I vividly remember my first trip to Indiana; how huge I thought Indianapolis was. I remember not understanding how the entire middle of the state was the “city” and the enormous amount of traffic flowing through and around it. Ah, the good old days.
I also remember how I thought the city stunk. I had never smelled city air before and it was very different from my home in the Tennessee valley. But one thing I never expected was for this state to grow on me. (I found out it smells great if you escape the city!)
What types of Adventure await in Indiana? Well, that will depend on your interest level in nature and history.
Historic Indiana Adventures
History means different things to different people. Downtown Indianapolis is rich with its developmental history. The city host beautifully colorful buildings of many sizes. There’s a revolving restaurant named Eagle’s Nest situated atop the Hyatt Regency Hotel that slowly rotates. From here you’ll observe breath-taking 360 degree panoramic views of the city. This place is pricey, but dubbed one of the most scenic & romantic places in the US.
Another attraction downtown is the oldest building in Indianapolis, Christ Church Cathedral located on the Monument Circle. It’s an English Gothic Revival style structure built 1857. Personally, this is one of my favorite buildings.
While you’re in Monument Circle, check out the awesome statue situated in the middle! At Christmas time, lights are strung from top to bottom to create a giant “Christmas tree”. Every winter I’ve been there, I’ve also seen large nut cracker statues and horse-drawn buggies in the streets.
Architecturally speaking, Indiana is home to almost 500 covered bridges in just a few counties (Parke & Putnam Counties out west of Indianapolis & Rush County is east of Indianapolis). Although these bridges are scattered through the state, the highest concentration are in the above mentioned counties. Southern Indiana has a vast amount of historically preserved metal bridges.
One of my favorite places is Oldenburg Indiana. It’s commonly know as the Village of Spires. There’s a massive number of German styled buildings with beautiful steeples or Spires on them. There’s a German festival held here annually. The street signs are written in English and German.
Indiana is home to many famous musicians, artist, writers, producers and studios. From Jazz to Hard Rock, Indiana has a rich musical history.
Elvis’ last performance was in Market Square Arena in downtown Indianapolis on June 26th 1977.
John Cougar Mellencamp’s boyhood home town os Seymour, Indiana. It’s a mid-sized town south of Indianapolis. If you want a guided tour, you could pick up a copy of “The Roots of an American Rocker” on CD. Listen to it as your cruise through Seymour.
Another famous musician from Indiana is Michael Jackson! (This of course would include the entire Jackson clan.) The Jackson family began in Gary, Indiana. That’s far northwest in the state just south of Chicago. This is another drive-by and see from your car type visit. The town is mostly falling apart, but his boyhood home is immaculately kept and there’s a monument to admire.
On your way to the Jackson home, stop in and see Lafayette, Indiana. This was the home town of many punk rock & hard rock artist including Axel Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Rise Against, and many more. It’s located northwest of Indianapolis and southeast of Chicago.
Southern Indiana is considered part of the Upland South. A term used by many to describe origins of country music.
American Indian Adventures
Mound State Park is located in Anderson, Indiana which is north od Indianapolis. If you’re looking for a more centrally located museum, The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is located in downtown Indianapolis on Washington Street.
The Indian Chief Tecumseh’s monument is located in Vincennes, IN (very southwest of Indianapolis by a few hours drive).
Battleground Indiana is a small town rich in Native American history. Read more here http://www.battleground.in.gov/history/
Prophetstown Indiana is another small town in Lafayette Indiana where the Prophetstown State Park is located. It’s named after Tenskwatawa.
These are just a few to explore. When you arrive in Indiana signs, pamphlets, and the Hometown folks will point you to additional sites. Indiana is also home to arrowhead hunting like many other states are. Arrowhead hunting is not actually hunting in the conventional sense. It’s basically just walking and looking down as you take each step. Many farmers in their youth found artifacts laying on top the ground after plowing their fields or stuck in the tread of their tractor tires. So, hunting is really just being observant.
Clifty Falls in Madison Indiana is a favorite for many hikers. It’s located to the extreme south-east of Indianapolis near the Ohio State line. The trails are moderately challenging and the scenery is beautiful. In the fall, the autumn colors paint a beautiful palate and in the spring the moss begins to spread a gorgeous soft bed atop many of the massive rocks.
Brown County Indiana is where the Brown County State Park is located due south of Indianapolis. The locals have dubbed the area “The little Smokey Mountains”. Personally, being from Knoxville and spending a lot of time in the real Smokey Mountains, I don’t see the resemblance. Brown County is also home to a small town Nashville Indiana. It’s been compared to Gatlinburg Tennessee, but again… It’s so tiny, I don’t see it.
There are many other Adventures waiting for you in Indiana, I haven’t experienced. Try out rafting pr canoeing in Tippecanoe, or exploring the Indiana Caverns in southern Indiana. If northern Indiana is more your thing, head out to Dunes State Park.
If you’ve found a special spot worth sharing that I haven’t mentioned, please let me know in the comments below!
I’ll be adding some more photos to this article soon 😉