To the uninitiated, Indianapolis's nicknames — "Naptown" and "Indiana No Place" — may seem like accurate labels. After all, when compared to its neighbors, Indiana's capital doesn't initially stand out as a hotbed of culture quite like Chicago or Minneapolis. But if you look closer, you'll find that Kurt Vonnegut's hometown is just as vibrant as its Midwestern siblings. For starters, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to the Indianapolis 500, which, along with the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans comprise the prestigious Triple Crown of Motorsport. Not much of a speed demon? That's fine — Indy has plenty of other sports to capture your attention, including the Indianapolis Colts, not to mention the Indianapolis Indians, the city's Triple-A baseball team who play in one of the country's best minor league parks.
And then there's the city's family appeal: Indianapolis is home to the world's largest children's museum and an impressive zoo. Meanwhile, culture hounds will be pleased to know Indy boasts one of only two museums east of the Mississippi that showcase both Native America and the American West. Plus, the city touts an 8-mile urban bike and pedestrian path that weaves visitors through neighborhoods, cultural districts and past some of Indy's top attractions. Still not convinced? Maybe the Hoosier hospitality and comforting Midwestern fare will help change your mind.
It's no secret that steakhouses are king in Indianapolis (especially St. Elmo Steakhouse, a landmark in itself), but there's more to this city than meat and potatoes. Whether you're looking for farm-to-table, Creole, Italian, Thai, Latin or anything in between, you'll likely find it. Foodies rejoice — Indy's dining scene knows no bounds.
For breakfast, locals and critics recommend you start at Cafe Patachou with one of its cooked-to-order omelets. When lunchtime rolls around, you'll have your pick of casual eateries, but Shapiro's Delicatessen (get the pastrami sandwich with a side of the matzo ball soup) and Yats (don't pass up the chili cheese étouffée) are Hoosier favorites.
If you're not in the mood for a steak dinner, sample the eclectic four-course tasting menu at Recess, which changes nightly. Bluebeard (which borrows its moniker from Kurt Vonnegut's novel of the same name) is another favorite among locals and visitors. Situated in the historic Holy Rosary neighborhood in a renovated 1920s-era factory warehouse, Bluebeard serves up a menu of contemporary American cuisine (try the chicken liver pate).
And then there's the beer. As is the trend across the country, the Indianapolis craft beer scene has exploded in recent years. Use this Visit Indy guide to map out your brewery crawl.
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