Indianapolis Travel Guide

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Free Things To Do in Indianapolis

Looking for free things to do? Here's our ranking of the best free activities in Indianapolis. Popular attractions include Central Canaland Indiana War Memorial.
  • #1
    Things to do in Indianapolis
    View all Photos
    #1 in Indianapolis
    4.5 miles to city center
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    4.5 miles to city center
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    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." 

  • #4
    Indiana War Memorial
    View all Photos
    #4 in Indianapolis
    5.5 miles to city center
    Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    5.5 miles to city center
    Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Considered an Indiana landmark, the Indiana War Memorial comprises two museums, three parks and 24 acres of monuments, statues, sculptures and fountains. So, if you're a fan of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., you'll likely enjoy spending a few hours here. In fact, Indianapolis is second only to D.C. in acreage and number of monuments dedicated to veterans.

    Of the two museums within the historic plaza, you'll want to spend the majority of your time in the Indiana War Memorial Museum, especially the Shrine Room. Described by recent visitors as "breathtaking" and "peaceful," the Shrine Room is dedicated to fallen soldiers of World War I and features materials hailing from around the globe, which symbolizes the worldwide effort it took to end the war.

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