Indianapolis

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Indiana Indianapolis

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Introduction

Indianapolis is the largest city in Indiana and the state capital. It home to several great sights and has good nightlife. The city has a little over 800,000 inhabitants, though the total metropolitan area has over twice as many people within its area. Efforts to beautify and modernize the city have brought Indianapolis into the 21st century as a world-class destination for everything from business meetings and trade conventions to backpackers making their way across the States.

Indianapolis is widely hailed as the "Racing Capital of the World" because of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500 and Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, and as the "Amateur Sports Capital of America" for hosting the NCAA. The city has several attractions outside of sports including museums, a large zoo, over 100 ethnic restaurants, several arts and historic districts, and a revitalized downtown. Although Indy has been mocked with the epithet "India-noplace", Indianapolis has several attractions for visitors, with a mix of a large metropolitan city and a simple Midwestern community. You will find beautiful architecture, monuments, and pristine cornfields in the Circle City.

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Sights and Activities

  • Crown Hill Cemetery, 700 W 38th St (10 minutes north of Downtown), ☎ +1 317-925-8231, toll-free: +1-800-809-3366, e-mail: info@crownhill.org. 8AM–6PM, open until 8PM in the summertime. It's the third largest cemetery in the United States and is considered the "Best Walking Tour" in Indy by Indianapolis Monthly—the gruesome is mediated by the quiet and contemplative nature of the grounds. Tours explore the Gothic Chapel and Waiting Station from the late 1800s and famous grave sites. You can also pick up a map at the office for free and explore the cemetery by foot, car or bike. Hundreds of soldiers are buried in a beautiful war burial ground. Famous graves include John Dillinger, Frederick Dusenberg, Booth Tarkington, James Whitcomb Riley (at the highest point in Indianapolis), Colonel Eli Lilly, President Benjamin Harrison, and others. Free.
  • American Legion National Headquarters, 700 N Pennsylvania St (Northside of downtown), ☎ +1 317-630-1200, toll-free: +1-800-433-3318. M–F 8AM–4:30PM. Situated in the heart of downtown Indy with a beautiful mall that reminds one of D.C. Check out the museum that features hundreds of World War I & II posters and artifacts, a diorama of Jessica Lynch's rescue, explore the grounds and learn about the Legion's history. Free, $ parking.
  • Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest one in the world! Activities rang from Dinosaurs to creating your own dreams. There are also activities for adults, which include changing art exhibits. Address: 3000 N. Meridian St, Phone: (317) 3322.
  • Indianapolis Zoo is a great zoo located just south and west of downtown. It also features an aquarium with dolphins and an amazing botanical garden. The zoo is open year round and is a lot of fun for the whole family. Address: 1200 West Washington Street, Phone: (317) 630-2001.
  • Indiana State Capitol, 200 W Washington St (Just west of Monument Circle), ☎ +1 317-233-5293, e-mail: touroffice@idoa.in.gov. M–F 9AM–3PM, Sa 10AM–1PM. Completed in 1888, this is the hub for Indiana's state government, housing the Governor's office, the state legislature (State Senate and Indiana General Assembly) and the State Supreme Court. The first state capital was in the Southern Indiana town of Corydon, and in 1825 it was moved to Indianapolis. Featuring Italian Renaissance, Greek, and Corinthian design, the building is made from primarily of Indiana limestone. Look up while in the Rotunda to see the amazing German stained glass window, take a guided or personal tour, or observe the government "at work". Free, $ parking.
  • Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument, 1 Monument Cir (The center of the city), ☎ +1 317-232-7615. F–Su 10:30AM–5:30PM. This is the famous statue right in the heart of the city. Built in 1902, it stands only 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty. The artwork built into the monument is moving—bloody Civil War battles and freed slaves. Miss Liberty on top faces South, protecting the North from the Confederacy. Housed in the basement is the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War museum, and you can take a ride up to the top of the tower to look out over the city. The small grounds on the Monument are a perfect metaphor for the city itself: a mixture of the hustle and bustle of Downtown with the serenity of green grass and gently roaring water—good for people-watching. There is also a small gift shop. At the base, there is a statue of William Henry Harrison, who served as Governor of the Indiana Territory, and for one month as President of the USA. Free parking on the circle and the museum is free.
  • Indiana War Memorial, 400 N Meridian St (Slightly north, Downtown), ☎ +1 317-232-7615, e-mail: iwm@iwm.state.in.us. W–Su 9AM–5PM. A seven-block district featuring the neoclassical memorial. The memorial features an amazing performance/lecture hall and a free war museum documenting all US wars. $ parking, free admission.
  • Scottish Rite Cathedral, 650 N Meridian St (Slightly north, Downtown), ☎ +1 317-262-3100, toll-free: +1-800-489-3579, e-mail: info@aasr-indy.org. M–Th 8:30AM–4:30PM, F 8:30AM–3:30PM. An architectural masterpiece, it is the world's biggest Scottish Rite cathedral. Take a tour and explore the huge pipe organ, floating dance floor, handcrafted art glass windows, learn about the mystery of Freemasonry and grab a bite to eat in the cafe. Free.
  • Indiana State Museum, 650 W Washington St (Westside of Downtown), ☎ +1 317-232-1637, fax: +1 317-234-2489. M–Sa 10AM–5PM, Su 11AM–5PM. The state museum's new home is one of the most beautiful in the country. Learn about the beginnings of Indy—from dinosaurs and fossil finds to the Civil War, World War II, and today. Explore a hall dedicated to famous Hoosiers, enjoy the IMAX theater, special events, and walk the grounds of White River State Park exploring the sculpture garden dedicated to the counties of Indiana. A must see. The small gift shop sells Indiana-related trinkets as well as gourmet sodas, novelty candies, and plush toys. The Farmers Market Café features a menu reflective of Indiana’s heritage as a source of fresh, local produce with seasonal menus and fresh soups, salads and sandwiches. The historic L. S. Ayres Tea Room features its signature famous chicken velvet soup. $13, $8.50 ages 3–12, $12 seniors 60+. IMAX admission extra, discount combo passes are available. First Tuesday of the month, admission half off. Parking with validation $3.
  • National Art Museum of Sports (NAMOS), ☎ +1 317-931-8600. One of the largest collections of sports themed arts in the world. Check out over 1,000 pieces of art about over 40 different sports. Artists featured include Winslow Homer, LeRoy Neiman, Odgen Pleissner, and more. Sports enthusiasts and art lovers alike will find something to enjoy. After renovations to IUPUI's campus, the Museum relocated to the Children's Museum.
  • President Benjamin Harrison Home, 1230 N Delaware St (Northside of Downtown), ☎ +1 317-631-1888, fax: +1 317-632-5488, e-mail: harrison@bhpsite.org. M–Sa 10AM–3:30PM, June and July Su noon–3:30PM. So far, Indy's only president, serving one term (1889–1893). Take a tour of this Civil War hero's home—a beautiful 1875 house built in the Italianate Victorian school. It's three stories and filled with antiques, art, political memorabilia and personal artifacts. The carriage house in the back features a First Ladies exhibit. Throughout the year they have fun events, that often include amazing reenactments featuring Indiana historical figures. They also host Victorian murder mystery tours, a naturalization ceremony and the always fun croquet tournament $10, $5 children 5–17 and students with i.d., $8 seniors 65+. AAA discount available.
  • Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (Conner Prairie Living History Museum), 13400 Allisonvile Rd (Located in Fishers at the city's extreme northeast.), ☎ +1 317-776-6006, toll-free: +1-800-966-1836. Nov-Mar: Tu–Su 10AM–3PM, Mar–Oct: Tu–Su 10AM–5PM. Settled in the 1880s, Conner Prairie is an Indiana tradition for those interested in learning about Indiana living "back in the day." With volunteers dressed in period-costume year round you are able to experience every aspect of the way of life—from blacksmithing to cooking, games and schooling, farming and church. Start at the modern museum learning about the science and anthropological history, then head to the living history museum featuring authentic buildings from the 1880s. Take a flight on 1859 Balloon Voyage, visit Dupont, IN circa 1863 and experience Morgan's Raid, or visit the brand new (for 2017) Treetop Outpost. Special exhibits come and go, such as Native American regional language sponsored by History Channel. In the summer the grounds feature Symphony on the Prairie where one can picnic in the evening and enjoy live classical and pops performances. Halloween features haunted hay rides featuring the Headless Horseman and the holiday season includes dinners, candlelight tours and other celebrations. Restaurants on hand and a gift shop too. Adults: $17 Seniors (ages 65+): $16 Youth (ages 2–12): $12 Members & Youth Under Age 2: FREE Balloon Prices Members: $12 Non-Members: $15 Groups of 15+ Call Guest Services for reservations 317.776.6000 Adults: $12 Youth (ages 2–12): $8 Free parking.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, 4790 W 16th St (Speedway, Westside), ☎ +1 317-492-6747, e-mail: imspr@brickyard.com. Mar–Oct: 9AM–5PM daily; Nov–Feb: 10AM–4PM daily. The IMA is the home of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500. On the IMS grounds you will find the Museum which houses the world's largest collection of racing, classic, and antique cars. Check out 30 of the Indy 500 winner's cars, a 20-minute film about the history of the race, a souvenir shop and cafe. If you would like to see more of the track facilities, you also can pay a few bucks to ride in a bus around the actual race track (at about 40 miles or 65 km an hour, ha!). Or, for the more adventurous souls, you can try the Indy Racing Experience Driving Program where you can ride in a 2-seater Indy Car and experience speeds around the track up to 180 miles or 300 km an hour! $10 adults, $5 children, 5 and under free.
  • Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E 67th St (15 minutes north of Downtown), ☎ +1 317-255-2464. M–F 9AM–10PM Sa 9AM–6PM Su noon–6PM. Formed in 1934, it continues to be one of the Midwest's premier community art centers. Check out one of the many local art exhibits, take an affordable art class, relax and read a book in the beautiful library, shop at the art gallery gift shop and don't pass up the amazing ARTSPARK located around the White River and the natural grounds. ARTSPARK has interactive sculptures laid out through the 12 acres (5 ha) designed by Michael Graves, a Hoosier native known throughout the world for his architecture and design work. Each summer you can check out the fun Broad Ripple Arts Fair, which features arts and crafts, food and booze, and live music galore on the grounds. Free.
  • Madame Walker Theatre, 617 Indiana Ave (Westside of Downtown), ☎ +1 317-236-2099, e-mail: events@walkertheatre.com. M–F 9AM–5PM. Visit the headquarters for the first self-made female millionaire, Madam C. J. Walker (she spelled her 'Madam' without the "e"), built in the early 1900s, Walker came from cotton field beginnings to start her own line of beauty products for African American women. Visit the original salon where people still get their hair done, see a concert or play at the theatre, and take a tour of the grounds. Learn more about the African-American heritage of Indianapolis south of the historic Ransom Place District. Tours are $8, $5 for students and seniors, children under 5 free. Events vary based on ticket price.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.
  • The Indianpolis 500, usually called the Indy 500, is one of the most important auto races held every year in the USA. If your planning to attend this event make sure to have tickets and a hotel room far in advance.

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Weather

Indianapolis has a humid continental climate. Summers from June to September see average highs of 26 °C to 29 °C with nights mostly between 15 °C and 19 °C. Winters from December to early March have highs of 2-4 °C with nights well below zero. The alltime highs are 41 °C and -33 °C! Precipitation averages a little over 1,000 mm a year with most of it falling from April to August, though there is not a particular wet or dry season; winters are just somewhat drier and snow is possible from late October to early April, though mostly falls from December to February with 6 to 9 inches a month (16 to 23 centimetres).

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max0.9 °C3.5 °C10.5 °C17.4 °C23.2 °C28.2 °C29.7 °C28.7 °C25.3 °C18.8 °C11.1 °C3.6 °C
Avg Min-8.2 °C-6.2 °C-0.1 °C5.3 °C10.9 °C16.1 °C18.4 °C17.1 °C13.1 °C6.4 °C1.2 °C-4.9 °C
Rainfall58.9 mm62.5 mm96.3 mm94 mm101.6 mm88.6 mm113.5 mm92.5 mm72.9 mm66.8 mm82 mm84.8 mm
Rain Days7.97.4109.49.57.48.176.36.78.19.7

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Getting There

By Plane

Indianapolis International Airport (ND) is about 7 miles (11 kilometres) from the central business district of Indianapolis. It has a range of flight with destinations including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cancun, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Toronto and Washington, D.C..

To/from the airport
Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo) operates the Green Line Downtown/Airport Express daily from 5:00am to 9:00pm. From 5:00am to 9:00am and noon to 9pm the service runs every 15 minutes. From 9:00am to noon the service runs every 20 minutes. The express service costs US$7 per passenger. The boarding/debarking point is located at the the Ground Transportation Center, which is found on level 1 of the parking garage. IndyGo Route 8 bus also connects the airport with downtown Indianapolis. Unlike the Green Line Express, Route 8 bus is a slower & cheaper bus route that makes frequent stops along Washington St. The fare for Route 8 is currently US$1.75 for single ride.
At the Ground Transportation Center there are also services like taxis, limousines, car rental facilities and shuttles.

By Train

The Cardinal/Hoosier State, operated by Amtrak, travels between New York and Chicago, also stopping in Washington DC, Cincinatti and Indianapolis.

By Car

Indianapolis is known as the "Crossroads of America" for a good reason. Interstates 65, 69, 70, and 74 meet here. The city's outer belt is I-465. Travel directly through the city on I-70 (east and west) or I-65 (north and south). Direct travel using I-74 or I-69 is not possible; I-74 is routed around the center of the city on I-465, and I-69 currently ends at its intersection with I-465 to the city's north.

Note that 65 and 70 intersect at a region known as "the split" south of downtown. There is also a ramp onto Washington Street, which is the main east–west artery in the city. Traffic here can be extremely busy and construction is routine. It's possible that you'll have situations where you want to cut across five lanes of traffic going 70 mp/h (113 km/h) in a distance of less than a mile (1.2 km)!

Motorists wanting to experience a bit of history may wish to take a trip along Washington St. which forms part of the National Road (a.k.a. Cumberland Road). This route was the first federal highway in America and initially stretched from the Atlantic Ocean through most of Illinois. It has been extended into Interstates 40 and 80, so travelers can take a trip from Baltimore to San Francisco along it today. Small milestones mark all of the major cities along this All-American Road.

By Bus

  • Greyhound has buses throughout the US.
  • Burlington Trailways, travels only throughout the Midwest. +1-800-992-4618. This also uses the same station as Greyound.
  • Megabus, Indianapolis' downtown stop location for departures and arrivals is located at the IndyGo bus stop on the northeast corner of Delaware Street and Market Street, in front of the City Market. (This is not a structure of any kind, but an intersection. If you are arriving late at night or in inclement weather, you will be exposed to the elements. The intersection is well-lit and well-policed.) Megabus links Indianapolis with Chicago to the north and Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta to the south. Wheelchair accessible. Fares from $1 when reserved very far in advance.

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Getting Around

By Car

On highways, the general speed limit is 55–70 miles per hour (89–113 km/h). On city streets, if no speed limit is posted, assume that it is 35 miles per hour (56 km/h). Indianapolis generally lacks the aggressive driving, bad roads, and congestion associated with major U.S. cities. The city planning is largely logical and follows a grid pattern with some exceptions. A handful of streets cut across the city north–south and only a few (10th, 38th, 82nd/86th, and 96th) go across east–west. Washington Street is the main east–west through street, which bends to the south on the westside and Meridian runs north–south far past the boundaries of the city. Due to the flat terrain of central Indiana, you can see downtown from most spots in the city. If you are desperately lost, you can at least get your bearings by looking for the handful of skyscrapers.

Starting in the 2000s, Indianapolis and the surrounding areas - especially Avon in the west and Carmel in the north - have added several roundabouts. American motorists may not be familiar with them but they are safe (and have reduced collisions in the areas where they have been installed). Local drivers are accustomed to them. In 2013, a Michigan left was installed at 96th and Allisonville, the extreme north of the city.

Parking meters are found downtown. The city sold control of these to a private company in 2011–2012 and parking tickets are handed out aggressively. Meters accept cards, coins, and small bills and parking is free in late hours and on weekends.

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo) serves the city and surroundings. The public bus system is fairly clean and efficient but routes are sometimes complex, and substantial portions of the metro area are inaccessible. Outside of peak hours, waits can be prohibitively long.
One of the handiest routes for visitors is #17 College, which runs hits most of city's most popular dining and nightlife spots, including the Mass Ave strip Downtown up Broad Ripple Ave. Runs roughly M–F 5AM–9:30PM, Sa 6AM–9:30PM, Su 7PM–9PM.

  1. 8 Washington is a helpful path to travel quickly west through Downtown to the Zoo and the Canal. It runs west through downtown on Ohio, then down West St by the Canal, and then on old US-40/Washington St past the Zoo, and then all the way out to the Airport, passing by a Latino district and along the old US-36 route. The #8 route also heads east from downtown and can be used to access the quaint neighborhood of Irvington. M–F 9AM–11PM, Sa 6AM–10PM, Su 7AM–7PM.

  1. 18 Nora will take you north on Meridian St past the Children's Museum and near a large shopping district on the northside. M–F 6AM–9:15PM, Sa 8AM–9:15PM, Su limited.

  1. 38 Lafayette Square also goes by the Children's Museum but then head west on 38th past Newfields (formerly the Indianapolis Museum of Art) and Crown Hill Cemetery. M–F 7AM–9PM, Sa 8AM–9PM, Su 9:30AM–7:30PM.

By Foot

Outside of the walkable Downtown and some Cultural Districts, you'll need a vehicle to navigate the urban sprawl.

By Bike

Biking is easy due to the smooth topography. There are a variety of bike paths throughout the city, including the Monon Trail and the Central Canal. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail was built through several years in the early 21st century and takes riders through downtown providing signs with Indianapolis history; public art dots many stops and you will be guided past several restaurants and local businesses. This world-class bike and pedestrian path marks an interconnectivity that no other city of Indianapolis' size can achieve, connecting the city's seven Cultural Districts, neighborhoods, and entertainment amenities, and serving as the downtown hub for the entire central Indiana greenway system. Starting in 2008, Mayor Greg Ballard announced a plan to make Indianapolis a bike-friendly city for those venturing out on open, and often busy, roads. The plan includes constructing 200 miles of additional bike lanes throughout the next 15 years, many of which are already constructed.

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Eat

  • Fountain Diner, 1105 Prospect St, ☎ +1 317-685-1959. A Woolworth's store built in 1959, it's been revitalized among the rebirth of Fountain Square. Pop a squat on a stool at and check out old photographs of Indy and retro art. The Diner only serves breakfast now and milkshakes and ice cream during the day. Quite a shame, they used to have great grilled cheese! Smokehouse on Shelby, the restaurant that replaced the Fountain Diner, sells all the menu items that the Fountain Diner used to offer. You can still get your Fountain Burger and Grilled Cheese sandwich at the Smokehouse.
  • MCL Cafeteria, 2730 E 62nd St, ☎ +1 317-257-5425. Indy's finest cafeteria, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, chocolate meringue pie. 62nd St location is retro in design and attracts seniors, families and young people alike.
  • Mug-N-Bun Drive-In, 5211 W 10th St, ☎ +1 317-244-5669. Serving up an award winning pork tenderloin and a world famous "bacon cheeseburger on toast" this is a destination for all greasy food loving Hoosiers. Employees arrive at 7AM to start preparing the root beer that lures people from all over the state. Famous racecar drivers are known for making an appearance here during race season. A must visit! Cash only.
  • Peppy Grill, 1004 Virginia Ave (Fountain Square, southeast of downtown), ☎ +1 317-637-1158. Daily 24 hours. An institution in 24-hour feasting. "Greasy spoon" is an understatement. Try to sit in the main room next to the tiny open kitchenette where tattooed ladies serve up piping hot "sour cream fries" and burgers. Cheap-as-possible breakfast, lunch, and dinner to serve a hangover, with good pie and a country jukebox with lots of old school tunes.
  • The Bosphorus Istanbul Cafe, 935 S East St, ☎ +1 317-974-1770. Turkish restaurant located in a cute building adjacent to a hookah bar. The Turkish delight lives up to the name and the baklava is rich.
  • Shalimar, 1043 Broad Ripple Ave, ☎ +1 317-465-1100. One of Indy's finest Indian restaurants featuring a great affordable buffet. Chock full of yuppies and Broad Ripple hipsters. Vegan friendly.
  • Side Wok Cafe, 1087 Broad Ripple Ave, ☎ +1 317-722-1090. Good, affordable Chinese located in Broad Ripple. Clean, friendly and basic good food. Vegan friendly.
  • Thai Town Cuisine, 1237 S. High School Rd. (Westside, near Washington St. and I-465), ☎ +1 317-731-6769. Su–Th 11:00 a.m. – 9.00 pm. Fr-Sa 11:00 am. – 10:00 pm. A hidden gem with some delicious variety: spicy, savory, and sweet - often in the same dish! The shop is filled with appealing aromas and traditional Thai folk music. You will always get a smile and friendly สวัสดีค่ะ (sa-wat-dii, khâ) welcoming you. Vegetarian friendly.
  • Bazbeaux Pizza. Multiple Locations, see below. Indy's finest gourmet pizza! Established in 1986, Bazbeaux is a local favorite. Downtown is perfect for that pre-theater or concert eat, and Broad Ripple is located snugly along the White River. Both locations offer indoor/outdoor dining. Art students and hip kids serve your eats - don't be surprised to see a mohawk or two in the kitchen. I haven't been to the Carmel location! Their chicken BBQ pizza is amazing - BBQ sauce instead of tomato, and their Greek pizza is to die for. Vegan friendly.
  • Three Sisters Cafe, 6360 Guilford Ave, ☎ +1 317-257-5556. Three Sisters has withstood the changes of Broad Ripple. Offering vegan friendly breakfasts—from classics eggs and sausage to tofu treats and omelettes. Located in a lovely old home just off Broad Ripple's main drag, enjoy outdoor dining for breakfast and lunch in warm months and a relaxing and quaint indoor dining experience, featuring local art and nice folk tunes through the speakers. Great for an affordable, healthy bite to eat. Vegan friendly.
  • Wheatley's, 8902 Southeastern Ave, Wanamaker, ☎ +1 317-862-6622. Home of the famous Fish Fry Fridays, Indy's largest fish fry. Indoor and outdoor seating is provided with live entertainment every Friday evening April through October. Biscuits and sausage gravy breakfast is served Saturday and Sunday mornings while fried chicken and pork tenderloin sandwiches are served on Sunday evenings.
  • Yats. Multiple locations, see below. Indy's top restaurant for Cajun food. Sharing four locations, owned by a New Orleans native transplant, you'll feel like you're in the Crescent City. Large quantities of limited meals are offered up each day - and each is so tasty you'll be content. Pig out on great Cajun eats in a fun artsy environment. Vegan food available too! Hipsters and punks serve up your meals and sodas are refillable and mere $1. A great deal for a lot of enjoyable food. The chili cheese crawfish etouffe is their signature dish, but the jambalaya is also outstanding. Vegan friendly.
  • Claddagh Irish Pub. Multiple locations Regionally owned Irish pubs that offer the biggest fish and chips in town, two pounds worth! The "chips" are dipped in sour cream then fried, and the Irish stew's base is Guinness. Downtown is 21+ and the other two locations have family and bar dining. Irish/English jams pump out through the stereo (from U2 to Loreena McKennitt to Radiohead) and Black and Tans are served a plenty. The stools are short, the whiskey is served from upside down pours, and the decor features Irish antiques and themed paintings.
  • Edelweiss Restaurant, 8602 S Meridian St, ☎ +1 317-888-6940. Located inside German Park on the far south side of Indianapolis, this restaurant is run by a private club (the German-American Klub) but is open to the public. Serves lunch Tuesday through Saturday and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Food is mostly Bavarian in style, with some American specialties on the menu with daily specials. Friday evenings often have live entertainment in the quaint Gasthaus-style dining room. There is also a Biergarten for dining on pleasant evenings. A ballroom on the upper floor is available for rental.
  • Le Peep. Multiple locations, see below. One of Indy's favorite places to have breakfast. Classics like oatmeal and biscuits & gravy. Breakfast served in skillets with names like "Hobo" "Gypsy" and "Desperado" these meals are hearty for any wandering traveler. Their omelettes are the number one in town, and their pancakes will leave you speechless (cause you'll be eating them so quickly). Have a sweet tooth? Try the King Cakes, a sweet tempting pancake. They also offer lunch fare too. Be prepared to wait, no reservations accepted. Only open for breakfast and lunch. Vegetarian friendly.
  • The Oceanaire Seafood Room, 30 S Meridian St, Suite 100, ☎ +1 317-955-2277. Fine dining seafood restaurant with oyster bar. Menu changes daily based on market availability and offers a good steak selection for non-seafood lovers. The interior is slick and inviting with a more private area for large groups upstairs. Open nightly for dinner and for lunch M-F. A happy hour bar menu is also available M-F 4PM-7PM.
  • Amalfi's, 1351 W 86th St, ☎ +1 317-253-4034. One of the warmest and finest Italian restaurants in the city. Owned by Mario and Joni DiRosa, with help from Mario's mother Pina, both from Naples, serving mouth-watering homemade Italian food. Ravioli Pomodoro and Pollo Al Marsala are two of the prime dishes on the menu. Joni greets visitors and Mario stops by the tables to greet visitors, making it a very lovely environment. Best tiramisu in the city and chicken lasagna ever. Vegetarian friendly.
  • Dunaway's, 351 S East St, ☎ +1 317-638-7663. Located in the old Indiana Oxygen Building, Dunaway's has won numerous local accolades for it's dining. The front door greets you with two old oxygen tanks, hollowed out to make beautiful lamps inspired by the art deco building they represent. Chef Dunaway offers the best crab cakes in town, live jazz three days a week, and the best rooftop outdoor dining in the city. Their wine cellar has won the prestigious Wine Spectator Award and is one of the best in the city. Reservations are recommended. Vegetarian friendly.
  • Fleming's, 8487 Union Chapel Rd, ☎ +1 317-466-0175. National group of steak houses that have one of the best wine lists in the country (Wine Spectator award and all!). Sit at the bar and ask enjoy the company of Jimmy, Evelyn or Curtis, three of the best bartenders in the city. The dark wood decor adds to a cozy feel. Great steaks, lobster and hors d'oeuvres. They have great shoe-string fries for a side!
  • Palomino, 49 W Maryland St, ☎ +1 317-974-0400. Located right downtown in a prime location—at the mall, at the theater, at the RCA Dome. Modern design with Chihuly-designed lighting. Palomino's European-melding cuisine is tasty and they have one of the best appetizers in town - "Crisp Potatoes Gorgonzola" a.k.a. waffle fries with gorgonzola cheese dripped all over them. Decadent! They also offer a Colt's brunch before games on Sundays which offer tasty brunch fare and champagne and beers pre-game. Great location so you can walk to the game. Half off appetizers in the evenings. Make reservations. Vegetarian friendly.
  • Rathskeller, 401 E Michigan St, ☎ +1 317-636-0396. Indianapolis' best joint for traditional German food. One of Indiana's oldest buildings, the building was actually built by writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s grandfather. It used to house the German Klub of Indianapolis, it's now a true German dining experience. It's on Mass Ave. within walking distance of bars and theaters. Make reservations to enjoy potato pancakes, Jaegerschnitzel, and wurst. Tons of beer and wine available too including beers that are hard to find locally. Lunch time offers outdoor dining in the beer garden.
  • St. Elmo Steak House, 127 S Illinois St, ☎ +1 317-635-0636. Downtown in Indy since 1902, the restaurant has gone through some changes, but the biggest asset is the main room. Make reservations to dine in the main room/entry room/bar. This is the original restaurant, the walls are covered with celebrity photos including more car racing stars then the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's museum, artwork and memorabilia from the opening to present. Their shrimp cocktail features giant prawns and is the best in the city. The wooden bar is beautiful and the prep-chef sits in the window, serving up shrimp cocktails and preparing seafood and steaks for your viewing.
  • Sullivan's, 3316 E 86th St, ☎ +1 317-580-1280. Inspired by the famous boxer, 1940s decor offers up amazing steaks and seafood. Now smoke free, their bar is a great place to hear live jazz and watch a sports game. Bar menu is a tad different then the dining room. The bar menu features "The City's Best Hamburger" and it is—thick, juicy and cooked perfectly. Also order a chocolate souffle when you order dinner, your taste buds will thank you. Vegetarian friendly.

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Drink

Cornerstone Coffee, 651 E 54th St, ☎ +1 317-283-1360. Local coffee shop that offers full menu, pastries, tea and coffee of course. Indoor and outdoor seating, connected to Moe & Johnny's bar.
Hubbard & Cravens Coffee Co. Two locations, H&C has their own warehouse where they custom-roast all their own beans and import over 20 types of coffees. Considered the finest coffee in town by some.
Lazy Daze Coffee House, 10 S Johnson Ave, ☎ +1 317-353-0777. Located in the historic Irvington neighborhood just a few miles east of downtown. Its just south of Washington St and attached to the Irving Theater. Small but cozy, this coffeehouse features live music almost every weekend. Outside seating available. Free Wi-fi.
Brugge Brasserie, 1011a E Westfield Blvd, Broad Ripple, ☎ +1 317-255-0978. The only Belgian restaurant in the city, serving good food and beer. Sit at one of many indoor/outdoor tables— what are those holes for in the table you ask? Frites of course! You can choose between various dips — garlic mayo is a favorite. Order a crepe, sandwich or perhaps some mussels with one of their microbrew Belgian ales. You can watch European football on the television and enjoy great music (Nick Cave). Reservations are recommended, as this place gets packed fast. 21+

  • Kellerbar at the Rathskeller, 401 E Michigan St, ☎ +1 317-636-0396. Located inside the Rathskeller German restaurant, this is a place to drink beers from around the world and sop it all up with German food. During the warm months, this is one of the busiest bars in town. Get there early to enjoy a quieter beer or two; the bar opens up in the afternoon and you can enjoy their in-house brew (the Dunkel is particularly good) outside in the Biergarten or inside in the cozy oak bar that emulates a German castle. Later in the evening on the weekends, cover bands rock out in the garden and drunk college students go wild.
  • Union Jack Pub Two locations. There are two locations of this English pub, the best being in Broad Ripple. This location offers family and bar dining. Both rooms are littered with well placed English and local antiques and artifacts. Busts of great English minds greet you in the bar and televisions show sports. They have the best "Chicago Style" pizza in the city. Thick, hot and amazing. Great beer selection and weekly specials. They also have a great selection of whiskey and scotch! Friendly bar staff. The Speedway location is drenched in racing memorabilia, a huge bar with good music and lots of televisions!

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Sleep

  • Indy Hostel, 4903 Winthrop Ave, ☎ +1 317-727-1696. Indy's only hostel! Located in Broad Ripple. A suite is available for those who don't want to be bothered with the shared rooms. Local art adorns the walls and the hostel hosts a myriad of traveling folk and acoustic artists for performances. No curfew, internet access, and bicycles are available for hire.
  • Quality Inn, 8325 Bash St, ☎ +1 317-577-0455. An Indianapolis hotel, the Quality Inn hotel is a pet-friendly hotel near the Indianapolis Zoo, that offers guests free local calls, and high-speed Internet access in every room. Has an outdoor heated pool.
  • Serendipity Haus, 1423 Hoyt Ave, ☎ +1 317-236-9844. An affordable little B&B, owned by a massage therapist and her husband who is a seasonal Santa! Very kind and sweet couple. Built in 1885 the B&B offers two bedrooms with private baths each, two friendly pets (cat and dog), and breakfast is served freshly made! Walking distance of Fountain Square.

Suburban Extended Stay Northeast Hotel, 8055 Bash St, ☎ +1 317-598-1914. All standard guest rooms come with microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, spacious work desks and cable television with free movies. Handicap accessible and non-smoking rooms are available upon request.

  • All Nations B&B, 2164 N Capitol Ave, ☎ +1 317-923-2622. Downtown bed and breakfast located in the home of a couple who have traveled the world. This has led to their creation of their B&B, with themed rooms decorated in the motif of visited countries, i.e. New Zealand, China, Ireland and Zimbabwe. Clean, friendly and comfortable the beautiful home offers a well maintained backyard and front decks, family room, and dining room, where the owners cook guest meals.
  • Brick Street Inn, 175 S Main St, Zionsville, ☎ +1 317-873-9177. A bed & breakfast home built in 1865. Placed right in the heart of Zionsville, a quaint arts and food district north of Indianapolis, it's family operated with has a restaurant and gift shop as well. 8 bedrooms offer different regional design styles common to Indianapolis' past. Zionsville is quite cute, filled with antique shops and art galleries.
  • Brickyard Crossing Inn & Resort, 4400 W 16th St, ☎ +1 317-241-2500. The Motor Speedway's own inn. It books up fast, months in advance for the races, providing simple and nice accommodations for racing and golf enthusiasts. The race track is right behind it. Literally. The place to party the nights before the race, the entire street turns into a mini-Mardi Gras.
  • Comfort Suites, 4125 Kildeer Dr, ☎ +1 317-791-9610. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. The newly built Comfort Suites hotel includes free continental breakfast, free coffee, free local calls, and an indoor heated pool.
  • FantaSuite, 1117 E Main St, Greenwood, ☎ +1 317-882-2211. The main reason this place is listed because it's surreal and stuck in a time warp. It's been in Greenwood since probably the late 70s as a "themed room" hotel. Stay in "Arabian Nights," "Le Cave," "Geisha Garden" or perhaps the "Jungle Safari" is your pick. The decor is tacky and retro, and most of the bedrooms are equipped with a mere AM/FM tape player. Celebrate kitsch and strange retro love making with a FantaSuite.
  • Looking Glass Inn B&B, 1319 N New Jersey St, ☎ +1 317-639-9550. A beautiful home built in 1905 located downtown in a historic district. A mission style home filled with Victorian antiques. They also own the Villa. Movie collection available, multi-lingual innkeepers and on-call massage therapists available. Breakfast is provided.
  • Nestle Inn B&B, 637 N East St, ☎ +1 317-610-5200. One of the most delightful B&Bs in town. Victorian home built in 1896 located just off of Mass Ave. Five bedrooms and one suite, library, dining room and sitting rooms, they also serve great homemade breakfast (the scones are stellar!). The owners are sweet and remember all their past guests. Romantic, cute, and friendly.
  • Quality Inn Downtown South, 4502 S Harding St, ☎ +1 317-788-4774. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. The Quality Inn South hotel is located five miles from downtown and includes free continental breakfast, free coffee, free wireless internet access, a fitness center, and is a pet-friendly hotel (additional fees apply).
  • Residence Inn Indianapolis Airport, 5224 W Southern Ave, ☎ +1 317-244-1500. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Accommodations include fully-equipped kitchens in every suite. Guests also have access to complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access. $150.
  • The Alexander Hotel (Dolce Hotel Alexander), 333 S Delaware St (Downtown Indianapolis), toll-free: +1-855-200-3002. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. US $153-189.
  • 15 North, 15 N Penn St, ☎ +1 317-255-8002. Locally owned loft located in a 1923 built building. A beautiful loft that most of us can only dream of owning! Located in the heart of the city it features 2 bedrooms, a stainless steel kitchen, flatscreen entertainment center—stay in the city in style.
  • Le Meridien Indianapolis (Canterbury Hotel), 123 S Illinois St, ☎ +1 317-737-1600. One of the city's oldest and most beautiful hotels, built in 1858 and renovated and renamed in 2014. With a beautiful lobby bar and restaurant, French/European decor overwhelms you. Turndown service doesn't have a mint—it offers truffles. This is for the creme de la creme of hotel experiences in Indy, where celebrities often stay.
  • Conrad Indianapolis, 50 W Washington St, ☎ +1 317-713-5000. State of the art hotel that features plasma screens and wi-fi in every room. Restaurants, spa, and pet friendly.
  • Crowne Plaza at Union Station, 123 W Louisiana St, ☎ +1 317-631-2221. Stay in one of the 26 authentic Pullman train cars or one of the other guest rooms and suites at this hotel situated in historic Union Station. A great downtown location that is smoke-free. All rooms are equipped for high-speed internet connection. Light sleepers should ask for a room on the quiet side of the hotel, as you may hear the rumble of a train passing by.
  • JW Marriott Indianapolis, 10 S West St, ☎ +1 317-822-8554. Part of the Marriott Place and connected to the Indiana Convention Center, this downtown Indianapolis hotel features 1,005 guestrooms and over 100,000 square feet of event space making it the largest JW Marriott in the world. All guestrooms include high-speed internet connection and 40" LCD TVs.
  • The Kendall Inn, 5830 N Post Rd, ☎ +1 317-591-7280. Locally owned luxury inn located at Fort Harrison State Park on the East side of town. Beautiful grounds in a historic building that served as a hospital on the military grounds starting in 1902. 28 unique rooms with an early American decor. Each room has a jacuzzi!
  • Old Northside Bed & Breakfast, 1340 Alabama St, ☎ +1 317-635-9123. Located in the Historic North Side and built in 1885, this Victorian mansion offers opulently designed theme rooms. Jacuzzi tubs, bridal suites, off-street parking and breakfast served every morning.
  • Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre, 31 W Ohio St, ☎ +1 317-635-2000. Features 378 guest rooms and suites and 18,000 square feet of meeting space. On-property dining options include Alexanders Bar & Grill, Circle Cafe and Starbucks.
  • The Westin Indianapolis, 50 S Capitol Ave, ☎ +1 317-262-8100. The Westin Indianapolis is connected to the Indiana Convention Center and Circle Center Mall via an enclosed skywalk. Westin Guest Office rooms feature additional business amenities.
  • The Villa Inn, 1456 N Delaware St, ☎ +1 317-916-8500. Bed and breakfast located downtown. Beautiful building from 1906. Six rooms, one of the finest restaurants in the city and an in-house spa.
  • Yellow Rose Inn, 1441 N Delaware St, ☎ +1 317-636-7673. Beautiful restored 1898 home located in a historical district of downtown Indy. All four rooms have access to a hot tub, 1200-ft deck, gardens, spiral staircases and outdoor dining. Amazing antiques, beautiful rooms and jacuzzis welcome you. Romantic and lovely!

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 39.767016
  • Longitude: -86.156255

Accommodation in Indianapolis

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This is version 35. Last edited at 9:36 on Jun 12, 19 by Utrecht. 10 articles link to this page.

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