There are so many amazing places to visit and things to do in Indianapolis. Of course, some of them are going to cost money but you’d be surprised how much there is to do and see that won’t cost you a dime. Here are nine places in Indianapolis that don’t cost anything.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Downtown Indy Canal
Indianapolis’ Canal Walk — stretching north through White River State Park — offers a beautiful promenade alongside the Indiana Central Canal. Whether you’re a running or biking enthusiast, or just looking to take a stroll and enjoy the sights, the Canal Walk has what you’re looking for.
2. Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
Dedicated to renowned author (and Indianapolis native) Kurt Vonnegut, this Memorial Library serves as a cultural and educational look at a famously reclusive talent. Take a photo sitting in front of the same model of typewriter used to craft some of Vonnegut’s best work or catch a glimpse of some of his drawings and musings. You can even browse the Kevin Scherr Collection, which features first editions of every Vonnegut novel as well as numerous signed editions.
3. Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Monument Circle
Spend an afternoon exploring the true heart of downtown Indy, Monument Circle. Start with a trip up to the observation deck inside the historic Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a stunning, neoclassical tribute to Indiana’s soldiers. The observation deck at the top of the monument offers a breathtaking look at the downtown skyline, as well as the hustle and bustle of the Circle below.
4. Indianapolis Cultural Trail
Hop on your bike — or remain on foot — and take in eight miles of trail connecting six cultural trails throughout downtown Indianapolis. Take in the sights of the seven public art projects that highlight Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Mass Ave., The Canal, and the Wholesale District. Take one of eight different mapped paths to explore the city and get active!
5. Indianapolis Artsgarden
One of the city’s architectural marvels, the Artsgarden, is nearly impossible to miss. This glass dome serves as both a pedestrian connector between Circle Center Mall and surrounding buildings and a performance art & music venue. Event highlights include Garden Jams, a lunchtime music series showcasing a wide variety of styles and genres, as well as monthly visual art exhibitions on display.
6. Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum
Located in the lower level of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, this 9,000-square-foot museum offers a unique look at the effects of the Civil War on Indiana and its people. It shows the state’s contributions in this historic event both from the homefront and the battlefield. Enjoy audio-visual displays, artifacts relating to Colonel Eli Lilly, and even a scale model of the USS Kearsarge.
7. The Ruins at Holliday Park
Situated in Indy’s Holliday Park, The Ruins are made up of the remains of a demolished New York skyscrapers that were preserved as a work of art. These stone figures and arches were originally part of Manhattan’s now-demolished St. Paul Building, and now reside amongst a ring of classical columns and fountains, making for a serene work of art.
8. Eagle Creek Park
Being one of the largest municipal parks in the nation, there is no shortage of things to do and see at Eagle Creek Park. Featuring over 3,900 acres of forest and 1,400 acres of water, this park offers ample opportunity for hiking, swimming, and birdwatching. Open all year, Eagle Creek has something for every outdoor enthusiast.
9. Lockerbie Square
Known for being the oldest remaining residential neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis, Lockerbie Square encompasses the classic architecture that the city has worked hard to preserve over the years. Including vernacular cottages and 19th century high-style brick residences, this district is something that every history or architecture lover should experience. You can even check out the home of writer and poet James Whitcomb Riley, which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
How many of these free places have you visited? Do you have any other spots where you spend your time in the city? Tell us more about your adventures in the comments!