HIDDEN MUSEUM

You might overlook the Civil War history museum, even though you're standing on top of it.  The small museum is located underneath the monument in the center of Monument Circle.  For its small size and location far from the battles, the museum does a terrific job of giving a sense of the experience of average soldiers.  It also give some insight into the beginnings of the medicinal empire founded in Indianapolis by Colonel Eli Lilly.  Lilly money (paychecks, endowments, foundations, and heirs) is still making a substantial contribution to the Indianapolis economy today.

LOCAL CAJUN

A local favorite for inexpensive but satisfying Cajun cuisine is Yats, with locations on Massachusetts Aveneue (called "Mass Ave" by the locals)  downtown, College Avenue in Broad Ripple, and 96th Street at Interstate 69.  About $6 for a heaping helping of jambalaya, a buttery stick of bread, and a drink.  

Another option is Mudbugs Cajun Cafe at 20 West Main Street in Carmel. It's definitely Bayou food: red beans &rice, dirty rice, crawfish etouffee, corn fritters, hush puppies, and the like.

LOCAL ITALIAN

Many good choices in Indy, but for outstanding thin-crust gourmet pizzas, try Bazbeaux (downtown, in Broad Ripple, and in Carmel) or Puccini's (scattered throughout the suburbs; also good for pasta).  Some Guys Pizza is also good, but in a really odd location a tourist would never find. Antonio and Maria's is a great old world pizzeria that has been a staple for more than fifty years. Its located on the south side, 2930 Shelby St., at the intersection of Shelby and Troy.

For higher-end Italian, try Amalfi.  At the back of a mall at 86th & Ditch (across from the theater), this family-run place does a great job of basic pasta dishes, by Chef Mario also offers some great daily specials, often prepared with the assistance of his Italian mother, who helps in the kitchen. It's a cozy place, more up-scale that Bazbeaux or Puccinis, and diners under 21 aren't admitted in the evenings, but it's a great place for grown-ups to enjoy some grown-up Italian cuisine.

TRAIL MIX

For pub food and drink under an awning with a view of the Monon Trail, try Broad Ripple Brewpub.  The food isn't outstanding, but the ambiance is.  In Carmel, Bub's Burgers (also trail-side) is surprisingly good. For just a good ice cream cone, try Chris' Ice Cream at 86th Street on the Monon. (Right next to the only truly treacherous intersection on the trail) The ice cream there is homemade. Johnny's park inn on the south side of Indy located just off of the Pleasant Run trail outside of Garfield Park is admittedly a "joint" but a very hidden gem! Serving authentic Cuban and Mexican dishes that simply can not be found anywhere else in Indy. Like Maduros, chicken con mojo, and yucca. Live music can also be heard occasionally.