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Great Summer Road Trips
Cycling Wonderland


Drive time: 3 hours

By adding more than 100 miles of bike lanes in the past five years, Indianapolis has transformed itself into one of the most cycling-friendly cities in the country. (Even hipster paradise Portland wants to know how Indy did it.) The centerpiece is the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, an eight-mile urban loop connecting some of the area’s greatest sights. Here’s how to explore the city on two wheels.

Published May 19, 2016

Indianapolis map
Illustration: Charlotte Farmer

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

Milktooth Photo: Peter Frank Edward/Redux

1. Milktooth

Watch chef-owner Jonathan Brooks (a Bon Appétit favorite) work his magic in the open kitchen while you enjoy Dutch baby pancakes with Swiss and roasted mushrooms. milktoothindy.com

2. White River State Park

The park is one-stop shopping for history (Indiana State Museum), art (Eiteljorg Museum), animals (Indianapolis Zoo), and picnicking (abundant green space). inwhiteriver.com

3. Indianapolis City Market

The historic Indianapolis City Market features 30(ish) semipermanent food merchants. Local favorites include tamales at the Tamale Place. indycm.com

4. Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

Take a literary detour at this shrine to author and Indy native Kurt Vonnegut. vonnegutlibrary.org


Public Art

5. Looking Through Windows

Local panes are repurposed as art.

6. Chatham Passage

Stop and smell the roses (literally—the scent wafts from a grate).

7. Swarm Street

Motion-activated lights flicker and shimmer.

8. Glick Peace Walk

A corridor of calm amid the city’s many war memorials.

Indianapolis City Market
Indianapolis City Market Photo: Jason Lavengood/visitindy.com

Other Trails

9. Monon Trail

This 18.1-mile rail trail crosses several Instagram-worthy bridges, cuts through lively towns, and passes plenty of quaint backyards along the way.

10. White River Trail

Lots of wildlife, including red foxes, blue herons, and golden eagles, can be found on this 10.6-mile riverfront trail.

11. Central Canal Towpath

Weave along the historic waterway on this 7.7-mile trail of compacted stone.


*Indy Bike Hub

Need a rental or a tune-up? This YMCA facility, along with Bicycle Garage Indy, offers a full-service bike shop, plus parking for your wheels ($10 a day; $1 an hour), lockers, and showers. indybikehub.org

While You’re There:Take a spin around the (12) Major Taylor Velodrome ($8) at the Indy Cycloplex (indycycloplex.com) and marvel at the centrifugal forces that keep you from face-planting on the steep curves.

Where to Stay:Curators from the Indianapolis Museum of Art handpicked 26 artists to create works for (13) the Alexander (from $180, thealexander.com).

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