Welcomed by friendly locals and their Hoosier charm, visitors to Indianapolis are struck by the attractive and clean cosmopolitan city. With more than 800,000 residents, this is Indiana's most populous city, and it 's surprisingly easy to get around by car or on foot. Sports fans are in their element, with the city being home to the Indy 500 race and Indiana Pacers NBA team. Beyond serious sports, visitors will find many a delicacy from the platter of eateries, museums for every interest, and the surviving 19th century area of Lockerbie Square District.
The Indianapolis Zoo is one of North America's premiere wildlife attractions. Divided into habitats, the Asian temperate forest is just one section which houses beautiful animals native to the deciduous forests of China, Japan, Korea and Russia. Altogether, you can find an impressive 2,000 types of plants and 250 animal species throughout the zoo. Further enhance your day out with the animals by watching a dolphin show or sticking around for feeding time.
Dating back to the early 19th century, the Indiana Central Canal is now an Indianapolis landmark, where you can walk, jog, run or ride a bicycle along its paths. You can also rent a pedal boat or a kayak for exercise and unique views of the city.
Larger than any other spectator sport venue on the planet, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1909, and hosts a series of annual automobile races. Chief among them is the Indy 500, the world's most famous motor race, consisting of 200 laps each Memorial Day weekend. Also on the premises is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, which traces the history of car racing.
If you're an auto racing fan, you'll find the action you crave during the summer. Moreover, many people adore the warm, sunny days. However, the city can be crowded during this season, particularly in May and July. Although winters are cold and snowy, Indianapolis is full of elaborate lighting displays and charming holiday decorations in December. Throughout the spring, the weather is mild, and the city's trees and flowers are in breathtaking bloom, though thunderstorms may occur. Indianapolis autumns boast the finest meteorological conditions and low humidity is the norm.
In a skyline of streamlined skyscrapers there are many Indianapolis hotels to lodge in. The Conrad Indianapolis is a high-end option which was ranked a Top U.S. Hotel by Conde Nast readers. For a less indulgent, but perfectly comfortable stay, the La Quinta Inn & Suites received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013. Business travelers are well accommodated in Indianapolis, with many hotels offering convenient access to the Indiana Convention Center.
Since 1881, the Indiana State Fair has consistently proven itself as one of the grandest fairs in the country. It's located at the intersection of Fall Creek Parkway and 38th Street, and takes place during the first half of August. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people enjoy its concerts, equestrian shows and carnival-style games. There's even a small park where you can brave all sorts of classic amusement rides.
The Marsh Symphonies on the Prairie, held outdoors by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, are staged on certain summer evenings. To attend, just purchase a ticket and show up at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park with a chair, a blanket, food and beverages. These beloved concerts celebrate many different types of music: jazz, rock, folk and even disco. Naturally, classical music is prevalent.
From late November to the middle of January, downtown Indy's Monument Circle is decked out in thousands of colorful lights, dozens of garlands, and an array of huge and imaginative holiday decorations. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, a ceremony at Monument Circle officially rings in the start of the season. Appearing at this event are the mayor of Indianapolis, entertainers from across Indiana and Santa Claus himself.