Top 20 Things To Do In Indianapolis With Family

Indianapolis City

Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, is a great destination for families looking for fun and educational activities. Known as the “Crossroads of America,” Indy has a lot to offer visitors of all ages. From world-class museums and zoos to amusement parks and spectator sports, there are many ways to spend quality time together as a family in this midwestern city.

In this guide, I’ll share my top recommendations for family-friendly things to do in Indianapolis, including some tips to make the most of your visit. Whether you’re local or coming from out of town, this list has something for everyone – from free parks and playgrounds to popular attractions worth the admission price.

Visit the Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo

One of the top things to do in Indianapolis with kids is to visit the Indianapolis Zoo. This world-class zoo has been around since 1988 and is home to over 3,800 animals of 320 different species.

Some of the highlights at the Indianapolis Zoo include the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, which is one of the largest and most advanced orangutan exhibits in the world. You can see these amazing apes up close on an elevated walkway.

The zoo’s Plains exhibit transports you to the grasslands of Africa with giraffes, zebras, antelope, and more roaming in large open habitats. Don’t miss the underwater dolphin viewing area at Oceans, where you can watch the dolphins swim above and around you through floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Other popular exhibits include the Deserts Dome featuring meerkats, Forests featuring otters and crocodilians, Flights of Fancy Bird show, and the Dolphin Adventure show.

The Indianapolis Zoo has lots of interactive experiences too, like feeding the giraffes, touching sharks and stingrays, and riding the carousel.

Insider tips:

  • Arrive early, especially on weekends, as parking fills up fast. Purchase parking online in advance.
  • Take the zoo train ride to cover the whole park without walking.
  • Pack a picnic or take advantage of the many dining options inside the zoo.

Admission prices: Adults (12-59) $24.95, Seniors (60+) $23.95, Children (2-11) $19.95. Free for children under 2. Discounts are available online.

Location: 1200 West Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46222

Have Fun at Conner Prairie

Just 15 minutes from downtown Indianapolis is Conner Prairie, an interactive outdoor history museum that truly makes history come alive for kids and families.

Spanning nearly 1,000 acres, Conner Prairie takes you back to the 19th century with its picturesque grounds, historical structures, live interpreters, and immersive exhibits.

You can visit a charming 1836 Prairietown where costumed townsfolk go about their daily routines and engage you in conversations and activities of the time period. Meet the goats on the roof of the Mason house!

Conner Prairie also features an outdoor 1859 Balloon Voyage adventure that takes you soaring over the museum in a helium balloon. Kids love this unique ride that provides panoramic views.

For Native American culture, you can walk through a recreation of a 300-year-old Lenape village filled with wigwams and canoes. There are also opportunities here to learn to throw spears, start fires, and more!

Other highlights include exploring the 1863 Civil War Journey military encampment, going on a covered wagon ride, and visiting the barnyard animals.

Insider tips:

  • Allow at least 3-4 hours to fully experience Conner Prairie. Wear comfy shoes for walking on trails.
  • Pack a picnic or eat at one of the on-site eateries like Mrs. Conner’s Tea Room.
  • Ask about the daily activity schedule to catch historically inspired crafts, trades, and reenactments.

Admission prices: Adults $20, Youth (3-12) $15. Special events cost extra.

Location: 13400 Allisonville Rd, Fishers, IN 46038.

Enjoy Nature at Eagle Creek Park

Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis

If your family enjoys the outdoors, Eagle Creek Park is a wonderful (and free!) place to spend a day while in Indianapolis. Spanning over 4,000 acres, Eagle Creek is one of the largest city parks in the country with plenty of scenic trails, waterways, and activities.

Go for a relaxing hike or bike ride on one of the many paved and natural surface trails that wind through lush forests and grasslands and by the reservoir. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the scenic picnic areas. Launch your own boat, canoe or kayak to explore Eagle Creek Reservoir – the second-largest body of water in Indianapolis.

The family-friendly Environmental Education Center has hands-on exhibits teaching about ornithology, aquatic life, forestry, wildlife, and ecology. You can sign up for guided canoe trips and other family programs offered throughout the year.

Insider tips:

  • Try the 1.5-mile Trail 3 for lake views and the .6-mile Wetlands Trail to birdwatch.
  • Rent a pedal boat, canoe, kayak, or SUP onsite for use on the reservoir.
  • Keep an eye out for eagles, herons, waterfowl, and other wildlife.

Location: 7840 W 56th St, Indianapolis, IN 46254

Watch IndyCar Racing

Indy Car Racing

Home to the iconic Indianapolis 500, it’s no surprise racing is huge in Indy, especially open-wheel racing. Families can take a tour of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway and check out its Speedway Museum. But the best way to experience IndyCar racing is to get tickets to an exciting event.

The NTT IndyCar series hosts several races right in downtown Indianapolis throughout the year. The popular IndyCar Grand Prix takes place on the speedway’s road course in May. Other races around downtown include the Indy 500 “kick-off” Grand Prix on Memorial Day weekend, taking place on the track that weaves through city streets and past landmarks.

These downtown street races allow for great city views and provide a thrilling – but tamer – racing experience for families versus the breakneck speeds at the big oval track.

Insider tips:

  • Bring ear protection for little ones for the loud, revving engines.
  • Arrive early to enjoy the festivities and avoid traffic getting into the race.
  • Sit higher up for the best views of the multi-car crashes and overtaking maneuvers.

Tickets: Start around $60 for general admission. More reserved seating.

Tour the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Even if you can’t make it to an IndyCar race, you can still experience the excitement through a tour at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is one of the top things to do in Indianapolis for anyone who loves cars, racing, and history.

On a guided bus tour, you can ride around the actual 2.5-mile oval track that hosts the Indy 500 race. Knowledgeable guides will share fun facts and stories as you lap the circuit traveling at highway speeds. Definitely a thrilling experience!

Visit the Hall of Fame Museum filled with 75 classic race cars through the decades, trophies, helmets, and more. See the actual Borg-Warner Trophy presented to Indy 500 winners like A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, and Dario Franchitti.

You can also walk through Gasoline Alley garages and possibly catch race teams in action prepping cars. Make sure to kiss the iconic yard bricks at the start/finish line for good luck!

Insider tips:

  • Take the 90-minute basic track tour, or splurge for the VIP experience with pit access.
  • Visit in May to combine with practice days and qualifications for the Indy 500.
  • Check the website calendar for days the track is closed for private testing and events.

Tickets: Adults from $15, kids (6-15) from $10. Extra for VIP tours.

Location: 4790 W 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222

Play and Explore at White River State Park

White River State park, Indianapolis

White River State Park, located just west of downtown Indianapolis, houses a variety of great attractions and green spaces perfect for families. Entry to the 250-acre park area itself is free.

Kids will love the White River Gardens, home to a scenic butterfly garden as well as North America’s largest green wall measuring over 15,000 square feet. Interactive science exhibits incorporate water jets, gears, levers, and pulleys for hands-on family fun.

Within the state park, you’ll also find the Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana State Museum, IMAX Theater, NCAA Hall of Champions, and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Outside, enjoy riverside hiking and biking trails, the Medal of Honor Memorial, concert venues, gardens, and grassy fields for picnicking and playing. Ride the carousel, mini train, or pedal boats when the weather is nice.

Insider tips:

  • Stop by the Visitors Center for park maps, attraction discounts, and activity schedules.
  • Pack a picnic lunch or eat at one of the park’s cafes and restaurants.
  • Rent a Surrey bike for a fun family ride around the park.

Location: 801 West Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Watch an Indy Fuel Hockey Game

For affordable family fun, catch an energizing Indy Fuel hockey game at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Part of the minor league ECHL, Indy Fuel hockey games feature hard-hitting athletic action along with silly entertainment the kids will love.

You’ll be amazed at the speed and collisions out on the ice. Players get into some decent hockey fights too! The team’s lovable alien mascot, Nitron, keeps fans pumped up with his crazy antics during timeouts and intermissions.

Kids will get a kick out of the many fan participation opportunities like the “Mites on Ice” where local tyke hockey players scrimmage on the main ice during intermission. Affordable tickets, giveaways, cheap concession deals, and an electric game atmosphere make Indy Fuel games a blast for families.

Insider tips:

  • Catch a game on $1 hot dog night or college ID night for discounts.
  • Sit near the glass for an up-close view – players crash into the boards!
  • Arrive early to take part in free pre-game open skates on the ice.

Tickets: Start around $15 per person for general admission seats.

Location: 1202 E 38th St, Indianapolis, IN 46205

Explore Indianapolis City Market

For an affordable, family-friendly experience, spend some time exploring the Indianapolis City Market in downtown Indy’s historic Coca-Cola Bottling Plant building.

The indoor marketplace houses over 30 boutique shops and diverse eateries. You can grab lunch from vendors dishing up crepes, pizza, BBQ, tacos, pho, and more. Make sure to save room for desserts like cupcakes or ice cream!

In addition to unique food options, your family can browse art galleries and stalls selling items like soaps, jewelry, home goods, gifts, and clothing. The Indy City Market also hosts fun events like yoga classes, live music, cooking demos, and a seasonal farmers market.

Insider tips:

  • Go on Mon. and Thurs. when local craft vendors set up booths inMarketplace @ City Market.
  • Bring cash for food vendors and the ATM here charges a large fee.
  • Restrooms are located in the basement down a set of stairs.

Location: 222 E Market St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Catch a Baseball Game at Victory Field

Nothing says summer like cheering at a family-friendly baseball game outdoors. Indianapolis is home to Victory Field, where the Indianapolis Indians play as the Triple-A affiliate of the MLB Pittsburgh Pirates.

Enjoy affordable tickets, cheap hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, nightly promotions and giveaways, and fun between-innings entertainment like dizzy bat races. Kids can meet Rowdie the mascot and run the bases after Sunday home games too.

With awesome downtown views outside the stadium and a grassy lawn for playing when the game gets slow, Victory Field is a great place to introduce kids to America’s favorite pastime.

Insider tips:

  • Grab the best value seats in the bleachers or upper deck on the baselines.
  • Parking is pricey – take the bus or walk from nearby restaurants and bars.
  • Fireworks nights are popular – tickets sell out fast!

Tickets: Lawn or bleacher seats are around $10. Reserved seats from $20.

Location: 501 W Maryland St, Indianapolis, IN 46225

Ride the Carousel at the Indiana State Fair

Can’t visit Indiana in the summer without experiencing the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis! This classic state fair runs for 17 days every August and is one of the largest in the country.

While the fair offers live music, rides, games, racing pigs, baked goods competitions, 4H exhibits, and more, the main highlight for families is riding the gorgeous 100-year-old Grand Carousel. This historic carousel lights up and features 66 animals and chariots, hand-carved wooden benches, and a Wurlitzer band organ. Riding it is like a time capsule back to the early 1900s!

Beyond the Grand Carousel, kids will love the fair’s endless food choices like giant turkey legs, bloomin’ onions, and wacky fried concoctions. Let them run out of their energy in the SuperSlide and Kiddy Land with pint-sized rides. Be sure to catch a show like the high-diving pigs for free entertainment.

Insider tips:

  • Buy discounted tickets online in advance to save time and money.
  • Visit on slower weekdays to avoid massive weekend crowds.
  • Allow kids to bring some spending money for rides, games, and treats.

Location: 1202 E 38th St, Indianapolis, IN 46205

Admission: $14 for adults, $8 for kids onsite. Discount for online tickets. Under 5 free.

Marvel at Butterflies at Go Ape Adventure Park

Butterfly Garden Indianapolis

Located at Eagle Creek Park on the northwest side of Indianapolis, Go Ape Adventure Park offers tree-top zip-lining adventures and aerial obstacles for a fun outdoor family activity.

Spanning 2-3 hours, the Go Ape treetop adventure course involves traversing ropes, swings, bridges, and tunnels up to 35 feet above the ground with over 100 crossings across the forest canopy. Kids as young as 10 can join in the excitement as long as they meet the minimum height requirement.

For something more grounded yet still adventurous, kids of all ages will love Butterfly Encounter. This indoor rainforest houses hundreds of spectacular butterflies that you can observe up close and even have land on you! Feed them fruit and watch them emerge from chrysalises in the Emergency Room.

Insider tips:

  • Book Go Ape tickets online in advance as slots fill quickly, especially on weekends.
  • Opt for morning Go-Ape time slots to beat the heat. Stay hydrated!
  • Visit Butterfly Encounter on a rainy day for indoor fun in nature.

Go Ape Pricing: $57-77 depending on course. 3-hour time slots.

Butterfly Encounter Admission: $7 per person. Kids 2 & under are free.

Location: 7840 W 56th St, Indianapolis, IN 46254

Experience the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Indianapolis has created a unique way for families to experience the city with the Indianapolis Cultural Trail – an urban pedestrian and bike path connecting cultural districts downtown.

Along this scenic 8-mile trail loop, you can walk, jog, or rent bikes and ride past top attractions like the Indiana State Museum, Mass Ave arts district, and museums like Eiteljorg and the Children’s Museum. Grab a bite to eat or sip coffee at hip restaurants and cafes along the way.

With beautiful landscaping, public art installations, water features, and historical markers, it’s much more than an ordinary trail. Kids love looking for the 10 artist-designed bike racks scattered throughout. Make a game of spotting all of them!

The Cultural Trail provides a wonderful way to get outside and explore some of the best parts of Indy without a car. Certain sections are also open 24/7.

Insider tips:

  • If renting bikes, get them early as inventory is limited. Or use Pacers Bikeshare.
  • Make use of the trail’s helpful wayfinding markers and public maps.
  • Bring water and snacks to refuel, especially with little ones.

Location: Trailhead parking at Alabama St & Market St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Admission: Free! Bike rentals are around $8 per hour.

Cheer on the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium

Indianapolis is home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts – so catch a pro football game for an only

in-Indy experience! Lucas Oil Stadium houses the Colts and has a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.

Even with nosebleed seats, the stadium’s interior design provides decent views of game action along with replays on large screens. Kids will love cheering and doing the wave, enjoying the drumline performances, and meeting Colt’s mascot, Blue.

With a retractable roof, you can enjoy a game come rain or shine. And importantly – the bathrooms are plentiful with short wait times!

Insider tips:

  • Games often sell out so buy tickets early. Look into discounted family packs.
  • Arrive early to see Colts players warm up on the field.
  • Bring hearing protection for little ones sensitive to loud noise.

Tickets: From $50 for upper corners. Better seats are $100+.

Location: 500 S Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46225

Tour the Indiana State Capitol Building

Families can soak up some state history, arts, and architecture with a free guided tour of the Indiana State Capitol Building. This beautiful statehouse began construction in 1888 and features an Italian Renaissance design.

Tours take you through the ornate staterooms, chambers, and stairwells while guides share facts and trivia about the art, architecture, and politics that took place within these walls. Kids will have fun spotting small details like gold stars in the floor and whispering alcoves.

Make sure to check out the beautifully detailed interior of the dome, the Edward Secrest Mural representing Indiana’s history, the House and Senate chambers, and even climb up to the outdoor viewing deck for city views. It’s also possible to observe live sessions if visiting while the government is in action.

Insider tips:

  • Free 50-minute guided tours are offered 7 days a week year-round but must be booked in advance on the website.
  • Tours often book up weeks in advance, especially from spring through fall. Reserve early!
  • Tours are best for school-age kids. Quiet babies in carriers are allowed but no strollers.

Location: 200 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Admission: Free!

See the Big Cats at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center

About an hour’s drive west of Indianapolis near Center Point, you’ll find a very unique family-friendly activity at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, where they save and provide homes for big cats who were abused, orphaned, or abandoned.

Here you can observe, learn about, and safely get up close to lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, and other wild cat species in a quiet rural setting as they live out their lives peacefully in large natural habitats.

Daily educational tours let you see the big cats snoozing in the sun, playing with toys, and going about their daily routines while guides explain each animal’s backstory and info about their traits and nature. It’s incredible to see these majestic animals up close and recognize their individual personalities.

Beyond the educational experience, visiting the rescue center contributes to their mission of caring for these cats that can’t survive in the wild. It’s a memorable outing for animal-loving families.

Insider tips:

  • Tours run twice daily but should be reserved at least 24 hours in advance, especially on weekends.
  • Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes for walking on gravel paths.
  • Bring your own water and snacks – none are sold on-site.

Location: 2231 E Wylie Rd, Center Point, IN 47840

Tour Admission: $15 for ages 4+, younger free. Family rates are available.

Marvel at Dinosaurs on the Plainfield Dino Trail

Plainfield Dino Trail

Central Indiana might not be where you’d expect to find huge dinosaur statues, but the town of Plainfield (20 min southwest of downtown Indy) has embraced dinosaurs in an epic way with its Dino Trail featuring 60+ life-size dino sculptures situated along a 7-mile driving loop.

Created by artist BillingsWorks, this fun roadside collection of dinos aims to boost education and curiosity in kids. Pick up a trail map then load up the family car to hunt for favorites like the T-rex, triceratops, raptors, and more in Plainfield neighborhoods, parks, and business areas.

Some move and roar! Download the free Dinosaur Rap app for an interactive audio tour. Also, watch out for the mystery beasts lurking on the trail that aren’t true dinos… Kids will have a dino-mite adventure spotting them all!

Insider tips:

  • Drive the trail in the morning or late afternoon when shadows make the dinos stand out.
  • Make a game of who can spot dinos first or find the most species.
  • Ask at the visitor center about special dino events like meet and greets.

Location: Trailhead at Plainfield Visitor Center, 206 E Main St, Plainfield, IN 46168

Admission: Free, self-guided tour

Slurp Up Treats at Brics Ice Cream

To beat the summer heat around Indianapolis with the family, head to one of Brics Real Ice Cream’s two Indy locations for their decadent frozen custard treats and unique flavors.

Using high-quality ingredients like cage-free eggs and cream sourced from local dairies, this popular Midwest chain whips up fresh frozen custard that’s rich, ultra-creamy, and smoother than regular ice cream.

Beyond classic vanilla and chocolate, they offer indulgent limited edition flavors like Cow Pie (cookie dough, fudge, pecans) and creative combos like Lavender Honey. Top it off with sauces, nuts, fruit, and other goodies from their massive topping bar.

The ice cream itself is fantastic, but what makes Brics fun for families is customizing wild sundaes together and enjoying your cold, delicious works of art.

Insider tips:

  • Look for a buy one, get one free deal if you sign up for their e-club.
  • Try the smaller kid-sized servings for littles.
  • Avoid the after-dinner rush when service can slow down.

Location: 4915 E 82nd St and 3502 S East St, Indianapolis

Tour the Indianapolis Museum of Art

For an enriching family activity that won’t break the budget, visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art located north of downtown. The IMA offers free general admission, making it an accessible arts adventure for families to tour an encyclopedic art collection spanning 5,000 years of history and culture.

Exhibitions highlight everything from classical European paintings to contemporary mixed media to Buddhist scrolls and African art. Be sure to also explore the museum’s tranquil outdoor sculpture garden featuring site-specific installations among woods and 100-year-old trees.

The IMA also hosts fun family art-making activities in their workshop room, story times in the gallery, and even concerts on the lawn from May through October. Fuel up at the on-site cafe before heading home.

Insider tips:

  • Take advantage of free admission. Fee for special ticketed exhibits only.
  • Download the IMA app for exhibit guides and to plan your visit.
  • IMA Kids interactive area offers hands-on art play from 18 months to age 8.

Location: 4000 Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Admission: Free general. Fees for special exhibits.

See Sharks Swim at the Indianapolis Zoo

One of the coolest experiences for animal-loving kids at the Indianapolis Zoo is getting up-close views of sharks and stingrays at Shark Lagoon. This indoor aquatic exhibit lets you safely walk through an underwater viewing tunnel surrounded on all sides by sharks of different species swimming around and above you.

It’s a chance to observe sharks up close and gain an appreciation for their beauty, diversity, and importance to ocean ecosystems. Species you may spot include sand tiger sharks, blacktip reef sharks, zebra sharks, and giant guitarfishes along with many types of rays.

Interactive touch experiences let kids and adults feel the velvety wings of cow nose rays gliding by in the petting pool or the sandpaper skin of small epaulet sharks. An informative display on shark biology and conservation brings the exhibit together.

Insider tips:

  • Visit Shark Lagoon earlier or near closing when it’s quieter.
  • Check feeding times posted to see sharks actively hunting for food.
  • Bring your own aquarium viewers to get an even closer look!

Location: Shark Lagoon inside Indianapolis Zoo, 1200 W Washington St.

Admission: Included with zoo admission ticket.

Enjoy Art, Science & Nature at Newfields

Newfields in Indianapolis encompass 152 acres of amazing gardens, contemporary art galleries, and grand historic architecture that families could spend an entire day exploring. This expansive museum campus houses both the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Lilly House’s historic home.

Beyond remarkable artwork spanning ancient to modern, highlights for kids include an interactive art lab, fun classes, and workshops, exploring wild wooded trails and green spaces, and hands-on science activities at The Garden for everyone 6 and under.

Special exhibitions like the annual Winterlights holiday light display, Fairy Houses in the Woods, and showings of Film for Fashion provide fresh experiences. The campus also hosts seasonal festivals, music events, and outdoor films for families.

With free park-like grounds and free admission for kids under 18, Newfields offers Indianapolis families an affordable day of arts, nature, and discovery.

Insider tips:

  • Take advantage of free grounds admission and free under-18 admission.
  • Download the mobile guide for exhibit highlights and wayfinding.
  • Pack a picnic or eat at the on-site cafe.

Location: 4000 Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Tour NCAA Hall of Champions

Sports-loving families can learn about college athletics and experience interactive exhibits at the NCAA Hall of Champions located in White River State Park just west of downtown Indianapolis.

This 35,000-square-foot facility celebrates all 24 NCAA sports through hands-on games and sports simulators, artifacts from past championship events, informational displays on college athlete health and training, and tributes to individual stand-out players.

Kids can test their vertical leap, shoot free throws, catch football against a projected video screen, swing a bat in a batting cage simulator, and more. The Road to the Championship exhibit highlights inspiring underdog stories in college sports.

With free admission for kids under 5 and family discount tickets, it’s an affordable indoor activity for all ages to learn about popular college sports while staying active and entertained.

Insider tips:

  • Grab discounted combo tickets that include the neighboring Eiteljorg Museum.
  • Plan at least 2 hours to get through all 3 levels of interactive exhibits.
  • Time your visit with NCAA championships held in Indy for special exhibits.

Location: 700 W Washington St Suite 201, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Admission: Adults $6, Kids 5-12 $4, 4 & under free

Play Mini Golf at Pirate’s Cove

Avast ye scallywags! For family-friendly fun with a silly pirate theme, tee off at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf located north of downtown Indianapolis.

This creative 18-hole mini golf course transports players to the high seas with pirate shipwrecks, waterfalls, caves, footbridges, and detailed pirate characters spread across two themed courses. Kids will delight in the whimsical piratical details.

Navigate your ball through galleons, jail cells, and sunken treasure across greens made to look like ocean waves. Fun surprises like erupting volcanoes, cracking skulls, and chirping birds keep things entertaining.

Play a round together as a family or join in on one of their group mini-golf parties complete with pizza and refreshments. With affordable rates and family pass deals, Pirate’s Cove is a budget-friendly activity guaranteed to make memories.

Insider tips:

  • Grab discounted replay tickets to enjoy both courses in one visit.
  • Wear flat sports shoes – heels don’t work well on landscaping.
  • BYOB food and non-alcoholic drinks to have a picnic.

Location: 7220 Woodland Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46278

Rates: Adults $9, Kids under 10 $7

Enjoy the Indy Downtown

The heart of downtown Indy centers around Monument Circle, home to the iconic 284-foot Soldiers & Sailors Monument. Families can explore the Civil War museum inside this memorial and ride to the top for sweeping city views. Have kids rub the statue’s nose for good luck! Downtown offers plenty of kid-friendly dining options like pizza at Bazbeaux and burgers or build-your-own mac and cheese at Scotty’s Brewhouse.

Walk or rent a bike to ride along the scenic Central Canal downtown and observe boats drifting by as kids wave to their captains. Pack a lunch to picnic in the grassy fields and parks scattered among the city buildings. Don’t miss watching street performers show off impressive musical, dance, comedy, and magic skills on street corners and at Monument Circle.

Between outdoor green spaces, kid-pleasing restaurants, buzzing activity on the walkable streets, and interactive museums, downtown Indianapolis truly delights families looking for urban energy and fun.

Where to Stay in Indianapolis with Kids

Planning a family trip to Indianapolis? Finding the right hotel or accommodation is key to keeping everyone happy on vacation. When traveling with kids and all their gear in tow, you need a comfortable, convenient, and ideally budget-friendly home base.

As the capital and largest city in Indiana, Indianapolis offers a variety of kid-approved lodging options to fit any family’s needs and preferences. Here are my top picks for the best places to stay in Indy with kids:

JW Marriott Indianapolis

For a truly special stay, book the JW Marriott connected via walkway to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. Spacious rooms feature racing-themed decor, a perfect pool for families complete with water slides, and you can watch IndyCars zoom around the track from your balcony! The Executive King rooms are conveniently fit families of 4.

Hampton Inn Indianapolis Downtown

Within walking distance of all major downtown attractions, this reliable Hampton Inn appeals to families with free hot breakfast daily, free WiFi, an indoor pool, and a fitness room. Request rooms on higher floors for gorgeous city views.

SpringHill Suites Indianapolis Downtown

Another great value option downtown, SpringHill Suites offers roomy family suites with mini-fridges and microwaves. The rate includes a hot breakfast buffet. The indoor pool features a waterslide to entertain kids. Valet parking and Times Square Center shopping/dining are directly connected.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Indianapolis Downtown

For extended family stays, Home2 Suites has low weekly rates for spacious suites with kitchens. Grocery delivery is available. Located near White River State Park and the zoo. Complimentary daily breakfast and WiFi are included.

Hyatt Place Indianapolis/Keystone

Well-appointed suites, free WiFi, an indoor pool, free parking, hot breakfast, and discounted theme park shuttle make Hyatt Place a favorite for family vacations. It’s located just 10 minutes from downtown.

Residence Inn Indianapolis North

Great for longer family visits, Residence Inn offers roomy suites with fully equipped kitchens. Enjoy free grocery delivery, a hot breakfast buffet, a light dinner, free WiFi, and an indoor pool. Close to museums, dining, and parks.

Wherever you choose to stay, look for conveniences like roomy suites or adjoining rooms, free breakfast, microwave and mini-fridge, pool for the kids, easy parking, and a convenient location to minimize travel time. This lets you maximize family fun while in Indianapolis!

Best Places to Eat in Indy with Kids

Planning a family trip to Indianapolis, Indiana soon? As a parent, one of your top priorities is likely finding great places to eat where the kids will enjoy themselves just as much as adults. The good news is Indianapolis has no shortage of fun, delicious dining options suitable for families!

In this article, I’ll provide an overview of the most recommended family-friendly restaurants and cafes in Indy, what makes them appealing for kids, and some insider tips on the best dishes to try.

Bazbeaux Pizza

Bazbeaux Pizza offers a casual, lively atmosphere with communal tables that make it a great choice for families with kids. They serve up enormous New York-style pizzas with creative topping options. Kids love watching the pizza chefs prepare their meals right in front of them in the open kitchen. Parents say it’s an affordable way to feed the whole crew. Must-try pies are the Pepperoni Deluxe and Mediterranean with feta, spinach, and olives.


Popular weekend brunch spot Milktooth delights families with unique dishes like carrot cake pancakes served with cream cheese frosting and smoked duck in a jar featuring shredded duck confit with sous vide egg and sweet corn broth. The novel combinations really spark kids’ curiosity. The fried bologna biscuit sandwich is another fun one to sample. Just be prepared for a possible wait.

Iozzo’s Garden of Italy

Iozzo’s intimate ambiance and homemade pastas make it one of the best options for Italian cuisine in Indy. Kids are thrilled with massive cheese ravioli, chicken parm, and spaghetti with signature meatballs. Picky eaters can always find something familiar they enjoy. Daily lunch specials are very affordable as well.

The Garden Table

For families seeking vegan fare, The Garden Table is a wonderful plant-based cafe where comfort foods like burgers, mac and cheese, and pancakes are recreated without animal products. So kids with dietary restrictions can also savor a tasty meal. Be sure to save room for their fresh-baked cookies and cinnamon rolls!

Brugge Brasserie

With European-inspired dishes like mussels, hand-cut fries, duck stew, waffles, and decadent desserts, Brugge Brasserie provides families with food experiences that feel special. Parents can sip Belgian Tripel ales while kids slurp milkshakes. The scenic location in Broad Ripple adds to the ambiance.

These are just a few of the top eateries in Indianapolis where parents can relax and kids can be their happy, hungry selves. When tummies are rumbling, all ages will find something to enjoy at family-friendly restaurants in Indy!

Plan your family getaway to Indianapolis

Indianapolis offers an amazing array of family-friendly attractions, activities, and dining options guaranteed to delight kids of all ages. From exploring hands-on exhibits at the world’s largest Children’s Museum to witnessing IndyCars speed around the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this city provides interactive educational experiences that fascinate curious young minds.

Families can also soar through treetop zip lines, picnic along the scenic Canal, spot exotic butterflies in the Conservatory, and indulge in wacky fried fair foods. When it comes to planning an affordable Midwest getaway filled with urban adventures, hidden local gems, and endless entertainment for the whole family, it’s tough to beat everything spectacular Indianapolis has to offer.

Kids won’t stop begging to return to Indy after making unforgettable memories together at this dynamic, culture-rich destination ideal for family vacations.

Indy is a city worth visiting with family. Try it and find it yourself!

Well, last but not least, If you are an explorer by heart and love to travel, you can check out our budget traveling hacks post. Or if you love to travel solo, you must check out our post on how to stay safe while traveling solo

If you happen to travel to Minneapolis, check out our blog Best Things to Do in Minneapolis.

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