Since 2013, the 8-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick has been providing people the opportunity to bike, walk, roller blade or run their way through the six different cultural districts connected by this delightful urban trail.
Recently, my family and I decided to give this raved-about trail a try for ourselves. The sun was shining and there was a slight breeze in the air. It was the perfect day to be outdoors breathing in the fresh air and getting some exercise. We packed our waters and sunscreen, put on our walking shoes and headed out the door for downtown.
Our GPS took us to the actual Cultural Trail Headquarters building where we tried to park. We quickly learned this is not a public parking spot for the trail, so we moved over one street and parked on the road. With such a large trail, there are plenty of places to find parking. If you are planning to walk the trail and don’t think you will be able to cover the entire 8 miles, you will just want to be sure you park close to any area you don’t want to miss.
During the course of the trail, you will pass through: Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Mass Ave, The Canal & White River State Park,
the Wholesale District and Fletcher Place Neighborhood.
And, if you are really feeling the urge to go the extra mile (or more), the ICT links to the Monon Trail allowing access from downtown to both Broad Ripple Village and Carmel.
With our entire family in tow and the youngest being just five, we opted to walk the trail as opposed to biking. The kids were excited to take off and immediately created a game dictating where you could step and not step – to avoid the alligators of course. Family trips where we’re all together exploring outdoors are where some of my fondest memories are made. It seems these outings really encourage their imaginations to run wild.
We walked for quite awhile and enjoyed the artwork and other sites a long the way.
There are currently nine pieces of artwork featured on the trail.
We took a little detour off of the trail onto the Canal and stopped for flatbread and gelato at Fresco Italian Cafe on the Canal. We enjoyed delicious food on the outdoor patio as we watched the people walking and paddling by.
The kids really wanted to take a cruise around the Canal on the gondola, but we had to tell them that would be for another time.
After we were finished, we hit the trail again with our bellies a little more full and our feet well rested. We walked for a while longer and I observed that we were really talking and enjoying one another. There is something about being outside, off of devices, away from the distractions of home that opens up space for good, quality conversation – and our time on the trail provided just that.
After we could walk no more (that doesn’t take long with a five-year old), we decided to venture over to Mass Ave where we enjoyed an incredible meal at Livery. It seemed crazy that we were eating again. I guess all of that walking must have made us very hungry.
All in all, our day spent on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is one I will not forget and one that I would be more than happy to repeat again and again. As the kids age, I envision us riding bikes and completing the entire trail – maybe even venturing further on to the Monon Trail.
Indianapolis is a beautiful city rich in culture, history and art and the ICT provides a means for experiencing all of this and more. It’s a fabulous way to spend a day exploring downtown. Just be sure to pack your wallet – you never know if restaurants or gondolas will happen to be calling your name along the way.
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail does not have an official starting or end point.
If you would like to learn more about the history, art projects, neighborhoods and districts, you may want to consider trying a guided tour. Tours are given every Saturday at 10:00 am from April through October. The cost of the tour is $35 and includes a bicycle and helmet.
Or, if you are wanting to ride a bike and aren’t wanting to do the guided tour – you can always get a bike from one of the 29 Indiana Pacers Bikeshare stations located throughout downtown.
Jennifer Thompson is a stay-at-home mom of four spunky, sweet, kind and sometimes a bit wild children. She has a passion for the written word and thinks that libraries and bookstores are the coolest places ever. When not hanging out with family or writing, she can be found enjoying a good cup of coffee, running, spending quality time with friends, working on some type of project around the house, planning the family’s next trip to her favorite destination – Walloon Lake, Michigan, or very possibly – reading a book.
Jennifer enjoys writing about her parenting experience and outings with her children for Indy’s Child as a freelance writer and blogger and also keeps a personal blog, www.trulyyoursjen.com, that she has fun writing when time permits.