My approaching visit to Indianapolis wasn’t on the travel radar as recently as three months ago. That’s not because traveling to a Midwestern city isn’t my cup of tea; in fact, it’s exactly the type of travel I enjoy. I recently wrote about how not all travel destinations have to be those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I love fabulous destinations like New York City, the European hot spots and the great wine regions of California. But I also enjoy those destinations that aren’t always the first to come to mind. I’m excited about finding some Indianapolis family fun as we #ExploreIndy.
After having the pleasure of meeting the folks at Visit Indy earlier this summer and learning more about their city, I became excited about the prospects of visiting Indianapolis. As I began looking into information about Indy I quickly learned about the great cultural neighborhoods, shopping, fantastic food, loads of breweries and fun activities for children. And when we finally set our sights on a Labor Day weekend visit my only concern was how we’d fit all the exciting activities into a four-day trip. I’ve since narrowed down my original Indy wish list, although I’m still not sure how we’ll be able to fit in all the exciting possibilities.
It won’t be easy, but as I recently discovered while studying a map of Indianapolis, most of the shopping, museums, restaurants and other sites we’ll be visiting are in close proximity in the Downtown area. In fact, I’d venture to say we will be able to walk to most of the places on our itinerary. It definitely helps that we’ll be staying Downtown at the newly renovated Omni Severin Hotel.
Speaking of the plan, what’s on that itinerary? Well, without going into too many details, here are the highlights. And while we’ll be seeking out plenty of great food and drink, shopping and culture, this is a family getaway. So we’ll be hitting some spots that aren’t always top of mind when it’s just Stacey and I traveling.
Attractions on Our Radar:
Rhythm! DiscoveryCenter: A new spot where kids can be kids and play drums as loud as they want. That will be good for us, as our 6-year-old son has been taking drum lessons for two years and playing drums since he was 3.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse: We’re keeping this one on the down low just in case it doesn’t come to fruition. But we’re hoping to take our basketball-obsessed son to the Indiana Pacers arena for a quick look around. When our hometown Memphis Grizzlies were planning a state-of-the-art arena, they used the Pacers’ home as the model.
Victory Field: We have a really cool minor league ballpark at home in Memphis, but that doesn’t mean we can’t check out one of the best, Victory Field, home of the Indians. I love making baseball trips with my friends but it’s rare that I do so with the family. And it’s one more ballpark to add to my growing list.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: This is a big one. In fact, it’s the world’s largest children’s museum in the world. I’m thinking a 6-year-old boy will have a blast here.
100 Acres: Art and NaturePark: Proving that this trip isn’t just for dad and son, we’ll be mixing in a little culture at The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s art and nature park and its nine art installments. If there’s time we’ll step into the museum.
White River State Park: I’m not sure what all we will accomplish at this park. I’m really interested in the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. The IMAX Theatre should be fun, not to mention the Indianapolis Zoo & White River Gardens. Who knows, maybe we’ll take a paddleboat ride on the Central Canal too. Just looking at a map of this park just blows my mind. This seems like an absolute jewel for the city of Indianapolis and I’m not sure we can fit it all in. But we will try.
It’s Always About the Food:
When we travel anywhere good local food is high on the list. Here are a few spots we’re considering.
Bru Burger: A Mass Ave hotspot that specializes in gourmet burgers, it seems like a great place to take a kid where mom and dad can hang out in a cool atmosphere. I’m hoping to grab a local beer or two here as well.
Patachou: We hardly ever eat breakfast at home, but when traveling we seek out cutting-edge and local breakfast and brunch spots. Patachou seems to fit the bill. It’s healthy and kid friendly. Gourmet Magazine named it one of the healthiest restaurants in the nation last year.
Mesh on Mass: When I read a restaurant’s description that says “innovative American cuisine” I’m intrigued. This is looks like a solid restaurant in the Mass Ave. arts district.
Tavern on South: A Downtown spot that sources locally. I look forward to discovering more.
Colt’s Grille: We won’t be there during the NFL season, but it will be the opening weekend of college football. And I think it will be fun to have lunch at this restaurant with a tie to the local NFL team.
There’s other attractions and restaurants we’re considering, not to mention my quest to discover a couple of the local breweries. And, not to forget my wife, we’ll probably find time to spend at The Indianapolis Museum of Art and for her to do some boutique shopping.
Something I’ve learned through the years of being a traveler who makes very detailed itineraries is that any number of things can and probably will happen that will keep us from following this. We might stumble upon a restaurant we like that looks better. Our son might decide he wants to spend an entire day at the Children’s Museum instead of just a couple of hours, meaning something on our list gets missed. You know what? We’ll deal with it.
I’m really excited about this visit to Indianapolis. Keep up with our adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I’ll be using the hashtag #ExploreIndy. Follow along and enjoy our Indianapolis adventure.