The Indiana Insider Blog

NWI Travel: A Day Trip to Indy

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The Circle Center Monument

I’ve only ever really been down to Indianaoplis for specific purposes – usually for a convention or event. I’ve never really been down there just to visit and be a tourist.

Last week, I had the chance to go down to Indy and explore while I chauffered my wife to a meeting. I took the chance to explore Indy and discover some of the great things that the city offers.

Driving in Circles

Indy is a great city to drive around in. It’s compact and their isn’t a lot of traffic. I didn’t really know where anything was, so I made a few circles around the downtown to orient myself and figure out where things were. Once I got the lay of the land, I was able to park and begin exploring the place on foot.

Indianapolis Museums

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Lobby of the Indiana State Museum

My goal was to visit a bunch of museums. My main target was the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It’s not downtown, but a little north so I headed in that direction. I got there and was very impressed with the building and couldn’t wait to get inside to see the art. Sadly, the Indy Museum of Art is closed on Mondays!

So, I headed back towards downtown Indy with the goal of hitting up the new Indiana State museum.

The Indiana State Museum is a fantastic experience that will take you through the history of Indiana from the prehistoric age all the way to today. You’ll be guided through our industrial heritage and learn some very interesting things.

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Limestone Heritage Display

Did you know that the first widescreen letterbox TV was designed and built in Indiana?

There’s plenty to do in the museum itself with ample displays to keep you entertained. There’s also an IMAX theater and several other special attractions.

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The Focault Pendulum

My favorite attraction was the Focualt Pendulum. Believe it or not, the pendulum is anchored in a way to where it doesn’t move – the building and the earth move around it. I know, it makes my head hurt just thinking about it!

The Canal Walk

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Indy Canal Walk

The museum is placed on the White River State Park campus which has a lovely canal running through it. I wanted to go to the Eiteljorg Museum of American Art but sadly I didn’t have enough time. Instead I decided to walk along the canal on my way back downtown to meet up with Jeremy Williams from Visit Indiana for lunch.

The canal is clean and well laid out. You’ll spot many locals going for a jog or riding their bikes. Tourist can rent cute little paddle boats and paddle down the stream. It’s well landscaped and is really a little gem in the middle of Indy. Best of all, the White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum and the Indiana State Museum are all linked by the canal so you can cram in a lot of exciting stuff.

Eating in Downtown Indy

As with most big cities, Indy has fantastic dining options downtown. I had the pleasure of eating lunch at Scotty’s Downtown which specializes in all things hamburger. You can build any type of hamburger you like. I consider myself to be a hamburger connoisseur and they meet my seal of approval. I recommend the waffle cut fries – they’re delicious.

Overall, I had a really fun day in Indy and I think I’ll make time to visit it again. I was very impressed by the museums and they are well worth a visit. Indy is affordable and surprising – so you don’t need to travel to Chicago to get some big city culture.

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Written by : Jonathan Thomas is a blogger based in Northwest Indiana. He's passionate about the Indiana Dunes and Lake Michigan and wants to share all the fun possible in the area with the rest of the world. When not blogging for Travel Indiana, he hangs his hat at his Anglophile blog - Anglotopia and Niche Blogger Today. If you want to connect with him, you can contact him on Twitter @jonathanwthomas Jonathan receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development in exchange for blogging. For more information, please see our FTC Disclosure page.