Indianapolis was planned in 1821 by the same folks who designed Washington DC, which means the Mile Square sees thousands of daily pedestrians and motorists travel around a square grid of streets with diagonal arteries, with Monument Circle at the center or heart.
Indianapolis continues to be one of the most vital and energetic cities by providing incredible attractions, shopping, hotels, houses of worship, sports and dining all within the “heart” of the city.
While you are here, whether participating or as a spectator in the Indy Women’s Half-Marathon event – with the start and finish in the heart of Indianapolis, we recommend you first visit this website.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Recognized as one of the world’s outstanding monuments, the structure has come to symbolize both the City of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. The Limestone used for the monument is gray oolitic limestone from the Romona quarries of Owen County. It stands 284 feet, 6 inches high, only 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty. It cost $598,318 in 1902. It has been estimated that building a similar structure today would cost more than five hundred million dollars.
The commission for the monument construction requested architects to submit design proposals. Of the seventy proposals turned in, two finalists were chosen. Then from the two, Bruno Schmitz of Berlin, Prussia (Germany) received the appointment.
There are a number of artworks either built into the Monument or placed throughout the grounds. Bruno Schmitz brought with him, Rudolf Schwarz. Schwarz was the sculptor for the statuary groups “War” and “Peace”, “The Dying Soldier”, “The Homefront” and the four statues at the corners of the Monument that represents the Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and Navy.
Indiana War Memorial Museum
During the early part of the twentieth century, a new conception of design was emerging, called City Beautiful Movement. The existing buildings on the plaza, punctuated by the building of the Indiana War Memorial provided a formal setting with classical designs that reflected the concepts of the City Beautiful Movement. The War Memorial is inspired by a neoclassical design. It is similar to the Greek architecture of the fifth century. It is a square shrine structure with a pyramidal dome and has Ionic columns. Its formally designed open spaces and its heroic monuments and statuary all contribute to its grandeur.
Click on a link below for a picture and detailed description of the art or architecture:
This magnificent building has three main floors. On the upper level is the breathtaking Shrine Room. The Shrine Room, symbolizing peace and unity is made of materials from all over the world, symbolic of the worldwide nature of the “Great War.” The room is 110′ tall and 60′ square. The 24 blood red pillars made of Vermont marble support the vast ceiling. Hanging in the center of the room is the Star of Destiny made of Swedish Crystal to guide the welfare of the nation. Below that is the flag of the United States. In the center of the room, below the flag, is the Altar of Consecration, the altar to the flag. The altar inspires good citizenship and is a place to remember fallen soldiers and comrades. Those who visit the Shrine Room leave with a renewed sense of patriotism and an appreciation for the sacrifices of those who fought in the “Great War”.
The main floor houses exhibit space, the administrative offices, two meeting rooms, and the Pershing Auditorium. The meeting rooms and the auditorium are available for public use for a nominal fee. Listed on this level are the names of all Hoosiers who participated in WW I and all Hoosiers killed or missing in action from WW II, Korea, and Vietnam.
The building also contains a free military museum that portrays the history of Indiana’s gallant veterans from the Battle of Tippecanoe, through the several wars in which we have been engaged, to the present.
Among the interesting items on display is the commission plate of the battleship USS Indiana, numerous military firearms, a Korean War era helicopter, a Navy Terrier missile that can be armed with an atomic nuclear warhead, and hundreds of other artifacts, photos, and documents.
What draws 3.5 million people to downtown Indy each year? White River State Park!
Located in the heart of downtown, Indiana’s only urban state park offers an endless array of attractions and entertainment. While you’re here, explore our 250 acres of green space on a Segway, or rent a bike or pedal boat for a trip along our 1.5-mile canal.
Visit us and see for yourself what millions of others have already discovered. On Washington Street, starting one block west of the capitol building. Check it out on inwhiteriver.org
Indy’s Cultural Districts
Six go-to destinations for action and attractions
The Vogue nighclub’s marquee on Colleg Avenue signals your arrival in this village-like enclave, five miles north of downtown. It’s dense with an eclectic mix of restaurants, nightspots, galleries and boutiques. By day, foot traffic arrives via the Monon Trail. At night, crowds pack the many bars and restaurants.
The Canal & White River State Park
This urban playground close to hotels dominates the west side of downtown. The park is home to the Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens, Victory Field baseball stadium and big museums lining the Central Canal, where visitors stroll, attend concerts, and rent bikes and boats.
An artsy, retro district southeast of downtown is anchored by the historic Fountain Square Theatre Building and its two duckpin bowling alleys. The area hops with live music, antiques shops, local restaurants and quirky art festivals.
The historical heart of Indy’s African-American community and once a major jazz scene, Indiana Avenue runs diagonally through downtown’s northwest corner. The lavish Madame Walker Theatre Center, active since 1927, hosts a calendar of events packed with national performers and musicians
Short for Massachusetts Avenue, this lively downtown street bustles with boutiques, independent restaurants, bars, theatres, galleries, and foot traffic from the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and the Murat Centre’s plays and concerts. Some stores stay open late. Even kids can have a night out here: They’ll love Mass Ave Toys and ComedySportz, an all-ages improv club where the humor is clean.
South of Monument Circle, 19th-century commerical buildings have been turned into an entertainment zone. The area encompasses Indy’s sports venues, Circle Centre mall and the Indiana Convention Center. Sports bars, hotels and restaurants stand shoulder-to-shoulder.