Heading to the Midwest and looking to explore the very best of Indiana’s capital city? Make your way to Mile Square, Indianapolis, where you’ll find a lively, bustling neighborhood packed with beautiful architecture and Hoosier history.
Part of the original city plan for Indianapolis developed in 1821, Mile Square holds a special place as the core of Indiana’s capital. Mile Square is centered around the grand Indiana Statehouse, and although it may not be that big, it packs a punch for attractions and activities.
Pay homage to the brave individuals who have served their country at the Indiana War Memorial & Museum and admire the architectural beauty of the Indiana Statehouse. Stroll along the picturesque Indianapolis Canal Walk and tuck into mouthwatering delicacies at the Indianapolis City Market. Catch the Indiana Pacers in action at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse or enjoy an enchanting symphony at the historic Hilbert Circle Theatre.
Keen to explore this historic haven? Plan your adventure around Mile Square, Indianapolis, with this complete guide for what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay.
What to see & do in Mile Square
Indiana War Memorial & Museum
The grand architectural beauty of the Indiana War Memorial & Museum is a must-visit if you want to explore Indiana’s rich military heritage. This magnificent memorial stands tall on North Meridian Street as a symbol of honor, remembrance, and gratitude.
Inspired by the Greek Parthenon, the striking neoclassical design of the Indiana War Memorial & Museum, with its 210-foot central obelisk, is captivating. The memorial is surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds, offering a serene and contemplative atmosphere.
Make your way around the museum’s vast collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays chronicling Indiana’s involvement in various conflicts throughout history. Reflect on exhibitions dedicated to World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Before leaving one of the most popular museums in Indianapolis, don’t miss the awe-inspiring Shrine Room adorned with intricate stained-glass windows, depicting scenes from the major wars in which Indiana played a role. Exuding a sense of solemnity, it’s a quiet place for reflection and remembrance.
The beautiful Indiana Statehouse is another architectural gem in the historic Mile Square district. This neoclassical masterpiece on West Washington Street houses the state’s legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
Before you head into the Indian Statehouse, admire the impressive limestone façade adorned with intricate carvings and decorative elements that pay homage to Indiana’s heritage and culture. Jump inside to experience a world of rich history and political significance.
Take a free guided tour of the Indiana Statehouse to explore its hallowed halls, learn about its architectural features, and gain insight into the legislative process and the workings of Indiana’s government. For a truly immersive experience, visit the Statehouse’s Indiana Supreme Court to get a glimpse of the state’s judicial branch and its essential role in upholding justice and interpreting the law.
End your visit to the Indiana Statehouse with a meander around the beautifully landscaped grounds that feature monuments, statues, and memorials that pay tribute to Indiana’s veterans, historical figures, and pivotal events.
Indianapolis City Market
When hunger bites, head to the Indianapolis City Market, a vibrant marketplace packed with mouthwatering treats. Established in 1866, this historic public market is home to more than 30 artisan vendors and is an excellent place to grab lunch, enjoy a pint of local beer, or shop for unique gifts!
The Indianapolis City Market is a food lover’s paradise. You’ll find an array of delicious delights, from fresh produce and gourmet cheeses to handmade chocolates and ready-made meals. Chat with local farmers, artisans, and chefs, and learn about the stories behind their offerings.
Besides the incredible food scene, the market is a fantastic place to find unique handcrafted gifts and soak up local culture. You’ll often find live music performances, art exhibitions, and other events on the go. You can also explore the long-hidden ruins beneath City Market’s Whistler Plaza of the City Market catacombs on a guided descent tour.
The Indianapolis City Market is held every Wednesday, May through October, on Market Street in front of City Market.
Catch the city’s beloved NBA’s Indiana Pacers in action at their home ground: the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Formerly known as Bankers Life Fieldhouse, this state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue is also home to the WNBA’s Indiana Fever women’s basketball team.
Gainbridge Fieldhouse has a maximum capacity of 5,000 guests and top-notch facilities like spacious lounges, comfortable seating areas, and unfettered views of the action on the court. If you aren’t a basketball fan, you can watch world-renowned musicians and bands and other live shows and performances at the arena.
Explore Bicentennial Unity Plaza with its community basketball court that can be transformed into a seasonal ice rink. Keep an eye out for community-based public programs, thought-provoking public art, and specially designed sculptures that symbolize unity and belonging within the community.
Hilbert Circle Theatre
Enjoy an evening of culture and world-class performing arts at the historic Hilbert Circle Theatre. Originally known as the Circle Theater, this cultural landmark is a beloved hub for music and art enthusiasts.
Originally built in 1916 as a ‘deluxe movie palace,’ the beautiful Neoclassical building in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis is now the home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Exuding the elegance and grandeur of a bygone era, the Hilbert Circle Theatre’s graceful façade, grand entrance, and lavish chandeliers draw inspiration from the great European opera houses.
Admire the theater’s most notable feature, the magnificent Hollenbeck-designed Grand Organ with 3,400 pipes! If orchestral performances aren’t your thing, you can enjoy various other events at the Hilbert Circle Theatre, from Broadway shows and ballet performances to choral concerts.
Indianapolis Canal Walk
Capture the spirit and beauty of the city with a leisurely stroll along the Indianapolis Canal Walk. Stretching along the downtown segment of the Central Canal, this 3-mile-long promenade is a vibrant and picturesque urban park that offers a delightful blend of nature, culture, and recreation.
The Indianapolis Canal Walk is a gateway to exploring the city’s rich history and modern attractions. Developed in the early 19th century as part of a grand plan to connect the city to the Wabash and Erie Canal, the waterway now provides a tranquil oasis in the heart of the bustling metropolis.
As you stroll along the promenade, soak up the scenic beauty of the canal, with its shimmering waters, lush greenery, and charming bridges that create a postcard-worthy setting. Numerous parks, plazas, and public art installations dot the route, where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Rent a paddleboat or kayak to explore the canal’s waters at your own pace, or hop on a gondola ride for a romantic and leisurely experience. The paved pathways flanking the canal are perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling.
Other popular Indianapolis tourist attractions along the Indianapolis Canal Walk include the White River State Park at the western end of the Canal Walk, the Indiana State Museum, the Indiana Avenue Cultural District, and its rich African American heritage.
The Escape Room Indianapolis
Up for a challenge? Solve puzzles, unravel mysteries, and find your way out of a locked room at the Escape Room Indianapolis. Step into a world of mystery, immerse yourself in a captivating storyline and unlock the secrets within the intricately designed escape rooms.
The Escape Room Indianapolis offers a variety of meticulously designed escape rooms, each with its own theme, storyline, and set of challenges. From haunted mansions and archaeological expeditions to spy missions and crime-solving adventures, there’s a room to cater to diverse interests and skill levels.
The rooms are designed to be visually captivating and intellectually stimulating, creating an immersive experience that engages all the senses. Explore the room and interact with its elements, uncover hidden clues, decipher codes, solve riddles, and connect the dots to progress through the storyline and ultimately find the key to escape.
Whether you are seeking an exciting outing with friends, a unique date night, a memorable team-building activity, or simply an opportunity to challenge your problem-solving skills, The Escape Room Indianapolis offers an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Mile Square.
Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library
Delve into the life of one of America’s most celebrated authors, Kurt Vonnegut, explore his literary contributions, and discover his impact on American literature and culture at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library.
Dedicated to preserving the legacy of Kurt Vonnegut, the museum is home to a collection of artifacts, manuscripts, personal correspondence, and memorabilia that offer insight into Vonnegut’s creative process and unique experiences.
Explore thought-provoking exhibits that showcase rare photographs, original artwork, and interactive displays. Rotating exhibits explore various aspects of Vonnegut’s life and work, focusing on specific novels, themes, or periods in his career.
The Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library is also a vibrant literary resource center. You’ll find an extensive collection of books, articles, and archival materials and an impressive array of Vonnegut’s published works.
Where to eat & drink
Mile Square might be the historic heart of Indianapolis, but it’s also home to a diverse culinary scene with trendy bars and classic eateries.
Looking for a laid-back spot for breakfast and brunch? Head to Wild Eggs for creative twists on classic breakfast dishes, from their signature Kelsey Cakes (sweet cream pancakes) to savory omelets and classic Benedicts. Pair your eggy dish with a great cuppa Joe!
BRU Burger Bar is your go-to if you’re craving a mouthwatering burger. This upscale burger joint serves a variety of gourmet burgers with unique burger combinations like the Farmstead (topped with pork belly, fried egg, and maple mayo) and the Quack Attack (duck patty with Brie, bacon, and cranberry chutney). Grab a table on the outdoor patio on a warm summer’s night.
For a fine dining experience or a special occasion, The Oakmont is a top choice. Dine on delectable American and European-inspired dishes, from prime steaks to ocean-fresh seafood and indulgent desserts.
If you want a dining experience with a view, head over to The Eagle’s Nest. Located on the 23rd floor of the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis, this rooftop restaurant offers breathtaking panoramic city views. Tuck into contemporary American cuisine with dishes like prime rib, fresh seafood, and vegetarian options against spectacular city views.
Switch gears to a classic pub and eatery, Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery. A local favorite, you’ll find a cozy, friendly vibe perfect for unwinding with friends. Tuck into traditional pub fare like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and their famous Loughmiller’s tenderloin sandwich. Pair it all with a pint of your favorite beer, and you have a fantastic evening.
Ready to get your game on? Head straight to 16-Bit Bar+Arcade. It’s a one-of-a-kind spot where you can enjoy craft beers and cocktails while playing classic arcade games from the ’80s and ’90s. Challenge your friends to a Pac-Man or Street Fighter game while sipping on your favorite drink. It’s a nostalgia-packed, fun-filled experience that’ll bring out the kid in you.
Feeling fancy and in the mood for some artisanal cocktails? Ball & Biscuit is a trendy speakeasy-style cocktail bar where skilled mixologists will whip up creative concoctions or whip out your classic favorites. Settle into the vintage decor, enjoy the dim lighting, and sip on your expertly crafted cocktail. It’s an intimate and laid-back experience that oozes cool.
Craft cocktails and fine cigars take center stage at Nicky Blaine’s Cocktail Lounge. This upscale lounge offers a sophisticated atmosphere with leather seating and live piano music. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and indulge in a luxurious experience. Savor a handcrafted cocktail while enjoying a fine cigar—the epitome of indulgence.
Where to stay
As it’s the historic heart of the city, Mile Square is one of the coolest areas to stay in Indianapolis. Besides teeming with interesting attractions, the area around the square is home to some of the city’s most popular hotels.
Ideally located if you’re in town to watch NFL football at Lucas Oil Stadium, Homewood Suites by Hilton Indianapolis Downtown is a loft-style extended-stay hotel with an indoor pool and fitness center. Relax in modern rooms, studios, and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and dining areas. Stay connected with free Wi-Fi.
Right opposite the Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena, Hyatt House Indianapolis Downtown offers comfortable rooms with kitchenettes, sofa beds, and coffeemakers. Stay fit in the gym, cool off in an indoor pool, and dine in a casual restaurant and bar. White River State Park is a short walk from the hotel.
A stylish rooftop bar and a sophisticated restaurant are just a few deluxe facilities at the Hotel Indy, Indianapolis, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. Set in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis, this trendy hotel has stylish rooms with retro décor, smart TVs and Bose speakers, and fantastic city views. Stay connected with free Wi-Fi.
Le Meridien Indianapolis oozes style with its sleek design, trendy furnishings, and artsy vibes. Rooms are spacious and comfy, and the city skyline views are to die for. Hit up the fitness center or take a dip in the rooftop pool. It’s the perfect spot for a swanky getaway in the city.
For a seriously fancy spot, head to the Conrad Indianapolis. Rooms are spacious and classy, with elegant décor, plush furnishings, and top-notch service, giving you that VIP feel. Pamper yourself in the luxury spa and dine on gourmet cuisine in the upscale restaurant and wine bar. Enjoy some retail therapy at the Circle Centre Mall across the street.