Hidden Gems: Market Street Catacombs Tour

Between May and October, Indianapolis City Market gives visitors the opportunity to see a site that’s usually hidden from the public view — its catacombs. The tour is a partnership between Indianapolis City Market and Indiana Landmarks, a nonprofit organization that is devoted to helping save and revitalize historic places.

The catacombs beneath the Market have roots back to 1886, which is when the City of Indianapolis and architect Dietrich Bohlen constructed and designed City Market and Tomlinson Hall.

Since the 1800s, City Market has been a thriving downtown Indianapolis hotspot, while Tomlinson Hall disappeared from the Indianapolis cityscape due to a fire in 1958. Today, its basement is a destination for residents and tourists alike, otherwise known as the catacombs, which also features Tomlinson Hall’s notorious arches.

Unlike most catacombs, the remaining basement of Tomlinson Hall does not contain any known bones or crypts; rather, “scores of brick barrel-vaulted arches.”

The catacombs tours are 30 minutes long, and depart from the mezzanine level of Indianapolis City Market, located at 222 E. Market Street. During the catacombs tour, visitors explore the “Roman-looking expanse of brick arches beneath the outdoor Whistler Plaza of City Market.” Additionally, “guides share stories of two historic buildings, City Market and Tomlinson Hall.”

Catacomb tours are suitable for all ages, but strollers are not permitted on the tour. Tickets are $12 per person age 12 and up, $10 per person for Indiana Landmarks members, $6 per person age 6-11, and free for children 5 and under. A limited number of walk-up tickets are available, so purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended.

222 E. Market St., Indianapolis | indycm.com

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