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One day in Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis street

For someone who loves traveling and grew up in Chicago, I have spent shockingly little time in neighboring Indiana. Over the last few years, I’ve been meaning go check out Indianapolis while visiting home, but it’s never worked out. So when I was putting our moving road trip itinerary together, I knew I had to include one day in Indianapolis!

Indianapolis, Indiana
November, 2018

GETTING TO INDIANAPOLIS

We drove to Indianapolis from Lexington, a trip of about three hours. 

INDIANAPOLIS ACCOMMODATIONS

I stayed at a Conrad hotel for the first time in the Maldives earlier this year, and it blew me away. So I jumped at the chance to stay at another property within this brand! While the Conrad Indianapolis is no Conrad Maldives, it was still a luxurious property with a lot of nice touches that reflect the artistic spirit of the city. I just wish we’d had time to take advantage of more of them; the Long-Sharp Gallery, for example, was already closed by the time we arrived, and we left the next morning before it opened. Luckily, there was some art on display in the lobby, so at least we got to see some of that!

Indianapolis skyline view
Conrad Indianapolis desk
Conrad Indianapolis beds
Conrad Indianapolis staircase
Conrad Indianapolis couch

INDIANAPOLIS FOOD

Our very first stop in Indianapolis was Milktooth, a breakfast and lunch spot that’s gotten some national attention. I had heard from a friend that it was a bit overrated, and I’d have to agree, but I still think it’s worth stopping in, even if just for coffee or a pastry, and deciding for yourself. The space has a lot of character, and there are a few other spots right in that area that I wish we’d had more time to check out.

One that we did get to frequent was Bluebeard, which was excellent. We snuck in for dinner (they don’t take reservations).

Milktooth potato pancake
Milktooth tables
Milktooth counterBluebeard interiors

INDIANAPOLIS DRINKS

On our way out of town, we stopped at the Indianapolis City Market, which is apparently a great place to drink. Since it was morning, though, I just grabbed tea at Mile Square Coffee and got on the road. I will point out that Indianapolis also has a location of Quills Coffee, a spot I LOVED in Louisville, and had we known that at the time, we probably would have gone!

Beer Lovers should head to HopCat, another spot I know from an outpost in a different city (the original is in Grand Rapids, Michigan). 

Indianapolis City Market sign
Mile Square Coffee

THINGS TO DO IN INDIANAPOLIS

We really enjoyed the Indianapolis Canal Walk, even on a cold day. The views are beautiful and beneath the bridges are murals waiting to be discovered. You’ll pass ducks and, on warmer days, boats, too!
After that we headed to Broad Ripple Village, and I kind of wished we hadn’t. It has a bit of a collegiate feel to it and it’s set a bit away from downtown, so heading there ate up a good chunk of our usable daylight hours. Instead, I wish we’d had more time to spend at Newfields, Indianapolis’ art museum. There’s so much to see there and we barely scratched the surface with a brief visit to the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. The 100-acre park is home to a number of sculptures, including a funky skeleton sculpture that you can climb on. 
As I mentioned earlier, the Indianapolis City Market is another worthwhile stop, and make sure to drive by the state capitol or catch a tour if that’s your cup of tea!
Indianapolis Canal Walk bridge
Indianapolis Canal Walk ducks
Indianapolis Canal Walk art
Skeleton sculpture
Plants and sculpture
Starburst over the canal
Indiana State Capitol
Indianapolis City Market interior

NEXT TIME

Indianapolis is jam-packed with art and that will definitely be my focus the next time I go. Art Bank Gallery and the collection at The Alexander hotel are two other art hubs I’d love to see in addition to Long-Sharp and Newfields. 

On the culinary front, Rook looks great for lovers of Asian fusion.

MILES MATH

I always say there’s no such thing as a “bad” points redemption, but there are definitely times when it makes more sense on paper to pay cash than to use points. This was one of them. The Conrad set me back 70,000 Hilton Honors points, which if spent elsewhere could have snagged a much more expensive room than the $200-something one we stayed in. Under normal circumstances, we definitely would have paid cash for this one. But because we were moving cross-country (not a cheap undertaking) and I had a wealth of Hilton points stashed away, I decided to go for it and get the room for free. 

For more on earning and using points and miles to travel for free, visit the 52 Cities free resource library or register to join me on my next live masterclass. And for more on my cross-country road trip, check out this post, which has links to posts from every stop!

Hope you enjoyed this guide to one day in Indianapolis! Have you been to Indianapolis? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments! >>

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Carly

January 3, 2019

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4 Comments

  1. Reply

    Gina Indianapolis

    June 24, 2020

    Its been years since I was in Indianapolis and sounds like the food scene has really improved. I hope to visit again soon.

    • Reply

      Carly

      June 26, 2020

      I was pretty impressed! Definitely recommend a return visit, Gina!

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