Urban Element assembles scrumptious café fare while surrounding guests in an inviting wine bar atmosphere replete with art-adorned walls and live music. The menu abounds with fairly healthy fare, including homade roasted red-pepper hummus ($8) and grilled-pineapple-and-shrimp salad ($10). Patrons can coordinate outfits to match the blue cheese pasta with chickpeas ($10+) or sample a curried chicken-salad sandwich or wrap ($7). The prevalence of paintings at Urban Element allows guests to appreciate local art without the need to pay admission or ship themselves inside cardboard boxes to fancy museums.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collection encompasses multiple continents and thousands of years of human artwork. Currently in the spotlight is the limited-time-only exhibit Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, a smorgasbord of formal and found-object creations representing the most extensive showing to date of Dial’s work, commonly labeled as outsider art. Time magazine has given Dial considerable acclaim for his courage in confronting homelessness, international politics, and the southern African-American experience. Meander through 70 works, including 25 previously unseen pieces, ranging from playful watercolors to inches-thick painted layers of found materials such as dolls, dried plants, and membership cards to defunct video stores. After taking in Hard Truths, art-history fans and symbologists on life-or-death missions can soak up the museum's well-established collection of everything from ancient Oceanic artwork to modern depictions of blurry water lilies and hyperfocused soup cans.
Located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis in White River State Park, the Indiana State Museum showcases the state’s art, science and cultural history from the prehistoric era to now. The museum’s permanent collection tells Indiana’s story, from glaciers to the first settlers, with a Native American exhibit that highlights the various cultures of local and regional tribes. The first floor showcases the state’s natural history while the second floor has its cultural history, with exhibits like The Ancient Seas, Birth of the Earth, Crossroads of America and Global Indiana. Each year, several traveling exhibits pass through the museum, allowing visitors to see something new with each trip. During Christmastime every year, part of the museum’s third floor transforms into Santa’s home, and children can ride the Santa Claus Express train. The museum also contains an IMAX theater, showing documentaries and family-friendly movies.
The docents at Segway of Indiana reveal downtown Indianapolis' multitudinous sights and attractions to segway-mounted travelers during one-hour guided tours. Groups of up to six participants strap on helmets and undertake a segway orientation to get acclimated to maneuvering the two-wheeled vehicles, which glide like moonwalking figure skaters. Tour groups then rove across the 250-acre White River State Park, admiring outdoor art and the hundreds of plants flourishing at the 3.3-acre White River Gardens. Raconteur guides regale tour-takers with historical tidbits as the group passes the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions, and the cobwebbed XFL Hall of Champions. The tour wraps up with a jaunt along the picturesque downtown waterfront, where travelers can admire monuments and memorials along the way.
For the past 50 years, people of all ages, faiths, and cultural backgrounds have gathered at the Arthur M. Glick JCC for attractions ranging from book festivals to a seasonal water park. Inside its 20,000-square-foot fitness center, visitors can break a sweat in the aerobics studio—with a spring floor that cushions joints—or swim laps in the six-lane competitive pool. During group workouts, athletes relieve stress with yoga poses, tone their physiques with boot camps, or practice Zumba moves to use with their up-and-coming boy band.
Through the JCC's educational programs, visitors can make their brains as well-toned as their bodies. Members cultivate their creative side with film screenings, art exhibits, and shows from celebrated performers. Alternatively, adult education classes can impart expertise on topics such as social media, cooking, calligraphy, and music. During the summer months, kids can learn and play at the JCC's camps, and adults can build their environmental expertise in the community garden, rather than by donning a tree costume in an effort to understand life on the other side.