Family Weekend Getaway in Indianapolis, Indiana
1Try to hit the road early and make it to the Indianapolis Museum of Art before it closes at 5 pm. Don't miss pieces by British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner, as well as some outstanding art from the Pont-Aven School of Paul Gauguin. Kids get a kick out of the interactive contemporary piece, "Floor," by Korean artist Do-Ho Suh. The art continues outdoors in 100 Acres, which combines nature with sculpture including the newest, "Chop Stick," a concession stand-slash-swing carved from a 100-foot-tall tulip tree.
2Dinner is nearby at local indie pizza place, Bazbeaux. Any of the fresh toppings work on the famous "thin or thicker" crust, but we suggest the quattro formaggio, which ramps things up with bacon and mushrooms.
3Save some room for dessert at BRICs (Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station). It has become one of Indy's most popular scoop shops. Located along the Monon Trail greenway in a century-old former railway station, it's as charming as the hand-dipped chocolate choo choo, grasshopper, and Broad Ripple blackberry are delicious.
1Start your day at Patachou on the Park, one of several area restaurants from Texan-turned Milwaukee resident Martha Hoover. Choose from satisfying omelets made from free-range local eggs, broken yolk sandwiches, cuban breakfast, and lovingly brewed coffee.
2Stroll off some of that hearty breakfast by heading west one mile along the Cultural Trail, a 2012-completed 8-mile urban bike and pedestrian path that connects Indy's six cultural districts and also hitches onto the longer Monon Trail. Along the way, keep an eye out for the more than a dozen public artworks—plus plenty of great people-watching.
3Keep walking right into White River State Park and the Indianapolis Zoo, not a free city zoo like Chicago's, but worth the entrance fee. Sprawling across 64 acres, the zoo's wildly popular dolphin pavilion house features an underwater viewing dome. Exhibits include "Flights of Fancy: A Brilliance of Birds," which offers nose-to-beak experiences, and "JUMP: The Ultimate Dog Show."
4Cross back over the river to the Indiana State Museum for lunch in its L.S. Ayres Tea Room, an experience that enthralls children with its fanciful setting and charms grownups with its history dating back to 1905. Must-try menu items include the chicken velvet soup, monto cristo sandwich, and the kids' hobo lunch.
5Stick around the Indiana State Museum to delve into the Hoosier state's science, art, and culture and catch a movie at the IMAX. Or visit another White River State Park option, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. This one-of-a-kind institution focuses on the art, influence, and culture of both the American West and indigenous peoples. A highlight is an impressive number of works from the Taos Society of Artists.
6Boasting 250 acres with both outdoor and indoor activities, you could basically spend all weekend within White River State Park. You can visit the NCAA Hall of Champions Museum or the Indiana Historical Society; or simply stroll along the White River Promenade with renderings of famous buildings carved into the limestone. Speaking of public art, you'll discover plenty of it here: the 43-foot-tall wind-activated "Tent" sculpture, the modern "Totem," the stone maze, and the bison statute, among others. Plus, during baseball season, the Minor League Indianapolis Indians play to family-friendly crowds in Victory Field.
7For dinner, steak and potatoes get special treatment at James Beard-nominated St. Elmo Steak House, a landmark since 1902. Shrimp cocktail tops the starters, and we dare you to follow it up with a 32-ounce prime rib.
1Don't let the off-the-beaten path locale and seedy-looking exterior steer you away from Kountry Kitchen Soul Food Place. Join the sports stars, musicians, and even President Obama who have all visited for the down-home Southern-style breakfasts of steak and eggs, French toast, pancakes, and omelets. And nothing is over 10 bucks.
2Drive over to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis where little ones can explore a simulated ancient Egyptian tomb, check out artifacts from a genuine pirate ship, and even watch real paleontologists at work.
3You can't go to Indy without acknowledging its car-racing fame. You'll be on the cutting edge when you visit the brand-new Dallara IndyCar Factory where you can create your own IndyCar, race in simulators, and peek into the factory windows.