8 Free Things to Do in Indianapolis with Kids

free things to do in indianapolis with kids

We live about 20 minutes from the heart of downtown Indianapolis, but rarely take it in from a tourist perspective.  During our spring break last week, we decided to take the day to go exploring in our own city and find some free entertainment as a family.  I asked received some awesome suggestions on the 4tunate Facebook page, and we had a few additional things in mind that we wanted to try, which completely filled our day! 

Here’s 8 FREE things that have kept us happily freely entertained in downtown Indianapolis and a couple of things we plan on trying out soon with our kids!


riding the iu health people mover 

1. Ride the IU Health People Mover (Monorail)

Most people don’t realize that the IU Health People Mover downtown is free and open to the public.  It travels from the Riley Hospital Campus to Methodist, and also stops at University Hospital.  We found free 2 hour visitor parking at the Fairbanks building, and rode back and forth between for a few tours.

2. Check Out Central Library

Central Library is a great pit stop to check out the beautiful building, and stop for a read. They have tons of activities for kids (especially in the summer months) that include exhibits, speakers, concerts, and movies.

visiting the indiana state house with kids

3. Visit the State Capital

The Indiana State House is rich in history and beauty. Guided tours and self-guided tours are free and offered daily. Often times you can peak in on house and senate in session.  The staff was very accommodating and welcoming to our entire family.

4. Browse Mass Ave Toys

Mass Ave Toys has a variety of classic and unique toys that make it a fun destination downtown for young and old.  You’ll find things you played with growing up and awesome new inventions that your kids will love trying out!

visiting monument circle with kids

5. Visit Monument Circle

The Solider and Sailor’s Monument is a beautiful landmark through every season. You can take the 330 steps up to the observation platform, or just sit for a spell on the steps and people watch. There are some great shops and treats on the circle that are fun to visit as well, including South Bend Chocolate Company and Rocket Fizz.

6. Kid’s Story Time at Indy Reads Books

Indy Reads Books is an independent book store that hosts a free Kid’s Story Time on Saturdays at 11:30 am.  We’re planning on taking advantage of this soon  and donating some of our used books while we’re in the neighborhood.

walking the canal downtown indianapolis with kids

7. Take a Walk Along the Canal

The canal is one of our favorite spots in the summer.  We love playing in the fountains, feeding the ducks, and taking in the great views along the way.  {We also had a BLAST renting a surrey from Wheel Fun Rentals last year!}

8.Take An Elevator Ride to the Top of One of the Tallest Hotels

Our pick was the glass elevator at the Indy Hyatt. Great views were to be had from inside the elevator and the top floor looking down. 

What are your favorite kid-friendly FREE spots in Indianapolis or where you live?