring each time. This may have to do with my distaste for all things rustic, but I really didn’t enjoy it.

Edit: The art museum is supposedly really good too. I’m completely incapable of appreciating paintings (I do better with statues), but my parents claim that it’s great and they’ve been to some of the most famous art museums in the world.

Shapiro’ Deli! It isn’t a tourist attraction, but it is delicious. Old style Jewish deli.

Oh man, yes. When my mother-in-law was still alive and living in the Indy area we would make a point of going to Shapiro’s on our visits. Great stuff. They have more than one location. Indianapolis is pretty much a town with very little going on to recommend it, but Shapiro’s is very close to making a trip worthwhile.

Their breakfasts are very good (also huge!). They make the best baked chicken I’ve ever had, too.

Now I’m drooling and I want to go back there. Dagnabbit.

Only two… Downtown and Carmel (suburb directly north). Yes, definitely worth a visit.

The most well known Indy food experience is a shrimp cocktail from St. Elmo’s. I’ll just give you warning to research it a bit before taking a huge bite.

A tenderloin is definitely a local treat. More accurately a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich… and it should be fried not grilled. I’ll let someone more familiar with downtown give you a recommendation. And yes, it is supposed to be much bigger than the bun.

The Children’s Museum is one of, if not the best in the world. It isn’t just for kids and I believe you can catch a bus there easily.

White River Park is right downtown and has tons to offer… the zoo, the gardens, the Eidlejorg museum of Western and Native American Art. There is also the state museum and the NCAA museum/hall of fame nearby. The canal walk is also a good way to spend some time.

Connor Prairie is very nice, but may be tough to get to if you don’t have your own transportation. Downtown is very walkable though and fairly compact so you can take in a lot by just walking.

Teen aged boys though… there is a Tilted Kilt downtown… a chain, but it makes Hooter’s look conservative.

I grew up near Indy. My parents have retired on the cannel http://visitindy.com/indianapolis-canal-walk , and they love it, might be fun to visit. The children’s museum is world class and worth a visit by anyone at any age. Broad Ripple is fun for eating and drinking, I don’t like to shop.

I would like to suggest a visit to a place that I am sure no one else will mention. The King-Kennedy Memorial.

There is not much to it, and you will be the only ones there, but from a historical perspective and a learning opportunity for the students, I think it might be worth it. You might need to give the students some background ahead of the visit
The night King was assassinated Robert Kennedy was scheduled to give a political speech in Indianapolis. Rather than cancel the event, as some wanted him to do, he decided to speak. What followed, IMHO, was one of the finest, most heartfelt, concise and important speeches in American history (can you imagine a modern politician quoting Aeschylus from memory?)

It seems like you can go to a war memorial in any big city in the world. There are very few peace memorials.

My parents thought enough of these two men to name me after them. Here is a very amateur project I am working on with the speech from that night. The conversion toYouTube messed up the audio and video sync but the speech is there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzQr0g6dwio

Robert Martin

Are you interested in motor racing.

If so, there is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum

Since you’re into history, you should check out the Indiana Historical Society. Lots of cool stuff, including three living history exhibits that are more current than Connor Prairie- one set in 1955 about polio, one set in 1950 about displaced persons, and one set in 1920 about Prohibition. I work there, so I can tell you it’s pretty cool. :slight_smile: It’s right on the canal, so since the weather should be nice, you can walk on the canal a bit. It’s very pretty and there are some cool murals to see.


You definitely wanna check out the Massachusetts Avenue area too- there’s a great yogurt place (Yogulatte), an great cupcake place (Flying Cupcake), a great pizza place (Bazbeaux), a great cheap Cajun place (Yat’s), a nice jazz place (Chatterbox) and lots of bars and theatre. Luckily for you, all of the bars just went smoke free (unless you’re a smoker, but lots of out of town friends of mine have complained about the smoke, but it’s no longer a concern!)

There frankly isn’t a lot to do, but if you poke around you’ll find places to have fun for a few days.

Diosa, where will you be staying? Downtown? I’ll assume downtown. Will you have a car? Our unofficial motto is “Welcome to Indianapolis! Now go buy a car.” Taxis aren’t hard to get downtown, and they’ll take you anywhere, but you’ll have to plan ahead if you’re most anywhere else.

There are plenty of food options that you should be eating at any chains while you’re here:

Others have mentioned St. Elmo’s shrimp cocktail - that’s a must (protip: I recommend just getting lunch at Harry & Izzy’s next door and getting it as an appetizer, the place is owned by the St. Elmo’s guys. Or even better, go to H&I or St. Elmo’s for a cocktail and getting the shrimp. No need to bust your budget on a full (admittedly fantastic) steak dinner.)

For lunch, head down to the Indianapolis City Market (preferably on Wednesday, when the outdoor farmer’s market is going on). Tons of great food options - I recommend Papa Roux (by the west door in the central atrium) or The Pantry (far SE corner in the central atrium).

Massachusetts Ave. (“Mass Ave.”) is also within walking distance, with tons of great food options. Bazbeaux Pizza is extremely popular, Yat’s (cajun), MacNiven’s (Scottish pub fare), Chatham Tap (English pub fare), Mesh (slightly higher end), 45 Degrees (more towards the club side of the bar spectrum) or Bru Burger (gourmet hamburgers, FANTASTIC patio atmosphere). If you can get a seat at Bru Burger, I’d do that. If you want a patio but can’t get into Bru Burger, I’d check out Old Point Tavern across the street - their Veggie Deluxe Nachos are always a hit.

Fountain Square (just southeast of downtown, walkable to via the Cultural Traildown Virginia Ave.) also has great options. Siam Square is one of the better thai places in town, there’s a great Peruvian restuarant called Mama Irma’s (the tacu tacu is excellent), there’s a number of good mexican places, of which Revolucion gets good reviews. The BBQ at Smokehouse on Shelby isn’t bad. If the weather’s nice and you want to be outside, there are no better views of the city than from the Fountain Square Rooftop, which has a decent menu. The best greek restaurant in town is also in Fountain Square - Santorini’s (the fish kabobs is one of the best dishes in town). A bit off from Fountain Square is a fantastic Turkish restaurant called the Bosphorus (it’s at East & McCarty, next to Lilly).

For things to do, there are plenty of generic bars and clubs to head to downtown. The Rathskeller is off of Mass Ave., with a giant german beirgarten, and a raucous live music scene on Friday nights (you’re missing the best show of the summer tonight, which is Polka Boy). If you’re looking for raunchy rather than raucous, The White Rabbit Cabaret hosts Burlesque Bingo on Wednesday nights, and just a regular burlesque show on Friday nights. Bingo is absolutely hilarious, hosted by the angriest, raunchiest clown since Beetlejuice.

In Broad Ripple, there’s just as many recommendations, I’ll just list my highlights. Brugge Brasserie has great beer and even better Belgian-style fries and crepes, and has a decent-sized patio overlooking the Monon Trail. Avoid most of the crap restaurants right on Broad Ripple Avenue - most of the good stuff is in the back. Chef JJ’s Backyard is probably the best gourmet grilled food you’ll have had in a long time.

And up-and-coming neighborhood Irvington has some great food and drink options, namely The Legend (upscale home cooking), Jockamo(pizza that’s better, but further away than, Bazbeaux’s), and Black Acre Brewing (just beer, cider and wine).

For sights and things to see, there have been a lot of good suggestions. Again, focusing on downtown, the museums are nice (Eiteljorg, Indiana State Museum, NCAA are right next to each other near the White River State Park). The Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Circle downtown is neat, but it is hotter than hell in there if you want to go to the top (there’s a fifty cent elevator ride, well worth it). The Slippery Noodle purports to be the oldest bar in Indiana, and they have great live blues and/or jazz every night of the week. If you want to hear some jazz and are up near Broad Ripple, The Jazz Kitchen is a great venue as well. For something a little more intimate, The Chatterbox on Mass Ave. is also great.

Even if you’re not into auto racing, the Speedway Museum is pretty neat. But personally, I’d rather head up to the Indianapolis Museum of Art - it’s free, always has rotating exhibits, and the grounds are absolutely beautiful. They completed the 100 Acre Woods project a few years ago, and if it’s nice out, is worth a few hours to walk around. Conner Prairie is neat, but pretty far away for a cab or someone with just a few hours to spend.

But honestly, I’d spend your free time walking around. Stick to the Cultural Trail, and you’ll hit everything we have to offer. Maybe get a ride to the NE corner of Mass Ave. and just walk along the trail towards downtown. Either head down to Fountain Square, or across town to the Zoo. Or check out their website and plan your own route.

I used to live a block from that - *great *suggestion.

Holy hell much that was perfect!

Everything I was gonna say only written way better and with backlinks!