10 can’t-miss things to see in Indianapolis while there for the NCAA Tournament


People around the country will flock to Indianapolis for the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which begins on March 18, including Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartan fans.

Whether they attend the games or not, many college basketball fans want to be immersed in the city where all the action is. Indianapolis has many cool places to visit. Here are 10 things not to miss while there.

10. The Canal Walk – Water actually runs right through Downtown Indy with the canal stretching from White River State Park to 11th Street. The Canal Walk is part of the Indiana Central Canal, which was dug in the early 1800s to help making trading easier.

a canal through indianapolis

The Canal Walk in Indianapolis. (Photo courtesy of VisitIndy.com via Nate Swick)

The refurbished Canal Walk is ideal for walkers, runners, bikers and people watchers. You can also rent pedal boats just west of the Indiana State Museum.

9. NCAA Hall of Champions – Indy is not only home to the NCAA Headquarters, but this Hall of Champions, a museum representing all 24 NCAA sports. It features two levels of interactive exhibits, sports simulators, a 1930s retro gymnasium and more.

The NCAA Hall of Champions is currently open Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. – 5p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 18.

8. Sports Legends Experience at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis The largest children’s museum in the world is home to the 7.5-acre Sports Legends Experience. This area features 12 outdoor sports experiences and three indoor exhibits focusing on physical fitness and sports history. Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. It’s encouraged to buy tickets in advance.

7. JW Marriott NCAA Tourney Bracket – You’ll want to check out this 17-story tall NCAA Tournament bracket decal on the side of the JW Marriott downtown. The 47,000 square-foot bracket is the largest ever built. It’s around the size of 10 basketball courts. The hotel is located at 10 S. West Street.

6. “World’s Spiciest Dish” – The Travel Channel’s Ray Lampe called the fiery shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo Steakhouse in Indy “the world’s spiciest dish.” Try it if you dare at the oldest Indianapolis steakhouse in its original location located at 127 S. Illinois Street.

5. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum – Located within the famed 2.5-mile Indy Motor Speedway oval, this museum’s collection features more than a century’s worth of Indy 500 automobiles and artifacts. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame is also housed at the Museum which is open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for ages 6-15.

4. Indianapolis Museum of Art Newfields – Get up close to masterpieces from Rembrandt, Picasso, O’Keeffe and more. This museum boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of Neo-Impressionist paintings in North America. Located at 38th and Michigan, the museum is open Thursdays – Sundays from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Tuesdays & Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 5p.m. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time here.

3. Benjamin Harris Presidential Site – Step inside the former home of the 23rd President of the United States, the only President from Indiana. Now a museum located at 1230 N. Delaware Street in the Old Northside Historic District, this 16-room, 10,000 square foot Italianate Victorian house was built in the 1870s.

Tours are given daily at various times in small groups. Reservations are required and can be purchased here for $12 for adults, $7 for ages 5-17.

2. Crispus Attucks Museum – Located inside Crispus Attucks High School at 140 M.L.K. Street Door #13, the museum houses memorabilia from the first all Black high school in Indiana. The school was named after Attucks in 1927. He was a hero of the American Revolution after being the first casualty of the War.

In 1955, the Crispus Attucks High School basketball team, led by a young Oscar Robertson, became the first all-Black team in the nation to win a state high school basketball title.

The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. To visit, you must book an appointment ahead of time by calling 317-409-5281. Tickets are $6 per person cash only.

1. Nightly Light Show – Head to Monument Circle nightly as the heart of Downtown is illuminated with a seasonally-themed light presentation and signature salute. The light show runs 365 days a year for 15 minutes at 8:45, 9:45 and 10:45 p.m. The show is 15 minutes long and is synchronized with an Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra original score.


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