Indianapolis features a wealth of both free and paid attractions, museums and sights, the majority of which are fully accessible. Listed below are many of these top sights and activities. All listed here are at least partially wheelchair accessible. Please share any experiences you have accessing these sights in the comments section at the bottom of this page. Multiple perspectives are essential in building a resource for all wheelchair users.
Indiana State Capitol Building
Construction of the historic Indiana State Capitol building, which houses all three branches of the state government, was completed in 1888. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August 1975. Constructed with Indiana limestone, the capitol is an important piece of the Indianapolis skyline.
Self-guided and guided tours are available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on the weekends with a more limited schedule. Two guided tour options are made available, lasting either 15 minutes or 30-45 minutes. These tours are free to the public. Additional information on the building’s history and available tours can be found on the Indiana Department of Administration website.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Lines 2/4/12/13/14/15/17/18/19/28/31/38/39 at Capitol Ave. & Market St.
World War Memorial
The Indiana War Memorial and the 5-block War Memorial Plaza on which it sits was developed in 1924 after several years of planning. The memorial was constructed to honor Indiana’s fallen heroes of the First World War. Built with Indiana limestone and in a neoclassical style, the structure stands 210 feet tall. Its important purpose is inscribed on the building’s North facade:
To commemorate the valor and sacrifice of the land, sea and air forces of the United States and all who rendered faithful and loyal service at home and overseas in the World War; to inculcate a true understanding and appreciation of the privileges of American citizenship; to inspire patriotism and respect for the laws to the end that peace may prevail, justice be administered, public order maintained and liberty perpetuated.
Inside the building is an expansive museum, tracing the state’s involvement in armed conflict from the Revolutionary War to the present day. The artifacts and displays in the World War I and World War II exhibits are of particular note. The first floor houses an auditorium that serves as the site of military commissioning ceremonies and on several occasions, the Indiana Governor’s State of the State address. There is also an exhibit that is a replica of the radio room on the historic U.S.S. Indianapolis. A memorial dedicated to the ship and its crew is located 5 blocks away from the World War Memorial, along the city’s Central Canal.
The War Memorial is accessible via ramps on its Northern side, from Michigan Street. Most of the museum’s displays and exhibits are wheelchair accessible via elevator, but the Vietnam and Korean War sections are not. The Indiana War Memorials Foundation plans to make this area ADA compliant once funding is set aside for the project. The hidden treasure on the building’s upper floor is the Shrine Room, which features elements from all of the Allied nations from Word War I. At the center of the Shrine room is an American flag, hanging from the ceiling and measuring 17- by 30-feet. ADA compliant restrooms are available on the first floor. For more information on visiting the Indiana World War Memorial, visit www.indianawarmemorials.org. The museum is free and open to the public between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Be sure to read my complete Review of Wheelchair Access at the Indiana War Memorial Museum.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Lines 38/39 at Meridian St. & Michigan St.
Located at the intersection of Meridian and Market Streets is a traffic circle known as Monument Circle. At the center of this circle stands the 284-foot, 6-inch Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. This monument, erected in 1888, is dedicated to the Indiana soldiers who fought in the Civil War, Revolutionary War, Mexican War, the Spanish-American War and the War of 1812. The monument was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It also houses the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, accessible to wheelchairs by an entrance on the Southwest side of the structure. The museum’s exhibits showcase the state’s contributions to the Civil War and house many artifacts, including weapons and a cannon. Admission is free of charge. The memorial features an observation deck at the top of its obelisk, but this unfortunately requires climbing 31 steps after an elevator ride. For more information on visiting the memorial or museum, consult the State of Indiana’s War Memorials website.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Lines 2/3/5/8/10/12/13/14/15/17/19/28/31/34/37/38/39 at Ohio St. & Illinois St.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Established in 1925, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has grown to become the world’s largest and attracts more than one million people annually. The museum occupies more than 400,000 square feet of space and features exhibits tied to three primary theme areas: the American Collection, the Cultural World Collection and the Natural World Collection. While the museum is not 100% accessible to wheelchairs, most of the exhibits and attractions can be accessed, including the carousel. Museum staff will do everything possible to help accommodate you or your child. For more information on accessibility at the museum, visit childrensmuseum.org. Admission is available to adults for $21.50, to seniors (age 60+) for $20.50 and to youths (age 2-17) for $18.50. Children under two are admitted without charge.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Lines 38/39 at Meridian St. & 30th St.
Indianapolis Central Canal & White River Park
A canal, originally dug in the early 1800s to facilitate commerce, runs through the center of downtown in Indianapolis. In 1985, the city invested in the redevelopment of the canal into a public space, with an accompanying canal walk. Today, the canal walk runs through downtown Indianapolis and spans approximately three miles. The walkways on either side of the water are frequented by runners, bikers and pedestrians. Situated along the Central Canal are many of the city’s top tourist attractions, including the Eiteljorg Museum, Government Center, Indiana History Center, Indiana Museum, Indianapolis Zoo and U.S.S. Indianapolis Memorial. Pedal boats and kayaks can be rented from Wheel Fun Rentals. The Canal Walk is extremely wheelchair accessible, with numerous access ramps on either side of the canal. There are a number of elevators that provide access to/from the street level. The canal is crossed by many bridges for pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic. Access to the canal is also available by passing through and using the elevators in the Eiteljorg and Indiana Museums and the Indiana History Center. There are numerous places to purchase refreshments along the canal, including at the museum cafes. More information on the Canal Walk is available at the Visit Indy website.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Lines 4/28 at Capitol Ave. & Walnut St.
NCAA Hall of Champions
The NCAA Hall of Champions, located across the Central Canal from the Indiana State Museum, is a museum-like facility that celebrates the triumphs of collegiate athletes. The NCAA headquarters are located just across the street from the Hall. Historical and interactive exhibits are spread across the Hall’s two primary levels. The exhibits are designed to carry out a special mission:
The is the place to create an appreciation of the trials and triumphs of the student-athlete as well as incorporate the NCAA attributes: Learning, Balance, Spirit, Community, Fair Play, and Character.
Admission to the Hall of Champions is available to adults for $5.00. The building and exhibits are wheelchair accessible. ADA compliant restrooms are on site. Most of the interactive exhibits, including a basketball court and quarterback football toss game are wheelchair friendly, and depend on the participant’s own ability to handle the ball. For more information on the Hall and its exhibits, visit www.ncaahallofchampions.org.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Line 8 at Washington St. & California St.
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Opened in 1989, the Eiteljorg Museum is located next to the Indiana State Museum along the Central Canal. Its collective focus on Western and Native American Art is unique in the Midwest. The collection spans multiple centuries, but is heavily weighted toward contemporary pieces. Its collection of Contemporary Native Art is hailed as one of the best in the world. The museum’s broad-based collection allows it to achieve its mission to understand the development of the Western and Native American cultures from a variety of angles. The Eiteljorg is fully accessible to visitors in wheelchairs and there are ADA compliant restrooms on site. Admission is available to adults for $12.00 and to seniors (age 65+) for $10.00. Additional information on visiting the museum and its collections can be found at www.eiteljorg.org.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Line 8 at West St. & Government Pl.
Indiana State Museum
The Indiana State Museum catalogues the history of the state from its prehistoric times to the present day. Much of this story is told through artifacts that have been collected over time, representing the various eras of state history. These artifacts are too diverse to list, but the collection is exquisitely broad. The exhibits found within the museum focus on the state’s climate, culture, history, politics and more. If you are interested in learning about the State of Indiana, this is a museum you won’t want to miss. The building and exhibits are fully accessible to wheelchairs. More information on the accessible accommodations can be found at www.indianamuseum.org. Admission is priced at $13.00 for adults and $12.00 for seniors (age 60+).
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Line 8 at Washington St. & California St.
USS Indianapolis Memorial
Commissioned in November 1932, the USS Indianapolis was a Portland class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy. The ship served as the flagship for Admiral Raymond Spruance in the Central Pacific. She played an important role in bringing about an end to the Second World War, having delivered the first atomic bomb to the U.S. air base at Titian on July 30, 1945. Later that day, she was sunk by a submarine of the Japanese Navy. Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, only 317 survived the sinking and 5 days at sea.
In honor of the crew and the lives that were lost aboard the Indianapolis, a memorial was dedicated in August 1995. The memorial sits alongside the Canal Walk, on the North end of the Central Canal. It is open to the public 24 hours per day. For more information on the history of the USS Indianapolis or to learn more about the memorial, visit www.ussindianapolis.org.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Lines 4/28 at Capitol Ave. & Walnut St.
Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
The Indiana Historical Society manages the Indiana History Center, located just down the canal from the Eiteljorg and Indiana State Museums. Visitors to the center will have the opportunity to engage in and experience history. Through the museum’s three You Are There exhibits, patrons enter a three-dimensional recreation of a historical photograph. During my July 2015 visit, the scenes included a photography studio in 1904, a local department store and a 1939 doctor’s office. Period actors recreate the scene – from the photographer’s assistant to the saleswoman in the department store. While the Indiana State Museum uses artifacts to understand and share the state’s history, the Glick Center relies on source documents such as letters, photographs and contracts to analyze history. The history buff will love this fully wheelchair accessible museum treasure. Admission is available to adults for $7.00 and to seniors (age 60+) for $6.50. More information is available at www.indianahistory.org.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Lines 3/8/37 at New York St. & West St.
Opened in 1964 and located on 64 acres in downtown Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Zoo is home to more than 3,800 animals representing 320 species. While it may not be the most impressive zoo in the nation or Midwest, it is uniquely accredited as an aquarium, a zoo and as a botanical garden.
This diversity in wildlife – from the butterflies in the butterfly garden to the giraffes and elephants – makes this zoo worthy of a visit. Zoo grounds and exhibits are accessible to wheelchairs. I was unable to review the accessibility of the gondola ride, as it was temporarily closed during my visit. ADA compliant restrooms are available throughout the park. Standard admission is priced at $17.00 for adults and $15.00 for seniors (age 62+), though these prices are subject to change based upon demand and other factors. Additional information on the zoo and its resident animals is available at wwww.indianapoliszoo.com.
Nearest IndyGo Bus stop: Line 8 at Washington St. & Indianapolis Zoo