Athenaeum Tours

Discover Indy's German Roots

Guided tours share the evolution of an iconic Indianapolis landmark.

Photo by Chris Bucher

Step Back in Time

Built as a German cultural center in the 1890s, today the Athenaeum houses the Rathskeller Restaurant, the YMCA, Coat Check Coffee, and more. In partnership with the Athenaeum Foundation, we offer two ways to enjoy this historic landmark. Both allow guests to see spaces not typically open to the public and find out why this was one of author Kurt Vonnegut’s favorite buildings in the city.


Discover Indianapolis’s German roots at the historic Athenaeum, as guides trace the building’s evolution from a German clubhouse to a hub of modern urban life. Tourgoers will enjoy unique architectural features throughout the late nineteenth-century building, while learning how they reflect the founders’ “sound mind in a sound body” ethos.

Along the way, guides will highlight the Athenaeum’s connections to the Vonnegut, Lieber, and Schnull families and the mark they left on the streetscape, culture, and business community in a growing Indianapolis throughout the early 1900s. Participants will leave with a better understanding of the German American influence on the city and the importance of preserving cultural landmarks.

Tour Schedule

Athenaeum Building Tours will be offered September 22, 2024 and November 3, 2024. Tours last approximately one hour and depart from the vestibule inside the Coat Check Coffee entrance to the Athenaeum, 401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis.

Please note spaces are subject to room availability and all spaces may not be available depending on building programming. The tour includes trips up and down three sets of stairs. If you need accommodations for a more accessible route, please alert your guide prior to the tour.

Parking: Park at meters on the surrounding streets. On-street parking nearby is typically free on Sundays.

Tickets: Tickets cost $12/adult, $10/Indiana Landmarks member, $5/child (age 6-11), and are free to children age 5 and under.

Bier & Building Experience

Athenaeum Bier & Building Tours will be offered March 3, 2024. On this adults-only (21+) experience, tourgoers sample traditional German appetizers, participate in fun activities, and see hidden spaces along the way. Four appetizers and a beer are included in the ticket price.

Tickets: Tickets cost $30/adult, $25/Indiana Landmarks member.

Private Athenaeum Tours

Interested in a private tour? Please complete our Tour Inquiry Form or email