Indiana War Memorial

#4 in Best Things To Do in Indianapolis
Indiana War Memorial picture
Visit Indy

Key Info

431 N Meridian St.

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.3scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

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.

The building also houses a free military museum that showcases the history of Indiana's veterans, from the Battle of Tippecanoe through the present. Among the artifacts on display are the USS Indianapolis gallery, military firearms and uniforms, and an AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter.

Recent travelers also recommended making time for the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, housed on the lower level of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument (another must-see that boasts its own observation deck).

The Indiana War Memorial is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The War Memorial and the museums are closed on Monday and Tuesday and on national and state holidays, except for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. There is no admission charge for either museum. For more information, visit the IWM website.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Central Canal

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." 

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Courtesy of Jason Lavengood, VisitIndy.com
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