Omni Severin Hotel
40 WEST JACKSON PLACE
Indianapolis, Indiana 46225

48 Hours in Indianapolis

Indianapolis, lovingly known by locals as Indy, is making a name for itself as a city with a blossoming culture. This Midwest town has always been a popular sports destination, with professional football and basketball teams, a booming amateur and college sports scene and, of course, fast cars at the famous speedway. But recent years have seen changes to local culinary and craft beer landscapes as well as flourishing cultural institutions, hip neighborhoods and walking paths for all to enjoy.

This two-day itinerary puts the Omni Severin Hotel, located east of the White River in downtown Indianapolis, at the forefront of your trip, providing a central location from which to start your exploration. 

Day One

Morning

Start the morning off with breakfast at Milktooth. Not your average diner, this modern space offers “classic stock” like grapefruit Dutch baby pancakes with Spanish manchego cheese and ancient grains porridge as well as a rotating menu with “of the moment” dishes. Latkes, sweet potato muffins, corn grits and sticky buns are also available.

Another option is the General American Donut Company where handcrafted doughnuts are made fresh each day. Enjoy a raised glazed, coffee and cream, raspberry Key lime or s’mores doughnut in the stylish space—and make sure to also grab an espresso drink made with Stumptown Coffee, too.

Those with little ones will want to get a head start on the popular Children's Museum of Indianapolis, especially with the addition of its new Sports Legends Experience, which offers 12 different outdoor sports experiences plus three educational exhibits emphasizing sports history and the importance of physical fitness.

After visiting the museum, get some exercise of your own along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. A walk along this urban path is a great introduction to the city, as the walkway connects many of Indy’s cultural districts and entertainment hotspots.

Afternoon

Stop back at the hotel for a light lunch at Wine Thief, whose menu features deviled eggs, beef sliders, buttermilk chicken flatbreads, corn fritters and uniquely flavored popcorn. Share various plates while enjoying an impressive selection of wine, beer or pre-Prohibition Era cocktails.

An option just outside of downtown is La Margarita. Located in the quirky Fountain Square neighborhood, this fun Mexican serves up homemade Mexican fare, along with plenty of tequilas and mezcals.

Indy’s craft beer scene is booming. After lunch, hop aboard The Indy Brew Bus and visit multiple breweries in one afternoon. Some of the participating breweries for the downtown tour include Sun King Brewery, Indiana City Brewing Co., and Deviate Brewing.

Those looking to enjoy the city’s historical side can venture over to James Whitcomb Riley Museum, a late-Victorian house in the Lockerbie neighborhood where the poet lived for more than 20 years. With his original vintage furnishings and stunning hand-painted ceilings, learn about both the writer and the era.

Wine Thief with people

Evening

On your first night in town, get dressed up for an evening out. Start with dinner at one of the nearby steakhouses. While there are plenty to choose from—including the nearby St. Elmo Steakhouse—head to Red, the Steakhouse for bone-in porterhouse, tomahawk ribeye or dry aged Angus beef prime ribeye. The restaurant also offers lobster, crab, oysters and more.

Just up the street from the hotel and the numerous steakhouses lies the Hilbert Circle Theatre. Whether enjoying a classic, symphonic or pops performance, this former movie palace is the ideal place to watch live music, namely the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, after a nice dinner.

End the night across the street at Nicky Blaine’s Cocktail Lounge, a vintage bar offering martinis and scotch, cigars and cheese plates while live jazz music fills the air. It’s the perfect place to wind down and reflect on the day before returning to Omni Severin Hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Photo courtesy of St. Elmo

Day Two

Morning

On your second morning in town, savor a breakfast inspired by the city’s varied neighborhoods and locally sourced ingredients. At Spoke and Steele, you’ll find organic egg dishes, short rib hash, pork belly Benedict, strawberry shortcakes, parfaits, fresh fruit and baked goods.

Another choice for a morning meal is Café Patachou—specifically, the Patachou on the Park location on West Washington Street. Known for its cinnamon toast and broken yolk sandwiches, the eatery also serves up specialties like croissant French toast, the Hearty Grain Bowl and a Cuban breakfast with black beans and rice.

Once you’ve had something to eat, head over to the Indianapolis Zoo. Just on the other side of the river in White River State Park, the zoo houses well over 1,000 animals and is organized into different biomes like deserts, oceans, forests and plains.

Also located in the state park is Segway of Indiana. Hop aboard for a tour that winds through the park along the river promenade and past the White River Gardens, local museums and other landmarks.

Photo courtesy of Lavengood Photography

Afternoon

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head back across the river to Bru Burger Bar. Here, you’ll enjoy a casual menu with one-of-a-kind offerings like the Mexicali BBQ Burger, complete with pickled jalapeno, white cheese and chipotle barbecue sauce, or an ahi tuna burger with sweet chili mayonnaise and cucumber coleslaw. A block away, at The Rathskeller, dine on traditional German fare. Whether you opt for the hot wurst platte—basically a flight of German sausages and mustards—or the various selections of sandwiches and schnitzels, it’s a chance for a unique meal.

After lunch, check out the NCAA Hall of Champions. The museum features information and exhibits on all 24 NCAA sports including current team rankings, videos, artifacts, virtual simulators and trivia.

After leaving the museum, stay in the area to visit the city’s canals. Whether you decide to walk along the picturesque Central Canal Walk, dotted with vintage street lamps, arched bridges and greenery, or to get out on the water, it’s definitely one of Indy’s highlights. Those opting to get on the water can choose to enjoy a ride in a paddle boat, a gondola or even a kayak.

Photo courtesy of Lavengood Photography

Evening

On your last night in town, consider dining at the hotel: Omni Severin Hotel is home to the luxurious 1913 Restaurant. This farm-to-table eatery crafts dishes inspired by the region’s landscape, including maple-bourbon glazed pork chop, walnut-crusted walleye and roasted corn chowder.

Or, try another local favorite in the nearby historic neighborhood of Herron-Morton Place. Tinker Street serves up farm-fresh food in a cool urban cottage setting. The dinner menu includes a variety of inventive small plates like miso broiled oysters and lump crab cakes with tomato fondue. An impressive wine list and sommelier will help you choose the perfect pairings.

After dinner, visit Fountain Square Theatre. Here, you can see a movie, go duckpin bowling or, on select nights, take swing dancing lessons. If you would rather experience Indy’s “original retro bar," head over to Nicky Blaine’s Cocktail Lounge. This hip joint is a martini bar, cigar lounge and nightclub all rolled up in one.

Before returning to the hotel, make one final stop at Tappers Arcade Bar. This lively hotspot offers old-school arcade games like Pong, Mario Bros., Tron, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and more—as well as a wide selection of craft beers to end the night right.

Dining area at 1913 Restaurant

If you have more time...

With more than two days to spare, you’ll have to stop by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. Another option is to take part in the Indy Racing Experience, where you can actually drive the oval course.

Explore the vibrant Broad Ripple Village. One of six Indianapolis Cultural Districts, this popular destination is know for its free-spirited vibe, happening bars and restaurants, brewpubs and shops.

The Omni Severin Hotel concierge team contributed to this article.