No visit to Indianapolis is complete without discovering our art museum and its stunning grounds! Learn all you need to know about a visit to Newfields.
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Considering a visit to Newfields?
Well, you're in for a treat! Many visitors to Indianapolis are surprised to find such an impressive art museum in Indy, and, I've discovered, some *locals* weren't even aware of Newfields until the museum started hosting a variety of seasonal events within the last few years.
With the art museum itself (formerly the only attraction, and still the highlight of a visit), Oldfields (the Lilly estate), the beer garden, and miles of walking and hiking trails to discover on its 152-acre campus, what are you waiting for? Let's walk through what you need to know before visiting Newfields!
Where is Newfields?
Newfields is located at:
4000 Michigan Road
Indianapolis, Indiana 46208
Newfields is easily accessible from I-65. It's about a 15 minute drive from Downtown Indianapolis. Note that there is nothing within walking distance, so plan to eat at Newfields, if you're visiting for lunch (more on food, later!). If you're interested in history, tie in a visit to Crown Hill Cemetery, burial place of President Benjamin Harrison, James Whitcomb Riley, and John Dillinger.
How much time should I spend at Newfields?
Depending on how much you want to see and do, I would plan to spend half a day at Newfields. Between exploring the art installations and special exhibits in the museum portion, to strolling grounds and, when available, touring Oldfields, you can easily spend 3 hours. Don't worry - there's nice a cafe, and a beer garden!
What are Newfields' COVID protections?
Obviously, Newfields is taking a number of precautions due to the pandemic, including limiting the number of visitors on-site at any one time. Most important to your trip are that you must *buy tickets in advance* (more on that below) and *wear a mask* during your visit.
Additional information on hours and specific event requirements can be found on the Newfields FAQ page. We'll discuss Newfields tickets in a bit!
History of Newfields
In 1883, a group of well-to-do Indianapolis residents organized an art exhibition at the now-gone English Hotel on the Circle, downtown Indianapolis. In the 19th century, the group ultimately became the Art Association of Indianapolis, which originally constructed a premises at 16th and Penn, just north of downtown.
In 1969, the group changed its name to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and moved just a bit farther north, to its current location, on the property of a Lilly family estate, Oldfields, donated by the family for this purpose.
In 2017, the Indianapolis Museum of Art ("IMA"), Oldfields, and the outdoor portions of the property were rebranded under the name "Newfields."
An extremely detailed timeline is available on the Newfields website, for Hoosier history buffs.
Where can I find Newsfields' website?
More information is available on Newfields' website!
Avoid these common Tourist Mistakes in Indianapolis
IMPORTANT: During the pandemic, only a limited number of people are allowed on the Newfields grounds at a time. Even members must reserve a time slot. Additional information on COVID restrictions is available here.
Parking at Newfields
It is free to park at Newfields, both for members and non-members. There is a garage attached to the museum, which has generally not been accessible during the pandemic, in addition to a large parking lot, walking distance from the entrace!
Need date night inspiration? Check out my guide to fun Couples Activities in Indianapolis
What to See at the Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights!
Let's walk through just a few must-see displays at the Indianapolis Museum of Art!
Robert Indiana's Love Sculpture
President Benjamin Harrison Memorial Stained Glass
Newfields' Contemporary Art Collection
Often overlooked, Newfields' contemporary art collection is fairly incredible. With several large-format presentations, be sure to make your way upstairs to explore!
Eating & Drinking at Newfields
Don't leave newfields without grabbing lunch - or a drink! There are a few dining options:
Grab a quick lunch at The Cafe, catered by Kahn's. Salads, wraps, kid options, espresso, and alcoholic beverages are all on offer. Seating is in a large, first-floor room with views of the grounds.
The Beer Garden
If you've been following me on Instagram, you know that, as Newfields Members, we visit The Beer Garden fairly often. It's a great, relaxing, outdoor place to enjoy a pint and support a good cause! On the other side of Oldfields from the museum itself, you can get a short little walk in as well. How gorgeous is this scenery?
You do need a ticket to visit, but of course, that ticket is free for members!
Love local beer? Check out my guide to the best breweries in downtown Indianapolis!
What else is at Newfields?
Oldfields, the Lilly estate
As I've mentioned, Oldfields, the estate of Mr. and Mrs. J.K. Lilly was the original building on the property. It was donated by their children, Ruth and Josiah K. Lilly, to the museum in 1966. Today, guests can tour the home, by downloading an audioguide to their phone!
Walking and hiking paths
In addition to the garden surrounding the museum, and the paved path connecting the museum to Oldfields, Newfields is also home to The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. Enjoy a stroll - and keep an eye out for Funky Bones!
I'd highly recommend considering Newfields membership, for Indianapolis locals! Between free admittance whenever you want to pop by (and enjoy the grounds or the beer garden), discounted tickets to Winterlights and Harvest Nights, discounts in the super cute gift shop, and special ticket deals for the always popular summer outdoor movie events, it pays for itself!
Special Events at Newfields
Newfields Harvest Days & Harvest Nights
After a highly successful first year, Harvest Days and Nights are back at Newfields this year! During the day, explore the gourd explosion on the grounds, and at night, see the incredible light show on the Lilly House and the explosion of lit-up jack-o-lanterns! Check out the full posts on Newfields Harvest Nights!
In 2020, November 21-January 3 will bring Winterlights back to its fourth year at Newfields! Spike hot chocolate, and more Christmas lights than you could ever imagine! It's one of the hottest tickets in Indianapolis, so be sure to book your tickets *well in advance.* For more information on Winterlights 2020, check out the full blog post and special website section!
Newfields' Van Gogh Exhibit:
In July 2021, Newfields opened the largest special exhibit in its history, THE LUME, with 30,000 square feet of immersive projections of Vincent van Gogh's work. Check out the website and my full blog post about our visit to The Lume at Newfields.
Thanks for stopping by!
I can't recommend Newfields highly enough. Whether your'e an Indianapolis local or just in town visiting, I know you'll find something at Newfields to brighten your day!
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