10 Indy “Must Do” Summer Activities

Indy shines in the summer — there is something to do everywhere you turn. Here are our top 10 picks for summertime fun around the Circle City. And for more fun ideas, check out the Summer Fun Guide.


Catch an Outdoor Movie

Sunset Cinema on the Canal

Each month during the summer, Downtown Indy Inc. and Indy Film Fest show a free movie along the Canal, including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (June 20), Splash (July 18) and Days of Thunder (August 22). Adult moviegoers can borrow an innertube for $20 and watch the flick while floating along the Canal. The fun begins at 7 pm, and movies start at dusk, around 9 pm.

Location: North end of the Canal near the Admiral Spruance Basin on 11th Street

Sunset Cinema on the Canal
Sunset Cinema on the Canal

The National Bank of Indianapolis Summer Nights Film Series

 Newfields hosts an evening of music and activities, followed by a movie starting around 9:30 pm. Watch the Harry Potter series under the stars every evening from July 13-20, as well as other family film favorites, such as Moana (August 16) and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (August 30).

Location: Newfields

Celebrate the Fruits of Summer

Indy Strawberry Festival

 The biggest strawberry festival in Indy is on Thursday, June 13 from 8 am-4 pm — or until supplies run out, which is a possibility with this popular event! Strawberry fans can order “The Works” and get a homemade shortcake topped with strawberries, ice cream and whipped topping, or order each item separately for $2. Visit the ATM before you go, because this festival is cash only.

Location: Monument Circle

Indy Strawberry Festival
Indy Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Festival Saturday

Head to Tuttle Orchards on June 8 to celebrate the strawberry season with kids’ activities and crafts, hayrides, strawberry pie samples and lots of strawberry treats, including strawberry slushies, strawberry cupcakes and even strawberry nachos!

Location: Tuttle Orchards

Cool Down with Ice Cream

Ice Cream Social on the Circle

This cool event is the biggest ice cream social in Indianapolis. Head to Monument Circle on Friday, July 19 for $3 ice cream sundaes, games, face painting, live cows, live music and more. All proceeds from the event benefit Second Helpings.

Location: Monument Circle

Ice Cream 5K Run

I run, you run, we all run for ice cream! Register the family for this fun run on June 22, which includes a 5K for runners 14 and older, a 1-mile run for kids ages 3-13, and a baby/toddler crawl/walk for children 2 and under. Afterward, stay for activities, dancing, face painting, music, awards and — of course — ice cream! A portion of the proceeds benefit Riley Children’s Foundation.   

Location: White River State Park

Enjoy an Outdoor Concert


Spend Friday nights from June 21-July 26 at the Indianapolis Zoo and enjoy live music, dancing, kids’ activities, a rotating menu of specialty food for purchase and more. Concerts are after hours (5:30-8:30 pm), so you can enjoy the zoo in a whole new way. This concert series is free for members and included with zoo admission.

Location: Indianapolis Zoo

Concerts on the Canal

The Indiana Historical Society features musical guests each Thursday evening this summer, from June 6-July 18. Bring your own food and beverages to relax on the grassy area outside the museum for free. Bonus: The History Center is free on Thursdays during concert season and open until 8 pm.

Location: Indiana Historical Society

Concerts on the Canal
Concerts on the Canal

Kroger Symphony on the Prairie

An outdoor music tradition for more than 38 years, Kroger Symphony on the Prairie offers something for everyone, from classical concerts to oldies oeuvres. Don’t miss out on the Star-Spangled Symphony on July 3-5, with real cannons and fireworks finishing off the night.

Location: Conner Prairie Amphitheatre


Have Some Down-home Fun

Indiana State Fair

From August 2-18, enjoy 17 days of thrilling rides and games, farm animals, contests and delicious food. Kids 5 and younger are free every day, and you can purchase tickets online for a steep discount. This year’s theme is Heroes in the Heartland, celebrating the contributions of farmers, teachers, first responders and everyday Hoosiers who make this land great.

Location: Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center

Indy's Child
Indy's Child
For 40 years, Indy's Child has been the trusted source for Indianapolis families seeking fun, educational, and enriching experiences. Our award-winning magazine and website are dedicated to providing expert advice, insider tips, and up-to-date information on everything from the best local attractions and events to parenting resources and support. As local experts deeply rooted in the central Indiana community, our passionate team at Indy's Child is dedicated to uncovering the best family-friendly experiences and resources our city has to offer. Whether you're new to parenting or looking for new ideas, Indy's Child is here to help you enjoy the adventure of raising a family in central Indiana.

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