Indianapolis: An Underrated Destination for Traveling with Friends

By Samantha Weck · August 09, 2021

Indianapolis is not only known for its NASCAR heritage but can also be a fun destination for friend groups looking for a good time. As someone with a mixed friend group, I find Indianapolis to be the perfect place that has activities for the entire friend group and decided to build a trip around what we would potentially do.

When to Visit

While almost all of the activities planned take place indoors, it’s good to know the seasonality. Fall is the best time to visit as humidity is relatively low and you can still enjoy many sunny days. Summer is the most popular season due to the many NASCAR and racing events happening in the area. If you’re not attending these events, then it’s best to skip summer to avoid the heat and overcrowding. Winter can be extremely cold and is the low season. You will get the best hotel prices if you visit then.

The Local Culture

You can’t visit Indianapolis without at least visiting or thinking about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This houses many NASCAR races and is a huge part of the sport’s culture. Racing fans flock to this city every year in droves. If you missed the races or don’t have time, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is the perfect place to go to learn about not only the sport’s history but its place in this great city. It is a fairly large museum with multiple exhibits featuring cars, gear, and more. Some of the exhibits are interactive which makes it even more fun!

Another fun thing to do with everyone is take a stroll on the Canal Walk! It provides beautiful views of the canal as well as offers shopping and food in the area. You could also rent paddle boats or ride gondolas! It’s definitely a great place to sightsee as well as take a break from all the indoor activities this guide provides. This is definitely a must do when visiting the city.

It’s All Fun and Games

My friends and I love to do activities that we can all participate in and just have a good time. One of the things we love to do is try to crush each other at bowing. However, this isn’t just regular bowling. Action Duckpin Bowl offers the antique version of bowling before they switched to the modern large white bowling pins we know of today. They have a bar and restaurant on-site as well as a garden rooftop cocktail bar to relax in after your many intense games!

If you’re looking to put your skills to the test and work together as a team, you can always crush an escape room at ESCAPE Indy. They offer a variety of escape room themes and difficulties that will fit your group perfectly. They offer private rooms or you can join some strangers to make it extra interesting! If you love some minigolf, I have the perfect place for you. Glowgolf offers an indoor neon minigolf experience with 18 holes. There’s also laser tag on-site if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting. They’re open late into the evening if you’re looking to skip the kid crowd. My friends and I are so bad at mini golf that we actually declare the worst player as the winner. Finally, if video games are more your style, head to 16-Bit Bar and Arcade. They offer an incredibly huge selection of arcade games from multiple decades. They also have a cocktail bar on-site so you and your friends can have an amazing adult geeking experience. There is no food here though so you’ll need to head somewhere else for lunch to soak up that alcohol.

The Nightlife

I never would have thought that Indianapolis would be teeming with nightlife but here we are. You will be blown away at how many options there are. Since we don’t have an eternity, I am just going to mention a few favorites. First, if you love live music, you will want to visit The Melody Inn. While it was once a historic inn, it is now the stage for many local artists to perform. They have a bar on-site to keep the night going as well. Tiki Bob’s has the largest dance floor in the city and is one of the most popular clubs. You can dance the night away with your friends while also enjoying some nice tropical cocktails. Be sure to get there earlier than you want to be because there is always a line. Finally, check out some entertaining shows at the White Rabbit Cabaret. They offer a variety of entertainment such as comedy acts, burlesque bingo, music, and more! It’s a great place to laugh and have fun with your friends.

Where to Eat

For breakfast, I recommend the Nine Lives Cat Café, Yolk-City Way, and Milktooth. Nine Lives Cat Café offers a variety of pastries and specialty coffee as well as some amazing traditional savory breakfast dishes. This is the perfect place to eat if you love cats as the café is home to many free roaming cats that are adoptable! It’s a great way to get good food while simultaneously supporting the cause. Yolk-City Way is just what it sounds like, a restaurant that serves egg dishes. There are some sweet breakfast options, but it’s only a tiny part of the menu. Finally Milktooth is perfect if you’re looking to get away from the traditional American breakfast. They offer a variety of sweet and savory options as well as mimosas and other morning cocktails.

For lunch and dinner, I recommend Bru Burger Bar, Baby’s Indy, Bluebeard, and the Rathskeller. Bru Burger Bar offers gourmet burgers with multiple unique twists as well as a large selection of beers and cocktails available. Baby’s Indy is a build your own burger bar with cocktails on tap. They also offer a variety of sandwiches and salads if you’re looking for something different. Bluebeard offers an upscale Italian culinary experience with many traditional items on the menu. Finally, Rathskeller offers a large menu with different pricing options. They offer meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes so there is something for everyone in your friend group.

Planning Your Trip

Indianapolis is the perfect place to plan a weekend getaway with your friend group. You will never be bored with the amount of things there are to do in the city. It is highly recommended to rent or have a car for this trip as some of the fun is on the outskirts of the city. Be sure to check out the Tripvector map to see a more detailed itinerary of this fun trip!