Latest Spring Fun in Indianapolis and at Navy Pier

By Marcia Frost

It looks like spring has finally arrived. It’s time to get out and check out some of what’s new within a short drive, whether it’s a day trip or an overnight stay.

You’ll always find plenty to do in and around Indianapolis. The Courtyard by Marriott downtown is in the perfect location for you to park your car and walk to many attractions.

The Indiana State Museum is actually directly across the street from the Courtyard and always has plenty of exhibits to keep you busy. Allow plenty of time for the exhibits on the first world war; famous Indiana natives, including Michael Jackson, author Kurt Vonnegut, Actor James Dean, Olympian Jaycee Phillips; the Peewinkle Puppet Studio, which includes shows, classes, and even a puppet camp; and the History IN Progress gallery.

I was back at Café Patachou, with six Indianapolis locations. I always love the selection of healthy and delicious items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The owner, Martha Hoover, gives back a lot to the community, including free meals for at risk kids, through the Patachou Foundation. I love the California Omelet with lots of avocado. Always get a side of their Cinnamon toast whenever you are there.

White River State Park has so much to do, especially in the spring and summer. For a good, fun way to check out the park, try the Segway Tour. You can also take a stroll on the Canal walkway, do a gondola ride, rent a bike, or just walk through this scenic park. Right along the canal is also the NCAA Museum right there

Fishers, Indiana, is an interesting area just about 25 minutes from Indianapolis. It’s a mix of lots of new homes, as well as history. Fortville is right on the outskirts and the downtown is filled with interesting boutiques, all run by women, and Foxgardin Kitchen & Ale.

This restaurant came to my attention because of the Champaign connection. The local group Mank n Sass frequently play there. Jared Mank and Sara Siders, formerly of UpShot, are now on their own and writing a lot of their own songs. Foxgardin Kitchen & Ale is a great venue for them in the Indy area. It has unique cocktails, and a whiskey bar upstairs. The food is delicious. I highly recommend the filet.

Also in Fishers is Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. They have a new balloon ride. The park is a great family attraction with plenty to explore for kids of all ages. It’s definitely a good way to learn more about the history and agriculture of the area.

Navy Pier is another spot not far away that is ready for spring and summer. Check out the Centennial Wheel, which goes up almost 200 feet, giving you breathtaking views of the Pier and the Chicago Skyline. Enclosed gondolas are temperature controlled so you don’t have to worry about the weather. A VIP car features a glass bottom and extra comfy seats for special occasions. Lots of engagements have taken place on this ferris wheel.

Constant improvements are taking place at Navy Pier. This year the Children’s Museum is continuing renovations. There’s also the new Polk Brothers Park with fountains and seesaw. It will have live outdoor performances this summer. Also outside are free yoga and Zumba classes. Inside, a new Food Court features lots of Chicago specialties.

The biggest attraction at the moment is Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones. This exhibit will be at Navy Pier through July 30th and is 18,000 square feet of everything Stones. Check out musical instruments, costumes, rare footage, and personal diaries, as well as a unique concert experience.

You should plan to spend about 90 minutes at the Rolling Stones exhibit, which is $36 for adults, $23 for teens, and free for kids 12 and under. There is also a free Rolling Stones photo exhibit by photographer Paul Natkin.

Two iconic Chicago restaurants have also gotten in the Rolling Stones spirit. Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier is offering a special Rolling Stones menu. Try the Hang Fire Wings with a spicy sweet Korean BBQ sauce, and the Jumpin Jack Flash Grilled Cheese, with bacon and a jack macaroni and cheese. They also have a tasty Let’s Spend the Night Together Cocktail with El Jimador Tequila, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, simple syrup, and lemon Juice. Save room for the Warm Apple Tart for dessert.

Just a few blocks away from Navy Pier, the Hard Rock Café is known for its rock and roll memorabilia. They hosted a party for opening night of the exhibition. Dinner at Hard Rock Café always includes delicious cocktails, appetizers, and dinner choices-their flatbreads and steaks are amazing. Show your Rolling Stones exhibit ticket and you’ll get a free ice cream cookie sandwich for dessert.

Check out more of Marcia Frost’s stories on her Wine And Spirits Travel blog.