There’s a reason why we always come back to visit Indianapolis. For one, it’s only about a 3-hour drive from Chicago. Secondly, they always have something new popping up. Third, it’s such a family-friendly city. (Hello, they do have the world’s largest children’s museum around!) So when spring break rolled around, we knew we wanted to revisit the Circle City.
Places to PLAY
If you have kids, spending the day at this museum is a no-brainer. As the largest children’s museum in the world, you can expect nothing but tons of fun at this museum. They cater to all interests, and they now have another reason you must visit. Their brand new 7.5 acres Sports Legend Experience is one NOT to be missed. This interactive indoor and outdoor exhibit encompassing physical fitness and sports history is AWESOME! All the sports that you and your kids love are available for you to try out – basketball, hockey, soccer, track, racing, golf, baseball tennis. And there’s even a fitness path should you want to get your workout in while the kids are playing.
Have little tikes? With mini versions available for them, they won’t feel left out.
Wow, the museum has really outdone themselves. This, along with all their exciting exhibits like dinosaurs and trains, made for a day full of fun. Stay tuned for more details about our latest visit.
A blast from the past at Atomic Bowl Duckpin
Ever tried duckpin bowling? As first timers, we had so much fun!
Unlike regular bowling, duckpin bowling has smaller pins to knock over along with smaller palm-sized balls, so the kids could easily throw the balls down the lane. Our favorite rule is that you have 3 chances in a frame. The kids loved testing their math skills and taking score on paper.
We all had a blast! What a fun family friendly activity!
More Places to Play:
Located within the White River State Park, the Indianapolis Zoo is home to the world’s largest Orangutan Center. Plus, visitors have a chance to walk with the flamingos, go face-to-face with a tiger or touch a shark. Love butterflies? Once a year, the indoor gardens at the Hilbert Conservatory are transformed into a tropical paradise to bring you up-close-and-personal with more than 30 species of butterflies.
The 90-minute tour will take you through the home of the 2012 Super Bowl and NFL Indianapolis Colts. How fun is it to step inside the locker rooms and on the field?
Places to EAT
If there’s one thing we love about the Circle City, it’s the variety of food choices the city has to offer. And as usual, we no doubt ate our way through Indy. But this time, we thought it was about time to hit some of their iconic eating landmarks plus a few new ones.
For monster high deli sandwiches in a no-frills cafeteria-style atmosphere, Shapiro’s is for you. We couldn’t resist trying their “#1 Indy sandwich,” the Reuben. They definitely don’t skimp on the sandwiches, but it wasn’t our favorite sandwiches.
I heard about the German chocolate cake so I couldn’t leave without getting a slice. It was just right – not too sweet or rich.
My husband was on a quest for steak, and we were so happy to hear we had a few options a few seconds away from our hotel. (Thanks for the suggestions, Omni Severin!) We wanted to try St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, but we weren’t dressed for it. Our other option was to try their sister restaurant located next door, Harry & Izzy’s. We were able to try a few things on St. Elmo’s menu including their famous spicy shrimp cocktail. Whoa! If you have sinuses this is the perfect way to clear them.
The rolls – oh my goodness. Better watch out, or you might finish them all. So, so good.
We appreciated the dry aged steak, but my husband was a little disappointed that his steak wasn’t cooked medium-rare.
The kids chose from the kid’s menu and my little one dove in to try the too cute steakburgers. He was one happy camper.
Conveniently located across the street from our hotel, we were excited to try St. Elmo Steak House’s newest endeavor, Burger Study. We were excited to find the famous St. Elmo spicy cocktail shrimp on the menu again. (Do you see a trend here?) We also noshed on zucchini straws. Since we were lacking in our greens, we thought it would be good to grab a few salads – a Cali Chopped and an Ahi Tuna Poke. Both beautiful and delicious as it looked.
As you can imagine, they have all sorts of burgers you crave – classic to fancy. And yes, my husband, a foie gras aficionado, couldn’t resist trying that burger. Me? I opted for our waitresses’ recommendation and tried the Homecoming, a burger with thick cut root beer glazed bacon and Gouda cheese. My little one was perfectly content with his mini hotdogs with yummy tots. So good, that I couldn’t help steal a few.
For the most awesome breakfast, you have to go to Cafe Patachou. Oh, my deliciousness! Kids will love ordering their green eggs and ham. If you prefer sweet over savory, then the croissant french toast was too die for. Seriously, I still crave it! The omelets are hearty and filling, but the real star is their cinnamon toast with all its cinnamon and butter glory. We were huge fans of their coffee bar and fell in love with the Irish Creme. So much that we bought a bag of beans to bring home.
One of my favorite things to do on vacation is finding small local coffee shops. @georgiastreetgrind was just a few feet away from our hotel and one of my fav finds. The intimate coffee shop may have been just as wide as this photo with one small counter, but the owner/barista was so friendly and knowledgeable it more than made up for the shop’s size. Plus, my latte and lil one’s hot chocolate were great. #otheplaceswego #LoveIndy
Looking to fulfill my coffee fix, I came upon this small coffee shop (counter, really) a few doors down from my hotel. My daughter, the surprising early bird of the day, joined me as we ordered coffee for my husband and me, and a hot chocolate for her.
We SO love this place. Whenever we visit, it’s like visiting family. The Loft at Trader’s Point Creamery is the true version of farm to table. Located on the north side of the city, this organic dairy farm is all about serving yummy food straight from the farm – all in a historic barn setting.
If the weather’s in your favor, walk off your brunch or lunch and take a stroll around the farm. Who knows? You might catch them milking cows or the cheesemakers hard at work.
Read all about the deliciousness here!
Places to STAY
The historic and elegant hotel dating back to 1913 was the perfect stomping grounds for our family. Within minutes are restaurants galore. We were even connected to the Circle Centre Mall which came in handy when it was raining! The suite with adjoining double room was comfortable, and we loved that the kids had enough room to be kids while we had our own little space. Bonus points for having a pool with perfectly warm water!
Read all about our stay here.
Kids love trains? For a truly unique experience, families can actually stay in converted train cars that date back to the 1920s and are still located on their tracks. In fact, the hotel is a historic landmark property located on the site of the first Union Station every built. Pieces of that history are evident with beams, statues, and train-themed art.
- Looking for a stop before Indianapolis? If you’re coming from Chicago, Fair Oaks Farm is a great midway point. You can spend a few hours or a few minutes here. If you only have a few minutes, grab a sandwich (the grilled cheeses are great), ice cream, or chocolate milk. Comes straight from the farm. If you have more time, you can check do any of the activities they offer including watching them milk their cows. Read more about it here.
Disclosure: A big thanks to Visit Indy and their partners for hosting us. I was not required to express a particular point of view. All opinions are my own.