Indianapolis has been Indiana’s capitol since 1825 and has been growing ever since but more than ever in the past decade. The nation’s twelfth largest city is a one-day drive for more than half of America’s citizens and there is something in Indy to interest everyone.
In the center is the city is the famous Monument Circle, home to the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument, dedicated in 1902 to honor the Indiana servicemen of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. The top of the 32-story monument gives an outstanding view of the city. The lower level of the monument houses a Civil War museum.
The Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District is a downtown area between Meridian and Pennsylvania. Here are the Indiana War Memorial, Veteran’s Memorial Plaza, The American Legion Mall, World War II Memorial, and the USS Indianapolis, a National Memorial to those who lost their lives in the last ship to be sunk in World War II.
The new building housing the Indiana State Museum opened in the spring of 2002. The museum has been around since 1852 in one or another location but the new facility is in White River State Park, located in the heart of the city. Exhibits include Indiana history and culture, natural history, rotating displays of Indiana artists from the museum’s collection of 8000 works, and Legacy Theater, a combination exhibit and stage production that depicts Indiana’s African-American history.
White River State Park is also home to Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. Among the permanent collections are works by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Victor Higgins, and Georgia Oâ€™Keefe and many artists of Taos, New Mexico. Artifacts from almost every tribe in North America are represented in this unique museum. Indian Market Days are hosted every year in the summer, offering events that include artists, food, music and dance.
Sports fans will want to visit The NCAA Hall of Champions, also at White River. The Hall of Champions hosts interactive displays, games, theater, and exhibits about College sports. The replica 1920’s gym is frequently open to visitors to practice their jump shots.
The Children’s Museum isn’t just for kids. Adults will also enjoy the 19th-century locomotive, antique carousel, an Indy race car, and the full-size model of a tyrannosaurus rex that serves as an official greeter to the museum. The museum has many interactive exhibits and there is something for kids of every age. There are ten galleries in this museum that has been ranked as the best children’s museum in the country. It’s located at 3000 North Meridian Street.
James Whitcomb Riley, author of the famous poem Little Orphan Annie, lived in the historic Lockerbie Square area during the last twenty-three years of his life. The poet’s home is the only late Victorian home in the country open to the public. Built in 1872, the house at 528 Lockerbie Square contains original furnishing, wall coverings, and decor.
The Morris-Butler House at 1204 North Park Avenue offers a picture of what life was like in 1865 for an upper-middle-class family. The house has sixteen rooms filled with period furniture and works of art. All three floors of this house, including servants, quarters, are open to the public.
Benjamin Harrison was President of the United States from 1889 to 1893. The Harrison Home, 1230 North Delaware Street, contains a collection of books and artifacts most that actually belonged to the Harrisons. Traveling exhibits are also on display in the third floor ballroom.
Would a visit to Indianapolis be complete without a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500? Located about five miles northwest of Indy at 4790 W. 16th Street, the Hall of Fame Museum exhibits seventy-five vehicles at a time, and the bus tour takes visitors to see the world-famous oval track.
Indianapolis has many unique historic neighborhoods that are full of period houses and buildings. Distinct neighborhoods with names like Lockerbie Square, Chatham Arch, Ransom Place, Old Northside, and Babe Denny are all worth a visit or a walking tour.
The attractions that are in White River State Park each have an individual address inside the park, but a park map would be more beneficial than the actual address. Maps and information are available from the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, One RCA Dome, Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN, 46225.