Indianapolis is well-known as the racing capital of the world due to the popularity of the Indy 500, The Brickyard 500, and the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One Race. While these single-day events attract a record amount of attendees, Indianapolis also offers a few attractions that tourists enjoy year round.
1. Indy Motor Speedway– Even if you don’t visit during May to catch the world-famous Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, visiting the expansive Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum provides an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in fast-paced world of automobiles and auto racing. The building itself is constructed of pre-cast cement and Wyoming quartz and a glass canopy over the main display provides natural light year-round.
2. Lucas Oil Stadium– If you’re visiting during football season, catch a game in this 63,000 seat stadium. The retractable roof features stunning views of the Indianapolis skyline and allows fans to watch the Colts play in any kind of weather.
3. Indiana War Memorial– This imposing memorial towers far above street level and boasts one of the largest bronze casting sculptures ever made in America on the South side of the building. The monument was modeled after the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and took over thirty years to complete due to construction delays. Be sure to take a tour of the inside. The stunning art-deco lobby features 24 blood-red pillars made of Vermont marble. At the top of the stairs, the shrine room is accentuated with more than 20 massive blue stained glass windows in honor of the allied nations and the sacrifices of those who fought.
4. Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum– Located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, this museum sits in the lower level of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Admission is free and well worth the multi-media glimpse into the battles, long marches, hospitals, and camp life of the Civil War. Highlights include an 1863 Springfield musket, personal artifacts from famous Hoosier Civil War Veteran Colonel Lilly, and a scale model of the USS Kearsarge, to name a few. The enclosed observation deck is 231 feet above balcony level and offers an incredible panorama of the city.
5. Indianapolis ArtsGarden– Circle City gets its name from Monument Circle, the literal and figurative heart of the city. Indianapolis ArtsGarden is located only a skip away from Monument Circle and echoes its shape with an impressive seven story glass dome suspended over the Illinois and Washington Street intersection. The suspended glass structure, currently managed by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, was able to open along with the mall in 1995 thanks to a $12 million donation from the Lilly Endowment. This skywalk hosts over 300 exhibits and performances each year and is easy to access from street level, so you can easily wander through anytime the mall is open.
From speedways to memorials, Indianapolis is an architectural and historical gem with a little something for everyone.