10 Ways to Explore Central Indiana This Summer

Writer: Stephanie Weber

We live in a city filled with exciting summer activities for all ages. Whether you like to spend time wining and dining, a night under the stars, or a combination of both something for everyone is available here in Indy. I’ve compiled a list of 10 things to keep you, your family and your friends entertained this summer.

1. Visit a Farmers’ Market

Make your grocery list and check out the farmers’ markets in your town. Local vendors bring their best produce, meats, wines, flowers, baked goods and everything in between to these markets. I’m planning to check out the Fishers market a few times this summer.

2. Picnic Concert Series at Mallow Run

This is one of my favorite ways to spend Saturday night on Indy’s southside. Mallow Run always has great bands, delicious food trucks and, of course, amazing wine. This series runs through September, and you can check out the concert lineup at mallowrun.com.

3. Explore Mass Ave

The Mass Ave area is constantly changing, adding new restaurants, wineries and local businesses. You could easily spend an afternoon enjoying brunch, visiting the shops and stopping for wine tasting. It’s a lively area that’s great for a girl’s night or a date night.

4. Visit Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie has always been a favorite for me. My family and I used to go every Fourth of July when I was younger, and last year we started the tradition again. This is another great way to get the kids out of the house, learn some history and enjoy a beautiful summer day.

5. Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

The name of the venue may change many more times, but the music will always be great. The lineup for summer looks especially tailgate worthy. Pro tip for experiencing concerts at Ruoff: arrive early and stay late. Beat the traffic by packing a picnic and plan to stay well after the concert ends so bring snacks for that too.

6. Check out an art fair

We are fortunate to be a city filled with artistic events including art fairs. Talbot Street is coming up June 16-17 so if you’re looking for handmade pottery, unique paintings or handcrafted jewelry add this to your summer calendar.

7. Spend a day at Geist

Did you know you can rent a pontoon boat at Geist? Spending a weekend on the water is one of my favorite ways to soak up the summer sun. We always like to do a pitch-in and have everyone bring their favorite appetizers. Grab a group of up to 10 friends and reserve your boat for the day. 

8. Enjoy dinner in Downtown Greenwood

This area has been revamped over the years and it is home to some well-known local businesses. One of my favorite places to dine is La Trattoria. Their steak is so tender and pairs nicely with a glass of Pinot Noir. I’d recommend reservations for the weekends.

9. Hike and camp at Turkey Run

My husband and I love to spend summer nights in the woods, making hot dogs and s’mores over a fire. Turkey Run is one of our favorite state parks in Indiana with some great hiking trails. You can reserve a campsite and enjoy a night under the stars.

10. Visit Coxhall Gardens

Bike, walk, play, listen to music, you can do it all at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel. It’s a beautiful open space, perfect for a picnic while watching the sunset. It’s open to the public although the space is also used for weddings and other special events.

Bonus: Take a day trip to Holiday World

While this isn’t exactly local for those of us in Central Indiana, Holiday World makes for such a great day trip at any age. We like to spend a day in the water park every year with a group of friends. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Indianapolis and the weekends are insanely busy so plan accordingly. I suggest going during the week if possible.

I always like to make a summer bucket list, and all of these are on mine. You’ll also find me enjoying a sweet, cold treat at Nicey’s in Broad Ripple. No matter how you choose to spend your summer, I encourage you to try something new, visit a new place and have an adventure here in Indy.

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