Visiting Indianapolis with Kids

Indianapolis is a great place to visit with your entire family, whether for a week or just a few days. There are many fun things to do, from museums to the zoo. There are many shopping opportunities and lots of great places to eat and stay. Indianapolis is full of unique adventures for adults and kids alike.

Places to stay

Indianapolis is full of great hotels, with prices ranging from very economical to very expensive. There are several hotels unique only to Indy. Holiday Inn and Caribbean Cove at I-465 and Michigan Road houses a 50,000 sq. ft. waterpark that includes three waterslides, a lazy river, and an arcade. There are several dining options as well, including a cafe in the waterpark. If you are looking for a truly different place to stay, try the Crowne Plaza at historic Union Station, where you can stay in an authentic Pullman train car. The cars are slightly smaller than an average hotel room, but aren’t lacking in any amenities, and are sure to be an experience your kids won’t soon forget.

Places to Eat

Indianapolis offers an abundance of family-friendly restaurants. The Old Spagetti Factory downtown offers delicious Italian food at a reasonable price. Kids love to sit in the trolley car in the middle of the restaurant. At Rock Bottom Brewery kids can make their own pizza. Joe’s Crab Shack is always a fun destination, where the servers stop to dance and kids can marvel at all of the decorations. There is also an outdoor playground. Pizza King Station in Avon houses a model train set that runs through the entire restaurant and brings your drinks to your table. Johnny Rockets caters to kids, who love the table-top jukeboxes and the delicious milkshakes. Plenty more dining options abound both downtown and in the surrounding area.

Things to do

When visiting the city, don’t miss the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The world’s largest children’s museum boasts five floors of interactive exhibits sure to entertain kids of all ages. These include the Dinosphere, Treasures of the Earth, and a planetarium. Be sure to take a ride on the carosel and shop for souveniers in the gift shop. The food court is sure to have something for everyone!

The Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens is a world class zoo and botanical garden on the banks of the White River. Inside, don’t miss the unique dolphin dome- an underwater viewing area, the new cheetah exhibit, or the hundreds of animals in natural habitats. There are plenty of dining and shopping options in the zoo as well. There are also several family rides in the zoo, including a train, a carosel, and a roller coaster.

Indianapolis has plenty of museums for adults and kids alike to learn and explore. The Indiana State Museum houses a Natural History museum and teaches about the history of Indiana. The Eiteljorg is home to Native American and Western art, with the lowest level full of exhibits and activities just for kids. The Indianapolis Museum of Art has an outdoor art park that kids love to explore and play on. Conner Prairie living history museum teaches the entire family what it was like to live in pioneer times, and you can also take a ride on a hot air balloon for a view you won’t soon forget.

The canal downtown is a great place for families to play. Whether walking along the canal walk or renting a bike fit for four it is a beautiful place that visitors and locals alike enjoy. You can also ride pedalboats on the canal, or be seranaded on the gondola. There is a war memorial on the banks, as well as a steam clock in front of the State Museum. The Eiteljorg, Indiana State Museum and NCAA Hall of Champions are all adjacant to the canal. Be sure to bring your camera!

Water Fun

If you are looking for a place to cool down in the city, there are plenty of waterparks to cool off. Splash Island in Plainfield is a tropical themed park that includes a lazy river and plenty of waterslides. Indy Island is an indoor waterpark on the east side of the city. On the north side, be sure to visit the Monon Community Center in Carmel.


There are plenty of annual events in Indianpolis for families to enjoy. The Indy 500 happens in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The speedway also hosts the Brickyard 400. The Black Expo runs for 10 days in July, and is the largest ethnic-cultural event in the United States. The Indiana State Fair starts in August, celebrating Indiana traditions from the midway to the food to the animal exhibits. There are many other events such as Irish Fest, Jazz Fest, and RibAmerica Festival. Throughout the summer you will be able to find a special event nearly every weekend.


There are plenty of shopping opportunities in Indianapolis. There are several great malls in the suburbs, like Greenwood Park Mall on the south and Castleton Square Mall on the North. Downtown has Circle Center Mall, which includes the Artsgarden with an amazing view of the city and several free events. Mass Ave is a great place to find unique gifts and includes Mass Ave toys, a great toy store that kids of all ages will enjoy. Broad Ripple Village is full of boutiques and restaurants. Don’t forget the Children’s Museum and Zoo store, with great gifts and souveniers for kids and adults alike.


There are several places to play mini golf in Indy, the oldest being Rustic Gardens off of Arlington Avenue. This unique putt-putt course and driving range seems far from the city it’s located in. Great Times Family Fun Park features mini golf, bumper boats, go-karts and an arcade. There are several parks with opportunites to fish, birdwatch, play, or just enjoy nature, such as Fort Harrison State Park and Eagle Creek Park. There are many city parks, such as Garfield park with plenty of shelters and playgrounds, as well as a conservatory and outdoor gardens.

Indianapolis is a wonderful place full of hidden gems and things to do. Your family will find plenty of excitement and adventure when they visit, and will want to come back to experience more. For more information visit:

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