Located between Chicago and Cleveland, Detroit and Nashville, Indianapolis is the perfect weekend getaway for anyone traveling to the Midwest. Indiana’s state capital is home to craft breweries, award-winning restaurants and nearly a dozen sports teams. The best time to visit depends on what appeals to you: sports, gastronomy or outdoor recreation.
Indy can be an affordable destination despite hosting the Indianapolis 500, Lucas Oil Stadium, and world-class museums. For the perfect balance of bargains and good weather, visit during shoulder season, preferably late May or September.
For festivals and outdoor recreation, visit in high season (late May through September)
Warm, sunny days and a calendar filled with festivals and free concerts in the park mean that visitors flock to Indianapolis in droves. The Indy 500 and minor league baseball games also draw sports fans to the area. Great weather and plenty of outdoor entertainment make summer ideal for visiting Indianapolis. Expect to pay for the fun with long queues and high prices.
Avoid humidity and crowds in low season (April to mid-May and September to October)
Indianapolis has two shoulder seasons: spring and fall. While the weather can be unpredictable – sunny and hot one day, cloudy and rainy the next – these months are the perfect time to explore the city without the holiday crowds or oppressive summer humidity. Cool mornings and evenings are ideal for exploring the Indianapolis Museum of Art or the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. At the same time, warm afternoons mean pleasant walks on the Monon Trail or in the downtown malls.
Travel cheap in low season (November to March)
Although Indianapolis winters can be cold and gray, offers abound during the city’s low tourist season as well. Expect price spikes during the winter holidays, but big bargains from January to March. Winter is the perfect time to enjoy some of Indy’s most festive attractions. Conner Prairie, a living history establishment just outside of town, graces the hallways for the holidays, and the free Christkindlmarkt in suburban Carmel fills the chilly air with the scents of melting raclette cheese and mulled wine .
January is for foodies
January is Indy’s coldest month, with average temperatures in the low 20s and occasional icy squalls that cut unhindered across the flat landscape. Plan to make yourself comfortable in the many bars and restaurants in town. The important event: Devour Indy
It’s still cold in February, but Indy has plenty to do inside
Windy weather forces visitors and Indianapolis residents indoors. Luckily, the Hoosiers lean into relaxing activities like bowling in Fountain Square’s vintage alley, catching the latest blockbuster at Living Room Theaters in the Bottleworks District or indulging in a classic shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s.
The key events: Indiana Home and Garden Show
The month of March is dedicated to basketball and the green river
The March Madness Basketball Tournament is here! Sports bars quickly fill with fans watching the games, and the downtown canal turns Irish clover green for St. Patrick’s Day. Indianapolis weather swings wildly in March, so St. Patrick’s Day revelers show up prepared for rain or shine.
The key events: 317 days, Indy Flower Show
See the tulip poplars bloom in April
In April, the people of Indianapolis yearn for spring. Tulip poplars begin to bloom, outdoor restaurants open, and baseball fans line up at Victory Field for the first game of the season.
The key events: Victory Field Opening Night, Indy Film Fest
May picks up speed for the Indy 500
Finally, the spring weather arrives and everyone is gearing up for the Indy 500. Even people who don’t like racing are enjoying the buzz leading up to the annual event. The city’s pathways, canal and outdoor cafes come alive as temperatures rise. Memorial Day weekend marks the start of high season when hotels begin to fill with travelers.
The important event: Indianapolis 500
Free concerts and Pride Fest are calling you in June
Ah, summer in the city. Indianapolis buzzes with resident and visitor traffic in June. From free concerts in the parks to exuberant entertainment at Indy Pride Fest, Indianapolis offers plenty of outdoor good times.
The key events: Indy Pride Fest and Parade, Indy Ultimate Adventure Race
July is hot, but take advantage of a cold month and catch a minor league game
In July, the Indiana summer reaches its humid peak and the minor league baseball season is in full swing at Victory Field. Sure, it’s hot, but who cares when you have so many brews to try and concerts to see in various city parks?
The key events: 4th of July Celebrations Summer Concert Series at TCU Amphitheater
August is Indiana State Fair Month
The Indiana State Fair technically kicks off in July, but festivities take place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on the north side of town throughout August. You can indulge in classic Fair Trade dishes like cheese fries, fried Oreos, and the beloved “cinni minnis,” a deep-fried cinnamon bun dipped in powdered sugar and topped with cream cheese. If you’d rather stay downtown Indy, dine al fresco at one of the city’s many favorite restaurants or buy tickets to a minor league baseball game at Victory Field.
The key events: Indiana State Fair, Devour Indy (Summer Edition), IndyFringe Theater Festival
Soak up the arts in September
September still offers plenty of sunshine to enjoy an al fresco meal or kayak the city’s central canal. The month is anchored by the Penrod Arts Fair, a massive one-day celebration of arts and entertainment on the Newfields campus, home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The important event: Penrod Arts Fair
Check out a Colts game in October
Although Indy hosts several sports teams, the Indianapolis Colts attract fans from all over the country. After Lucas Oil Stadium hosted the 2012 Super Bowl, the city’s reputation for sports — and the beers fans enjoy with them — only grew.
The key events: Indianapolis Colts season at Lucas Oil Stadium, Heartland International Film Festival
Winter sets in in November
Indiana winters can be brutal, and November is when the cold starts to set in the bones of Hoosiers. It’s also when a horde of runners takes over downtown for the monumental annual Indianapolis Marathon, music lovers flock to Lucas Oil Stadium for the national Bands of America competition and families converge to watch the illumination. annual city Christmas tree.
The key events: Indianapolis Marathon, Circle of Lights, Bands of America Championships
Get into the holiday spirit in December
Indy offers plenty of attractions for the winter holidays, from light shows at the zoo to the German-inspired Christmas market in Carmel, a suburb north of the city. But perhaps none attracts as many families as Conner Prairie’s A Merry Prairie Holiday. Outside the city limits, the expansive living history museum invites revelers to enjoy caroling, bonfires, and other holiday activities like the 19th-century Hoosiers did.
Kkey events: A Merry Prairie Holiday, Big Ten Football Championship