Indianapolis is a big city, so it is impossible to cover all of it in just one day, but my husband and I sure did enjoy the day we spent exploring in Indianapolis in early fall. Read on to find which areas we picked to explore and a list of 10 other places you might want to explore if you are spending a day in Indy.
A Day In Indianapolis: Motor Speedway Museum & Eagle Creek Park
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We live about an hour an a half outside of Indianapolis so we frequent it quite often on our date days and never run out of things to explore.
In fact, after visiting this September (which I am about to tell you about), we visited again in December spending an entire day exploring Christmas events.
Long’s Bakery: A Must Try For All Donut Lovers
We started our September day of exploring Indianapolis with a stop at Long’s Bakery. We first heard about Long’s Bakery through a YouTube video by Less Junk More Journey. They seem to be just as big of donut lovers as we are so when they said they were good, we knew we had to try them.
The line on a mid-Saturday morning was long, but we figured that was a good sign.
Jack is a danish loving man so he had to try a danish. He gobbled it down pretty fast–so I would say he is a fan of Long’s Bakery danishes.
They seemed most known for their freshly baked yeast donuts, so that is what I tried first. OH MY! It melted in my mouth and was oh so good! We are going to have to go back and try more of the baked goods at Long’s Bakery another time we head out on a date day in the area.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum: Every Indiana Resident Needs To Go Here
In the same video as the one where they are sampling Long’s Donuts Less Junk More Journey goes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. While watching the video my husband and I looked at each other and said: “We really should go there.” And so we did.
After going, I am now of the opinion that all Indiana residents should explore the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. After all, Indy car racing is an integral part of our history and what attracts many to our state.
The first sound I heard when I opened the car door after parking in the parking lot for the museum was the sound or race cars flying around the track. We quickly grabbed the blanket that we keep in the trunk and raced up the hill so we could sit down on top of it and watch the cars do their practice laps.
We sat up there and watched long enough to eat the lunch we packed and then got as close up to the track as we were allowed and snapped a few pictures. This is the clearest one I got, those things move fast and getting a good picture with an iPhone is tough!
Since the cars were practicing we were not able to take the bus tour of the track, but I think that seeing the cars in action was more exciting and memory making than a bus tour would have been.
There is an admission fee to go inside the museum, but it is minimal and well worth what you get to see and learn about the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
There is, of course, a car you can sit in for photos and I, of course, had to sit in it and have my picture taken.
Climbing To The Top Of The Soldiers And Sailors Monument In Monument Circle
After the museum, we headed downtown to finally get a good look at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument that is its centerpiece. We have driven around Monument circle many times in the years we have lived in Indiana, but we have never taken the time to find a parking spot and get out and take a good look at the monument. That is, until now.
After walking around the monument, it is a must to go up inside it to the top. You can take an elevator that costs just a couple of dollars per person or you can climb all 330 stairs to the top for free.
We chose the stairs. It wasn’t as much to save money, although we are pretty thrifty, but more the physical challenge of it. Yeah, we are weird that way.
The views for the top made all those stairs well worth it.
Hiking In Eagle Creek Park
After all those stairs we topped off the day with over 6 miles of hiking in Eagle Creek Park. The park is one of the top 10 largest municipal parks in the USA with over 3900 acres of woods, meadows, and ponds plus 1300 acres of reservoir.
Wildflowers Of Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis
And of course, while hiking the trail I stopped to look at every single wildflower and flowering weed. If you have read some of my other hiking posts, like our visit to Chain O’ Lakes State Park, you will know I am fascinated with all things that bloom.
We hiked the Red Trail, which is one of five hiking trails in the park. Meaning we can visit several more times before we run out of new paths to explore.
Waterfowl Of Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis
The only wildlife we saw in the park was waterfowl, but we saw plenty of that, including these blue heron. At least I think they are blue heron, they are the same shape as other blue herons I have seen, but they are a different color.
Wooded Trails Of Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis
After traveling along the waterside for some time, the Red Trail headed into the woods.
Trail markers in Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis
Unlike other Indiana trails we have hiked over the years, Eagle Creek Park had visible trail markers that were posted wherever the trail split.
Go Ape, Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis
Eagle Creek Park is so much more than hiking trails. There is the Go Ape adventure center that you can challenge yourself on (for a fee). It wasn’t a money priority of ours to do the activity course this time, but I would love to try it sometime.
The park also has a golf course, a beach, a boat launch for kayaks and canoes and boats up to 10 horsepower, fishing areas, playgrounds, cross country skiing trails, and more.
I am hoping we can make it back this coming summer to get out on the water on our sit on top kayaks.
Window Shopping At Salvage & Co In Carmel
It was mid-afternoon by the time we finished hiking, and we had one more place on our list that we wanted to explore before heading home.
Cherie Lowe is a fellow Indiana blogger who has become an online friend of mine. She blogs at Queen Of Free. Every once in a while she posts pictures of new furniture that makes me drool and when she states the price she paid it is always incredibly low. I finally asked her where she was finding these deals, and she told me about Salvage & Co. The store has two locations: one in Carmel and one in Fishers.
We did window shopping only–meaning we looked, but didn’t buy mainly because we don’t need any furniture right now. However, one of our children is talking about perhaps moving out this fall. When that happens, first I will cry, then I will tell Jack “take me to “Salvage & Co I have a room to furnish as my office.” Oh, and I might pick up something for the child’s new apartment too.
Walking The Booths Of The Carmel Arts Festival
After we finished walking around Salvage and Co, we used Google Maps to look up local burger joints because that is what we were both craving for dinner.
We decided to head to Burgerhaus since it had good reviews and was close. However, as we got closer to where it was located traffic got a lot heavier, and parking became impossible to find. We wondered what was going on when we spotted a blocked off street filled with white booths–and that is how we found The Carmel Arts Festival.
Since we were not starving yet, we decided to take the time to wander up and down the street and take a look at the art that the vendors hand on display. There were a lot of talented vendors there and if you love local art, I highly recommend attending if you are in the area at the time that the Carmel Arts Festival is taking place.
Eating Dinner At Burgerhaus In Carmel
After all that walking, stair climbing and hiking we had worked up an appetite and Burgerhaus took care of it. It was the best restaurant burger I have had in a while, and the prices were not that bad either.
I took a picture of the front of the menu because I love the slogan at the bottom of it “Never Stop Exploring.” That right there is a slogan Jack and I take to heart. We want to keep exploring not just our home state, but North America and beyond. And as we do we will share our adventures here with you to encourage you to do the same.
10 Other Places To Explore If You Are In Indianapolis
As I said at the beginning, what we explored in one day in Indianapolis barely scratches the surface of all the unique and beautiful places Indianapolis has to offer. Below is a list of 10 other great places to explore either on a date day or with the entire family.
1. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park
It is free to wander around this park and visit all the art exhibits within it. This is one of the largest art parks in the country with 100 acres to explore.
2. Indianapolis Museum Of Art Galleries
There is an admission charge to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art. There are several floors and a wide range of art types to explore.
3. Indiana Historical Society
If you want to feel pride in Indianapolis and the State of Indiana you need to know its history and the Indiana Historical Society can help you do just that. There is an admission fee, but it is very minimal.
4. Yats: Cajun Creole Crazy
If you love New Orleans style food, you will love Yats. What they serve changes every day. There are five locations throughout the Indianapolis area.
5. Vintage Vogue by GW
If you like upscale thrift stores filled with unique finds visit Vintage Vogue which is a Goodwill boutique store. There are two locations in Indy: one in Broad Ripple and the other in Fountain Square, both great neighborhoods for strolling around and doing some window shopping.
During our visit to the Vintage Vogue store in Fountain Square I was able to find colorful metal cups for my best friend that were the same ones her grandmother had. She was thrilled to get them as a Christmas gift for me. I also found two blue glass birds that held memories for me of my childhood. Great store if you love unique items.
6. Amelia’s Bread
Also in Fountain Square, Amelia’s Bread offers freshly baked bread that tastes so much better than loaves that come from large factories. Make sure to try some baked goods too; their cookies are oh so good!
7. Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company
After grabbing some freshly baked bread from Amelia’s, head just a few doors down to Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company. When we went there they had art in their window made entirely from white zip ties. But you need to step into the store to really enjoy it because that is where their flavorful coffee is served.
8. Ndy Statues
A trip to Indianapolis would not be complete without a photograph of you becoming the “I” in the i- free NDY statue. There is one located in front of the Lucas Stadium and another on the corner of Mass Ave and Alabama Street. There is also one inside the Indianapolis Airport.
9. Fort Harrison State Park
The best time to visit Fort Harrison Park is when the leaves are changing color. When you visit in the fall, you will be treated to an impressive display of leaf colors that will make for great photos and memories. The park has various hiking trails too.
10. Indianapolis Zoo And White River Gardens
There is an admission fee to the Indianapolis Zoo, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that it also includes the White River Gardens. Make sure to go through both as the gardens are lovely.
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WHERE WE HAVE TRAVELED LATELY
POSTS TO HELP YOU TRAVEL MORE FOR LESS
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Want to know how we afford to travel so often? It is because we have developed thrifty living principles that allow us to live a full life for less money. You can learn exactly what those thrifty living principles are when you read my book Thrifty & Thriving: More Life For Less Money. You can stop dreaming about travel and start traveling when you apply the 40 thrifty living principles shared in this book.