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The 'Indy' sign along the Central Canal

Featured Article

Indianapolis Offers Up Weekend Fun

Experience the Buzzing Metropolis

Article by Maria Dinoia

Photography by Maria Dinoia

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Well-traveled journalist Larry Olmstead with Forbes magazine once described Indianapolis, IN as "America's Most Underrated City," and there is definitely some truth to that. When locals talk about weekend destinations within a four-hour drive of Nashville, rarely is Indianapolis mentioned. Affectionately known as "the circle city," Indy offers so much more than just the Indy 500 or the Indianapolis Colts. And while the sporting scene is most certainly a draw, Indy is also rich in arts, culture and history with a thriving culinary vibe. Add it all together and you've got dozens of ways to make your visit memorable. So families, foodies, sports fans, history buffs, cultural connoisseurs and nature lovers take note: Indy is an under the radar destination that you've seriously been missing out on. 

Things to Do 

Stroll Mass Avenue - Massachusetts Avenue is the trendy, free-spirited arts district, a five block stretch of independently owned restaurants, shops, galleries, theaters and nightlife. Take a picture in front of the Vonnegut mural, stop in Silver in the City for unique gifts and swing by Indy Reads, a non-profit bookstore whose mission is to build the literacy, English language, and job readiness skills to empower adults and families to reach their full potential.

White River State Park and Indy's Central Canal - White River State Park is a 250-acre urban park with lots of green space. It's also the home to seven family friendly museums and attractions and Indy's Central Canal, a historic and restored waterway that runs through both the park and downtown Indy. Walk, jog, pedal boat, surrey bike rentals, or a gondola with a serenading gondolier are just a few of the ways to enjoy the area. 

The Indianapolis Zoo - The Zoo is home to five areas: Oceans with more than 90 species of aquatic life from the world’s oceans, seas and rivers; Deserts, highlighting life in desert habitats around the globe; Plains, including animals of the African plains; Forests, featuring animals of temperate and tropical forests; and Flights of Fancy, featuring birds from warmer climates around the world including Africa, South America, Asia and Australia. Other major exhibits include the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, the award-winning exhibit that is home to the zoo’s twelve beloved orangutans.

Things to See 

The World's Largest Children's Museum - The museum features five floors of fun and interactive learning across the arts, world cultures, sciences, and humanities for children and their families. More than 1.3 million people visited the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in 2019, setting a new annual attendance record.  

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art - The Elitejorg is one of only two museums east of the Mississippi that houses a stunning collection of art and artifacts depicting the culture, history and experiences of Native Americans and the American West.

Newfield's/Indianapolis Museum of Art - Newfield's is the name of the campus of the Museum of Art. The campus is home to  150 acres of land that features a beer garden, conservatory and art and nature park full of quirky art installations.   

Where to Stay

Hyatt House on Delaware Street - Located in downtown Indy, The Hyatt House with its residentially-inspired, apartment-style suites that are outfit with full kitchens opened in 2019, and features an open-air common area patio ideal for people watching on the street below. 

What to Eat 

Bru Burger Bar - Bru's has eight locations in Indianapolis with Bru Indy located on the popular Massachusetts Avenue. The menu includes award winning burgers using locally sourced meats and vegetables, fresh salads, sandwiches and other dishes from the Bru culinary team. Sit outside and enjoy the scene along the avenue.

Public Greens - Public Greens is an urban, farm market inspired cafe focused on community. As the city's first non-profit restaurant, 100% of its profits are donated to the Patachou Foundation, which feeds at-risk and food insecure kids in the Indy community. Try the housemade soda and the summer grilled chicken bowl for a delicious afternoon lunch. 

Bazbeaux Pizza - Another Massachusetts Avenue restaurant, Bazbeaux has earned a string of "Best Pizza in Indianapolis" awards. Dine in the sidewalk cafe, dining room or bar, which features an eclectic menu of craft beers and delicious wines. An enjoyable, casual atmosphere. 

  • The 'Indy' sign along the Central Canal
  • Vonnegut mural on Massachusetts Avenue
  • Hyatt House (Photo credit: Visit Indy)
  • The original Robert Indiana Love Sculpture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Bru Burger Bar