Indiana is often considered part of the “flyover states,” and doesn’t configure into the larger popular imagination as much as the coastal states, or even the nearby metropolis of Chicago. Unless, you were a kid in the 1990s, and remember the cult television show, Eerie Indiana.
Otherwise, this lovely state is usually remembered for Hoosiers, its famed basketball team, and the bucolic environs of The University of Indiana’s campus. There’s actually quite a bit to see and do in Indiana, and the following are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to visit soon.
- Basketball is a Huge Deal
It doesn’t matter if it’s high school, college, or NBA league, basketball is a major deal in Indiana, and everyone in the state absolutely loves it. The towns are known for joining forces and for their citizens showing up for every basketball game there is. Hoosiers, of course, is the most famous team, and the 1986 film named for the beloved group has a special place in everyone’s heart. If you plan to visit Indiana, you are definitely encouraged to attend a basketball game. Even better if you can go to Bloomington and go to a game at The University of Indiana. The whole town rallies behind the university, and the atmosphere is perhaps the best of any game you’ll see anywhere – arguably, even better than a Knicks game at Madison Square Gardens. So, if you love basketball and excited about seeing what makes the locals tick, then definitely go to a basketball game. Or, failing that, get yourself a Hoosiers jersey as a souvenir.
- It’s Not Landlocked
Given its reputation as a flyover state, there is a common misconception that Indiana is completely landlocked without any proximity to a body of water. While it’s true that it does not lie anywhere near a major ocean, there are plenty of lakes in the state, and it is fairly easy to go on a road trip and spend the day on the grassy, sandy shores of one of the beaches. Just be careful when traveling on the roads since they can be exceptionally rocky, and it might be best to travel with a more experienced driver aware of the nuances of the pathways. The last thing you would need to deal with while visiting Indiana is becoming a personal injury victim in Fort Wayne while embarking upon a trip to a beautiful lake. That being said, you may also want to visit the state’s many national parks and natural wonders. There are many gardens, mountains, and hiking trails for you to explore, and everyone in Indiana loves visiting the countryside. Make the time to do so, and you will see why, given its extraordinary natural beauty.
- The Indy 500
One of the greatest sporting events takes place every year in Indiana, the Indy 500. If you love race cars and want to go to a racing event that’s less overwhelming yet just as exciting as Nascar, then the Indy 500 is definitely worth the price of admission. The annual extravaganza brings a massive swath of locals, die-hard fans the world over to Indiana, racers from the international scene, and so on, to witness the fastest race anywhere. Anyone who loves cars, sports, or just big gatherings where people can commiserate and drink copious amounts of beer and eat hot dogs during the day will love going to the Indy 500.
For a fun take on the event, you can also take a look at the Indianapolis Zoo annual Zoopolis 500. This is a great activity to do, especially with kids. It’s definitely not a fast race – in fact, it may be the slowest race you will find anywhere since it features turtles. It’s one of the many wonderful events held by the Indianapolis Zoo, and you can always visit the botanical gardens and aquarium afterward. The zoo in general is a great place to visit, even for those not necessarily interested in seeing a parody of the famous Indy 500!
- Hidden Arts and Culture Scene
Indiana is home to many wonderful artists, and it’s worth visiting to see all the great bands that play in different venues throughout Indianapolis, Bloomington, as well as Fort Wayne, to mention a few locales. You can also go to the University of Indiana’s cinema, which was newly built a few years ago, and regularly plays some of the best independent and arthouse fairs you will find anywhere.
There’s a lot more than meets the eye to Indiana. While it is home to some of the most diehard basketball fans you’ll ever meet, and it is known for people being incredibly serious about their Steak and Shake, there’s a lot more to see and do. Also, the people are incredibly friendly, and access to all the natural sites makes it worth the visit.