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What to do in Indianapolis and surrounding area

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Jun 10th, 2003, 07:33 PM
  #1
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What to do in Indianapolis and surrounding area

Hello!

I am flying into Indianapolis for a three day trip. What fun/interesting things are there to do in and around Indianapolis?
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Jun 10th, 2003, 07:50 PM
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cd
 
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If you have a free morning or afternoon, a trip to Speedway, where the Indy 500 is run, is worthwhile. You can take a ride around the track and the museum is great.
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Jun 10th, 2003, 07:55 PM
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If you like jazz or blues grab a drink at the Slippery Noodle. Rick's Boat Yard has great food. A carriage ride around town is a relaxing and romantic way to see the sights.

~ Sheryl
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Jun 10th, 2003, 08:06 PM
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Have fun in Indy. You can find enough to do to occupy a couple days if you're not from a major city. But I must say that Indy is one of the most boring cities of its size in the US.
If you're from the northeast or west coast you'll suffer. If from a smaller town in the southeast or midwest, you'll probably be fine.
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Jun 10th, 2003, 08:45 PM
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We who live happily in Indianapolis take umbrage to the previous post! Do you know that Travelocity rated us as a best hidden gem of a city? It is true that Indianapolis cannot match the flash of its bigger sisters, but there is more than enough to occupy a visitor. We have entertained guests from all over the world and each one has left saying they had a wonderful trip.

But as to the question of attractions. There are many museums. Here are a few: the Eiteljorg, which features Indian and Western Art, the IMA, which has a very fine collection of paintings and sculpture, beautiful grounds, including a ravine garden by the canal, and a house museum which has been meticulously restored (once lived in by the Lilly family, of the pharmesuetical fame), and the Children's Museum, which is so interesting that you really don't need to have any children with you to enjoy it. There's a model train display there that makes many an adult marvel.

On the outside of the city is Conner Prairie, which is an outdoor museum recreating the pioneer experience. It is on the lines of Sturbridge Village and Plymouth Plantation in Mass., or Williamsburg. The Indianapolis Symphony plays there in the summer.

Downtown is very lively. There are plenty of restaurants and nightlife. You can catch a play, walk along the canal, go to a ballgame, visit the zoo or White River Gardens, rent a bike or paddleboat. It's all downtown.

What I would suggest is read our local paper on Friday, when the calendar is listed. There are really so many things going on that you will leave Indianapolis tired and happy. It really is a hidden gem!
 
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Jun 10th, 2003, 08:54 PM
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cd
 
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Well, I feel like a real zero. I live a half hour from Indy and do not know where you can walk along the canal downtown and rent a paddleboat. Please excuse my ignorance and tell me where. Sounds like fun
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Jun 11th, 2003, 08:51 AM
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cd, you can walk to the canal from just about anywhere downtown. There are stairs near the Historical Society, the zoo, and government center, for example. If you haven't been there in a while you'd be amazed at how pretty it is now. There's been a lot of work done on landscaping. There's also the memorial to the ship USS Indianapolis, and the memorial to Indiana war dead, which are both very moving. Also on the downtown canal are the State Museum, IMAX theatre, and the NCAA Museum. You could spend an afternoon just in the vicinity of the canal! And you can rent that paddleboat, too.
 
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Jun 11th, 2003, 09:00 AM
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Thanks dln!
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Jun 11th, 2003, 09:41 AM
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If you're going to Indianapolis then you're bound to run into hoosiers. Relax--they're simple people who mean no harm. Talk to them about how much you love corn on the cob and John Mellencamp. It makes them happy.
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Jun 11th, 2003, 10:25 AM
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Northeast of downtown a half mile or so is Mass. Ave. (Massachusetts Avenue.) There is off beat shopping and art galleries. For a step back in time go into Stouts shoe store. A lot of theater happens there too: Theater on the Square, Murat Theater, American Cabaret Theater and the Phoenix Theater. Dining is nice out that way with R?s Bistro, Agio and the Rathskellar. Try Bazbeau?s for gourmet pizza with some great topping combinations.

Other things to do downtown that aren?t part of dln?s extensive list: Indiana Repertory Theater with its cabaret, Civil War Musuem under Monument Circle, ride the elevator to the top of Monument Circle, tour the Scottish Rite cathedral, visit the World War memorial, Conseco Fieldhouse for sporting events, walk through the State Capitol, off-track betting, shopping at Circle Centre mall and a movie theater.
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Jun 11th, 2003, 10:28 AM
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Dear Brooklyn_Bomber,

It might be wise to choose, as the target for your wit, a state where gun ownership is a bit lower.
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Jun 11th, 2003, 12:01 PM
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drsawyers, please be assured that no Hoosiers were anything but tickled by brooklyn_bomber's remark! I for one wish brooklyn would leave his pithy sayings in every thread because he's just too funny for words. (And you know the corn really is good around here, especially at State Fair time.)
 
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Jun 11th, 2003, 12:35 PM
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dln,
I wasn't tickled, and I know all about Indiana corn. Being called "simple" isn't usually considered a compliment (or very pithy, for that matter).
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Jun 11th, 2003, 01:36 PM
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No offense dln, but the Indianapolis downtown area is anything but lively. With the exception of the 1 or 2 block radius around Conseco or the ballpark, downtown is pretty dead at night.

With that said, Indianapolis does have plenty to do, plus some of the nicest people you will meet anywhere. I've been there off an on for 2 years now, always staying at the Marriott downtown. Conseco fieldhouse is by far the best indoor arena I have seen anywhere. It certainly blows away my hometown MCI Center. Indy also sports the best minor league ballpark I have been to. You certainly can't beat $9 seats a couple rows off the field. There's a couple restaurants downtown, but nothing that will blow you away, mostly of the chain variety (Shulas, Hard Rock, etc.). However I have had one of the best steak dinners I've had at a local place up in the burbs around 126th st (don't quote me on that).

As several others have said, there is plenty to do, as long as you keep in perspective that you are not in NYC, Boston, DC, Chicago, etc.

Have fun.
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Jun 11th, 2003, 04:44 PM
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Non-chain within Walking Distance of Circle Centre Mall:

Malibu on Maryland - Maryland between Illinois & Meridian
Eclectic, California cuisine.

St. Elmo's - Illinois between Georgia & Maryland
Waiters in fancy tuxes, but food isn't fancy: big chunks-o-beef. Knock-your-socks-off horseradish in the famous shrimp cocktail though.

The Cozy - Pennsylvania between Washington & Market
Upscale bar food & sandwiches. Live entertainment weekends.

Thai Gardens - Meridian & Jackson
Gets great reviews. Everything is freshly made, not bought at the chinese buffet warehouse.

Nicky Blain's - Meridian & Washington
Cigar/martini bar with decent appetizers & live music on weekends if you can stand the smoke.

Non-chain Southeast or East of Circle Centre Mall about 1.5 Miles :

Dunaway's Piazza Oxygene - corner of South & East Sts.
Eclectic menu.

Milano Inn - College between Washington & South
Classic Indy Italian

Iaria's - College between Washington & South
Another Classic Indy Italian

Amici's - E. New York St.
Great Italian in an old storefront in historic Lockerbie Square

Non-chain Mass. Ave. Northeast of Circle Centre Mall about 1 Mile:

Agio - Mass. Between North & Walnut
Eclectic cuisine leaning towards Italian.

R's Bistro - Northeast end of Mass. Ave all the way up by the Interstate
Eclectic cuisine, wine & beer license only.

Rathskeller - Mass. & New Jersey
Great German food. Usually music on the weekends.

Bazbeau's Pizza - Mass. Between Delaware & Alabama
Best & most interesting thin crust pizzas in town. Try the artichoke hearts & sun dried tomatoes or the Greek.

Non-chain South of Circle Centre Mall about 1.5 Miles:

Greek Islands - S. Meridian
Family run Greek restaurant.

Shapiro's Delicatessen - S. Meridian
Classic Indy deli. Sandwiches seem pricey but they'll feed two or three.

Non-chain North of Circle Centre Mall about a Half Mile:

Acapulco Joe's - N. Illinois
Good Mexican food with Kate Smith belting out 'God Bless America' at the top of every hour.
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Jun 11th, 2003, 09:26 PM
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We must all be asleep at the starting blocks not to have mentioned Broad Ripple. Funky artsy-fartsy village about 62 blocks north of the city center. Great cafes and bars, art galleries, interesting shops. I will concede that it is more lively than downtown.
 
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Jun 13th, 2003, 07:04 PM
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Indytravel: Can you give me more specifics on the Scottish Rite Cathedral? Location? Tours, etc?

Thanks!
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Jun 13th, 2003, 07:16 PM
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ellen_griswold, last time that I was in Indy, about 6 months ago, you couldn't really "tour" the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The location is on Meridien, about 4-5 blocks north of Monument Circle. It's breath-taking at night.

I'm really surprised at some of the derision that I'm seeing in this post about Indy! It's a surprisingly lively area, getting better all the time. And for a three-day trip, definitely plenty to do. Try high tea at the Canterbury Hotel or pizza at Some Guys. I won't bother repeating some of the excellent advice that has already been given, but the paddle boats are great fun, as well as Conner Prairie -- and yes -- downtown is pretty neat after dark too. And no, I don't live in Smalltown, USA, either.

Whatever you do, relax and enjoy yourself. And as mentioned above all too often, Indy may not be as frenetic as NYC or Chicago, but it has its charms. And why would we want those two cities, both of which I love, to be the yardstick anyway? How boring would that be?
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Jun 13th, 2003, 09:46 PM
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The Scottish Rite Cathedral is 4 or 5 blocks north of Monument circle on Meridian Street. It's a huge gothic structure that has stunning stone and wood working inside. The theater done in Russian oak is spectacular, so is the upstairs ballroom that has wood parquet floors resting on felt-wrapped springs.

The best thing to do would be to call ahead a few days and arrange a tour. It's almost always open for members but they won't turn visitors loose in the building. If you just show up on the door step it's iffy whether or not someone can give you a tour due to their dwindling membership.
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Jun 14th, 2003, 06:18 AM
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Thanks Kasmir and indytravel.
We'll check it out. Hubby clark is a 'Scotty' so he might like it. It'll be only a quick stop on our way home from our western adventure road trip.

I noticed that no one mentioned the
President Benjamin Harrison home in indy! We toured it a few years ago - its well preserved and is a very comprehensive tour. Definitely worth a visit.
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