For culture, entertainment, and outdoor experiences, Indianapolis is hard to beat. There is no shortage of group-friendly options for visiting meetings, but here are a few highlights to consider.
DAY 1: Cultural Trails
A great way to start a trip to Indianapolis is with a stroll down one of its newest offerings. Last year, the city unveiled the eight-mile Cultural Trail of greenway, connecting the downtown's six cultural districts (a $63-million investment that required removing a lane of car traffic). Groups can go to Fountain Square for vintage stores and delicious eats (including the city's own meadery), the Wholesale District for symphony and stadiums, or Mass Ave. for theater and shopping. www.indyculturaltrail.org
Follow up a tour of Indy's newest attractions with one of its most iconic: Robert Indiana's original LOVE sculpture on the front lawn of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. But there are 54,000 additional works to explore, including a new Georgia O'Keefe exhibit. Fans of The Fault in Our Stars will also recognize this as where the main characters had their first date. www.imamuseum.org
DAY 2: Sports & History
Few cities are as closely associated with sports as Indianapolis. Attendees can experience the Indy 500 by taking part in the IndyRacing Experience, which gives visitors the chance to strap in to an actual IndyCar for a 180-mph ride around the century-old track. Also available are day-long group experiences, including lunch, talks with IndyCar Series drivers, and souvenir photos. www.indyracingexperience.com
Visit the Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District, featuring two military-related museums, the American Legion Mall, and Veterans Memorial Plaza (Indy is home to more veterans monuments and memorials than any other U.S. city aside from Washington, D.C.). For an unbeatable view of Indianapolis, attendees can go to the top of the 284-foot-tall Soldiers & Sailors Monument -- either by elevator or by climbing 331 steps. www.in.gov/iwm
DAY 3: Great Outdoors
There are few better ways to start the day than a stroll through the state's only urban state park (and the largest in the country). White River State Park has 250 acres of green space and plenty of major attractions, including Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana State Museum, the Indianapolis Zoo, and the NCAA Hall of Champions. www.inwhiteriver.org
For lunch, look no further than the "Original Farmers' Market." The Indianapolis City Market was first opened in 1886 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The market's more than 30 vendors offer some of the freshest food and drink -- farm-fresh produce, craft beer, artisanal pretzels, sandwiches, and lots more. www.indycm.com
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This article appears in the November 2014 issue of Successful Meetings.