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Plan the Perfect Staycation in Indy

Who says you have to travel far and wide to enjoy a perfect vacation? Sometimes, the best getaway is right in your own backyard. 

If you’ve got some time off work and you want to make the most of it without the hassle (or expense) of traveling very far, a “staycation” is the way to go – particularly if you live in Indianapolis. This city is positively brimming with hidden gems and exciting attractions that make it worth your while to explore the city like a tourist.

The number one thing you don’t want to do is to go into your staycation without a plan, because that can leave you feeling aimless and disappointed when it’s over. With that in mind, here are some tips that can get you started:

What Are the Ground Rules for Your Staycation?

Set some expectations for your staycation (both for yourself and others) to make the experience feel special and different from your normal routine. That can mean things like:

  • Putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode. Let friends and relatives know that you’ll check your messages at a few set times each day, but you’re otherwise out of reach for the duration.
  • Promising yourself you won’t “peek in on work.” This is particularly important if you normally work from home or check work emails on the weekend. You need a break.
  • Not telling people you’re available. As soon as people find out that you’re not at work but in the area, you can be inundated with requests for small favors (like helping someone move or fix up their basement) and drop-by guests who “just want to see you.”
  • Have an itinerary. While you don’t want to plan things down to the last minute, your staycation does need a plan. Get out your calendar and decide what you want to do with each day in advance.
  • Get everything ready in advance: Don’t spend your staycation doing laundry or cleaning. Plan ahead so that you have a week’s worth of clothes ready (just like you would on a long-distance trip) and make sure the house is reasonably in order before your staycation even starts. 

The more you treat this like a regular vacation, the better your experience will be, so sleep in late, eat brunch at your favorite coffee shop or cafe, take in the sights or do the activities you have planned during the day, and then top the evening off with a great meal somewhere.

Where Can You Stay on Your Staycation?

Try to get hotel accommodations for at least part of your staycation – even if it’s just the first night! Not only does that create a clear divide between “regular life” and your vacation time, but it removes the temptation you might feel to catch up on a few chores around your home instead of relaxing.

Since you’re basically trying to explore Indy like a visitor to the city, you might as well pick someplace interesting to stay. Here are some top choices:

  • The Alexander: This is a contemporary hotel with an artsy vibe. Best of all, it’s conveniently located in downtown Indy where there are plenty of things to do.
  • Ironworks Hotel Indy: Located in the trendy Keystone Crossing area, this boutique hotel has an industrial design and all the luxury amenities you crave.
  • The Nestle Inn: Situated just a block away from Mass Avenue, this charming bed and breakfast has cozy rooms, modern comfort, vintage decor and delicious food.
  • The Conrad Indianapolis: This luxury hotel offers sophisticated accommodations and is known for its impeccable service and the rooftop bar with a panoramic view.
  • Stone Soup Inn: Situated in the historic Old Northside, this charming bed and breakfast offers vintage beauty and a convenient base from which you can explore downtown.

Since you’re not far from home, you may be able to score a discount by checking in mid-week for your stay and operating from “home base” on the weekend.

Where Are Some of the Best Things to Do?

Your staycation is all about you, so use your time to explore whatever interests you the most. As you work out your staycation itinerary, consider these options:

  • Hit All the Major Tourist Hot Spots: If you’ve never taken a tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway nor explored the Indianapolis Museum of Art, now’s your chance. Spend some time making a list of all the “must-see” attractions you haven’t yet seen and work them into your plans.
  • Indulge Your Senses at a Spa: Pamper yourself – you deserve it! The Woodhouse Day Spa and the Spa at the Conrad, for example, are both known for a wide range of upscale services, including facials, body wraps and massages.
  • Explore the Great Outdoors: Reconnecting with nature is a great way to recharge, so check out The Indianapolis Canal Walk. You can rent a paddle boat or a bike and explore this scenic waterway, or travel on foot to better explore the cultural districts to which it connects.
  • Find Your Inner Child: Adults don’t get nearly enough play time, do they? Well, you can rectify that situation by checking out the duck-pin games at Atomic Bowl, trying your sleuthing skills at The Escape Room USA or releasing your inner Viking at Ragnarok Axe Throwing.
  • Go Shopping: Broad Ripple Village has all kinds of trendy art galleries, record stores and specialty boutiques to explore, and Mass Ave is absolutely lined with vintage stores and the kind of shops where you can find eclectic gifts and artisan-made items.
  • Experience the City’s Nightlife: Indy has tons of wineries, microbreweries and nightclubs to explore. Easley Winery has live music events and locally-produced wine, Sun King Brewing is practically a local institution that’s known for its seasonal, specialty microbrews. There are also live music and themed parties happening at The Vogue.

The nice thing about planning a staycation is that – because you’re so close to home – you can shift your plans pretty easily. If it’s raining or just too hot when you plan to go to the Indianapolis Zoo, you can always hit Circle Centre Mall that day, instead. There’s no real pressure because you can always hit the zoo some other time!

Remember, the key to a successful staycation is to prioritize relaxation, enjoy the activities you love, and create a sense of novelty and adventure right in your own hometown.