I highlighted 10 not-to-miss summer happenings in Downtown Indy Summer Bucket List – Part I. But a list of 10 isn’t nearly long enough to cover everything. From outdoor movies, to concerts on the Canal, to Happy Hours on the Boardwalk, here are 10 more bucket list items every Circle City resident should cross off their list before the end of summer.
11. Sit back, relax and take gondola ride
Take a gondola ride and be transported to the canals of Venice (or just Downtown Indy’s Canal). As you glide down the Canal, you will even be serenaded with Italian love songs. If you haven’t made your amore official, this is your chance (owner Jeff Hutson says they have engagements almost every day). Public rides cost $25 per person (plus tip) and private rides cost $150 or $300 (plus tip). Ciao!
12. Gorge yourself in fried food at the Indiana State Fair
The Indiana State Fair is the one time of the year when you are officially allowed to stuff your face with fried Oreos, funnel cakes and ice cream burgers (truth: this really was a thing). Other fried goodness: deep fried Twinkies, deep fried bubble gum and deep fried Snickers. Wash it all down with a brew or glass of wine: this year, alcohol will make a debut at the Indiana State Fair concerts. The State Fair isn’t the State Fair without all the tasty fried goodness, but if you insist on counting calories, the sweet Indiana corn is a sure bet.
13. Watch movies and picnic at the IMA amphitheater
Everyone loves movies. This summer, take your movie watching to the next level with movies al fresco at the Indianapolis Museum of Art amphitheater. The 2015 Summer Nights Film Series lineup offers options for everyone. Into horror? See Psycho on June 26 or The Shining on Aug. 21. More of a romantic? Watch Casablanca on June 19. Prefer comedy? Don’t miss National Lampoon’s Vacation on June 5. Tickets are $12 (or $6 for members) and need to be purchased well in advance to guarantee a spot. Repeat: purchase in advance.
14. Listen to live music on the Canal
Summer can be expensive with vacations, weekend getaways and concerts. Luckily, the Indiana Historical Society offers free Concerts on the Canal on Thursdays from 6 – 8 p.m. Free seating is available on the grassy area on the Canal Walk or upgrade to table seats for an added cost. Bring your own food and picnic or purchase food at the Stardust Terrace Cafe or from the outdoor grill. The free fun continues as the History Center opens its doors to the public on Thursdays until 8 p.m. during concert season.
15. Get happy at Happy Hour
Let go of a little work week stress and live a little with Happy Hour on Georgia Street every Thursday evening from 4:30 – 7. Hundreds of people come to the Boardwalk every week to listen to Indy’s best EDM DJs (including Helicon, Lockstar and Slater Hogan) and relax with friends. Sip on craft brew or try a fun, local cocktail: I recommend the Georgia Street Mule made with 12.05 vodka or the Georgia Street Punch made with spiced rum, blood orange liqueur and ginger beer.
16. Stop, drop and do push ups
On Thursdays at 6 p.m., Indy Performance Authority (IPA) offers $10 Total Knockout Bootcamp classes. This is a fast paced, partner-oriented workout that IPA members and non-members alike can enjoy. Bonus: during the summer the classes often take place outside in University Park and on the steps of the Indiana War Memorial. It’s a full body workout (you’ll do everything from wall squats to lunges to push ups) – so be prepared to sweat!
17. Get your rock ‘n’ roll on at the Speedway
Ladies and gents, The Rolling Stones are coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood will perform on July 4 at the track’s infield. This is a big deal for Indy for many reasons: for one, the IMS has never hosted a concert on a non-race weekend. Until now. Second, the Rolling Stones haven’t performed in Indianapolis since 1994, when more than one fourth of the tickets went unsold. Lets be sure to pack the house this year.
18. Watch fireworks from University Park
Celebrate Independence Day with a bang… or a blast! One of my favorite summer traditions is coming Downtown for the state’s largest fireworks display, the Donatos Downtown Freedom Blast, shooting from the top of the Regions Bank Tower. Don your red, white and blue, bring a blanket and gather around University Park and American Legion Mall for music and kid-friendly activities.
19. Listen to live music at the Biergarten
The Biergarten at the Rathskeller hosts live music Wednesday through Saturday and some Sundays. Sit outside on the picnic tables, sip on great German brew and enjoy the live music or head inside for authentic German food (the Rathskeller is the city’s oldest restaurant). Musical guests include everything from polka to rock orchestra to local favorites like Zanna Doo, Flying Toasters and Jennie DeVoe.
20. Experience a bit of the Outback in Indy
Say g’day to the wildly cute koalas that will be spending summer in Downtown Indy. Officially tagged the “Boys of Summer,” Milo and Thackory have arrived at the Indianapolis Zoo from the San Diego Zoo. These two guys will serve as ambassadors to help guests learn more about their species and the threats they face in the wild. They will only be here until Labor Day, so check this one of your bucket list soon.