Central Canal picture
Courtesy of Jason Lavengood, VisitIndy.com

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
5.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

The Central Canal, which also goes by the name Indy Canal Walk, was born in the 1840s when the Indiana state government was trying to bring more commerce to the city. But soon after, the state found itself bankrupt and the plans for a 296-mile waterway were shelved. Today, the Central Canal is a 3-mile loop that flows by the Indiana State Museum, Victory Field, the Indianapolis Zoo and the 250-acre White River State Park, among other popular attractions. You can walk alongside the canal or book a segway tour, but you can also hire a gondolier or rent a pedal boat or kayak.

Whatever mode of transport you choose, you'll enjoy a spectacular view of the Indianapolis skyline, not to mention a 17-foot waterfall, some of the city's best contemporary architecture, and memorials to the U.S.S. Indianapolis and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Keep your eye out for colorful murals on the canal underpasses, too. According to recent visitors, this is the spot for quiet relaxation in Indy. Aside from the peaceful atmosphere, travelers also love how clean the area is, calling the Central Canal an "asset to Indiana." 

Entrance to the canal is free, but you'll have to pay to rent any equipment. Wheel Fun Rentals, which is stationed in White River State Park, offers hourly kayak rentals for $15; renting a double kayak costs $20 per hour while pedal boats can be rented for $30 per hour. They also offer bikes for rent. If you want to up the romance, consider renting a gondola ride from Old World Gondoliers, which start at $25 per person for public rides or $150 for private sailings.

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#2 Indianapolis Museum of Art

Spread out across 152 acres and featuring more than 54,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is an impressive institution. It's also among the 10 largest art museums in the U.S. Superlatives aside, what visitors love most about IMA is its variety. Not only does it offer Neoimpressionist paintings (like Georges Seurat), contemporary art and Chinese ceramics, but it also boasts one of the largest contemporary art parks in the U.S. — The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres. The acclaimed outdoor space features a 35-acre lake and art installations set amidst woodlands and wetlands. And bonus: kids are welcome to play on the interactive installations. While you're outside, consider visiting the Oldfields-Lilly House & Gardens, a 26-acre estate on the grounds of the IMA that is a National Historic Landmark.

Recent visitors highly recommended including the IM