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.
It seems fitting for the Indiana Repertory Theatre to be housed in such a dramatically beautiful 1927 multi-story concrete building. With its white terra cotta façade, emphasized by the Spanish-baroque style triangular curved arch, the building draws attention to the theatre troupe’s glowing marquee in downtown Indianapolis. Inside, the cadre of actors pull crowds in further, showcasing classic productions and newer works with seeming ease. A marble-floored grand lobby welcomes in theatergoers looking to catch one of their nine annual productions, while the sweeping staircase shows mezzanine level patrons to their plush seats. The not-for-profit Indiana Repertory Theatre, founded in 1972, is the only League of Resident Theatres entity in Indiana, sporting more than 100 seasonal and full-time staff.
From the second-story balcony of Tavern On South's century-old building, diners enjoy seasonal menu creations illuminated by a blend of moonlight and the glowing Indianapolis skyline. As noted by Indianapolis Monthly in 2011, the interior's wooden accents and iconic photos of the city "lend the [newly opened] tavern a timeless patina," as diners sip on regional craft beers and thoughtfully selected wines.
Chef Allen Shideler orchestrates the menu and composes its dishes with seasonal ingredients, serving plates such as the chicken pomodoro in accordance with the growing seasons of herbs and the migratory patterns of tomatoes. The tavern is also within walking distance of Lucas Oil Stadium, allowing diners to stroll over to games after dinner.
In this day of DVDs and in-home, on-demand options, drive-in theatres are a rarity. But Tibbs Drive-In Theatre continues to provide what’s generally considered to be an old but cherished way to watch movies, particularly around Indianapolis. From early spring through mid-fall each year, Tibbs visitors can enjoy large-screen movies from the comfort of their own vehicles, or pull together an array of lawn chairs and other foldable furniture for strategically-positioned seats inside the facility’s parking lot. A variety of movies run across the four screens, usually as double-headers, making Tibbs an all-night destination. Concession stand options are plentiful and varied, and a large, grass-covered area is available near the main screen, where younger moviegoers often gather and play.
The Ball and Biscuit is considered by many to be Indianapolis’ original craft cocktail bar, paving the way for others with its mixologists muddling fresh herbs, warm citrus peels and shaking pre-prohibition era libations. Bare-bulb Edison lights dangle over the bar, while exposed red brick walls and scarred wood tables and chairs give the air of a bootlegger’s hideout. The décor may be spartan, but the glassware gleams in the spotlight. Every style, shape and size is used in accordance with the appropriate cocktail, and no generic drinkware is used for drinks crafted by these master bartenders. At this award-winning, Massachusetts Avenue bar, top-of-the-line mixologists create first-rate cocktails and revamp classics, creating a scene few have been able to replicate.
Situated within blocks of the speedway, Kelly’s Pub Too celebrates the history of the asphalt loop by plastering their sports bar with all sorts of racing memorabilia, ranging from go-karts to NASCAR. Between sips of beer or shots at one of 10 pool tables, bar-goers fill up on a menu of classic bites, splitting baskets of wings and potato skins or tearing into a spicy Cajun blue cheese burger all on their own. The kitchen also turns out 14-inch pizzas topped with chicken, veggies, and sausage, as well as baskets of crispy fish and chips. A wide stage hosts live music acts throughout the week against a speedway mural that shows the track, stands, and a grand marshal questioning his place in the world now that the race has started.