Indianapolis, Indiana. Host to some of the world's greatest museums. If you're new to the Indy area, just stopping through, or have lived here forever, there is always something new at our local museums.
Top 10 Best Museums
This is my list of my favorite Indianapolis Museums and why I love them so much!
This list goes from my least favorite, to my Number 1 pick.
The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art
This place is great because it is FREE! As someone on a budget, I love FREE! It isn't very big and can basically be walked through in 15 to 45 minutes depending on whether or not you like staring at art. There are two locations. One is over at CityWay, near the Alexander Hotel and the other is at the Murphy Art Center in Fountain Square. I prefer the Murphy Art Center because it houses other art exhibits, and it's just a super cool building to explore.
Plan your Visit: Check out IndyMOCA for hours, parking and address info.
The NCAA Hall of Champions
Okay, this would most likely be number 1 or 2 on any basketball fan's list, but I HATE, basketball, so this place is like torture to me, I mean like close to getting my wisdom teeth pulled, torture. Yeah, yeah, super dramatic and full of "likes," but it's me. This is a very engaging museum for people who are interested in the subject and has tons of information about the history of players and the NCAA. So, if you like BBall, put it in your list. You can click on the basketball, or the above heading to check out the visiting hours and prices.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
This is by far the most recognizable structure in the city of Indianapolis. It is our city's identity and is featured on many of the Circle City's brands. It is beautiful to photograph and a great view of the city! But be prepared to climb! It's definitely worth a stop, but I list it as 8 because compared to what you see and learn with the other museums, it doesn't have a lot, mostly great views. Click on the photo below to get information on hours and prices.
James Whitcomb Riley Museum
For all of those budgeters out there, this is a real gem, at only $4 a visit. Not only do you get to see a beautifully restored, historic home, but you get the low down on Riley and the hospital. This place is gorgeous and is often used for special events. If you love looking at architectural homes and appreciate the history, you will love this place. Check the link above for visiting hours and any other price info.
The Eiteljorg Museum
I so terribly want this museum to be closer to the 3, but I can't. It offers some great paintings, statues, and local Native American history. If you are in to this type of art, you won't be disappointed. I like it, but I wish it had more to offer for someone like me who likes to be silly. I am a fan of more interactive museums where you get to experience the art and history. For me, it's lacking in this area. They have artists in residence, which is cool. Also, in D.C., they have an incredible restaurant serving different types of Native American cuisine. This museum should do something similar. It would be a hit! One other cool fact, if you're a descendant or Native American, you get in for free.
Indiana Medical History Museum
For all of those Urban Explorers and Igers out there, this place is perfect for getting great, unique photographs. The property itself has a very cool history you can learn all about when you visit and take the guided tour. I wish the old hospital had remained, it would have been an architectural gem in the city of Indianapolis. Apartments now replace some of the original buildings from the hospital days. I had the fortunate opportunity of exploring the administration building while it was in disrepair. It had bullets in the walls, graffiti everywhere, and smelled like death. It was terrifying to explore at night! I did find several files on old patients. It shared their mental illnesses and some of the treatments they undertook. Did I mention we did this on Halloween night dressed as creepy patients ourselves? Haha.
Indianapolis State Museum
This beautiful museum is located right on the White River Canal and I definitely recommend a stroll after visiting the museum. If you love photography you can get some beautiful sunrise shots here. Sunset is better from the zoo side of the river. Currently, as the state celebrates their 200th anniversary, there are numerous artifacts and exhibits highlighting this rich history. The IMAX theater is located at this site too, and if you purchase on the same day as your visit, you will get a $2 discount. There aren't many free place to park on this side of the river, but it is only $5 to park at the garage below the museum. Click the title above for more info on hours and prices.
IMA or Indianapolis Museum of Art
I love, love, love... the Lily Gardens located on this property. When my mom first took us, they used to have open community events in the gardens. You could walk around any time, day or night, and enjoy the paths, flowers, and trees. My friends and I would always go and take silly photos. Now, unfortunately, you have to have a permit, it costs quite a bit, and the hours are very limited. A bonus is the 100 Acres, an interactive art/nature park, which is free and open to the public. Don't forget to stop by the museum's plant shop too!
We're getting so close to number 1!! And this was a very difficult choice for me because I love when there are actors at museums! I have so much fun interacting with them and using accents. Usually when I visit, I always wear a long skirt and try to get as close as possible to historically correct clothes. They have a really fun Halloween event for children called the Headless Horseman. They have great food, lots to do, and it's an overall blast to visit.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis!
This place is Amaze-balls!! It is not just for children, adults have a blast here too. They actually host a night just for grown-ups (or people who call themselves grown-ups). It hosts exhibits from around the world, like the King Tutankhamun exhibit, which was incredible! It has over 120,000 artifacts!!! If you go you could spend an entire day, and not experience everything.
I always look to see when the performances are first, get tickets to those if I want them, and then make my way to the top floor to ride the carousel. Members get to ride for free. It's just one of the perks to having an annual membership. Next I make my way to the new exhibits, which rotate every few months. After, I usually grab a bite to eat at the food court and make my way to the classics. I always hit up the store before I leave because it is one of the few places left where I can buy astronaut ice cream! Yum!
Tips on Going: Get there Early: You'll definitely want to arrive when the museum opens if you want to see as much as possible. They have a parking garage across the street and another outdoor parking lot, so it shouldn't be a problem. Currently the museum is closed on Mondays from now until February 27, 2017.