Indiana is known as the home of the Indy 500 race and as the site of several prestigious universities. Located in the Midwest, this diverse state has a population of close to 6 million people. In Indianapolis, visitors can find all types of historical and cultural attractions, including monuments, museums, drive-in theaters, and entertainment venues.
Here are the best things to do in Indiana.
1.Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
© Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
Connor Prairie Interactive History Park is a sprawling natural area filled with opportunities for hands-on learning. At the 1836 prairie town, visitors can get a feel for what life was like in the in the early 1800s. The town features a one-room schoolhouse, a general store, and several other historic buildings. Horses, chickens, and other farm animals are found throughout the town center.
At the prairie town, kids can learn historical games or observe a blacksmith in action. Guests also have the option of flying nearly 400 feet over the history park as part of the 1859 Balloon Voyage. Important lessons from the Civil War are covered in the 1863 Civil War Journey tour, and Native American life is on display at the Lenape Indian Camp.
13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers, Indiana, 46038, Phone: 317-776-6000
2.Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
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The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is an ideal destination for classic car fans. The museum boasts noteworthy vehicles from the 1890s through the 21st century. With a focus on the achievements of the Auburn Automobile Company, the museum tells the story of the car from past to present times.
Visitors can check out the 120+ vehicles that have been loaned to the museum by companies and individuals. The Auburn Museum also contains archives that are packed with useful information about the transportation industry. Special events and programs are held at the museum throughout the year, and visitors can pick up memorabilia at the museum's shop.
1600 South Wayne Street, Auburn, Indiana, 46706, Phone: 260-925-1444
3. Indiana University Art Museum
© Indiana University Art Museum
The Eskenazi Museum of Art at the University of Indiana houses an impressive collection of works from all parts of the globe. The 45,000 objects in the museum bear the names of some of the world's greatest artists, including Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. Gold jewelry, ancient African masks, and other unique pieces are also part of the museum's permanent collection.
The works of modern artists are also displayed throughout the facility, and visitors can enjoy large, colorful installations that are placed inside and outside the spacious building. With its informative presentations and interpretive displays, the Eskenazi Museum of Art seeks to educate and inspire people of all ages. Read more or Romantic weekend getaways in Indiana
1133 E. 7th Street, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405, Phone: 812-855-5445
4. Children's Museum of Indianapolis
© Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is home to more than 120,000 artifacts and specimens. The museum's main exhibits include the Dinosphere, where visitors can learn all about dinosaurs, Scienceworks, which is centered on geology, and Beyond Spaceship Earth, an exhibit that is loaded with information about space travel and astronomy.
Other popular attractions at the museum include the Fireworks of Glass sculpture and the Treasures of the Earth exhibit, which contains recreations of incredible artifacts from Egypt, China, and the Caribbean. The museum is currently open Tuesday to Sunday all year round. Admission costs vary depending on age. Next read: 25 Best Things to Do in Indianapolis
3000 North Meridian, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46208, Phone: 317-334-4000
5. Indiana Attractions: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
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The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is filled with animals from all around the world. In the African Journey section of the zoo, visitors can see some of the continent's most fascinating animals, including zebras, wildebeest, vultures, ostriches, monkeys, and lions. In the Australian Adventure section, you'll find a reef with hundreds of colorful and interesting fish.
Kangaroos, dingoes, and several types of Australian birds also call this section home. The last themed part of the zoo, the Indonesian Rain Forest, contains snakes, birds, turtles, frogs, gibbon monkeys, and Sumatran tigers. Fort Wayne Children's Zoo also holds special events and educational programs throughout the season. Next read: 25 Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne
3411 Sherman Boulevard, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46808, Phone: 260-427-6800
6.Things to Do in Indiana: Marengo Cave
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Marengo Cave was discovered in 1883 by two young children who entered the grotto by candlelight. Located beneath the town of Marengo, the cave quickly became known as an exciting attraction for locals and visitors alike. Although the cave was originally located on private land, the Marengo Cave Company was established in 1900 to protect and preserve the unique landmark.
A new entrance to the cave was carved out in the early 1900s so that visitors didn't have to deal with the 160-step staircase that stood beneath the original entrance. Today, the cave receives individuals and tour groups on a daily basis. Marengo Cave is filled with interesting formations and is home to a fascinating ecosystem.
400 East State Road 64, Marengo, Indiana, 47140, Phone: 888-702-2837
7.Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
© Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum documents the history of race car driving in Indiana. Regarded as one of the racing capitals of the world, Indianapolis is the site of several major racing events, including the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indy 500. Non-racing events are held at the track throughout the year, and visitors can purchase tickets to all track events online.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum also hosts on-track experiences where visitors can have the opportunity to drive an Indy 500 race car. Grounds tours are available for guests who want to get a first-hand look at the Hall of Fame Museum, the track media center, and other areas.
4790 West 16th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46222, Phone: 317-492-8500
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8. Indianapolis Museum of Art
© Indianapolis Museum of Art
The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) houses an impressive collection of works from all around the world. Its permanent and rotating exhibits contain paintings, drawings, sculptures, and objects from various places and time periods. The IMA also boasts several collections of works from private collectors. Guests can enjoy IMA events like speeches, workshops, classes, and performances on a regular basis.
The research arm of the museum has amassed an immense amount of information about science, art, technology, culture, and other interesting and applicable topics. The museum also holds special programs and tours for young visitors. Read more
4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46208, Phone: 317-923-1331
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Victory Field is a minor league baseball stadium that was built in 1996. Home to the Indianapolis Indians, the stadium can seat nearly 15,000 fans and is credited with starting the revitalization movement in downtown Indianapolis.
It has also been recognized as the “Best Minor League Ballpark in America” by Baseball America and Sports Illustrated. Equipped with box seats, luxury suites, picnic areas, and plenty of lawn seating, the stadium regularly draws thousands of fans during baseball season. Individual and season tickets for Indians games as well as team merchandise is available on the team's website.
501 W Maryland Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46625
10.Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
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Holiday World and Splashin' Safari are two popular amusement parks in Santa Claus, Indiana. At Holiday World, visitors can be thrilled by massive roller coasters with hairpin twists and turns or hop on some carnival-style rides that are fun for the whole family. Each ride is assigned a rating from mild to wild so that guests can easily find rides that they are comfortable with.
Splashin' Safari features all kinds of water rides, including slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and splash pad areas for young kids. Guests can reserve parts of either park for birthday parties, corporate events, and other get-togethers. Out-of-town visitors will find plenty of accommodation options close to the parks.
452 East Christmas Boulevard, Santa Claus, Indiana, 47579, Phone: 812-937-4401
11. Things to Do in Indiana: The Eiteljorg Museum
© The Eiteljorg Museum
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art was founded to honor and preserve Native American artwork from around the United States and Canada. The museum has three main collections centered on Native American art, western art and contemporary art.
The Native American portion of the museum mainly contains works from tribes like the Miami, Potawatomi, and Delaware, who still call parts of Indiana home. The western collection at the Eiteljorg contains artwork from Georgia O'Keeffe, Robert Henri, and other prominent artists, and the contemporary section at the museum holds Latino and African-American works. The Eiteljorg hosts family-friendly events and celebrations throughout the year. Read more
500 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204, Phone: 317-636-9378
12.National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
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The National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is located at Mount St. Mary's University. Nestled in a peaceful wooded area, the shrine features two spiritually significant attractions: the Grotto Stone and the grotto water. The Grotto Stone commemorates the visit of the Most Rev. Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes.
The bishop paid a visit to the United States in late 2007 and presented a plaque that has become known as the Grotto Stone. The grotto water, dispensed by taps around the fountain pool, can be blessed by the grotto chaplain. The chaplain's blessing converts the water into a holy liquid that is used for healing, cleansing, and giving people strength. The shrine is also home to a chapel and a cemetery.
16330 Grotto Road, Emmitsburg, Maryland, 21727, Phone: 301-447-5318
13.Indiana Attractions: Soldiers and Sailors Monument
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Standing at 284 feet tall, the Indianapolis Soldiers and Sailors Monument pays tribute to Indiana's veterans. The monument was originally built in the early 1900s to recognize Hoosiers who fought in the Civil War, but it has gradually come to symbolize the sacrifices made by the veterans of all wars. The cornerstone for the monument was laid in 1889.
A copper box inside the stone still contains a list of all the Indiana soldiers who fought in the Civil War, copies of Indiana's state constitutions, an American flag with thirty-eight stars, and other significant items. The ornate monument, which is located in Monument Circle, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in February, 1973.
14.Bankers Life Fieldhouse
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The Bankers Life Fieldhouse was built to handle all types of large-scale public and private events. The stadium is mainly used for basketball games involving the Indiana Pacers. Opened in 1999, the stadium was originally called the Conseco Fieldhouse but the name was changed in 2011.
Outside of basketball, the stadium hosts concerts, wrestling competitions, ice hockey games, and other entertaining events. At peak times, the stadium houses 60+ concession stands, so visitors have all manner of food to choose from during intermissions. There is room for more than 20,000 fans in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
125 South Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204
15.Indiana State Capitol
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Established in 1888, the Indiana State Capitol is a regal building that houses the state's executive branch offices. The four-floor limestone structure underwent an extensive renovation process in 1988, 100 years after its original construction. The renovation cost roughly $10 million and was completed over a two-year period.
Today, the interior of the capitol building features an ornate stained glass dome, marble floors and steps, an array of plants and trees and all kinds of artwork. The building is open throughout the year for tour groups, special events, congressional meetings, and legislative work. The capitol can also be reserved for weddings and private parties.
200 W Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204, Phone: 317-233-5293
16.USS LST Ship Memorial
© USS LST Ship Memorial
The USS LST Ship Memorial is an amphibian ship that was used during World War II. LST stands for “landing ship, tank”, and the LST on display in Indiana was used all over the world for a variety of purposes. This particular ship began its career in 1942 with trips to Algeria and Bermuda.
Subsequently, the vessel traveled to Italy, Tunisia, Libya, Florida, Greenland, and other far-flung ports of call. Delivered to its current resting place in Evansville in December, 2005, the ship is now maintained by a dedicated crew of volunteers. The USS LST Ship Memorial is run completely from donations of time and money.
17.Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
© Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site pays tribute to the life of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States. Harrison's life as a Civil War survivor, a lawyer, and eventually a politician is depicted throughout the site in pictures, written works, and interactive exhibits.
Caroline Harrison, the wife of President Harrison, is also celebrated at the historical site. Her contributions to the women's suffrage movement as well as her paintings are displayed throughout the museum. The presidential site is used for special events like corporate parties, concerts, and speakers. Daily tours are available at the presidential site for groups and individuals.
1230 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46202, Phone: 317-631-1888
18.Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park
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Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park is located in Shipshewana. This family-friendly destination is filled with all types of animals, including horses, deer, birds, donkeys, goats, and llamas. Exotic animals like zebras, monkeys, camels, and ostriches are also housed within the park.
Unlike a zoo, visitors at Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park can pet the animals, feed them, and even sit with some of them. Kids especially enjoy interacting with the miniature horses, little chicks, and rabbits. Guests can also enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn carriage while at the park. Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park is open throughout the summer and early fall.
6255 North 1000 West, Shipshewana, Indiana, 46565, Phone: 260-768-4416
19.Indiana Attractions: Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
© NPS Photo
Abraham Lincoln is celebrated as one of the greatest leaders in American history. At his childhood homestead in Southern Indiana, visitors can get a firsthand look at Lincoln's humble beginnings. His homestead has been recreated on a 160-acre tract of land that once belonged to the Lincoln family. Staff at the living history park dress in clothing that is reminiscent of the 1820s.
For activities, visitors can view all types of interesting demonstrations of cooking, quilt making, crop harvesting, home building, and farming. The memorial also contains the gravesite of Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and a memorial building that was erected in 1943. The memorial site is open daily from mid-April to late September.
20.Things to Do in Indiana: Grissom Air Museum
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The Grissom Air Museum houses a variety of unique aircraft. Modern jets as well as classic fighter planes and bombers are on display at this large facility. The museum derives its name from Indiana native Lieutenant Colonel Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, an astronaut who was killed in a spacecraft fire.
Prior to becoming an educational site, the Grissom Air Museum served as an air force base. The base saw plenty of use between 1968 and 1994. After its deactivation in the mid-1990s, a variety of fighter jets as well as refueling, command, cargo, transport, and bomber planes were brought in for display. The Grissom Air Museum is open for visitors all year round.
1000 West Hoosier Boulevard, Peru, Indiana, 46970, Phone: 765-689-8011
21.Snite Museum of Art
© Snite Museum of Art
Located at Notre Dame University, the Snite Museum of Art got its beginnings in the late 1800s. The museum's early acquisitions included portraits painted by Vatican artist Luigi Gregori and Native American objects donated by Reverend Edward W.J. Lindesmith. The museum was built and named in the 1980s, and today the 70,000-square-foot structure houses close to 30,000 art objects.
The Snite Museum of Art has exhibits dedicated to works by Native American, African-American, and Latino artists as well as an extensive collection of pieces from Renaissance and Medieval times. Known for being one of the best university museums in America, the Snite Museum of Art continues to acquire rare pieces from all around the world.
100 Moose Krause Circle, Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556, Phone: 574-631-5466
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Beloved by Indiana baseball fans, Parkview Field has won numerous awards since its construction in 2009. Plans for the stadium were laid in 2006, when the BaseballPLUS committee began brainstorming designs for the new venue. Shortly after the opening of Parkview Field, the Marriott Hotel Group opened a Courtyard Marriott next to the stadium, which has invigorated the economy in Fort Wayne.
Although Parkview Field is used primarily for baseball, the stadium hosts roughly 400 non-baseball events throughout the year. Examples include festivals, concerts, parties, and wedding receptions. The field boasts nearly 11,000 square feet of indoor meeting space as well as plenty of room for outdoor events. Parkview Field is open to the public all year round.
1301 Ewing Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46802, Phone: 260-482-6400
23.Things to Do in Indiana: Lucas Oil Stadium
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The Lucas Oil Stadium is a state-of-the-art event center in Indianapolis. Renowned for its retractable roof, incredible size, and impressive amenities, the stadium can hold nearly 70,000 fans at one time. It serves as the home stadium for the Indianapolis Colts.
Opened in 2008 and named the 2009 Sports Facility of the Year by Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, Lucas Oil Stadium is one of the most prominent attractions in Indianapolis. Outside of football games, the stadium is used for basketball tournaments, concerts, trade shows, conventions, and competitions. The stadium can even be rented out for private events, including weddings, corporate get-togethers, and parties.
500 S. Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46225
24.Indiana War Memorial
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The Indiana War Memorials Foundation oversees Indiana's war-related monuments and museums. It is responsible for managing Memorial Plaza Historic District, a World War I memorial erected in downtown Indianapolis. Built in 1920, Memorial Plaza features an impressive tower along with several statues of war heroes from the Hoosier state.
There are several well-maintained lawns around the memorial as well as sitting areas for visitors. The foundation also oversees the Indiana War Memorial Museum, a 30,000-square-foot facility that boasts relics from the Revolutionary War up to present-day battles. Indiana's role in World War I, World War II, the Civil War, and other key conflicts is highlighted throughout the museum.
25.Studebaker National Museum
© Studebaker National Museum
The Studebaker National Museum pays homage to one of Indiana's most famous companies: Studebaker vehicles. Opened in 2005, the 55,000-square-foot facility holds a range of permanent and rotating exhibits. The museum's core collection consists of the 1st Source Presidential Carriage Collection, which is celebrated for being the world's largest collection of U.S. presidential carriages.
There is also the Original Studebaker Collection, which includes 33 classic vehicles, and the Super Service Center, a fun and interactive exhibit geared toward children. The Studebaker National Museum also has a military section that houses war vehicles from 1857 onwards.
201 S. Chaplain Street, South Bend, Indiana, 46601, Phone: 574-235-9714
25 Best Things to Do in Indiana
- Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Photo: Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
- Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Photo: Courtesy of mazzamazza - Fotolia.com
- Indiana University Art Museum, Photo: Indiana University Art Museum
- Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Photo: Children's Museum of Indianapolis
- Indiana Attractions: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, Photo: Courtesy of EBFoto - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Indiana: Marengo Cave, Photo: Courtesy of xmagics - Fotolia.com
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
- Indianapolis Museum of Art, Photo: Indianapolis Museum of Art
- Victory Field, Photo: Courtesy of Vasyl - Fotolia.com
- Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Photo: Courtesy of pressmaster - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Indiana: The Eiteljorg Museum, Photo: The Eiteljorg Museum
- National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, Photo: Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com
- Indiana Attractions: Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Photo: Courtesy of carmencorbin - Fotolia.com
- Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Photo: Courtesy of ValentinValkov - Fotolia.com
- Indiana State Capitol, Photo: Courtesy of Alexey Stiop - Fotolia.com
- USS LST Ship Memorial, Photo: USS LST Ship Memorial
- Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Photo: Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
- Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park, Photo: Courtesy of _2207918 - Fotolia.com
- Indiana Attractions: Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, Photo: NPS Photo
- Things to Do in Indiana: Grissom Air Museum, Photo: Courtesy of nvphoto - Fotolia.com
- Snite Museum of Art, Photo: Snite Museum of Art
- Parkview Field, Photo: Courtesy of Jim Mills - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Indiana: Lucas Oil Stadium, Photo: Courtesy of andreykr - Fotolia.com
- Indiana War Memorial, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Studebaker National Museum, Photo: Studebaker National Museum
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Alexey Stiop - Fotolia.com