If you and your family are preparing for the summer and looking for free things to do in Indianapolis, then we have some tips for you. Indiana is known for the Indy 500, other major sporting events, and its rich American history. But it is also a major center for free cultural and recreational events. There are many free things to do in Indianapolis.
Free Things to do in Indianapolis
Whether you live locally in Indianapolis or are planning a visit, there are many interesting, family-themed free events to check out.
Here is a list of free things to do in Indianapolis to check out.
The Indianapolis Artsgarden is a glass-enclosed events facility, and it is an attached extension of the Circle Centre Mall.
In fact, if you were visually looking for the Indianapolis Artsgarden from afar, you wouldn’t be able to miss it even if you tried.
From afar, the Indianapolis Artsgarden resembles an empty, building-sized snow globe structure that was set on the street between buildings.
It is seven-stories tall and was actually designed as a kind of sky-bridge and structure hybrid.
The Indianapolis Artsgarden is nestled on a concrete base and fully suspended about 17-feet over the street-level intersection at Illinois and Washington streets.
The Indianapolis Artsgarden is a facility host to over 250 free arts, public events, and performance-related activities. These various activities include:
- Film showings
- Art, culture, dance, and music performances
- Storytelling events
- Visual art exhibits
The Cultural Concierge, which is housed inside of the Indianapolis Artsgarden, is a centralized data source for all events occurring within the city. There, you can get ticket information, free maps, and visitor guides.
Even if there are no scheduled events occurring at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, you will find it to be a peaceful location to hang out during a break between exploring Indianapolis.
This place should be on your list of free things to do in Indianapolis.
Free Concerts in the Summer
You and your family can take advantage of free large-scale “Pops,” concerts performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis and Indy Parks.
Pops-themed concerts are free concerts where orchestras and bands mainly perform classical, jazz, patriotic, operatic, and famous film score songs for public enjoyment.
Most Pops concerts are performed in the summer and during federal holidays in the summer.
Pops concerts performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis and Indy Parks usually start at 7 PM sharp. Free parking is also available at these events.
The renowned Indianapolis Concerts on the Canal are performed through the summer months on Thursday nights. These Pops concerts are performed on Thursday nights from 6 PM to 8 PM.
There are no formal seating arrangements at these Pops concert events. So, be ready to bring blankets or lawn chairs for seating on the grass, and be sure to arrive early to claim good viewing spots.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is arguably the largest children’s museum of its kind in the world.
Admission is always free for children under the age of 2. However, during certain holidays throughout the year, admission is free for entire families.
Admission is free for entire families at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis during the following holidays:
- Christmas Eve
- Fiesta Familia
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- President’s Day
If you go to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis on the first Thursday of any month, then you will get a $5 admission discount from 4 PM to 8 PM.
Parking is always free too. One of the best free things to do in Indianapolis you can enjoy.
The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art
The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art is the only museum in Indianapolis that is dedicated to displaying the works of local, emerging, and famous contemporary artists.
It is open to the public for the viewing of pre-scheduled art exhibitions from 9AM to 7PM. And of course, admission is always free.
Keep in mind that the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art closes between exhibition displays and to set up for the next exhibition.
The gallery exhibitions at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art are rotated every 8-weeks. Local Indianapolis curators develop gallery showcases featuring the works of local, regional, and occasionally national artists.
Always be sure to check ahead for exhibition schedules and dates before arriving so you don’t meet a “closed,” sign.
Nearby parking is free on Sundays.
The Indiana State Police Museum
The Indiana State Police Museum of Indianapolis was founded in 1933. This museum exists to preserve and showcase the history chronological activities of the Indiana State Police from 1933 to the current day.
On display at the museum are rare artifacts like early 20th-century police uniforms, crime artifacts related to the Brady Gang and John Dillinger, and a one-of-a-kind 1938 Chevy police vehicle.
If you make advance reservations, the professional staff at the Indiana State Police Museum will arrange a free guided group tour to explain exhibits and answer your questions.
Admission is free to the public Tuesday to Friday between 9 AM to 3 PM.
Free Things to do in Indianapolis Conclusion
There are too many free things to do in Indianapolis to list here. Check online and plan your excursion well in advance.