When you think of America’s larger cities Baltimore, San Francisco, Cleveland and St. Louis may come to mind. As important are these cities are in, Indianapolis is larger and probably does not get the attention that it deserves. Known as the “amateur sports capital of the world,” the city is home to more than 800,000 people. If you are planning to visit Indianapolis there are numerous places to see including the following.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum
The original Indianapolis Speedway was built in 1909. Ever since, the city has been a hotbed of race car dominance, highlighted by the Indy 500 race held every May. More than 400,000 people come to see what is arguably one of the greatest motorsport races in the world.
The speedway is located 5 miles northwest of the downtown. It includes a Hall of Fame Museum that is open on most days. Both the museum and the speedway grounds have been recognized by the National Historic Landmark. Approximately 75 vehicles are on display at all times including the Marmon Wasp, the 1965 Le Mans-winning 250 LM, a 1957 SSR Corvette, more than 30 Indianapolis 500-winning cars as well as a Louis Chevrolet Memorial.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd president of United States of America. A three-story Italianate Victorian home built in 1875 represents the president’s historic site.
The home is a three-story museum filled with Victorian furnishings, including many of the pieces that the president enjoyed. Harrison was Indiana’s only elected president and the paintings, decorative arts, furniture and memorabilia pay tribute to the people he knew and the state that Harrison loved.
The Hinkle Fieldhouse is the current home for Butler University basketball and volleyball, a shrine of sorts built in 1928. Although old, Hinkle Fieldhouse remains one of the greatest sport arenas in US history. Even as times have changed, the Fieldhouse maintains its relevancy and is worth visiting to take in a college game.
When the Fieldhouse was built it held 15,000 fans. Later, seating capacity was reduced to about 10,000 seats, making it one of the more intimate facilities of its kind in the country. If you can take in a game at Hinkle, you will understand “Hoosier Hysteria” and what that means to the people of Indiana.
Indianapolis Museum of Art
The Indianapolis Museum of Art is one of the most popular places to visit in the city. It is a family-friendly destination with free admission and activities for young children. Older children are also given special attention.
IMA is located on a sprawling 152-acre campus northwest of the downtown. It is the eighth-largest encyclopedia art museum in the country and has a permanent collection of more than 54,000 pieces, including works from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Besides the museum, a 100-acre art and nature park is another important attraction. Other properties include the Lilly house and gardens, the Miller house and gardens, as well as Westerley, a four-story, 20-room home found in the city’s Golden Hill neighborhood.
Lucas Oil Stadium
Home to the Indianapolis Colts, Lucas oil Stadium has hosted NCAA final four games as well as the Super Bowl. Known as one of America’s premier sports palaces, Lucas Oil Stadium offers public tours at select times every Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tours last approximately one hour and take visitors to the pressbox, to the NFL locker room, out to the plaza and to other areas as available. Bring your camera, but leave your video equipment behind as you tour this state-of-the-art sports mecca.
There are numerous other places to visit as you make your way around Indianapolis. There are a number of shops, restaurants, parks and entertainment facilities for your perusal.
If time permits visit the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indiana War Memorial, Victory Field, the Indiana Repertory Theater, Central Canal, Eagle Creek Park and the capitol building.
Following your visit to Indianapolis you may agree that it just may be the most overlooked and under-appreciated city in the country.
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