Settled mid-state along the beautiful White River, Indianapolis, aka Naptown, is a reflection of the over two million warm, hospitable Hoosiers proud to call the greater city area home.
Hoosier Pride. As a part of that welcoming attitude, Naptownians take great pride in their city. Not only has the city invested more than $5 billion to beautify the downtown area since 1990, the not-for-profit Keep Indianapolis Beautiful has planted over 40,000 trees since 1976.
Hoosier Nation. In a state known for its love-affair with basketball hoops and hardwood, Indianapolis is internationally recognized as the Amateur Sports Capital of the World, hosting more professional and amateur sports events in the past couple of decades than any other city in the United States. How many? Over 400.
A Love of the Out of Doors. For those who want to spend their time outside, there are plenty of opportunities in Indianapolis. Beginning in the 1800’s, many prominent and visionary Indianapolis benefactors set aside green space, spaces which are well maintained and fully taken advantage of yet today. For those who love the sun and sand, Geist and Morse Reservoirs are nearby, with Eagle Creek State Park just west of the city.
History and Culture Combined. Indianapolis is brimming with history and culture. You can visit one of over two dozen museums and/or wander through the cobblestone streets of the Lockerbie Square District admiring the 19th century architecture.
Party Time. Naptownians love to celebrate. With the city’s recent explosion of micro-breweries, there are dozens of spots along your journey through the city to stop, have a local brew and relax. You can even book a tour on Indy’s only 16-passenger Pedal Pub. You can tour the city as you, and hopefully each of the other fifteen passengers on the bus, pedal your way around town.
So Much to See. So Much to Do.
If you plan to visit Indianapolis, prepare to spend some time. No matter the season, there is always something happening in Naptown.
Fast and Furious. Visit the city in May and you can take in the Indy 500, a 500- mile auto race touted as the biggest one-day sporting event in the world. Come back mid-summer and take in the second biggest one-day sporting event, Indianapolis’ Brickyard 400, which earned its name from the 3.2 bricks originally paving the Indianapolis Speedway.
Runners Take Your Mark. Also known as “The Mini,” Indianapolis’ annual half marathon is our nation’s largest mini-marathon, selling out a running field of 35,000 for over a decade. The race attracts athletes and observers from around the globe, and in Hoosier style, offers entry to all those with a heart to compete, including divisions for men’s and women’s wheelchair races.
Scary Stuff. If white knuckling your way through the most frightening haunted house in the nation is your type of fun, you won’t want to miss Indianapolis’ Scream Park. Currently cited as the best haunted house in the country, this ghoulish destination boasts a theme park with five different haunted house attractions. If a few of your party want to opt out or you need a break before going back for more thrills, there’s an area with food and games.
Oh, Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree. The world’s largest Christmas tree is made of 52 strands of garland and around 5,000 lights. Situated downtown in Monument Circle, this Circle of Lights brings thousands to see Indianapolis’ cherished Christmas tradition each year. Dozens of giant toy soldiers, sailors and peppermint sticks and another 50,000 twinkle lights create a heart-warming holiday scene.
Heart of a Child. Whether you have children in tow or you simply have the heart of a child, you’ll want to spend time in the Children’s Museum, the world’s largest with over 500,000 square feet and over 100,000 objects to view. Most recently notable, it houses the skull of a dinosaur found in Iowa, the Dracorex hogwartsia, which means, to the delight of Harry Potter fans everywhere, “Dragon King of Hogwarts.”
The Rest is History
Indianapolis has a great history. From our geographic locale to some interesting historical details, there’s always something new and fun to learn about our city.
Crossroads of America. All roads lead to Indianapolis. Or so it seems. Deemed the “Crossroads of America,” Indianapolis has six interstates woven through the city, more than anywhere else in the country.
Safety First. Everybody loves world records and Naptownians are no different. In 2011, over 1700 city dwellers united to garner the world record for the largest number of people doing a “stop, drop and roll” fire safety drill simultaneously.
No Swearing Allowed. All cities have those outdated, obscure laws still on the books. It seems that Indianapolis, from its deeply decent and family-centered roots, has a “No Bad Words Please” ordinance still in place. But only for the young. If you are younger than fourteen, it you can be fined $3 for each time you swear. Not to fear, however, as the fine maxes out at $10 per day.
Best Thing since Sliced Bread. Not only is Indianapolis the best thing since sliced bread, it actually invented it. In 1921, the Taggart Baking Company introduced Wonder Bread to the world.
Hands Up! You can stop for lunch or dinner at Indianapolis’ oldest bar, The Slippery Noodle Inn, where you’ll find bullets from John Dillinger’s gang still embedded in the walls.
It truly is the people that make our city great. A diverse and energetic group, those living in Indianapolis know that they are the ones that shape the city.
It’s that Hoosier Hospitality Thing. Most notable about the people of Indianapolis is their friendliness. Ask anyone. Whether it’s something in the water or how we were raised, you won’t find a friendlier bunch. As you walk around the city, be prepared to respond to a pleasant greeting from a stranger and to thank the guy or gal in front of you for holding the door. It’s who we are.
The Somewhat Rich and Famous. Indianapolis is home to many names you’ll recognize. Twenty-third president Benjamin Harris had his roots here. The iconic night show host David Letterman called Indianapolis home. Our beloved NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, who now plays for the Denver Broncos, spent 14 years in Indy winning for the Colts. And because we love to laugh, we celebrate our Jamahl Keyes, our favorite, award-winning comedic magician.
On the Books. Indianapolis loves literacy. Home to dozens of published authors, past and present, Indy was home to prominent author Kurt Vonnegut and prominent poet James Whitcomb Riley. You can browse the literary museums of each. For those who prefer their words in song, “Take Me out to the Ball Game” was written by Indianapolis’ own Albert Von Tilzer.
The King(s). Naptown can also boast of its very own royalty. Steve McQueen, known as the “King of Cool” was born here. Elvis Presley, known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” held his very last concert here in 1977, just three months before he died.
Puppy Kisses. Naptownians love their dogs. Our trails and parks are filled with lively pups and proud pet owners. But this “pup” is about the people, “People for Urban Progress,” to be exact. A non-for-profit based in Indianapolis, the group searches out discarded materials, aka trash, and redesigns them to benefit the public. Project by project, they are creating beauty out of waste.
Oh, the Places We Go
More to see and more to do, you’ll only be limited in your sightseeing by lack of time or sheer exhaustion.
The Call of the Wild. The Indianapolis Zoo, situated along the shores of the White River, is three for the price of one. The only zoo in the country with accreditation as a zoo, an aquarium and a botanical garden, it’s worth a day of your visit to our city.
Round and Round We Go. A visit to Monument Circle, the brick-paved circular street in the very center of downtown, is a must. There you’ll find our nation’s first monument dedicated to the common soldier. Descend the steps to a lower level and you’ll find the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum. Climb the 330 steps up (or take the elevator) and you’ll get a fantastic view from the Observation Deck.
Beauty and Culture Abound. Situated in the heart of the city, the Canal Walk is a three-mile loop traversing many of the cultural highlights of the city. If, by chance, you’re tired of walking after a long day of sightseeing, you can rent a bicycle, a pedal boat or even a gondola ride, complete with serenade.
Go Team. A visit to the city would not be complete without checking Lucas Oil Stadium. Built in 2008 to give the Indianapolis Colts a new home, the stadium has one of the finest retractable roofs in the nation. So impressive is the stadium and our city, we proudly hosted Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.
Not just the Midwest. Part of the Indianapolis’ White River State Park, which includes the State Museum, the Zoo, White River Gardens, the NCAA Hall of champions, Victory Field (our recently new and beautiful baseball field) and Military Park, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indiana and Western Art is home of one of the nation’s premiere collections of Native American contemporary art.