You’ve heard of the Indy 500, but if you look past the checkered race flags of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” you’ll find friendly people, grand museums and institutions, and a vibrant metropolis in the heart of the Midwest.
One of the best ways to explore Indy is by getting lost in one of its many popular neighborhoods that cater to locals and tourists alike.
In Broad Ripple Village, north of Downtown, search for local art at the many galleries that dot the area, stroll past outdoor exhibits in Artpark’s 9.5 acres of interactive sculptures, or catch a live show at The Vouge, Indy’s most storied venue.
Downtown Indianapolis offers plenty to stimulate the senses. The Wholesale District is home to luxury hotels and the Circle Centre Mall, full of shops and restaurants, and arguably the city’s best steak at St. Elmo Steakhouse. Temporarily transport yourself to Italy by taking a gondola ride with a singing gondolier next to Fresco Cafe or park it for a pint of a local beer at Tomlinson Tap Room in the Indianapolis City Market, home to food stalls, local boutiques, and flower shops.
And as far as food goes, Indy has an impressive lineup of restaurants sure to make your mouth water. Located off the Indianapolis Cultural Trail — an 8.1-mile “linear park” showcasing some of the best spots in the city — is Bluebeard, offering a locally sourced, rotating menu of new American food. Brunch can’t be missed at downtown’s Gallery Pastry Bar where the foie burger will not be forgotten. For a quick hit of cajun flavor, make sure to stop by Yats, where locals can’t get enough red beans and rice, gumbo, and crawfish etouffee.
When it’s not time to nosh down, head to the Eiteljorg Museum to learn about indigenous art, see what life was really like back in 1836 at Conner Praire, and take your little ones to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to see dinosaur bones and mummies before spending an afternoon at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Sports fans can check out the NCAA Hall of Champions before cheering on the Colts or Pacers, and budding race car drivers can start prepping for the Indy 500 by running laps at Speedway Indoor Karting.
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