At its heart, Indianapolis is a sports town. You can't talk about auto racing without mentioning the Indianapolis 500. The NCAA has its national headquarters here; the NFL's Colts, the NBA's Pacers and the WNBA's Fever call it home. And in February, what is arguably the No. 1 sporting event in the world is coming to Indy. Super Bowl XLVI (that's 46, by the way), worldwide television coverage and millions of dollars will descend Feb. 5 on Indianapolis. But you don't have to have a ticket to the big game to enjoy all that this city has to offer. The thing you will first notice about Indy is that the downtown area is clean, easily accessible and full of fun things within walking distance. In fact, a skywalk connects much of downtown; you can go from hotel to mall to stadium without stepping outdoors. The downtown area includes the beautiful White River State Park, which has the zoo and connects green spaces with tall buildings. In warm weather, a 1.5-mile artificial canal that runs through the park is great for cyclists, runners, paddle boaters and people-watchers. East of the canal you'll find Monument Circle and Memorial Plaza, which have majestic sculptures, fountains and the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza, built to honor the veterans of World War I and modeled after the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Take a carriage ride ($50) around the sites at dusk for a memorable evening. And don't forget the Circle Centre mall, with seemingly miles of shopping right through the heart of downtown. -- Amy Bertrand, McClatchy-Tribune news Here: The Children's Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana, offers the chance to sit under a ceiling of 1,600 Chihuly glass sculptures.
Brian Sirimaturos, McClatchy-Tribune