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After hearing about the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, I knew I had to take Milana before she was too old to enjoy it. Indianapolis was definitely not something on our radar and the only reason we did go was to visit the children’s museum. We flew nonstop from LAX on Southwest using points plus companion pass and used points for all hotels, making this an inexpensive weekend getaway! We had 3 full days in the city and after our full day at the museum, I’d be lying if I said we didn’t struggle to find things to do! If you are coming for just the museum, 2 day is more than enough in the area.
We split our stay between two Marriott properties, the Courtyard Indianapolis at the Capitol and Indianapolis Marriott East. We got upgraded to bigger suites at both (after booking the smallest, cheapest room with points) which was a nice surprise!
THINGS TO DO
We happened to be there the first weekend of October, where it was 90 degrees and super humid! Definitely not the fall weather I was hoping for. It rained briefly one day, however had it rained during our stay, we would have nothing to do aside from the museum since our other activities were all outdoors so keep that in mind when planning your trip!
The museum definitely lived up to the hype. There are 5 levels of interactive exhibits and a new outdoor sports area, which Milana surprisingly loved! I just wish the museum had longer hours. We went on a Friday and they closed at 5pm, which is really early. The outdoor area remained open for a few more hours, but it would be nice if their weekend hours were longer inside as well.
The next day, we went to Lark Ranch outside of the city for some farm fun. Now if it wasn’t October and pumpkin season, I’m not quite sure what we would have done since we struggled to find any fun activities in the area. This was awesome and Milana had a blast playing with other kids, however it was 90 degrees and humid so not as fun as a fall day would have been. The admission is super cheap, something like this would cost a fortune in SoCal! There are enough activities to keep the kids occupied for the entire day here.
Another super fun place (that would be awful if it rained!) is Connor Prairie. This is best for school-age kids and a really fun learning experience. Milana got to experience what life was like in the 1800s. The employees here really get into character and involve the kids in tasks. Milana loved this place and said she would love to come back when it’s cooler!
We love visiting playgrounds when we travel and I found Tarkington Park on Yelp. The play area looked really nice however the area was super sketchy. Of course this is hard to know not being a local, but after reading some reviews I noticed some locals saying the same thing. It’s a great playground, just be aware of your surroundings!
I was also counting a cute downtown area to walk around, but sadly Indianapolis lacked that. Mass Ave wasn’t very nice to walk around in and we drove to Broad Ripple as well, however it wasn’t the cute downtown I was looking for.
One of the first places we went to after we landed was Goodfellas pizza on Mass Ave. Milana asked for pizza and I quickly found it on Yelp, so off we went! It was actually decent and similar to true NYC pizza we love.
After pizza, we walked around a little bit on Mass Ave however there wasn’t much besides restaurants and having already eaten, those didn’t interest us. We did find a cute cupcake store that had cupcakes that didn’t look like anything special. However, they were amazing! Super moist and really good, definitely give them a try if you are in the area.
For breakfast one morning, we went to Yolk. We loved it and shortly after paying, I had a cash back notification from Dosh which was a nice surprise! If you’re not familiar, Dosh is a cash back app that automatically gives you cash back without having to do anything. Download the app, add your credit cards and if you dine or shop at a participating retailer and use that card, you automatically get cash back added to your account. Back to Yolk, they had lots of different pancake flavors and the best part was you can order one of each to try them all! If you are a pancake fan, this is a must try!
Another breakfast place we tried was Wild Eggs. Now this one was not good at all, we should have stuck to Yolk two days in a row!
Since we were up late and many of the neighborhoods weren’t safe to walk around in at night, I found an ice cream place called Wyliepalooza that had board games and a small play area for kids. The plan was to go play some games however the games here were so so nasty! I’m not a germaphobe in any sense however these games were just downright nasty and covered in all sorts of food. We went to a game cafe in St Louis recently where they served food and had games, and the games were very clean and well taken care of. After tying several, I told Milana we can’t play them as they were that nasty. Good ice cream though, so come for that but not the games.
We had dinner at Brugge Brasserie one day, in the Broad Ripple area. Milana loves mussels and they have several different sauce flavors to choose from. It was ok, not a place I would willingly go back to. Milana did like the cheese plate she ordered!
Around the corner from the mussels place was a cupcake shop called Smallcakes. This one wasn’t as good as the one on Mass Ave, but still delicious. They also had ice cream here as well.
One night, we also tried BurgerFuel in Broad Ripple. Now I hate to say this, but this was the worst burger I have ever tried in my life! It’s really hard to mess up burgers and this was the first time in my life where I couldn’t stomach it and ended up throwing almost the entire thing out. Being almost empty on a Saturday night should have been an indication, but we went in anyway. After leaving and driving down the street, I noticed another burger place that was super packed with people, so that is probably the better option if burgers are what you’re after! Now I love grass-fed burgers and we have a local SoCal chain that is amazing but this was nowhere near that quality.
On our last night we went to a chain restaurant. We don’t have Texas Roadhouse near us and it’s one of our favorite chains so if we see one on our travels, we go to it. This was very close to our hotel, which didn’t have many other options. Milana loves their bread and sweet butter and the bucket of nuts each table is given! The waiter also brought out free cheese fries, so Milana enjoyed those as well.
Overall, we had a good trip mainly due to time of year (can’t do a pumpkin patch outside of October!). Milana loved the museum, the farm and Connor Prairie. However as I mentioned, that is literally all we found to do in the area and had it rained, we wouldn’t be bale to do the farm, the prairie or the outside area of the museum. If you are coming for the museum like we did, 2 days in Indianapolis is plenty! In hindsight, I should have split our trip between Louisville and Indy but that occurred to me while already there and we had already booked hotels.