When someone from out of town visits Indiana, it can be difficult deciding on where to take them. There are so many places in Indiana that show why Hoosiers love the state so much, and we often take some of the staple places for granted. If you want to show an out-of-towner a good time, consider bringing them to some of these 11 signature places:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. The Downtown Circle - Indianapolis
If you stop by central Indiana, consider bringing your guests to the downtown circle. Walk around the cobblestone streets, visit the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (and climb up if you’re feeling adventurous), and walk around the nearby shops and streets. If it’s near Christmas time, you’ll be able to enjoy the lit up memorial for Circle of Lights. Any time of year, you can also find horse drawn carriages to take you on an unforgettable ride through the city. Nearby attractions like the City Market, Mass Ave, and the downtown mall make this a great starting point for an Indianapolis visit.
2. Purdue University - West Lafayette
If you will be near western Indiana, a visit to Purdue University is undoubtedly in order. Founded in 1869, Purdue has fantastic architecture and history, so consider taking a tour of the campus. Eat and shop on campus, catch a game, or enjoy a theater or musical performance while you’re there. A visit to Purdue offers a glimpse of the best of Hoosier life, at an affordable price. Impress your guests next time they visit.
3. Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Fort Wayne
This famous zoo has a ton to offer any visitor, with award winning animal exhibits and rides for both children and adults. This zoo houses over 1,000 animals and even grants children (and children at heart!) the opportunity to hand feed giraffes. Visit the Australian Adventure, the Indonesian Rain Forest, the African Journey, or all three! This zoo does close for the winter season, though, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
4. Snite Museum of Art - Notre Dame
If your guests are into art, the Snite Museum of Art will be sure to captivate them. This museum is part of Notre Dame University and features ancient and medieval exhibitions. Best of all? Admission is free and open to the public. Afterwards, you can explore some famous sites at Notre Dame University or eat in nearby South Bend. Current exhibits include: The Portage Path, Twentieth-Century Photographs, No Cross No Crown, African American Voices, and Forging the Cross.
5. WonderLab Museum of Science - Bloomington
If you have children visiting or adults interested in science and discovery, WonderLab is the perfect place for them. WonderLab Museum of Science has exhibits that cater to both children and adults, all of which focus on the fascinating process of learning and discovering. Right now you can stop by and experience Your Amazing Brain (ending in September), Kaleidescope Cave, the Magnet Wall, Giant Flowing Bubble, the Cloudball Machine, the Tropical Sea Aquarium, How Things Work, and much more.
6. Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Indianapolis
You don’t have to be a huge racing fan to enjoy this experience. Visit the famous site of the biggest race in the nation and explore places like the Hall of Fame Museum and the Yard of Bricks. Are your guests looking for a little more adventure and excitement? Sign up for one of the on track experiences and you and your guests can really learn what it feels like behind the wheel of an Indy car.
7. John Dillinger Museum - Crown Point
A really one-of-a-kind place to bring out-of-towners is the John Dillinger Museum, reminding visitors that Indiana was home to America’s Most Wanted. Here you can view some of John Dillinger’s personal belongings and relics, some of which are even still covered in blood. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Dillinger, including his great prison escape. Visit his former jail cell, and view a wax replica of his bloodied body at the morgue.
8. Backyard Roller Coasters - Bruceville
John Ivers, a lover of roller coasters, was so passionate about these thrilling rides that he decided to build his own coasters, right in his own backyard. The Blue Flash only lasts 10 seconds, but whips you sideways, then lunges you into an immediate 360 loop. Blue Too is a slightly less intense coaster, for those not ready to take the plunge on the Blue Flash. Rides are only open in warmer months, from June to September on the weekends. Plan your trip now by calling (812) 324-9030.
9. Dairy Adventure at Fair Oaks Farm - Fair Oaks
If your guests have a strong interest in agriculture, farming, or simply love animals, stop by Dairy Adventure in Fair Oaks for a real treat. Perfect for kids and adults, Dairy Adventure offers activities such as playing in Mooville or on the Calcium Climbers Magnetic Wall. You can also watch and witness the miracle of life within the Birthing Barn, where you’ll see newborn baby calves. Learn about nutrition, cow safety, milk, and so much more.
10. Joe Palooka Statue - Oolitic
If your visitors are comic fans or used to enjoy the Sunday Funnies, they’ll certainly enjoy seeing this large statue of famous comic book figure, Joe Palooka. The statue was built in 1947 and has kept fans coming back ever since. Be sure to brush up on your old Joe Palooka trivia along the way!
11. Santa Statue, Santa's Castle, and the Santa Museum - Santa Claus
What used to be a part of Santa Claus town now stands as a fun-themed candy store. Nearby, you can also visit the 22-foot statue of Santa Claus, which is actually the sole survivor of an old Santa Claus themed park. Of course, for true Christmas lovers, there’s also the Santa Claus Museum, which includes exhibits like the typewriter where Santa types out his letters to girls and boys every holiday season. For even more Santa Claus fun, visit Holiday World in the same town.
What do you think of these fun, Indiana staples for bringing an out-of-towner? Do you have any other Hoosier hot spots that should be on this list?