My wife and I are in our 20th year of marriage, and despite busy schedules, we both make concerted efforts to ensure that date nights happen regularly. We are lifelong movie buffs, and I’d say we both fall in the wannabe foodie camp, so for us, dinner and a movie are still pretty enjoyable fare. However, finding creative things to do to break up the monotony is still important. That is the inspiration for this post: 18 Indianapolis Date Ideas Besides Dinner and a Movie
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument
Standing just 21-feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty, Monument Circle’s Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Monument reigns over downtown Indy. Riding the elevator to the top of this 284-foot tall obelisk will run you $2, but you can walk the stairs for free, which is a good way to add an element of exercise to your date. And a date who’s not afraid of heights is a keeper.
As an Indy tradition like no other, First Friday is ideal for an art-loving couple’s date night. From the Indy Arts Guide’s Art Tours to the First Friday Food Truck Festival at the Murat, this city-wide event has a lot to offer. If you’re looking for something less structured and want to avoid paying for tickets, check out the Murphy Arts Building on any given First Friday to peruse the various galleries and beer and arts vendors inside.
Indianapolis Museum of Art
In keeping with the arts theme, the IMA offers plenty to choose from when it comes to art-based activities. Admission for two is $36, but for that price, couples can take in exhibits such as the Chemistry of Color which dissects the relationship between art, science and color and walk the flower-blooming grounds surrounding the museum on a beautiful spring day.
Hickory Hall Polo Club
Polo is no longer reserved for the Kennedy-era high-brow elite. Today’s sport is much more casual and open-minded, making it a great way to spend an afternoon. Indy’s Hickory Hall Polo Club charges $20 per carload, and they encourage attendees to pack a picnic with a bottle of wine or pop the tailgate of your truck with a cooler full of beers. Whatever your preference, a Saturday afternoon polo match is definitely a unique date idea.
SoBe Fit Training
I’ve heard some fitness trainers claim couples that exercise together, stay together. SoBe Fit in South Broad Ripple offers couples training for just $32 per person. For 45 minutes, you and your date can be trained by a professional in a semi-private setting. If you both are looking for a group class instead, SoBe Fit offers sessions like Sweatin’ to the 80’s, a fast-paced full body workout set to the best generation of music around! 😉
While this may be one of the more unconventional date ideas on this list, it’s one of Indy’s hidden gems. Established in 1863, Crown Hill holds many fascinating burial sites like the infamous criminal John Dillinger, President Benjamin Harrison, and a mini-house built for the wife of our previous owner Fred Tucker III. At the highest point on the 555-acre grounds lies the grave of famous Indiana poet James Whitcomb Riley. Here, you’ll find an amazing view of the downtown skyline. A perfect place to bring a date, enjoy the sunset and read the works of the late poet.
Fort Harrison State Park
At just $7 for entry, Fort Harrison on Indy’s east side offers a plethora of outdoor activities perfect for dates. There’s plenty of hiking, both easy and beyond, and Fall Creek runs right through the park. If you catch it on a slow-moving summer day, it makes for a great, unspoiled, mid-day dip. In addition to the creek and hiking trails, there’s a dog park, bike trail and horse stable. During the winter you’ll find ice fishing, as well as sledding and cross-country skiing.
The Hi-Fi in Fountain Square has long established itself as the go-to spot for local and regional live music. Here, you’ll find bands from all genres including folk, hip-hop, indie, rock and everything in between. Their upcoming summer schedule is just kicking off, so look out for events like the Virginia Ave. Folk Fest and the Kickass Americana Showcase.
Indy Fuel/Indy Eleven/Indianapolis Indians
Indy has rich and varied history when it comes to local sports, and while our professional teams are beloved, the semi-pro teams get a lot of attention as well. The Indianapolis Indians play at Victory Field downtown which just so happens to be one the most beautiful AA stadiums around. The Indy Eleven also play outdoors at Carroll Soccer Stadium at IUPUI. This team finished first in the Spring season and second in the fall season during 2016 and brought in a league-wide, record-setting number of fans. Indy’s newest minor league outfit is the Indy Fuel hockey team. They call the Indiana Farmers Coliseum home where they provide support for their parent team the famed Chicago Blackhawks.
Crackers Comedy Club
With locations in both downtown and Broad Ripple, Crackers Comedy Club is the most well-known comedy club in Indy. They host comedians of all types from Bob & Tom regulars to national acts like Trae Crowder, The Liberal Redneck. Couples can even participate in an open-mic contest where they’ll help determine a winner for an opening act weekend slot. Tickets here average about $15.
Fountain Square Theatre Building
Each Friday night the Fountain Square Theatre Building hosts all kinds of fun activities, including swing dancing. This activity literally requires two people, obviously making it a great date-night idea. Beginners can get lessons for $14 while experienced dancers can join the fun for $12. Also in the FS Theatre Building lies the historic Atomic Duckpin Bowling lanes and Rootop Garden bar with a spectacular view of the city.
Go Ape Treetop Adventure
Eagle Creek Park’s newest addition is the Go Ape Treetop Adventure. For $58 per person, couples can definitely file this date under the adventure section. Go Ape provides activities such as a zip line, Tarzan swing and rail track, all right in the heart of the lush Eagle Creek forest. For two to three hours, couples will find themselves on suspended obstacle courses forty feet in the air and flying down a zip line for over three hundred feet.
Wait, I thought I was supposed to supply 18 ideas that weren’t movies?!? It’s true, but really, it’s a completely different experience, and there’s nothing more Americana than going to the drive-in on a muggy summer night! Tibb’s Drive-In is the last one of its kind in Indy proper; it features four screens and can hold up to 1600 cars at a time! Adding to the nostalgia of such a date is the price. At only $11 per person, Tibb’s Drive-In is a great value compared to most theaters. For roughly the same price as one movie at an indoor theater, at Tibb’s you can see up to three movies, and it’s definitely much more romantic.
Indy Racing Experience
Ever dreamed of becoming an actual race car driver? Well, Indy Racing Experience does just that. They’ve designed a custom two-person Indy Car so you can experience what it feels like to travel the famous Motor Speedway track at unheard of speeds. While there are a variety of different“experiences” from which to choose–from the type of car you’re in to whether you ride or drive–prices are not cheap, running about $500 and up.
The Indiana State Fairgrounds hosts what is possibly the most unique and interesting sporting event around: roller derby. The Naptown Roller Girls participate in a sport made up entirely of women. It’s tough and intense, allowing fans to see the badass-ery of women up close and personal as they tear around the track with the aim of destroying their opponents. Tickets are $17 at the door.
The Canal at White River State Park
The Canal at White River State Park is a romantic place in and of itself. Particularly at night, couples can stroll the lazy walkways as the moonlight bounces off the water and stop off at the canal-side café for a glass of wine. Day walkers should be sure to take advantage of the many rentals which include bikes, kayaks, surreys, choppers and scooters which run from $20-$35.
Indiana State Museum
As far as museums in Indy go, the Indiana State Museum seems to have the most generally unique exhibits around, making it a great way to learn what really interests your date. Currently on display here is Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters. Hoosiers surely know their way around a tornado, so this will surely be a thought-provoking conversation starter. The ISM also features an IMAX theater for epic movie viewing. Entry tickets for the museum are $15.
Invoke Yoga Studio
Yoga is an activity for both the mind and body, which will no doubt bring you closer to your significant other. Invoke Yoga Studio downtown offers couples Pilates and group yoga classes of all kinds. Couples can purchase a duet Pilates session for a total of $90 which includes first-rate equipment designed to improve your physical strength and flexibility and enhance your mental awareness. If you’re new to Invoke, you can buy two weeks of unlimited group yoga classes for just $30 each.