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 FREE concert series Saturdays, May through September. Local acts perform and carryout is available from a variety of Downtown restaurants. Visit www.easleywine.com for more information or call 636.4516.
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 7 p.m. June through mid-August. Log on to www.indianahistory.org for more information or call 232.1882.
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. Adjacent to the Museum and located on 100 acres that includes woodlands, wetlands, meadows and a 35-acre lake, 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park 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. Check out www.imamuseum.org for more information or call 923.1331.
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 it’s outdoor public art you enjoy, 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. Find out more at www.discovermassave.com.
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 is home to the Indy Winter Farmers Market Nov. – April (Saturdays 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.). Check out http://www.indycm.com for more details.
8. The Lawn at White River State Park accommodates up to 5,000 people for various events, concerts and more. Visitors are welcome to relax or 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. Log on to http://inwhiteriver.wrsp.in.gov/ATTRACTIONS/Attraction/AttractionID/10 for more details or call 233.2434.
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. For a map of the route, visit http://www.indyculturaltrail.org/map.html
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 residents and visitors with more than 300 free arts performances and exhibits each year. Visit www.indyarts.org for more details or call 624.2563.
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! For a map of galleries and exhibits, visit http://www.indydt.com/art.cfm.
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. For more information, call 237.2222 or log on to www.indydt.com/COL.cfm.
14. ***Take your sweetie 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. Visit www.indyindians.com for more details or call 269.3542.
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 devoted to Hoosier culture, science and history, an innovative gallery on Indiana’s future and an atmosphere that invites discovery and exploration. Learn more at www.indianamuseum.org or call 233.4629.
16. Surprise your date with some good, old-fashioned ice skating at Indiana/World Skating Academy, located at the Pan American Plaza. The twin rink facility has both the standard NHL size rink and one of the few Olympic Rinks in the nation. Call 237.5565 or visit www.iwsa.org for more details.
17. IntoSalsa Latin Dance Studio is conveniently located Downtown and offers numerous classes including Intro to Latin dance, beginner, intermediate and advanced salsa, salsa aerobics, hip hop/jazz and more! Walk-ins are welcome! Call 496.4196 or log on to www.intosalsa.com for more details.
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. www.eiteljorg.org or call 636.9378.
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 each Monday through Friday from 4 – 6:30 p.m. and Monday through Thursday 9:30 p.m. to close. Enjoy scrumptious appetizers including baja fish tacos, half-pound cheeseburger, Oyster Shooters and more! Visit http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com/afreshapproach/approach-bar.aspx for more information or call 631.9500.
20. Start your engines at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame! For $5, see approximately 75 historic race cars on display! For a richer 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! For more information, visit http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/history/35204-Museum/ or call 492.6784.
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 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 $15 per adult; $12 for students and seniors; $8 for children 5 -11 and FREE for children 4 and under. Check out www.indycomedysportz.com for more information or call 951.8499.
22. ***Visit the Biergarden at the Rathskeller. This outdoor venue is one of the hottest spots in Indianapolis during the summer. Enjoy a full service walk-up bar, gourmet pub style food and no cover charge. The Biergarden features live entertainment throughout the week. Log on to www.rathskeller.com/ for more details or call 636.0396.
23. Did you know that St. Elmo Steak House goes through more than 760,000 pieces of 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 $15. Head upstairs to check out the new prohibition era bar, 1933 Lounge and order the signature “Elmo Cola”. Log on to www.stelmos.com for more details. (You can also get the shrimp cocktail at Harry & Izzy’s, www.harryandizzys.com) or call 635-0636.
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. Log on to www.imaxindy.com for more details or call 233.IMAX.
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. Visit www.goosethemarket.com for more information or call 924.4944.
26. Nothing says romance like a good, old-fashioned night at the movies. The United
Artists Theatres is located on the fourth floor of Circle Centre mall. The venue holds nine state-of-the-art auditoriums that feature Hollywood’s latest films. Show a college ID and receive a student discount. Visit www.uatc.com for show times or call 237.6356.
27. Many of Downtown’s restaurants offer late night fare for those that aren’t ready to end their night. Head to Champp’s Americana or Scotty’s Brewhouse for classic appetizers at half the cost! www.indydt.com/dining_discounts.cfm
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 are discounted to $8 a ticket. Visit www.indyzoo.com to learn more or call 630.2001.
29. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis was endorsed by Cultural Traveler as a Top Ten U.S. Destination in 2013 and has been ranked the No. 1 museum in the Midwest by FamilyFun magazine and Best Children's Museum in the Nation by Child magazine in 2002. Attracting over one million adults and children per year, this five-story museum houses 110,000 artifacts, the largest collection of any youth museum in the world. The museum is open for FREE the first Thursday of each month from 4 - 8 p.m. for Target FREE Family Days. FREE Days also include Christmas Eve (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.); Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Presidents Day and El Dia de Los Niños. Log onto www.childrensmuseum.org for more details or call 334.3322.
30. The President Benjamin Harrison Home, built in 1875, was the home of America's 23rd president. 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. Check out www.presidentbenjaminharrison.org for more information or call 631.1888.
31. Be transported to another era in time with Action Duckpin Bowl in the Fountain Square Theatre Building. 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. 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 five nights a week. Log on to www.chatterboxjazz.com for more information or call 636.0584.
33. A magnificent view of Downtown can be found 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. ***Wheel Fun Rental Company offers manual and electrically powered pedal boats in various sizes and is open mid-April through October and all holidays. Call 767.5072 or log on to www.discovercanal.com.
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 $12 at 7:30pm or $10 at 8:30pm. www.fountainsquareindy.com/events.asp or call 686.6010.
35. Table for two! Take your tastebuds on an adventure at one of Downtown’s international restaurants including Saffron Café (Moroccan), BARcelona Tapas (Spanish), MacNiven’s (Scottish) and Greek Island Restaurant! For more options, visit www.indydt.com/search.cfm?menu=restaurant
36. An extension of the Percussive Arts Society, the educational and interactive Rhythm! Discovery Center offers rare and unique instruments to keep visitors enthralled! Visit www.rhythmdiscoverycenter.org.
37. ** Watch cross checks, slap shots and wrist shots while cheering on the Indiana Ice at Pan Am Plaza or Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Visit www.indianaice.com/ for the game schedule and more information.
38. Take a carriage ride around the Circle City! Yellow Rose Carriage offers relaxing rides seven days a week. Log on to www.indycarriage.com for more details. Also, Blue Ribbon Carriage Company offers romantic horse-drawn carriage rides in the Downtown Indianapolis area. Visit www.blueribboncarriages.com for more information or call 634.3400
39. 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. www.indianapolissymphony.org or call 639.4300.
40. ***Broadway in Indianapolis
Catch the excitement of Broadway, right here in Indianapolis! See a world-renowned musical theatre performance. Check out what is playing at http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com or call 800.793.7469.
41. Howl at the Moon Indianapolis is the place to be for great drinks and the famous dueling pianos! Drink specials run all week and with no cover on Tuesdays and no cover with college ID on Thursdays. www.howlatthemoon.com.
42. ***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. www.dancekal.org or call 940.6555.
43. Located in the heart of the Mass Ave Arts and Theater District, Theatre on the Square was created to explore contemporary, classic and lesser-known plays and musicals in an intimate environment. Students and seniors (55+) receive discounted tickets for $15. www.tots.org or call 685.8687.
44. The Phoenix Theatre, located in the historic Chatham Arch neighborhood, was a turn-of-the-century church– renovated to house an intimate 125-seat Mainstage venue, an 85 seat Underground Stage and theatre offices. Individuals under the age of 24 receive a discounted ticket price. www.phoenixtheatre.org or call 635.7529.
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. www.indydt.com/Farmtotable.cfm
46. Take a flight Downtown! With three microbreweries and two wineries located close by, head to the tasting rooms and sample all Indianapolis has to offer! For craft brews, visit Flat 12 Bierworks, Sun King Brewery, and RAM Restaurant & Brewery. For wine, go to Easley Wineryand New Day Meadery.
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. http://www.irtlive.com/ . Call 635.5252.
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. 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. Take a peek into the wild and funky side of Downtown at White Rabbit Cabaret. This burlesque show is sure to entertain! An array of events take place during the week but you have to be 21 to enter! For more information, visit www.whiterabbitcabaret.com