8 Free Things to Do in Indianapolis

Fun doesn't always have to cost a fortune

Looking West down W.Market street at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
••• Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

No money? No problem. You can find plenty of free things to do in Indianapolis. Check out this list of free activities for starters. You don't have to break the bank to have fun in Indy.

  • 01 of 08

    Put on your walking shoes and climb to the glassed-in observation platform of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, located in the middle of Monument Circle downtown. The monument stands at the center of the city and is just 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty. The observation platform affords a panoramic view of the city. A Civil War exhibit is on the lower level. Not only is this one of the essential free things to do in Indianapolis, but it's also a good way to honor war heroes dating back to the Revolutionary War.

  • 02 of 08

    Check out free books, movies, and music at any of the Indianapolis Public Library’s many branches throughout the city. If you're looking for more things to do, pick up a library calendar to see what educational events are scheduled. Visit the branch nearest you and see for yourself all that it has to offer. Library cards are free to Marion County residents.

  • 03 of 08

    Volunteer your time and talents and make a difference in the lives of local residents. There are many great organizations that need your help. Consider the YMCA, food banks or the Humane Society of Indianapolis, just to name a few.

  • 04 of 08
    Castleton Square Mall
    ••• Courtesy of Simon

    Go window shopping; it's always free to look. Check out Castleton Square, Indiana’s biggest mall, on Indy’s northeast side. It's home to about 130 stores, a food court, and play area. Some folks take advantage of this indoor mall's long corridors to do some power walking. 

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  • 05 of 08
    Carmel Arts District
    ••• Tiffany Dailey

    Take a stroll down Mass Avenue to see a bevy of unique shops and art galleries. You can also admire the area's public art and historic architecture. This five-block area was revitalized in the 1990s and has a free-spirited vibe. One of six designated cultural districts in Indianapolis, it’s located just a few blocks northeast of Monument Circle. In 1981, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

  • 06 of 08

    Visiting The Ruins on Indy’s north side at Holliday Park is an interesting free thing to do in Indianapolis. Here you’ll find three massive statues made of Indiana limestone, representing “The Races of Man,” designed by famed architectural sculptor Karl Bitter. Holliday Park became the home of the statues after their original location, the St. Paul Building in New York City, met its demise in the 1950s. Holliday Park has been renovated and features many free things to appreciate: manicured gardens, a fountain, walkways, sculptures and educational kiosks. 

  • 07 of 08
    Murat Shrine Theater in the Lockerbie Square Neighborhood, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
    ••• Danita Delimont / Getty Images

    Take a walking tour of Lockerbie Square, Indianapolis’s oldest surviving residential neighborhood and the former home of famous Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. Lockerbie Square is the city's first historic district to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood is a mix of quaint cottages and Italianate, Federal and Queen Anne houses. This a delightful area to explore if you're looking for something free to do in Indianapolis.

  • 08 of 08
    Tourists on paddleboat in a lake, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA 2012
    ••• Panoramic Images / Getty Images

    The Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation maintains 208 parks in Marion County, ranging from six large regional parks to community and neighborhood/mini parks. Among the local parks, you'll find dozens of playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, family centers and aquatic centers. You'll also find nature centers, trails, golf courses, dog parks and an ice rink. Getting outside is a great way to stay active, and best of all, it's free to do. Check out the IndyParks website to find the park nearest you.