indianapolis bike trails

Health + Fitness

Day Trippin’: How to Spend a Day Cycling in Circle City

Try one of 200 miles of Indianapolis bike trails to see Circle City up close, including cool murals like the Department of Public Words’ Love Train. (Photo: Robert Annis)

Indianapolis might be known primarily for automobiles — a little race called the Indy 500 helped with that — but it’s also an incredible city for exploring on a bicycle. With more than 200 miles of bike lanes and greenways, out-of-towners and residents alike can traverse the Circle City with ease. Best of all, you don’t even need to bring your own bike; thanks to the Pacers Bikeshare program, anyone with a credit card and an hour to kill can pedal away in a matter of minutes.

Where should you pedal, exactly? An Indy Ride Map can guide the way, but here’s a bike route that will lead you though the some of the best of Indy ‘hoods to see, shop and sip.

indianapolis bike trails bike share
Pacers Bikeshare. (Photo: courtesy Visit Indy)

Start Here: Pedaling the Park

Located on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, White River State Park is an urban oasis of both knowledge and nature. Visit the Indiana State Museum or the NCAA Hall of Champions, or just take a spin around the always bustling Canal Walk. Whether or not you have kids, you can play in the lush grass and take turns on the tire swing. Be sure to stop by the artist-designed pop-up library to grab a free book for later.

public gardens indianapolis
The eats at Public Gardens come straight from the land to your plate. (Photo: Stacy Newgent)

Stop #1: Meandering Across the Monon Trail

Continue up to the Monon Trail and head north to Broad Ripple, one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods. Along the way, you’ll pass dozens of gorgeous murals, like the Department of Public Words’ Love Train. Grab lunch at Public Greens, an urban kitchen and micro-farm that’s located just feet off the trail. The restaurant has a constantly rotating menu featuring several dishes actually grown on the premises. The chorizo tacos and buttered radishes are must-haves if available.

homespun indianapolis
Find souvenirs hand made by Hoosiers at Homespun. (Photo: Haley Neal at Little Robot Photography)

Stop #2: Shop Mass Ave

Turning back toward downtown, make your way to Mass Ave’s trendy shops, art galleries and restaurants. If you’re looking for souvenirs, Homespun offers artwork, clothes, crafts and more, created exclusively by Hoosier artisans. The “Ride On” hoodie from the United State of Indiana is not only super soft and stylish, but also a portion of the proceeds goes to local children’s nonprofit Nine13 Sports. Afterward grab a cocktail at the Libertine. Literary types can get a cocktail inspired by the likes of Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde or you can rattle off your favorite types of liquor and put your fate into the hands of the skilled bartenders.

End Here: Wind Down (or Up) in Fountain Square

Still feeling a little peckish or restless? Head a bit further south to Fountain Square and grab a late-night nosh at Thunderbird. Known for its innovative take on Midwestern comfort food, Thunderbird’s hot chicken has been known to make grown adults weep. Across the street in the historic Murphy Arts Building, the Hi-Fi plays host to the hottest up-and-coming bands from across the musical spectrum. We Were Promised Jetpacks, Parker Milsap and Nikki Lane have all graced the stage within the last year.