Hoosier Highlights

Indiana, Indianapolis Guide (A): Hoosier Highlights

Indianapolis is a big city with a small town feel. It has a little bit of everything – shopping, fine dining, the arts, historical museums, and a foundation in sports. With this 2 – 4 hour walking tour of downtown Indianapolis, you will see sites which are unique to Indianapolis. It will give you ideas for further exploration according to your particular tastes.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Hoosier Highlights
Guide Location: USA » Indianapolis
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Monument Circle   City Market   James Whitcomb Riley Museum   The Athenaeum   Murat Shrine Temple / Old National Centre   Indianapolis Central LIbrary   American Legion Mall / Veterans Plaza   Glick Peace Walk   USS Indianapolis   The Indiana State Museum   Indiana State Capitol  
Author: Kim Ort
Author Bio: Kim Manley Ort is a photographer, writer, mother and wife. Formerly a native of Canada, she has lived in Indianapolis for fifteen years. She and her husband have raised their kids here and call Indianapolis home.
Author Website: http://www.kimmanleyort.com
Monument Circle

1) Monument Circle

Monument Circle is at the heart of the city. There are several attractions of note here. The most visible is the Soldiers and Sailor Monument. Almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty, it is dedicated to veterans of the American Civil War, and up to the Spanish-American War. Bruno Schmitz built it in 1902 at a price of $600,000, equivalent to $500 million dollars today. Sculptures built into the monument include “War,” “Peace,” “The Dying Soldier” and “The Home Front.” Four more...
City Market

2) City Market

This area was set aside for a market in 1821 and still operates that way today, although it has seen its ups and downs.

Tomlinson Hall was constructed on the site in 1886 at a cost of approximately $30,000. It was a multi-purpose space, containing an auditorium, gymnasium, meeting rooms and retail and vegetable stands. It also was a public gathering place for political rallies, concerts and other social functions. With Indiana’s strong agricultural background, City Market was a busy place...
James Whitcomb Riley Museum

3) James Whitcomb Riley Museum

With quaint homes and tree-lined streets, and close to the city center, Lockerbie Square is the oldest neighborhood in Indianapolis. It was named for George Murray Lockerbie, from Lockerbie, Scotland, site of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. He arrived in 1831 to join his daughter, Janet, and her husband and the family built several homes in the area. More than 60 homes in the area between New York, East, Michigan, and College are designated as historic places. German immigrants were especially...
The Athenaeum

4) The Athenaeum

Continuing with the German heritage in Indianapolis, The Athenæum/Das Deutsche Haus was built between 1893 and 1898 as a place of culture for developing a sound mind and body.

Over the years, it has housed the Indiana Repertory Theatre as well as the American Cabaret Theater. It continues to operate as a cultural and community center, and also contains Indianapolis’ oldest German restaurant and biergarten, The Rathskellar, and a YMCA fitness facility.

Intersecting Michigan Street, just...
Murat Shrine Temple / Old National Centre

5) Murat Shrine Temple / Old National Centre

Built in 1909 as a Shriners temple, this is one of the most exotic buildings in Indianapolis. With its Moorish arches, domes and tower, it is the Shriner organization’s largest temple.

The Shiners were founded in 1872, and now include more than 775,000 members throughout North America. They are best known for their philanthropy, mainly through Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children.

In 1922, with the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, many places were decorated with Egyptian...
Indianapolis Central LIbrary

6) Indianapolis Central LIbrary

The Indianapolis Central library, where you are now standing, has a modern new addition, which was added to the back of the historic, old library. James Whitcomb Riley, the poet, originally donated the land for the old building and it was constructed in October 1917. The designer, Paul Cret, built in the style of the Greeks, and it was an outstanding architectural achievement at the time. Made of Indiana limestone and Vermont marble, its simple and powerful looking columns and decorative...
American Legion Mall / Veterans Plaza

7) American Legion Mall / Veterans Plaza

Looking back towards the library, the expanse of lawn you just passed through contains the American Legion’s national headquarters, built in 1950, on the east side, and the headquarters of the American Legion's Department of Indiana, built in 1925, on the west. The Sunken Garden and Cenotaph, in the center, was constructed in 1931 as a tribute to those who died in World War I. The cenotaph, or tomb, made of black granite, is empty. It is there in tribute to James B. Gresham of Evansville,...
Glick Peace Walk

8) Glick Peace Walk

You are now standing at the beginning of the Glick Peace Walk, part of Indianapolis' Cultural Trail, a designated walking trail that joins Indianapolis' cultural institutions. To your left is the Scottish Rite Cathedral, an example of neo-gothic architecture and the largest building in the United States devoted to Freemasonry, which is a fraternal organization. The main tower contains a 54-bell carillon or bell tower. Free guided tours are available.

The Peace Walk is dedicated to...
USS Indianapolis

9) USS Indianapolis

You are now standing at the north end of the Canal and the site of the USS Indianapolis Memorial, dedicated to the worst naval disaster in U.S. history. A Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea torpedoed the USS Indianapolis, a naval ship, on July 30, 1945. It sank in 12 minutes. There were almost 1,200 men aboard, and 300 were immediately lost at sea. The remaining men floated in waters infested with sharks for almost four days before they were noticed. Only 316 survived.

Survivors worked...
Image by U.S. Federal Government under Creative Commons License.
The Indiana State Museum

10) The Indiana State Museum

I hope you enjoyed your walk along the Central Canal, built in 1836, with its murals, and people walking, running, and riding paddle boats.

Did you notice the Indiana History Center, where jazz concerts are held outside every Thursday during the summer? And the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art? You are now at the Indiana State Museum, which tells the story of Indiana's past, present, and future. It also houses an IMAX Theatre. If you are hungry, there are two...
Indiana State Capitol

11) Indiana State Capitol

You are now at the Indiana State Capitol, the final stop of the Hoosier Highlights tour. The Statehouse has been home for the government of Indiana since 1887. Its design is drawn from classical Greek architecture. Like many historic buildings, it is made of Indiana limestone. The sculpture across the top portico illustrates the westward journey. On the left side, Native Americans are forced west, while Euro-American pioneers enter from the right side.

Monuments on the lawn include...