Guided Tours of the Capital City
We can arrange a tour for your group, whether it’s 15 people—our minimum—or more than 100. Reservations must be made a minimum of three weeks prior to tour date. For large groups, we will assign several guides to ensure that everyone in the group enjoys the up-close-and-personal experience of a place that only a walking tour can give.
The following walking tours are $5 per person (the Catacombs tour is $15 per person; the Athenaeum tour is $12 per person). Most tours last 1 hour and 15 minutes, but can be altered to meet your group’s schedule.
Historic Downtown Walking Tour
Discover colorful heroes and heroines of Hoosier history as you walk along the streets of downtown Indianapolis. The tour takes you through our beautiful Capitol and gives you an up-close look at Monument Circle—the heart of the Circle City—and Circle Centre mall, which incorporates historic buildings and facades. The tour provides a great overview of the city’s history, its landmarks and monuments, as well as what’s happening now.
Monument Circle Tour
Indiana Landmarks’ guided tour around the physical and symbolic heart of Indianapolis tells the intriguing story of Monument Circle, past and present. Please note: while groups of 15 or more must schedule a paid group tour, individuals or groups of fewer than 15 people may wish to attend one of our free Monument Circle Tours. Visit the Monument Circle Tours page for full details.
Indiana Landmarks Center Tour
See how Indiana Landmarks transformed a nineteenth-century church complex into a venue of theaters, reception hall, art gallery and offices. The 45-minute tour highlights the history of the church, from its status as the state’s largest Methodist congregation to its vacant and endangered status before a $19 million dollar restoration recreated it as a spectacular new cultural venue and state headquarters for Indiana Landmarks.
In partnership with the Athenaeum Foundation, Indiana Landmarks offers guided tours of the Athenaeum, exploring the evolution of the building from a German clubhouse to a hub of modern urban life, with a theater, YMCA, and the Rathskeller, a restaurant/pub in continuous operation since the landmark’s earliest days. Visit the Athenaeum Tour page for full details on our regular monthly tours of this National Historic Landmark, held the second Saturday of each month, May through September.
City Market Catacombs Tour
Indianapolis City Market and Indiana Landmarks stage tours of an unusual site hidden from public view. Our guided tour of the Catacombs shows you Roman-looking expanses of brick arches beneath the City Market’s outdoor Whistler Plaza. They’re what remain of Tomlinson Hall, an imposing building whose main hall seated 3,500 people. Visit the Catacombs Tour page for more information.
Field Trips for Children
Indiana Landmarks’ walking tour field trips in the capital city correlate with state Department of Education guidelines for school curricula. Our expeditions for school children teach state and local history, art and architecture, and encourage students to become observant of their man-made environment and informed citizens of the city.
Capital City Critters Walking Tour
Introduces children in first through third grades to architecture, public art, and the art of observation by challenging them to find the animals and mythological creatures that are surprisingly prevalent in Indianapolis’s downtown architecture. Along the way, students learn about the historical figures represented in public sculpture.
Meets Indiana Department of Education Social Studies Academic Standards for first, second, and third graders in Social Studies (1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3), English (1RV1, 1RL2, 1SL1&2, 2RV1&2, 2SL2&3, 3RV1&2, 3SL2&3), and Visual Arts (1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.5, 3.1, 3.5).
Historic Downtown Indianapolis Walking Tour
Blends discussions of architecture and history in a guided tour ideal for fourth-grade students. Children learn how Indianapolis was shaped by its selection as the state capitol, and learn about its growth as a city from the nineteenth century through the twenty-first century. They also learn about the preservation of historic buildings from different eras of the city’s history, and hear about the modern buildings that dominate the city’s skyline.
Meets Indiana Department of Education Social Studies Academic Standards for fourth graders in Social Studies (4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4) and English (4RV1, 4SL1-3).
The Athenaeum Tour
Introduces middle and high school students to the architecture and history of an Indianapolis landmark, tracing its evolution from a German clubhouse to a hub of modern urban life. Students will learn about the German Renaissance Revival architecture and the original mix of activities in the building—a gymnasium that promoted gymnastics and other physical exercise, a lecture hall and a theater, and a restaurant. Along the way, students learn about the historical figures who helped shaped The Athenaeum and influenced Indianapolis more broadly.
Meets Indiana Department of Education U.S. History Academic Standards (Standard 2, USH 2.5, USH 3.9). Supplemental educational resources may be found on The Athenaeums’ “For Educators” website.
Policies for School Group Walking Tours
To ensure that teachers and students have a rich and safe educational experience, we require:
- Reservations must be made a minimum of 3 weeks prior to tour date.
- Minimum of 10 people required for a tour.
- No groups larger than 70 students. For a teacher with a larger group, we can divide the group and do back-to-back tours.
- For a large group, we will divide the number into smaller groups, and each of the smaller groups must have at least one adult chaperone. We will inform you in advance of the number of chaperones required for the tour.
- A fee of $3.00 per student and chaperone; one teacher per classroom is complimentary.
- Notification in advance if students will be taking photographs.