Travel to Indianapolis, Indiana – Episode 498

categories: USA Travel

What to do, see and eat in Indianapolis. Travel to Indianapolis, Indiana - Amateur Traveler Episode 498

Hear about travel to Indianapolis, Indiana as the Amateur Traveler talked to Nancy Parode the Senior Travel Expert at about travel to this mid-western capital.


Nancy says “I think that Indianapolis is one of the hidden gems of the United States. So many people fly over it or drive through it or they only go to perhaps the speedway and they miss out on a great mid-sized city with a really cool vibe, lots of things to do, good places to eat, excellent museums. It’s just a place I think everyone should go.

Nancy starts us off at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which even non-race enthusiasts can enjoy. You can get out on the track (in a bus not an Indy car), watch a race or visit the museum there.

Of the city she says “it’s a walkable city, it’s very friendly. Even before the Super Bowl of 2012 the city was going through a massive renovation and cleanup project. Some of the areas where warehouses had been sitting empty have been turned into restaurant space [the Wholesale District]. The built a bunch of neat museums.”

“There is a state park in downtown Indianapolis that has an enormous amount of green space. That is also home to the Indianapolis Zoo and quite a few of the top museums in Indy. In the Summer and early fall you can rent bicycles and pedal buggies.”

Sports fans can take in a Colts game or a college basketball game in a state known for its college sports or visit the NCAA Hall of Champions. Art lovers will enjoy the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, while history buffs can take a tour of the state capital, visit the Indian State Museum or the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.

If you are traveling with kids then Nancy says the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a must see. A giant dinosaur model must agree as it sits in the front go the museum peeking in. If you are traveling with big kids or adults who just think they are big kids the largest gaming convention in North America, Gen Con, is held each summer in the city.

For side trips, Nancy recommends a fall visit to Brown County State Park for fall foliage and the artist colony at Nashville, Indiana. Other side trips she recommends are to the town of Fishers with the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park (living history museum) or to Columbus Indiana which is a company town designed by well known architects.

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Show Notes

Official Indianapolis Site
Nancy on
Travel to Baltimore, Maryland – Episode 438
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis Zoo
Bike Rentals in Indianapolis
Brown County State Park (for fall foliage)
Shapiros Delicatessen
Harry & Izzy’s Steakhouse
Indian State Museum
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Indianapolis Zoo White River Gardens
NCAA Hall of Champions
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
Indiana Historical Society
Fort Harrison State Park (riding stables)
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Indianapolis Colts Grille
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home
Indianapolis Cultural Trail
Nancy on 60 and Me



What to do, see and eat in Indianapolis. Travel to Indianapolis, Indiana - Amateur Traveler Episode 498

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

2 Responses to “Travel to Indianapolis, Indiana – Episode 498”

Jeff Perkins


Hi Chris,

II was interested to hear this recent episode on Indianapolis as have lived for for 15 years now (originally from Sydney, Australia.)

I would agree with most of what Nancy had to say (our grandson loves the Children’s Museum – note this is not a cheap venue) although the zoo is somewhat small. The Children’s Zoo in my wife’s hometown of Ft Wayne, 100 miles to the North, is bigger and better.

Downtown Indianapolis and much of the immediate surrounds has been undergoing a development/redevelopment boom bringing in a lot of additional residents, especially young, professional, bearded, condo-dwellers.

In their wake there has been growth, especially in food provision – and in addition to the rental bikes mentioned in the episodes there are also a large number of Blue Indy electric car rental stands in downtown and nearby dining/entertainment areas.

Mass Ave (NE) is a long established dining/entertainment hub, the old Coca Cola plant at the end of the street (currently school bus depot) is up for development which could add to the this areas appeal if handled well. If no it could also make trying to park somewhere nearby even more of a challenge.

Near many of the downtown hotels and stadiums, Georgia Avenue has developed as a food truck location, especially on game days.

Virginia Ave is a corridor down which the Cultural Trail travels from downtown to nearby Fountain Square and along it and nearby are some more interesting dining options, including the modern locavore Cerulean and Bluebeard restaurants as well as the Turkish Bosphorus, some long established Italian restaurants and three recently added breweries. The Vietnamese fusion Rook should be reopening any day now in its bigger location under some new condos (and just over the road from us.)

Fountain Square itself, well established with its own restaurants, bars and clubs is also starting to have its own building boom and could offer some exciting options only a mile from downtown.

Throughout downtown and the surrounds there are also quite a few microbreweries.

The Benjamin Harrison house on the old northside (an area with a number of large old houses converted to B&Bs) also hosts events (we will be visiting in April when different rooms will each host a separate short one-act play.)

Oh and the USS Indianapolis delivered parts of the Hiroshima bomb to the airbase a Tinian then was sunk by Japanese submarines in 1945 – this was noted for the far greater loss of life to sharks than to the original attack/sinking.

Keep up the good work, thanks!



Jeff, now that you mention the sharks I do remember that story. Pretty terrible. Thanks for the great update!

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