Indianapolis shows off its growth and impressive attractions

The Indiana state capitol shines brightly among downtown buildings in Indianapolis.

Several nicknames have been used to describe Indianapolis – “The Crossroads City” and “The Railroad City” among them. The one that stands out to us is “The Circle City.” It describes the roundabout that brings together the streets around downtown’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It may be the most recognizable icon for Indianapolis outside the Motorway.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument stands strong in Indianapolis at Monument Circle.

Our recent visit marked the second time we’ve been to Indianapolis in the last 10 years. I looked forward to seeing this monument, as well as the other military-related memorials in the area. While the monument can be counted on to be a popular attraction, we were impressed with the growth and development of areas near downtown, along the Cultural Trail.

White River State Park has grown since our first visit. Interesting sculptures and attractions await visitors. Segway tours are available. Bikes can be ridden around the park. The Indianapolis zoo and botanical garden are in the park.

Public art is located throughout White River State Park.

You can connect to the Canal Walk at the park. The three-mile loop provides a recreational opportunity for people in the downtown area. You can catch people walking and jogging, as well as bicyclists, pedal boats and gondolas. The canal provides a beautiful walk.

The Canal Walk is a popular area that connects downtown to the state park.

Memorials and attractions are located along the Canal Walk. The state history museum offers a look at the state’s bicentennial celebration. A Medal of Honor wall lists every recipient of the award.

The Medal of Honor wall lists all recipients of the award. It’s located on the Canal Walk across from the state history museum.

The USS Indianapolis delivered the atomic bomb that was used to bomb Hiroshima, Japan, by the Enola Gay. The ship, unescorted on its return trip home after it delivery, was hit by a torpedo launched from a Japanese submarine. Of the almost 1,200 men aboard, 900 made it into the water.

The men floated in the water, wearing life jackets. Few rafts were available. As the sun rose, sharks circled the men. Many of the sailors lost their lives to shark attacks. Five days after the ship’s sinking, 317 sailors were rescued.

A memorial honoring the sailors stands along the Canal Walk. The ship’s image is carved in marble on a monument that resembles a ship.

The USS Indianapolis memorial recognizes the men who served on the ship that delivered the first atom bomb dropped on Japan during World War II.

A memorial honoring the victims and heroes of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks uses pieces of the World Trade Center.

A Sept. 11 memorial includes steel beams from the World Trade Center.

It may be called The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, but “children” of all ages will enjoy it. Some exhibits we visited were geared to people eight and older. I thought the exhibit “The Power of Children” was aimed for an older audience. It features three stories of children that impacted the world – The story of Anne Frank during World War II, Ruby Bridges’ enrollment in previously segregated public schools and the story Ryan White, an Indiana boy infected with AIDS through a blood transfusion.

A display at the Children’s Museum featuring the story of Ruby Bridges, who was the first African American student to attend school at a previously all-white public school in Louisiana.

The museum has a Chihuly art fixture that stretches four floors. We love Dale Chihuly’s work and it fits in well with the museum.

The Children’s Museum has a three-floor tall Chihuly display.

The children’s museum has something for almost every interest – exhibits looking at outer space, fossils and life in China. A locally created exhibit, Doc McStuffins is being prepped for a national tour.

Dinosaur fossils on display at the Children’s Museum.

As we finished our first day in Indianapolis, we were exhausted. After dinner at Giordano’s pizzeria (Chicago based, but just as good in Indiana), we walked around the corner to our hotel.

The Conrad Hotel, where we stayed during our visit. It’s an elegant hotel in downtown Indianapolis.

The Conrad (an upscale Hilton property) was impressive. From the Chihuly chandelier in the lobby to the chocolate on the pillow as part of turn down service, The Conrad provides an outstanding visit.

Turndown service includes a chocolate on the pillow and a bottled water.


We don’t normally share photos of bathrooms, but this is an exception. The bathroom has a TV. This was the third time I’ve had that experience. The bathroom also had a shower and a separate tub.

The bathroom had separate tub and shower. The topper was a TV in the bathroom.

Our second day kicked off with a trip to Indiana’s state capitol. We enjoy visiting state capitols and Indiana’s provided a great look into 200 years of history. Indianapolis is the third location for the capitol. Indiana has a two-house legislature – Senate and House of Representatives.

Indianapolis was the third location for the state capitol.

The capitol building is located between downtown and White River State Park. The building sits on a well-maintained campus with several historical statues on it, including one of George Washington.

Indianapolis is a sports mecca. It’s home to the NCAA’s headquarters and Hall of Champions. Minor League’s Indians call Victory Field home. The NBA Pacers have been in town since the old ABA days. Auto racing has a strong presence with the Indianapolis 500 Motorway, as well as the museum and Hall of Fame.

The NCAA headquarters and Hall of Champions calls Indy home.

The Indy 500 is one of the most popular races and is the main sorting event each Memorial Day weekend. I’ve been a fan of this race since I was a kid. I remember the days of the Unsers and Allisons. Now, we are fans of Helio Castroneves.

The Indianapolis Motorway Museum and Hall of Fame offers an impressive look into racing’s history.

The Indianapolis Colts have been to the Super Bowl twice since moving from Baltimore in the mid-1980s. Lucas Oil Stadium replaced the RCA Dome in 2008. We toured the stadium and loved the chance to walk on the field. Not many stadium tours allow people on the field. The people on our tour took full advantage of the opportunity. I enjoyed standing at midfield on the team’s logo.

Lucas Oil Stadium is home to the Indianapolis Colts. The stadium tour was amazing and included walking on the field.

Indianapolis is an impressive city. It has so much to offer visitors. We plan to a return trip because we couldn’t get to every attraction we wanted to check out. We definitely recommend visiting Indianapolis. Plan a few days for your trip.

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Disclaimer: Thank you to the Indianapolis visitors bureau for the complimentary tickets to the Indianapolis Motorway Museum and Hall of Fame and the complimentary stay at The Conrad. However, all views and opinions are ours.