Looking for some exciting things to do in Indianapolis for couples' date night? Let's discuss some of my favorite things to do in the Circle City, for tourists and locals alike, from your resident "let's grab drink" aficionado.
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Looking for a fun couples, date night activity in Indianapolis?
You've found the right blog! My husband and I have been lucky enough to have lived in Indianapolis for almost exactly 10 years. I need to start planning a night out to celebrate this "living in Indianapolis" anniversary...I'll celebrate anything for a night out on the town!
We started out downtown Indy on the Canal right after law school, then moved over to Mass Ave for six wonderful years, and finally, with the addition of the kiddo, moved about 5 miles north to our new lovely neighborhood, Meridian Kessler. There's nothing we love more than a date night, so we have a decade of exploring Indianapolis to share!
From cozy breweries and long walks, to sporting events, classy cocktails, and local theater and secret local bars you've never visited, I've rounded up our favorite fun things to do in Indianapolis for every type of couple and every kind of date night!
Stroll in The Lockerbie Historic District
Even many native Hoosiers don't know about downtown Indy's charming Lockerbie Historic District. Tucked away, just south of the aforementioned Mass Ave (which we'll discuss in more detail later), "Lockerbie" consists of several well-preserved streets, comprising the oldest still-existing residential neighborhood in Indianapolis.
Here, you'll see picket fences and neighbors hanging out on 100+ year-old porches. Architectural styles are easily identifiable starting in the mid-19th century. If you're looking to actually tour a home in the neighborhood, Lockerbie is also home to the palatial James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, on the National Register of Historic Places, which is open for tours.
Incidentally, cobbled Lockerbie Street itself is also a wonderful place to have family or engagement photos taken. We strolled here almost every day during the depths of 2020 and were constantly seeing adorable photo shoots. After you've completed your stroll, head north to check out all of the restaurants Mass Ave has to offer! Feeling fancy? Go south to Vida, my favorite restaurant in Indianapolis.
Grab a Drink at Sun King
Love local beer? Check out my list of the best breweries in Indianapolis!
Monument Circle & The City Market
Let's take a quick look at the center of it all, with Indianapolis's nearby Monument Circle. A pedestrian-friendly circular block oriented around our stunning, turn-of-the century Civil War memorial, it's a must-see on any visit to Indianapolis, for tourists, and a nice spot for locals to revisit or stroll.
The first thing you'll want to discover is The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, "the Monument," as it's inevitably referenced by locals, itself. At Christmas time, Indianapolis gathers to watch the Monument be lit-up as a gigantic, concrete Christmas tree.
Standing tall at 284 feet, The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was dedicated in 1902, completing thirteen years of construction. The ten-ton Victory statue adorns the top of the Monument, facing South, to welcome our boys home from the war. If you're interested, you can climb the Monument, or take a very tiny elevator part of the way, for a very small fee. The Monument is also home to a small Civil War Museum and a gift shop.
Explore Quirky Mass Ave
A very easy walk from Monument Circle, my next thing to do in Indianapolis is explore vibrant, trendy Mass Ave! Home to fun restaurants, classy bars, cute boutiques and endless pedal carts, Mass Ave is worth a walk and, definitely some time spent grabbing a drink and some ice cream at Kilwin's. Shop for beautiful home decor at Decorate and Chatham Home, grab a delicious margarita at Livery, and pop into a few galleries.
I've also compiled my list of the best restaurants on Mass Ave, which you'll want to be sure to read before you visit this area.
Extra credit: Learn how to make macarons on Mass Ave!
Love to cook? Take a macaron-baking class at the macaron bar on Mass Ave! You'll come away with new knowledge and some tasty treats! Looking for an extra romantic date idea? Book a private class
Make an Evening of it at The Bottleworks District
The Bottleworks District is a destination in and of itself, offering everything you need for the perfect date night. "The Bottleworks" is the renovation of the mid-20th century Art Deco Coca-Cola Bottling Plant that sat long-vacant on the Northern reaches of Mass Ave.
Start off with fun cocktails at Sundry & Vice Bar in The Bottleworks Hotel, bowl some frames of duckpin bowling at Pins Mechanical Company. If you're feeling more casual, grab dinner at The Garage Food Hall. Feeling fancy? Stop by Modita, Cunningham Group's Asian fusion spot. Looking for the best movie theater in Indianapolis? You've found that too, at Living Room Theater (it has a bar, full dinner service, and actually delicious popcorn). Want to make a weekend out of it? Check into the best hotel in Indianapolis, The Bottleworks Hotel. You won't be too far from the Monon Trail, if you're looking to take a stroll!
Bike the Indianapolis Cultural Trail
Many of the places we'll discuss throughout this post are connected via the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which circumnavigates Indianapolis's best neighborhoods. This innovative, 8-mile urban bike path is a must-do in Indianapolis, if the Midwestern weather cooperates! Bring your own bikes, or rent bikes from our Pacers bike share program, and explore Indy on the Cultural Trail!
Learn more about Fountain Square, one of the neighborhoods you'll discover on the Cultural Trail!
Discover the western side of Downton: The Canal, White River State Park, and the Indianapolis Zoo
The pedestrian (and family)-friendly western side of downtown Indy has all the ingredients for a perfect date night. Grab dinner at one of the many nice restaurants in the area, including OP Italian at the JW Marriott. Take a romantic gondola ride after strolling along Indianapolis's charming, but useless Canal (if you walk the whole stretch downtown, you'll see where it dead ends). Take in some live music at the Everwise Amphitheater at the White River State Park. Though I know it sounds less like a date idea and more of a "take the kids" event, the Indianapolis Zoo is surprisingly fun to explore without the kiddos. And don't skip the Botanical Gardens! (Yes, we had our prom there). We have actually made a point of visiting once a year. Take in a bit of culture at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and western art. The Eiteljorg also has an excellent cafe, if you get hungry. We sometimes visit just to eat there. Love IMAX? The Indiana State Museum is our preferred destination for large-format movie viewing (and they serve alcohol).
Tiki Bar & Dinner in Fountain Square
Indianapolis probably doesn't seem like the sort of town that would boast an excellent and authentic Tiki Bar, but prepare to be very pleasantly surprised! The Inferno Room in Fountain Square never fails to delight and is honestly a sufficiently unique date idea on its own! Want to grab dinner as well? Fountain Square has tons of options. We love a unique dinner at Bluebeard. Situated in a charmingly-restored building from 1924, Bluebeard has been topping Indy restaurant lists since it opened in 2012.
Visit the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
Situated in Indy's Old Northside is the well-preserved historic home of the only Hoosier president, Benjamin Harrison, who held the highest office in the land from 1889-1893. The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site allows visitors to tour the home the Harrisons constructed in the 1870s, as then-General Harrison built a successful law practice after returning from fighting for the Union in the Civil War. The Harrison home and its contents are almost *entirely* original. It's a must-see for history buffs and a fun neighborhood to check out! The only way to see the home is on a guided tour, so don't think you can just pop in!
Love antiques? Love shopping? Love exploring new neighborhoods? You'd be forgiven for thinking Midland, a bit shabby and right off the interstate, isn't the place for you, but I promise you'll be surprised! We've spent many a happy Sunday afternoon looking through its wares.
Grab pizza at King Dough
Why not make an entire afternoon out of your visit, grab lunch indoors or out, explore the beer garden while strolling the grounds, and check out what's on offer at the rotating pop-up (recently it's been pop-up noodle shop and wine tasting)? Newfields also hosts many popular seasonal events. In summer, there's the ever-popular weekend movie nights in the garden, Summer Nights Film Series. In the Fall, it's Harvest Days and Harvest Nights, with light-up pumpkins and spooky sights galore. And at Christmas, they light up the entire grounds and serve spiked hot drinks while you explore the Christmas wonderland at Winterlights.
Crown Hill Cemetery
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Take a Hike
at Fort Harrison State Park
and if you like hiking...
Take in an Indianapolis Indians' Baseball Game
And while you're in the area, stop by Rick's Cafe Boatyard, for drinks and views of Eagle Creek!
In the summer months, stop by Victory Field, home of Indianapolis's AAA baseball team, the Indianapolis Indians. With seats under $20, plenty of space to spread out, and local beer deals on tap, an evening at Victory Field is a perfect summer Indy night.
See a Show at the Indianapolis Repertory Theater
Cheer on our Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium
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