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Indianapolis is known as the amateur sports capital of the world, and of course for the professional sports that race around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Besides basketball and racing, there are a broad variety of recreational and cultural activities available.
For amateur sports, visit the NCAA headquarters and NCAA Hall of Champions museum. You can try your hand at making game-winning basketball shots, marked out for you on the gym floor. It’s downtown next to the Indiana State Museum, Eiteljorg Museum of the American Indians and Western Art, White River State Park, IMAX Theater, Indianapolis Zoo (and White River Gardens). Or perhaps try ice skating at Pan Am Plaza downtown. Or just walk around the White River State Park and mile and a half long Canal. A great walking trail runs behind the zoo, along the river. Cross the pedestrian bridge from the State Park, and hang a right.
For professional sports, check out FC Indiana (soccer), Pacers (basketball), Ice (hockey), Indians (baseball), and Colts (football). There are also public tours available of the Colts home stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium.
Make sure to visit the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for behind the scenes tours and the Hall of Fame museum. It’s impressive to even the least sports-minded folks. If you have more than a passing interest in racing, visit the Speedway Museum inside the track, or attend a race!
Those who really feel the need for speed can actually take a spin around the track at speeds around 180 mph as part of the Indy Racing Experience.
On a nice day (which might be February, but definitely April - October) you’ll find many locals bicycling, rollerblading, or jogging on the Monon Trail. A former rail line, the Monon runs from the northern suburb of Carmel all the way to downtown Indianapolis, 15 miles south. Connect to other trails in Broad Ripple Village, which is also a terrific place to stop for pizza, beer, steak, ice cream, boutique shopping, a tattoo, or a martini. There are other great trails in the Indy Parks system, but this is by far the busiest and most well known. The Canal Towpath trail runs from Broad Ripple to the newly expanded Indianapolis Museum of Art and gardens.
For the more adventurous, take your mountain bike to Town Run Trail, inconspicuously located along 96th Street at the White River. Considering the local topography as a whole (flat), this is a pretty terrific trail. Bikes for either trail can be rented from several local retailers in Carmel, Castleton, Broad Ripple, and Nora.
For water sports, get some advice from the folks at Rusted Moon Outfitters in Broad Ripple. They'd be happy to rent you a canoe for use on the White River, or Eagle Creek Reservoir. For Eagle Creek, you could also bring your own sailboat. The reservoir is surrounded by one of the largest municipal parks in the country, also a good location for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
For motor boating, try Geist Reservoir, surrounded by multi-million dollar homes.
In August, the Indiana State Fair offers one of the three quintessential Hoosier experiences (the other two are probably auto racing and basketball).
In November, attend the Bands of America competition to see and hear the best of high school marching band competition.
In the evening, try taking guests on "Best of Indy Tour" to the local Comedysportz improv club downtown. For lighthearted INTERACTIVE family comedy in the style of "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" it can’t be beat. The location on artsy Massachusetts Avenue is a plus for dinner, drinks, or shopping before or after the show.