Largely unmentioned on the American travel circuit, the pristine city of Indianapolis wields an untapped charm that’s at once edgy and endearing. After a long period of urban revitalization, the central district is now a charming patchwork of shimmering high-rises, boutique shops and chic eateries. Everything here oozes with a self-proclaimed sporting prowess, evident in the city’s Hoosiers fame and iconic Motor Speedway, home to the renowned Indianapolis 500. Culture vultures aren’t forgotten though, and for a taste of the traditional visitors should head to the quaint and affluent Lockerbie Square area, where regal storefronts overshadow the square-cobbled streets. Filled with energy and flair, the district of Broad Ripple is peppered with quirky bars and restaurants, while the smattering of great museums, parks and galleries means that there’s always something to do.
Hailed by industry experts as one of the top family-oriented attractions in the country, this immersive and engaging children’s museum is riddled with curiosities. Sprawled out over four separate zones, the museum’s permanent exhibitions include scientific experiments that help children examine the natural world, "Dinosphere", where kids unravel the secrets of the cretaceous period, and an enthralling planetarium.
This sprawling artistic center is awash with superlatives. Not only is the collection here one of the most edgy and attention-grabbing in all of America, but the museum itself is one of the country’s largest and oldest. Don’t miss the iconic "LOVE" sculpture on the front lawn, and allow at least a day to get lost in the endless displays of art that hail from right across the globe.
From fossilised mammals to iconic pop culture creations, the collections at Indiana’s State Museum know no bounds. Visitors are treated to the most encompassing chronicling of regional history available in Indiana, complete with some truly stunning artifacts and exhibits, such as the the full-sized mammoth skeleton or collections of original civil war memorial prints.
The Eiteljorg Museum hosts some of Indiana’s most enthralling exhibitions. Dedicated primarily to chronicling and preserving the artistic culture of the Native American Indians, the center also has a wide array of Western art from the old frontier tradition, with works from some seriously big name painters and sculptors, such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Robert Henri.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is something of a mecca for speedsters and racers the country over. As the original home of IndyCar, and a world-renowned center of NASCAR and MotoGP, sports fans flock to this iconic century-old stadium. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in late May, be sure to scramble for some Indy 500 tickets; it’s the biggest event on the local calendar and not to be missed.
Here the six separate habitat zones contain hundreds of exotic creatures, from the quirky and the curious, to the dangerous and the endangered. Regular special events like fundraising for the rhinos and overnight safaris are just some of the extracurricular activities on offer, while the newly opened White River Botanical Garden provides the perfect respite from the bustle of the crowds.
Grassroots in the extreme, the cuisine at Maxine’s Chicken and Waffles is alive with American charm. Succulent chicken breasts meet trademark waffles in the defining in-house special, while a variety of other hearty dishes allows even options for vegetarians. Food aside, one of the major pulls here is the truly welcoming atmosphere that’s quintessentially Indianapolis from the get-go.
If you’re looking for luxury in one of Indianapolis’ chicest and edgiest of accommodations then the Alexander is for you. Here, the guests in their 157 guest rooms enjoy great access to the city’s major sites along with an in-house artsy vibe that spills over into its fine-dining and decor. What’s more, with a number of well equipped, long stay suites, it’s the perfect choice for travelers coming on business.