50 date ideas for less than $50 in Downtown Indy
* denotes a seasonal event or activity.
1. Visit Easley Winery Downtown and receive a FREE guided winery tour on Saturdays and Sundays. More than 2,000 wine and grape-related gadgets, home accessories, glasses, wine racks and more are available. You can also enjoy a glass of fine wine and great jazz at the Easley Winery. *Groovin’ in the Garden is a FREE concert series on Saturdays in May through September. Local acts perform and carryout is available from a variety of Downtown restaurants. Call 636.4516 for more information.
2. *Head to the Canal for numerous outdoor concerts. Spend Thursday evenings at the Indiana Historical Society’s Concerts on the Canal! Enjoy FREE musical performances along the canal plaza. Bring your own chairs and blankets or reserve a table. Concerts take place every Thursday May through mid-August from 6 to 8 p.m. Call 232.1882 fore more information.
3. The famous LOVE sculpture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art was ranked by USA Today as one of the top ten locations for marriage proposals. Meander through the beautiful outdoor gardens situated on 152 acres of land. Visit 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park Acres. Adjacent to the Museum and located on 100 acres that includes woodlands, wetlands, meadows and a 35-acre lake, 100 Acres is one of the largest museum art parks in the country, and the only one to feature the ongoing commission of site-specific artworks. Admission to the Museum, Lilly House and 100 acres is FREE. Call 923.1331 for more information.
4. Did you know that the Soldiers & Sailors Monument located on the Circle is just 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty? Visit the top of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument and get a top-notch view of the city. There is a $2 fee to use the elevator or walk the stairs for FREE. Visit www.in.gov/iwm for more details or call 232.7615.
5. If you enjoy outdoor public art, take a stroll along Massachusetts Avenue and admire talent of many different artists. The Mass Ave Arts & Theater Cultural District boasts unique, one-of-a-kind art in various locations that can’t be found anywhere else in Indianapolis.
6. Downtown Indianapolis displays the second largest number of war memorials in the U.S. next to Washington, D.C. Explore them all and learn about Indiana history at www.indydt.com/Memorials.cfm.
7. In an Old World atmosphere, the Indianapolis City Market hosts shops and restaurants offering fresh produce, meats, baked goods, flowers and imported foods and coffees. A variety of food stands offer traditional, ethnic and specialty cuisines. *During the summer months, visitors will find a traditional farmers’ market Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on the West Plaza. *Indianapolis City Market hosts the Indy Winter Farmers Market Nov. – April (Saturdays 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.).
8. The Lawn at White River State Park accommodates up to 5,000 people for concerts and events. Enjoy a picnic in the area when no events are taking place. While you’re there, check out the many sculptures that adorn the area. Call 233.2434 for more information.
9. Take a bike ride or stroll along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. The world-class trail links all six Indianapolis Cultural Districts. Discover art and natural beauty any hour of the day on this fully lit, safe path through Downtown. Stop for a bite anywhere along the way at one of Downtown’s over 200 restaurants.
10. Located above the busy intersection of Washington and Illinois streets is the Indianapolis Artsgarden, a unique glass-domed structure suspended 17 feet over street level and rising to 95 feet above the ground. Owned and operated by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the Artsgarden provides more than 300 free arts performances and exhibits each year. Call 624.2563 for more information.
11. Join IDADA every First Friday of the month and visit Downtown’s great art galleries for FREE. Meet the artists and browse the collections.
12. The Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, located in the Indiana Soldiers & Sailors Monument, tells the story of the Civil War through the experiences of Hoosiers who lived during that time. The exhibits look at both the soldier’s experiences while away at war and the homefront activities that supported the war effort. Visit www.in.gov/iwm for more details.
13. *The Circle of Lights® presented by the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of IBEW 481 is illuminated the day after Thanksgiving through the beginning of the new year as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument shines with 4,784 multi-colored lights on 52 garland strands.
14. *Take your significant other to an Indianapolis Indians game. Victory Field was voted “Best Minor League Ballpark in America" by Sports Illustrated. Enjoy fun promotions like Friday Night Fireworks, Monday Dollar menu and FREE giveaways. Call 269.3542 fore more details.
15. The Indiana State Museum in Downtown’s White River State Park is the crossroads of everything interesting, educational and unique about the state. The Indiana State Museum features original works of art, hands-on exhibits, science and history and an atmosphere that invites discovery and exploration. Call 233.4629 for more information.
16. Surprise your date with good, old-fashioned ice skating at Pan Am Pavilion. Skate in the same rink as the Indiana Ice! Call 925.4423 for more information.
17. IntoSalsa Latin Dance Studio is conveniently located Downtown and offers numerous classes including Intro to Latin dance, beginner, intermediate and advanced salsa, belly dance, ballroom dance, swing and more. Walk-ins are welcome. Call 496.4196 for more information..
18. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is one of two museums east of the Mississippi that showcases Native-American and Western art. The museum contains one of the best Native American and Western art collections in the world, including traditional and contemporary work. Students and faculty of IUPUI receive FREE admission. Call 636.9378 for more information.
19. Visit McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, located at 110 North Illinois St., one block west of Monument Circle. Enjoy tempting appetizers starting at only $1.95 Monday through Saturday from 3 – 6:30 p.m. Enjoy appetizers including beef sliders, black mussels, baja fish tacos and more. Call 631.9500 for more information.
20. Start your engines at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame! For $5, see 75 historic race cars on display, including the Marmon "Wasp," which won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. For a more visual experience, visit the Tony Hulman Theatre to catch rare Indy 500 footage. The museum and grounds are on the National Historic Landmark registry and are open 363 days a year. Two gift shops and a snack shop make this the perfect stop for any racing fan. Call 492.6784 for more information.
21. Located in the heart of Mass Ave Arts and Theater District, Comedy Sportz Indianapolis is team competitive improvisation. No, it’s not comedy about sports, it’s a comedy played as a sport! Two teams of improvisational “actletes” compete against each other for points by playing improv games based on audience suggestions. Ticket prices are $16 for adults and $14 for students and seniors. Attend Thursday Cheap Seat Night and get tickets for $10 per person. Call 951.8499 for more information.
22. *Visit the Biergarden at the Rathskeller and enjoy a full service walk-up bar, gourmet pub style food and no cover charge. This outdoor venue is one of the hottest spots in Indianapolis during the summer. The Biergarden features live entertainment throughout the week. Call 636.0396 for more ifnormation.
23. Did you know that St. Elmo Steak House goes through more than 760,000 shrimp and 65 tons of beef each year to please guests looking to savor their world-famous culinary delights? Lovebirds on a budget can stop in for an appetizer and try St. Elmo’s renowned shrimp cocktail with its famous fiery sauce for under $16. Head upstairs to check out the new prohibition era bar, 1933 Lounge and order the signature “Elmo Cola.” (You can also get the shrimp cocktail at Harry & Izzy’s).
24. The IMAX Theatre at the Indiana State Museum is a 404-seat theater specializing in 3D and 2D films projected onto a giant six-story-tall screen. Featuring cutting-edge technology, films in the theatre are a one of a kind experience for any visitor. The Academy award–winning IMAX technology brings images to life like no other. Treat your senses to the most powerful and involving movie experience yet created. Call 233.IMAX for more information.
25. Goose the Market, more properly noted as the “food lover’s market,” is a one-stop shop for artisanal cheeses, local meat, gelato, wine, sandwiches and more. The Market provides all the essentials for a gourmet picnic outing or night in. Call 924.4944 fore more information.
26. Nothing says romance like a night at the movies. The United Artists Theatres is located on the fourth floor of Circle Centre mall. The venue features Hollywood’s latest films. Show a college ID and receive a student discount. Call 237.6356 for more information.
27. Embark on a City Market Catacombs Tour and discover the cavernous catacombs space nine feet below street-level at the Indianapolis City Market building. See for yourself the Roman-looking expanse of brick arches beneath the outdoor Whistler Plaza of City Market and what remains of Tomlinson Hall. Tours last approximately 25 minutes and cost $12 for adults. Call 639.4534 fore more information.
28. *The Indianapolis Zoo is the nation's only accredited combined zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. The White River Gardens continues the Indianapolis Zoological Society’s mission of connecting animals, plants and people. On Community Tuesdays – the first Tuesday of the month – admission to the Zoo and Gardens is discounted to $8 a ticket. Call 630.2001 for more information.
Start your date at the NCAA Hall of Champions, complete with two levels of interactive exhibits. All 23 NCAA sports are represented and include trivia, video highlights and college artifacts. Play basketball in a 1930s retro gymnasium or watch current games on seven TVs. Be sure to check out special, rotating exhibits. Admission is $5. Since the museum closes at 5 p.m., head to dinner at one of Downtown’s many enticing restaurants. Call 917.6084 for more information.
30. Take a tour of the historic President Benjamin Harrison Home, built in 1875. The 16-room Italianate mansion, from which Harrison campaigned in 1888, has been carefully restored to its late 1800s appearance with original Victorian furnishings and political mementos. Tours costs $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65 and older and $5 for students. Call 631.188. for more information.
31. Action Duckpin Bowl, in the Fountain Square Theatre Building, is the only authentic Duckpin Bowling in the Midwest. In addition to the eight lanes of bowling, Action Bowl has a café area with a vintage pool table. Windows surround the cafe for a magnificent view of Downtown Indianapolis. Open bowling from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Monday – Thursday costs $25 per hour. Visit www.fountainsquareindy.com for more information or call 686.6006.
32. The Chatterbox Jazz Club, located in the heart of the Mass Ave Arts and Theatre District, showcases live jazz every night of the week. Call 636.0584 for more information.
33. Enjoy a magnificent view of Downtown on the canal located in a romantic urban park in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis. Imagine floating down the waterway in a pedal boat and viewing waterfalls, a 40-foot geyser and sprinklers. *Explore the canal on a two or four person pedal boat or on a kayak. Wheel Fun Rental Company is open mid-April through October and all holidays. Visit www.discovercanal.com or call 767.5072.
34. Show off your moves at the Fountain Square Theatre’s Friday Night Swing Dance. Beginning swing dance lessons are from 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. Enjoy live musical entertainment from 8:30 - 11:30 p.m. Admission is $10 - $12. Call 686.6010 for more information.
35. Table for two! Bring out your inner wine connoisseur and enjoy half price glasses of wine every Tuesday at Tastings. Voted Indianapolis's Best Wine Bar four consecutive years since opening its doors in 2009, Tastings also offers half price flatbread prizza on Thursdays. With two outdoor patios, Tastings is a great place to see and be seen.
36. An extension of the Percussive Arts Society, the educational and interactive Rhythm! Discovery Center offers rare and unique instruments to keep visitors entertained. Watch sound waves hit the Shimmer Wall or play an 8-foot Gong Drum. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for students.
37. *Grab a scarf and hat and head over to Pan Am Plaza or Bankers Life Fieldhouse to watch the Indiana Ice in action.
38. Located in the heart of the Mass Ave Arts and Theater District in Chatham Arch, Theatre on the Square offers contemporary, classic and lesser-known plays and musicals in an intimate environment. Tickets costs $25 for adults and students and seniors (55+) receive discounted tickets for $20. Call 685.8687 for more information.
39. The Phoenix Theatre, located in the historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, was a turn-of-the-century church– renovated to house an intimate 125-seat main stage venue and an 85-seat underground stage. Tickets are $18 for plays opening weekend and the first Thursday – Sunday of the month. Individuals 21 and under receive a discounted ticket price. Call 635.7529 for more information.
40. Take a carriage ride around the Circle City! Yellow Rose Carriage offers rides seven days a week. The “Taste of the City Tour” is 25 minutes and costs $50. Also, Blue Ribbon Carriage Company offers romantic horse-drawn carriage rides in the Downtown Indianapolis area. Call 631.4169 for more information.
41. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performs 200 concerts each year to an audience of more than 500,000 people. Since 1994 the group has been heard in more than 250 radio markets in 41 states and has performed in three European musical capitals. Some tickets start at just $15. Call 639.4300 for more information.
42. Catch the excitement of Broadway, right here in Indianapolis! See a world-renowned musical theatre performance. Check out what is playing at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com or call 800.793.7469.
43. *Take your better half to see Dance Kaleidoscope, the professional contemporary dance company that performs a unique blend of contemporary dance, live music and theatre. Call 940.6555 for more information.
44. Mystify your date with the #1 comedy mind reading act in the nation. The Mind Tripping Show is a cabaret-style, intimate show with mind reading, psychological illusions and mental surprises. Held at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites every Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., performers Christian and Katalina promise a mind-tripping evening! Tickets are $25; $20 for military and seniors (with free parking.)
45. *Dating a foodie? Use IDI’s Farm to Table guide to find the best local food events, businesses, markets and gardens Downtown. Spend the afternoon at Indianapolis City Market’s Tomlinson Tap, and then pick up some fresh and local produce before heading home to test your own cooking skills.
46. Take a flight Downtown! With multiple microbreweries and wineries located close by, head to the tasting rooms and sample all Indianapolis has to offer! For craft brews, visit Sun King Brewery, Fountain Square Brewing Co., Flat 12 Bierworks, Indiana City Brewing Co. and others. For wine, check out Easley Winery.
47. The Indiana Repertory Theatre has grown into one of the leading regional theatres in the country, as well as one of the top-flight cultural institutions in the city and state. The IRT remains the only fully professional resident not-for-profit theatre in the state, attracting audiences from across central Indiana. Call 635.5252 for more information.
48. *Spend an evening relaxing high above the city at the Rooftop Garden in Fountain Square. Enjoy a casual dinner served from The End of the Line Public House, or just chill out with a cocktail and a spectacular view of the Downtown skyline. Visit www.fountainsquareindy.com or call 687.4857.
49. Find a great game, concert or performance at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. From fast-paced Pacers and Fever games to spectacular concerts, date night is sure to be a success with an exciting event here!
50. Get to really know your city and take a Circle City Tour via a comfy bus. See and hear about more than 50 points of interest including Lucas Oil Stadium, White River State Park and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Soon after you’ll be the life of the party with all your new Indy fun facts. Tickets are $25. Call 899.9285 for more information.