The city of Indianapolis bursts to life in the summer. Every corner of the city has its fair share of exciting activities and events to offer–something for every couple. Ditch the boring dinner and a movie for a date night (or day!) that’s a little more off the beaten path. We’ve rounded up a few ideas to help get you started!
Newfields / The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)
Newfields/IMA is a great place to visit any time of the year, but the museum really shines in the summer. On Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer, the IMA hosts its Summer Nights Film Series, where you can watch a film projected in the museum’s outdoor amphitheater. Sun King beer and King David’s hot dogs can be purchased at the venue, or you could bring your own picnic dinner from home (sorry–alcoholic beverages can only be purchased on-site). Movies sell out in advance, so be sure to check out the schedule online and buy your tickets as soon as possible to ensure your spot under the stars.
Returning for its third season is also the Newfileds mini golf course! Each hole is an art installation created by a local artist and focused around an Indiana theme. Get to the museum early to try your hand at the course before the movie night, or plan a separate date just for the mini golf.
Welcome back Beer Garden. The Beer Garden opens with Newfields Spring Blooms exhibition. It will remain open through August during regular museum hours. Enjoy local beers, wine, and cider, along with a few select menu items such as a charcuterie board and baguettes from Amelia’s Bread.
Symphony on the Prairie
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra pairs up with Conner Prairie to present the Symphony on the Prairie series every summer. Celebrating its 36th year this summer, it’s perhaps a more well-known event, but definitely worth checking out! A different performance is scheduled for every weekend through the first weekend of September. Ranging from the music of John Williams to the Beatles to Michael Jackson, there’s a performance for everyone.
Pack a picnic, blankets, lawn chairs, and your bug spray and sprawl out in the grass in front of the Conner Prairie Amphitheater for a summer date night unlike any other.
Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace
Since 2012, the Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace has been a monthly destination for collectors of all things vintage, antique, re- and upcycled, artisanal, and unique. The event hopscotches around the city, and is typically held outdoors in the summer months.
This summer, you can browse the booths and sip on craft beer or local coffee, and munch on a snack from one of Indy’s many food trucks. Grace Church in Fishers hosts the June and and August market. The marketplace is also known to feature local musicians as well!
Indianapolis Art Center
Located just past Broad Ripple Avenue is the Indianapolis Art Center. Tucked away on gorgeous grounds dotted with trees, the Art Center features free galleries with the goal to connect the community with artwork of local, regional, and national artists. The exhibits rotate throughout the year.
If you’re looking for more of a hands-on date, the Art Center offers a catalog of classes and courses, ranging from painting and ceramics to woodworking and metalsmithing. No matter your skill level, you’re sure to find a class that will work with your expertise (or lack thereof!) as the Art Center offers classes for everyone from beginners to advanced.
Be sure to keep an eye out for events as well. The Indianapolis Art Center’s annual summer party, ArtSparkle, features galleries illuminated with neon light art inside, while a party of artful food and drinks from local restaurants and live music awaits you outside.
The Monon Trail
The Monon Trail stretches from Westfield to downtown Indianapolis, and is flanked by an almost-endless variety of date night options. Hop on your bikes and hit Public Greens in Broad Ripple for a farm-to-table dinner, featuring a menu that changes monthly to accommodate whatever food is in-season.
Just a stone’s throw from Public Greens is Broad Ripple Ice Cream Station, or BRICS. Choose from over 30 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream for a cone, sundae, or shake. They also offer a long list of smoothies, and you can typically find a selection of freshly-baked cookies and pies as well. Our recommendation? Split the Tour de BRICS with your sweetheart–a healthy sampling of four different flavors for just over $6!
Discover Fountain Square
This funky neighborhood just south of downtown Indianapolis has perhaps the most intimate arts and culture scene in the entire city. In addition to its art and music venues, Fountain Square also features a bustling food and beverage scene, with spots like Hotel Tango, a local distillery; New Day Craft Mead and Cider; Bluebeard; and Pioneer Indy, to name a few. From duckpin bowling to burlesque shows, here are a few venues and events to add to your summer date itinerary:
- First Fridays in Fountain Square
- 3rd Fridays on the Plaza
- White Rabbit Cabaret
- Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowl
- Radio Radio
- The HiFi
Irvington Summer Music Series
Perhaps best known for its annual Halloween festival, the Southeast neighborhood of Irvington is bringing back its Summer Music Series this year. With a full lineup running through September, the series will feature an eclectic array of styles and genres. Make it a complete date with dinner and drinks at Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza or Black Acre Brewing Co.
Indy Eleven Soccer
Did you know Indianapolis has a professional soccer team? Founded in 2013, Indy Eleven is a part of the North American Soccer League (NASL). They play at Michael A. Carroll Stadium on the IUPUI campus downtown. The games are always filled with vibrant energy, and the team’s goal is to create strong, emotional connections with its fans. If you’re looking for an exciting, unique date night, check out one of their home games this summer!
Go Ape! Treetop Adventure Course in Eagle Creek Park
If you’re looking for more of a date adventure, explore the Go Ape! unique outdoor experience in Eagle Creek Park on the city’s west side. The course features a two-to-three hour journey through the forest canopy on suspended obstacles, Tarzan swings, and zip lines. Navigate the five sections and enjoy the breathtaking views with your partner, and maybe even overcome a fear of heights in the process. When you’re done with the treetop course, consider exploring more of Eagle Creek Park–the largest municipal park in the entire country!
The Brickyard Crossing
If you know anything about Indianapolis, and as residents, you should, you know the Indy 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) are a big deal. But did you know about the Brickyard Crossing golf course? Dreamed up by legendary golf course designer Pete Dye, this course features a four-hole stretch inside the IMS! If you and your date enjoy golfing, you should definitely add this experience to your summer date list. After your 18 holes, check out the IMS Hall of Fame Museum, or take a tour of the track and kiss the bricks at the finish line for the ultimate Indy-themed date!
A recent addition to Indy’s popular Mass Ave. district, Kingmakers is a board game parlour, perfect for a game night date. Pay the $5 library fee to gain access to Kingmakers’ carefully-curated library of games. Local beer and coffee is available for purchase, along with select snacks. The large selection of games features games for two, or for larger groups if you decide to go out for double or triple date. Board Game Sommeliers are available to help explain rules and offer guidance or recommendations as you play.
*All photos were taken, created and provided by Kelli Blystone