As the capital of Indiana and the largest city in the state, Indianapolis has stood proudly since the 1820s. While Monument Circle serves as the Downtown center, to the east lies a mix of local restaurants and national theaters, as well as hands-on attractions. Try the Children's Museum of Indianapolis to the north if you have kids to please: it's the biggest of its kind in the world, and with a scattering of bright, grassy parks and the Douglass Golf Course to tackle nearby, families will be well taken care of. If you're a fan of action, venture further out of the city to find the Dark Armies paintballing experience.
Most Indianapolis East hotels are situated a few minutes' drive from Downtown Indy, off the I-70, with the Fort Harrison State Park to the north and the area of Warren to the southeast. With prices averaging about $70 a night, and reasonable accommodations dipping under the $60 mark, you can escape the higher city rates, but still have quick access to sites like the Indiana State Museum. Pleasant Run Golf Course and Douglass Golf Course are both within reach, as well as a number of smaller green spaces like Dubarry Park; this neighborhood is perfect for a respite from busy Downtown.
Trains, dinosaurs, biotech labs, the SpaceQuest Planetarium and many other exhibits are waiting inside the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, located just on the east side of Indianapolis a few minutes north of the downtown Indianapolis area. The museum's property expands for 13 acres, so it is definitely large enough to keep the kids entertained for the entire day.
Year-round attraction Dark Armies caters for the uninitiated paintballer with a huge emphasis on fun, so it's a great option for family groups craving something different for a day. There's even a laser tag section if you're over being splattered with paint. On the other hand, visitors in October will find that Halloween is celebrated all month at the facility. Both the Necropolis Haunted House, a spookfest featuring 3D frights for those walking through, and the atmospheric old Western Electric Plant where Dark Armies is housed, really come alive around this particular holiday.
The east end of Downtown is populated by a good selection of theaters, some of them with historic tales to add to your tour of Indianapolis. The Madame Walker Theater is listed as a National Historic Landmark on Indiana Street, and with its trademark Walker Theater sign on the corner, it's a testament to one-time Indy resident Madame CJ Walker, who went from farm worker to self-made millionaire. Modern plays are still staged her every season, with an emphasis on Madame Walker's African-American heritage, so time your visit to coincide with a performance for an unforgettable evening.
The eastern district is filled with global eateries, from pizzerias to pan-Asian. El Sol Restaurante is on your way into town from the east side and offers a spice and lime-infused blend of Mexican-Caribbean fare, while there's a choice of Chinese restaurants around Shadeland Avenue, included the highly-rated Foon Ying. DePalma's serves up hearty Italian pastas, and Black Acre Brewing Co. offers quick bites on the way to the Convention Center.
Summers are fairly mild, seeing highs of about 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter months can get pretty cold, averaging 28 degrees. Though it doesn't snow too often, the roads are likely to freeze over with slight precipitation or snow fall. Spring and fall are both very pleasant times to visit Indianapolis, just in time to experience fireflies and thunder storms without the hurricane warnings of July.