Known as the home of fast cars and basketball stars, Indiana also prides itself on its deep ties to presidential history, unique dining experiences and exclusive artistic opportunities.
From Indianapolis to South Bend and Shipshewana at the northern end of the state and small towns like Seymour and Lincoln City in the south, there is no shortage of Midwest hospitality in Indiana.
Take a look at what awaits group travelers in the Hoosier State.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
With more than 55,000 artifacts and over 300 vehicles, it is easy to see why the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum welcomes more than 140,000 visitors each year. The speedway is one of the oldest motorsports facilities in the world, but the museum is currently closed until mid-2025 while it undergoes a massive $89 million renovation. Don’t fret, race fans: Track tours are still available, with a variety of tours including “Kiss the Bricks” and “View from the Top,” where guests can admire the view from the speedway’s iconic Pagoda.
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
In Lincoln City, history buffs won’t want to miss visiting the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. A bronze casting of sill logs and fireplace hearthstones now serves as a memorial to the cabin the Lincoln family began building in 1829 and that young Abe called home for 14 years. A re-created 1820s pioneer farm serves as a living history site with rangers educating visitors on what life was like during Lincoln’s life in Indiana. The Pioneer Cemetery is the final resting place for Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
NCAA Hall Of Champions
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) calls Indianapolis home, and the NCAA Hall of Champions recognizes the accomplishments of student-athletes. Showcasing all 24 collegiate sports, this hands-on museum features interactive exhibits, sports simulators and more. Group offerings at the Hall of Champions include guided tours, scavenger hunts, welcome introductions and self-guided tours, along with group dining options at the adjacent Hall of Champions Conference Center.
Up and Coming
Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum
Get ready for a ride at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson. Visitors can choose from steam train or diesel engine excursions with trains departing the museum station numerous times each day. During the round-trip excursion, groups can learn about the history of locomotives and enjoy the scenery of farm country in northern Indiana. Before or after the train ride, visitors can explore the stationary passenger cars, cabooses and freight cars — a treat for railroad fans. Charter train rides are available for groups throughout the year, even when the museum is closed.
Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
Indiana and basketball make a great team. Visitors to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle can learn state history while exploring legendary individuals and memorabilia. Visitors see the jerseys, trophies and pendants from schools throughout the Hoosier State. Interactive activities include trying to hit a buzzer beater shot and recording your own play-by-play radio call. At interactive kiosks, visitors can search for statistics by player’s name, school and year.
Minnetrista Museum and Gardens
The Minnetrista Museum and Gardens in Muncie is home to the Bob Ross Experience, where visitors can explore original artworks of this creative television icon. Groups can visit the home where Ross filmed “The Joy of Painting,” which is now on the grounds of the museum. Painting workshops are available for groups, during which visitors can create their own artwork with guidance from experienced Certified Ross Instructors.
West Baden Springs Hotel
At the French Lick Resort, located in the Hoosier National Forest in southern Indiana, the West Baden Springs Hotel welcomes groups to stay and admire its six-story, free-span dome, reaching 200 feet and once known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The property is home to 243 luxury guest rooms and suites, including balcony rooms facing inside the breathtaking atrium.
As one of three hotels located at the French Lick Resort, the West Baden Springs Hotel opened to guests in 1902 and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. The resort offers tours of the West Baden Springs Hotel and other properties, including tours that focus on history and a behind-the-scenes experience that shows guests places not open to the general public.
Just north of Indianapolis in Carmel, the new Hotel Carmichael puts guests steps away from Carmel City Center and The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, adjacent to the Greenway portion of the historic Monon Trail path and in the heart of the Carmel Arts and Design District.
With 122 guest rooms and suites, the property takes a nod from its art and design neighbors, with a contemporary feel inspired in part by the work of 18th century architect Robert Adam. The property also features Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael, a live entertainment venue created in partnership with Michael Feinstein, a two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy award-winning musician. Since opening in August 2020, the Hotel Carmichael has quickly become a popular destination for groups and those looking to soak up the arts in Carmel.
Get ready for schnitzel, sauerkraut and plenty of brews at Schnitzelbank in Jasper. Here, lederhosen are optional, and every day is Oktoberfest. The restaurant has been serving up German favorites since 1961, and popular dishes on the menu include goulash paired with spätzle noodles, wiener schnitzel, and bockwurst served with fries and sauerkraut. Don’t miss the giant Bavarian pretzels served with hot mustard and beer cheese. Schnitzelbank allows groups to reserve the DeutscherVerein Room offering buffet and family-style dinners.
Blue Gate Restaurant
Visitors to Shipshewana can experience the simple ways of Amish culture and a guarantee that no one leaves hungry. The Blue Gate Restaurant features buffet-style dining with a variety of scratch-made entrees, side dishes, and pies and pastries made fresh at the adjacent Blue Gate Bakery. Traditional specialties include Amish beef and noodles and the Amish country sampler, featuring pressure-fried chicken, homestyle meatloaf and roast beef. The Blue Gate Restaurant can also arrange special group dining and entertainment packages with the Blue Gate Theatre.