Events

Everything You Absolutely Must Do This Summer in Indianapolis

Updated On 06/21/2017 at 06:57PM EST Updated On 06/21/2017 at 06:57PM EST
June
Indianapolis Museum of Art - Mini Golf
Indianapolis Museum of Art

June

Tuesday - Monday
Jun 20-Sep 4
Indianapolis Museum of Art
The words “cool” and “miniature golf” are rarely found in the same sentence, but that combo perfectly describes Mini Golf at the IMA, where each of the course’s 18 holes is designed by a different artist. This year’s theme is the “Natural World,” featuring animals, geology, and water-based hazards. We dare you to play the Shadow-Tailed Scourge hole -- in which your path to the cup is obstructed by five giant squirrels -- without laughing.
Saturday
Jun 24
Sun King Brewing
Sun King, which sells its house-made suds in cans (and kegs) rather than bottles, celebrates its eighth anniversary with a party at its downtown location. Expect plenty of live music, plus the official tapping of the new Grapefruit Jungle brew. Sun King’s other wares will also be available, including its special special Anniversary Beer and several small-batch runs.
Thursday
Jun 29
The Vogue
The Eagles of Death Metal perch for one night only at Broad Ripple’s premier live music venue. Their sound is a high-energy, upbeat, funny fusion of everything from bluegrass guitar riffs to vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place in an ’80s power ballad.
July
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

July

Monday - Tuesday
Jul 3-4
LIGHT IT UP WITH FIREWORKS
LIGHT IT UP WITH FIREWORKS
If you want to go big, Indy pyrotechnics don’t get any grander than the IPL Downtown Freedom Fest, held July 4. Best-viewed from Indy’s blocks-long Indiana War Memorial Grounds, it features music, food, and a massive fireworks display. For a more raucous celebration, hit up the White River in Ravenswood on July 3 for an hour-plus show put on by a local family. Houses along both sides of the waterway are filled with partiers, and the river itself it so jammed with boats that it’s possible to walk from one bank to the other. This isn’t a highly organized endeavor, so there’s no website spelling everything out -- just show up at or near the White River Yacht Club at dusk, or talk your way onto someone’s boat.
Saturday - Sunday
Jul 8-9
Lucas Oil Stadium
Think you’ve got game? You and your friends can prove it at this massive three-on-three basketball tournament, which takes place on multiple courts outside Lucas Oil Stadium. There’s a division for everyone from kids to “Adult Elite,” the winners of which takes home $2,500.
Saturday
Jul 8
Monument Circle
Indiana’s largest closed-circuit race draws more than 500 of the Midwest’s top riders, and there’s also music, a beer garden, food trucks, and bands all centered around Monument Circle.
Friday - Sunday
Jul 21-23
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR race is a big draw, but as usual for an IMS event, there’s also lots of other stuff going on, including a 100-lap warm-up race on Saturday, plus concerts inside the track at night, featuring the likes of Major Lazer and The Chainsmokers.
Friday
Jul 28
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
How do you make the world’s largest children’s museum even more fun? By kicking out the kids and hosting an over-21 after-hours dance party, complete with alcohol. This evening’s festivities salute the ‘80s with tours of the museum’s new, permanent interactive exhibit, American POP: The Galleries for American TV, Film, and Popular Culture, which features toys, comic books, movie props, and more.
Saturday
Jul 29
Lucas Oil Raceway
Pure Speed lets you get behind the wheel of a dragster and take blazing runs down a quarter-mile strip. Starting at $349, you can drive cars that hit up to 160mph, or race your friends in some tricked-out Camaros.
Saturday
Jul 29
Military Park at White River State Park
A $40 general admission ticket buys you a cup and the chance to sample the goods from more than 100 Indiana and Midwestern beer producers. Sponsored by the Brewers of Indiana Guild, this massive outdoor drink-in also features live music and food from local vendors.
August
Indiana State Fair
Indiana State Fair

August

Friday - Sunday
Aug 4-6
The Irving Theater
The 13th edition of this gathering of experimental electronic artists offers north of 40 eclectic performances, with almost all of the acts having trippy names like Cranial Mythos, Surreal Estate, and Mindspiral.
Friday - Tuesday
Aug 4-29
Indiana State Fairgrounds
This old-school state fair is home to pretty much every agriculture-themed form of entertainment imaginable -- cow judgings, tractor parades, etc. -- on the 250-acre fairgrounds. But one of the lesser-known pleasures is the oddball musical acts. Last year featured a free performance by Kevin Bacon’s band, while this year offers a show from his Flatliners co-star Kiefer Sutherland.
Saturday
Aug 5
West Georgia Street
Restaurants from across the city will serve up slider-sized specialty burgers to guests, and after you try them all (or as many as you can handle), you get to vote for the People’s Choice winner. In addition to the burgers, there will also be plenty of entertainment and beer. Proceeds go to Building Tomorrow, which develops educational programs for East African children.
Saturday
Aug 5
Military Park at White River State Park
The 17th edition of this music, comedy, and beer festival, presented by New Belgium Brewing Company, features a performance by The Record Company along with plenty of oddities, including circus acts and a “slow ride” bicycle race. Costumes are encouraged.
Thursday - Sunday
Aug 10-13
Broad Ripple
The city’s premier party neighborhood hosts a four-day festival featuring carnival rides, live music, and a craft beer garden. It’s a celebration of a time, back in the early 20th century, when Broad Ripple had a massive, Coney Island-style amusement park. Expect thousands of people to turn out.
Sunday
Aug 13
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
If you’re looking for a show that’s guaranteed to deliver, then this evening with Mr. Uptown Funk is your best bet of the summer.
Thursday - Sunday
Aug 17-20
Indiana Convention Center
Indy hosts the 50th-anniversary edition of one of the world’s oldest and best-attended fantasy gaming conventions. The gathering, which draws about 65,000 fans, expands this year into Lucas Oil Stadium to better accommodate the many cosplay competitions, autograph signings, and more exhibitor booths than you can shake a 16-sided die at. Grammy winners They Might Be Giants will also put on a special concert at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for badge holders.
Thursday - Sunday
Aug 17-27
Various Locations
Downtown’s Mass Ave cultural district raises the curtain on the 13th edition of this salute to alternative theatre and performance arts. Some 350 performances will be presented at eight neighborhood venues, ranging from cabaret and comedy to dance and, yep, puppeteering.
Friday
Aug 18
Indianapolis Art Center
This annual summer indoor/outdoor party will overrun the Michael Graves-designed headquarters of the Indianapolis Art Center, located in the heart of Broad Ripple. The building’s galleries and workspaces will be lit with neon and other light installations, while the outside will offer food from area restaurants, live music, and dancing.
Friday - Saturday
Aug 18-19
St. Thomas Aquinas Church and School
You’ve got to admire the way this traditional Catholic church absolutely owns this suggestively named event, right down to its questionable-looking mascot (an anthropomorphic, beer-carrying brat). What isn’t questionable, however, is the quality product: sausages and other meats from local butcher L.E. Kincaid & Sons, grilled to perfection and washed down with some Sun King. On top of that, expect lots of desserts and sides from other eateries, plus music from regional acts.
Saturday
Aug 26
Fountain Square
Local rap acts take over six outdoor and indoor venues in downtown’s Fountain Square neighborhood. The 50-plus performers will drop bars beats from 4pm-2am.
Saturday
Aug 26
Thousands of motorcyclists will gather on Meridian from Monument Circle to South St to park, shoot the breeze, and show off their rides. Bikers and pedestrians have the run of the place, and the traffic at nearby bars and restaurants will be anything but slow.