The Canal and White River State Park

Whether it's a relaxing stroll, vigorous run, afternoon at the ballpark, interacting with dolphins, discovering Indiana history, exploring Native American art, learning about Lincoln or enjoying an outdoor concert, the Canal and White River State Park has surprises for everyone. This is not your typical park or waterway. Discovery runs through it. Scattered throughout the Canal and 250-acre White River State Park are some of the city's most inspiring museums, attractions and celebrations.

Discovery runs through it

What’s your pleasure? Recreation? Music? Relaxation? Wildlife? Art? Whatever it is, you can have it all along the Central Canal and throughout the 250-acre White River State Park.
Runners, walkers and cyclists enjoy The Canal for scenic and traffic-free exercise.

The Canal Walk is a 3-mile loop is a popular urban respite for fitness enthusiasts and serenity-seekers alike. This Downtown waterfront is dotted with pedal boats and gondolas, bicycles and surreys. Download a Canal map here.


Entertainment requires just one stop at White River State Park in Downtown Indianapolis: Indiana’s one-and-only urban state park. In addition to hosting some of the city’s most popular festivities, White River State Park offers a bundled package of recreation with major attractions including the Lawn at White River State Park, Victory Field, Indianapolis Zoo, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Museum and NCAA Hall of Champions.


Explore the District by bike or by pedal boat. Bikes including surreys, choppers, scooters and more are available for rent in White River State Park from Wheel Fun Rentals. You can also explore the Canal by renting a pedal boat or kayak.

Take a Gondola ride! Sit back and let your imagination take you to the canals of Venice, where you will be serenaded by your Gondolier as you are transported into the romance of Old Italy with Old World Gondoliers.

Art & architecture

Winding through the heart of Indianapolis is Central Canal Walk, a picture-postcard of lush greenery, old-time streetlamps and sparkling fountains punctuated by a 17-foot waterfall. The gorgeous River Promenade — a masterpiece of foliage, limestone walls and spectacular views of the White River and Downtown — is tucked between the Indianapolis Zoo and White River across the Washington Street Bridge. 

Along the Canal Walk you’ll find historic churches and some of the city's best contemporary architecture. In 1999, a public sculpture program featuring Hoosier artists was implemented in White River State Park. Selected artists display their creations on the Washington Street Bridge and in the park’s green space. 

  • Palm, by John Mishler, is part of the park’s permanent collection.
  • Rinaldo Paluzzi’s Totem stands in Celebration Plaza.
  • The Indiana State Museum’s 92-county walk artfully showcases every county in the state.
  • Convergence, the Canal’s gateway at the Indiana Avenue and Michigan Street bridge, has a street-level element which stands tall and vertical, and then a canal-level piece is a rendition of an old canal lock. Here, a water fountain and bench encourage visitors to linger. Convergence was created by Bernie Carreno, Luis Morales and David Thomas of Urban Artifacts. It was installed in 2005.
  • Indianapolis artist James Wille Faust designed Arch, the 20-foot vibrantly colored sculpture on the lawn at Herron School of Art and Design.

In 2011 several murals were painted along the canal underpasses commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis as part of its nationally renowned 46 for XLVI mural initiative.

A walk along the Canal is a remembrance of area military heroes, with memorials to the U.S.S. Indianapolis and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. The Admiral Raymond Spruance Memorial Basin stands at 10th Street in tribute to Indianapolis’ own World War II naval hero.