Road Trip to Indianapolis for Orangutans and Chinese Warriors

This week: Vivian Maier photos on display at a local hotel, what Wi-Fi in the sky costs, the 20 best American cities for foodies, and more.

Nicky, now living at the new International Orangutan Center in Indianapolis.   Photo: Rob Shumaker/Courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis has been stacking up the reasons to visit lately: Along with the city’s eight-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a major bike and pedestrian pathway, and the art-focused Alexander hotel, two new major exhibitions just opened. Here’s a packed itinerary for Indianapolis, one of the stops in Chicago magazine’s just-published summer travel story featuring three mega road trips:

Indianapolis, Indiana

Distance and drive time: 183 miles, 3 hours

Start at locavore-focused Café Patachou (225 W. Washington St., 317-632-0765) and try the toasted “Full Bellied Pig” sandwich, a spicy concoction of peanut butter, bacon, strawberry jelly, and fresh jalapeños (the restaurant’s profits go to feeding Indy’s at-risk kids). From here, take a scenic 10-minute walk through White River State Park, crossing the White River bridge flanked with art installations. On the other side, you’ll arrive at the Indianapolis Zoo (1200 W. Washington St., 317-630-2001; adults from $14.95, ages 2 to 12 from $11.45, and rides from $3). Boom, you just avoided zoo parking.

Make a beeline to the new $21.5-million International Orangutan Center, which opened last weekend as the new home for eight orangutans, one of the largest groups of these endangered apes found at any zoo in the country. Step inside the habitat to play a game with the apes (they play to win for treats) or soar above them in a 40-foot-high aerial Skyride modelled on Borneo’s tree-top Hutan Trail.

The next day, wind through neighborhoods and parks on the Cultural Trail; rent a bike for the trip using the new 25-station Bike Share program, also launched recently. Then head to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (3000 N. Meridian St., 317-334-4000, childrensmuseum.org; $19.50 adults, $14.50 ages 2 to 17), the biggest museum for kids in the world. Through November 2, you can see China’s life-size Terra Cotta Warriors; Indianapolis is the only stop in the U.S. this year for the traveling exhibition. The exhibition showcases eight original painted warriors from the thousands-deep clay army plus some 100 artifacts, all of which date back more than 2,000 years to China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang (read more on the exhibit at the Washington Post).

Back downtown at Monument Circle, challenge yourself to climb the 330 stairs to the observation deck—or fly up the easy way on an elevator—where you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views over the city.

For destinations that will keep you driving all summer, check out Chicago’s June travel feature.

Travel News


Radisson Blu Aqua Is Hanging Photos from Vivian Maier

Step into the newly renovated lobby at the 334-room Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel, Chicago and you’re in for a treat: 11 black-and-white limited edition prints from Vivian Maier, a local artist who captured images of Chicago streets and avenues in the 1950s. Maier, who spent her career working as a nanny on Chicago’s North Shore, died in 2009. Read more about the exhibit at the New York Times and get the whole back story on how Maier’s trove of work was discovered in Chicago magazine’s 2010 feature.

What Six Top Airlines Are Charging for Domestic Wi-Fi

Southwest Airlines offers the best day rate for inflight Wi-Fi at $8, while Virgin America offers the biggest bang over the course of a month at $40. Condé Nast Traveler has more on Wi-Fi on these and four other airlines.

Sleepaway Camp or Tween Dream Vacation?

Suddenly summer camp is an easy sell with extreme vacations—er, adventure camps at the 74-acre Pali Overnight Adventures near Lake Arrowhead, California. Kids ages 9 to 16 can choose from one-to-four-week programs that include Hollywood Stunt Camp, Secret Agent Camp, Club DJ, and Motorsports. They also get to partake in daily activities like archery, skateboarding, dune buggies, high ropes, and paintball. Camps start at $1,800 and space is available through August.

Condé Nast’s 20 Best American Cities for Foodies

Chicago slides into sixth position on this Readers’ Choice list from Condé Nast Traveler, which also spotlights regulars like New York and New Orleans in the top 10. For the unexpected, try Sante Fe, Healdsburg, and Carmel-By-the-Sea. See Condé Nast for all 20 cities.

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