Best parks in downtown Indianapolis

Best Downtown Parks in Indianapolis _ Indy's Child MagazineYou know what we love? When the sweet folks at Downtown Indy pop by for their monthly column on

They’re always scooping the best of downtown Indianapolis from walking tours with the family to fun monthly activities and more. If you’re looking for a new spot for picnicking, exploring or frisbee-ing {is that a verb?!}, you’re covered this month with Downtown Indy’s recos for the best parks in downtown Indianapolis. 

Downtown boasts more than 350 acres of parks, waterways, trails and green spaces for all to enjoy. Spend the day Downtown with the kids and have a picnic in White River State Park, shoot hoops in Martin Luther King Park or enjoy the fountain views in University Park. Here are some of the best parks in downtown Indianapolis.

Best Parks In Downtown Indy_ Indy's Child Magazine
Photo credits: Downtown Indy Instagram. Find them at @DowntownIndy!
Canal and White River State Park

White River State Park, America’s only cultural urban state park, offers more than 250 acres of green space filled with an array of cultural attractions, including unique public art (The Tent is one of my favorites). Explore the park by bike, Segway or your own two feet. Or rent a pedal boat or kayak and explore the park via the Canal. Leave extra time and visit some of Indiana’s best attractions including the Indianapolis Zoo, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, NCAA Hall of Champions, Indiana State Museum and Victory Field.

University Park

Located between Vermont Street and New York Street, University Park is a beautifully-landscaped area with grassy fields, benches and picnic tables. The centerpiece of the park is the Depew Fountain – the perfect spot to sit and strike a pose for an Instagram-worthy photo. Find statues honoring Benjamin Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Schuyler Colfax (Indiana native and Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant after the Civil War). Just north of University Park is American Legion Mall, a vast green space with plenty of room to throw a frisbee or football.

ANOTHER GOOD READ: Best Downtown Walking Tours For The Family

Martin Luther King Park

As the site where Robert Kennedy gave his memorable speech the night King was assassinated in 1968, Martin Luther King Park is rich with history. Located at 17th and Broadway, this park is also home to the Landmark for Peace memorial sculpture. This sculpture, depicting King and Kennedy reaching out to each other, is quite impressive. The park also features picnic shelters, outdoor pool, basketball court, softball field, playground.

Herron-Morton Place Park

Both trendy and historic, Herron-Morton Place neighborhood is an fast growing neighborhood just north of Downtown filled with a mix of families and young professionals. The neighborhood park, located on the 1900 block of Alabama Street features a play area complete with swings, springy horses, slides and a climbing rock.

Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden

Indy's Child Hidden Gems - Garfield Conservatory

Garfield Park, the oldest park in Indianapolis, is a hidden gem tucked away in Downtown Indy.  The Conservatory houses 10,000 square feet of unique tropical plants that are in full bloom year-round. A main attraction is the the indoor 15-foot-tall granite waterfall. Parents are sure to enjoy this relaxing urban oasis as well. The Sunken Gardens is three acres of perfectly manicured European-style formal gardens with three fountains, paved brick walkways and benches. Plop down for a picnic, read a book on a bench or play a pop-up game of frisbee. Don’t miss the stunning tulips in the spring and be sure to bring the camera – this place is perfect for photos. Park entry is free and Conservatory admission is $2.

Virginia B. Fairbanks Arts and Nature Park: 100 Acres

Located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, this kid-friendly park connects art and nature. With 100 acres of woodlands, wetlands, meadows and 35-acre lake, 100 Acres is one of the largest museum art parks in the country. Most of the installations are intended for a completely hands-on experience: Funky Bones is a group of 20 fiberglass benches that forms a skeleton; Free Basket is a sculpture within a basketball court made concrete, steel, paint and plastic; and Chop Stick is an outdoor pavilion with a swing set crafted almost entirely from a single tree. View all the unique, hands-on artwork here. The park is open to dogs on leashes.





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