Explore Indianapolis by visiting these 10 offbeat attractions

Indianapolis is more than just the home of the Indy 500 and the Colts. The capital of Indiana has a lot to offer visitors who are looking for something different, quirky, or unexpected. Here are 10 under-the-radar or experiences you can have in Indianapolis, from exploring underground catacombs to seeing a live show in a mosque-styled shrine center.

Explore the Market Street Catacombs

Did you know that there’s an underground city beneath Indianapolis? The Market Street Catacombs are a network of brick arches and tunnels that date back to the late 19th century. They were used for storage and transportation by businesses and vendors. Today, you can take a guided tour of this hidden wonder and learn about its history and secrets.

See a live show in a mosque-styled shrine center

The Old National Centre is a stunning and unique venue for concerts, comedy shows, theatre and more. It was built in 1909 as a Moorish mosque and is owned by Shriners International. The center features ornate architecture, stained glass windowsand a 2700-seat theater. You can catch some of the biggest names in entertainment here, such as John Legend, Bill Burrand Hamilton.

Visit the world’s largest children’s museum

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is not just for kids. It’s a huge and amazing place that features exhibits on science, history, culture, artand more. You can see dinosaurs, mummies, spaceships, trains and even a giant Chihuly glass sculpture. The museum also has a carousel, a planetarium, a sports complexand a 43-foot-tall outdoor water clock.

Take a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

You can’t visit Indianapolis without paying homage to its most famous attraction: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is where the legendary Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 races take place every year. You can tour the track, visit the museum, watch a race, or even drive a race car yourself. You can also kiss the bricks at the finish line, a tradition started by NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett in 1996.

Travel through time at Destination Indiana

If you want to learn more about Indiana’s past, presentand future, head to Destination Indiana at the Indiana History Center. This interactive exhibit lets you explore hundreds of stories from different eras and regions of the state using touch screens and immersive displays. You can see photos, videos, maps, documentsand artifacts that tell the story of Indiana.

Join the First Friday Art Tour

Every first Friday of the month, you can join the IDADA First Friday Art Tour and discover Indy’s vibrant art scene. You can visit dozens of galleries, studios, museums and alternative spaces that showcase local and national artists. You can also enjoy live music, food trucks, street performers and more. The tour is free and open to everyone.

Relax at the Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens

For a tranquil escape from the city, head to the Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens. This is one of the oldest and largest parks in Indianapolis, featuring a beautiful botanical garden, a tropical conservatoryand a sunken garden with fountains, statuesand flowers. You can also enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, playgroundsand a historic pagoda.

Bike or walk along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an eight-mile urban trail that connects six cultural districts in downtown Indy. You can bike or walk along the trail and enjoy public art, historic landmarks, green spaces and local businesses. The trail also connects to the Monon Trail, which extends for 18 miles to the north of the city.

Discover the arts and culture of Indy

If you want to get a taste of Indy’s arts and culture scene, some of the best places to visit are in Fountain Square, Mass Ave, and Broad Ripple. You’ll find museums, theatres, festivals, murals and more. Plus, you’ll get to see a 38-foot-tall mural of Kurt Vonnegut, one of Indy’s most famous sons.

Shop and eat at the Indianapolis City Market

For a taste of Indy’s local flavors and products, head to the Indianapolis City Market. This historic building houses over 30 vendors that sell fresh produce, baked goods, meats, cheeses, spices, coffee, and more. You can also find a variety of cuisines from around the world, such as Greek, Mexican, Thai, and Moroccan. The market also hosts events, farmers markets, and tours throughout the year.

Hotels in Indianapolis, Indiana

ENS Editors

Learn More →