Top 12 Parks in Indianapolis

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Indianapolis is home to some beautiful parks that allow visitors to enjoy the outdoors, relax with family and friends, and get some exercise. From large multi-use parks to small neighborhood gems, Indy parks have something for everyone.

Park NameKey Features
Eagle Creek ParkLarge area, hiking/biking trails, boating, fishing, playgrounds, dog park
White River State ParkCultural attractions, gardens, museums, concert venues, walking paths
Holliday ParkHiking trails, nature center, playgrounds, athletic fields, riverbank paths
Garfield ParkTrails, gardens, tennis courts, art, concerts, Conservatory Sunken Garden
Fort Harrison State ParkTrails, fishing, golf course, picnicking, playgrounds
Town Run Trail ParkPaved trail, connects parks, recreational green space
Marott ParkSports facilities, walking paths, playgrounds, events space
Military ParkMemorials, ceremonies, quiet reflection space
Paul Ruster ParkWooded areas, disc golf, sports facilities, trail connections
Salt Creek ParkGolf, disc golf, trails, playground, athletic fields
Rhodius ParkSports facilities, playground, fishing pond, archery range
Broad Ripple ParkWaterfront access, pool, sports facilities, trails
Skiles Test Nature ParkWildlife spotting, trails through diverse habitats, outdoor classroom

When the weather is nice, grab your walking shoes or bike helmet and spend the day exploring these fantastic city parks.

Eagle Creek Park

Name and Location: Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Spanning over 1,400 acres with miles of trails wrapping around an idyllic reservoir, Eagle Creek Park has welcomed generations of visitors to its vast waters for boating, fishing and paddling adventures surrounded by lush forests and grassy picnic spots beckoning families to linger over this treasured expanse protected parkland just minutes from downtown Indianapolis honoring its Hoosier heritage.

What to Expect: Lace up your walking shoes and explore wooded trails that reveal breathtaking reservoir views at every turn. Pack a bathing suit to cool off with a refreshing swim on hot summer days then lay out a picnic blanket to dine waterside and watch colorful sailboats drift across Eagle Creek’s shimmering blue expanse bound for adventure beyond the horizon.

Visitor Information: Park open daily from 7am-dusk. $5-$10 vehicle entry fee depending on activities. Paved & unpaved trails allow hiking, running and bicycling across diverse landscape. Prepare for sun safety. Boat rentals and bait shop onsite around the reservoir cove and inlets perfect for an afternoon of family fishing escapades.

Spanning nearly 4,000 acres on the northwest side of Indianapolis, Eagle Creek Park is one of the largest city parks in the country. Its ample acreage contains woods, wetlands, prairie areas and the 1,400-acre Eagle Creek Reservoir which is popular for boating and fishing.

Miles of hiking and biking trails crisscross the park. The park’s popular hiking spots are the Oxbow Trail which travels along Eagle Creek and the Naghten Trail which has boardwalks traversing wetlands. Mountain bikers should check out the park’s dedicated single track dirt trails. The park also has several playgrounds, picnic shelters, dog park, and naturalist-led programs at the Environmental Education Center.

White River State Park

Name and Location: White River State Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Flowing through the heart of downtown adjacent Cultural Trail networks, White River State Park encompasses 250 acres of public green spaces and waters hugging the White River hosting landmarks like the Indianapolis Zoo, museums, ballparks and event spaces that invite families and travelers to gather and make community along its sprawling urban grounds paying homage to Indianapolis’ storied canal heritage.

What to Expect: Explore miles of scenic pathways perfect for riverside strolls or bike rides revealing sculptures, fountains and historic bridges. Cool off paddling colorful gondolas then refuel at local food trucks and eateries integrated throughout the park. As daylight fades, enjoy free concerts and shows at the open-air amphitheater accelerating summertime vibes pulsing as White River State Park plays host bringing Indy together.

Visitor Information: Park access from 5am to 11pm daily. Leashed dogs allowed in certain areas. Onsite parking rates vary by venue/attraction otherwise street and garage parking surrounding park grounds. Prepare for lively immersion where culture thrives against an urban oasis backdrop courtesy of the White River State Park experience.

In the heart of downtown along the White River is White River State Park which offers visitors gardens, museums, memorials, concert venues and more. The 250-acre park houses the Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens, Indiana State Museum and IMAX Theater, the NCAA Hall of Champions Museum and Military Park among other attractions.

The scenic Canal and White River Gardens are lovely spots for taking leisurely strolls. Concerts and festivals are held at the park’s open green spaces throughout the seasons. White River State Park has cultural attractions for all interests as well as great walking paths and sites along the waterfront in the middle of the city center.

Holliday Park

Name and Location: Holliday Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Named for John Hampden Holliday, the former Indianapolis parks commissioner, Holliday Park has offered citizens respite and recreation over its 160 wooded acres since opening back in 1916 when property previously owned by civic leader John Holliday was first dedicated for public parkland use straddling the White River hosting nature trails, scenic vistas, and playgrounds now treasured by neighborhoods.

What to Expect: Lush gardens cultivated by community members greet you before trails wind towards the riverfront through shady oak groves, around a glistening pond harboring turtles and under wood-carved playgrounds echoing with the delighted squeals of families who gather to create nostalgic memories under Holliday Park’s poetic tree canopy.

Visitor Information: Free admission and access from 6am to 11pm daily. The park contains an interpretive center, walking paths, disc golf course, gardens, playgrounds, picnic sites. Leashed dogs allowed in certain areas. Prepare to discover community connection that has flourished for over one hundred years within Holliday Park’s natural splendor meeting you at the heart of Indianapolis.

Located on Indianapolis’ north side along the White River, Holliday Park occupies 97 acres and draws locals seeking outdoor recreation opportunities close to the urban core. Six miles of easy hiking trails, limestone canyon overlooks, riverbank paths and gardens make Holliday Park a diverse place to enjoy nature.

The park’s scenic trails allow visitors to walk along the White River, traverse ravines and take in forested areas filled with oak, hickory and hackberry trees. Sightings of more than 150 bird species and river otters frolicking in the water make nature viewing popular here. Other amenities include playgrounds, nature center, picnic areas and athletic fields.

Garfield Park

Name and Location: Garfield Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Landmarked on the National Register of Historic Places, Garfield Park was established in the early 1870s spanning 128 acres of public parkland where early settlers once tapped maple trees and butternut hickories dotting its wooded hills and dales now crisscrossed by trails passing renovated Pagoda shelters overlooking gorgeous floral gardens welcoming birds, butterflies and neighborhood folk who gather within its historic grounds honouring decades of gatherings and good times had while paying respect to those who came before making memories over generations.

What to Expect: Stroll under stone archways into sunken gardens exploding in vibrant blooms adjacent the conservatory’s lush tropical plant sanctuary. Kids squeal with delight aboard the 1918 antique carousel’s hand-carved horses rideable year-round. From summer concerts on the bandshell to lazily casting lines into the fishing pond, Garfield Park promises tradition, community and natural beauty woven into Indianapolis’ enduring heart.

Visitor Information: Park access from 5am to 11pm daily with most amenities open 10am to 5pm. The park contains playgrounds, athletic courts, picnic sites, gardens, conservatory and paths. Yearly permits required for golf course. Prepare to immerse in this beautiful historic city park landscape with amenities to enjoy across all seasons celebrating consecutive generations who laughing, play and dwell together.

On the south side of Indianapolis, Garfield Park is one of the oldest parks in the city at 128 acres in size. Its many amenities provide visitors recreation opportunities from sun up to sun down. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy miles of trails, community gardens, tennis courts, public art and picnic areas during the day. At night, concerts and shows in the park’s Arts Center and Conservatory attract crowds.

The Conservatory Sunken Garden with European classical design and Aquatic Center are year-round attractions, while the tennis center offers indoor and outdoor courts. Baseball diamonds, playgrounds and Veterans Memorial round out Garfield Park’s diverse amenities which have something for all ages.

Fort Harrison State Park

Name and Location: Fort Harrison State Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Initially constructed in 1903 as a military base named after former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison, Fort Harrison State Park today serves Hoosier recreation and environmental goals across over 1,700 acres open to the public boasting woodlands, wetlands and prairie spaces woven between historic fort structures along winding trails perfect for revival and reflection under tree canopies older than the former infantry grounds.

What to Expect: Observation platforms on the towering lookout fire tower reveal panoramic views across Indianapolis and towards the sheltering oak and hickory stands preserved within the park stretching towards horizons and inviting discovery across over nine miles of breathtaking trails made for reconnecting to what matters most – nature’s steadfast wonder girthing Fort Harrison State Park.

Visitor Information: Park open daily from 7am-dusk with $2-$9 entrance fees per in-state vehicle. Outdoor recreation like hiking, boating, camping, disc golf, orienteering challenge courses and more available across the expansive property with interpretive programming offered year-round through the Department of Natural Resources.

Located northeast of downtown Indianapolis near Lawrence sits Fort Harrison State Park, a 1,700 acre park that immerses visitors in nature yet has an urban backdrop. The park has four lakes, nine miles of trails through woods and prairie, and popular fishing spots. Fort Golf Course is an 18-hole public course on the park grounds.

Picnicking and playgrounds make this an excellent spot for families. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking and biking trails that wind through meadows and old-grown forests. The park has diverse wildlife including beavers, blue herons, deer and foxes that can be spotted on an outing here.

Town Run Trail Park

Name and Location: Town Run Trail Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Once a former rail corridor that supported local industry efforts, today the Town Run Trail Park revitalizes urban green space across almost 6 miles of stunning pathways connecting neighborhoods from UVa Ave and White River on Indianapolis’ near Eastside towards Butler University and downtown favorites accessible via pedestrian bridges installed during the 2008 Cultural Trail project years cementing connectivity to infinite city possibility from its scenic spine.

What to Expect: Sweeping views of downtown’s skyline paired with community art installations splash color and inspiration across trail stretches made for meandering or buoyant jogs towards brunch hot spots or riverside relaxing under trees older than state itself now getting second life anchoring the Town Run Trail’s patriotic rebirth and renewed civic purpose as common community ground.

Visitor Information: The linear greenway park follows along the Town Run waterway and is open daily from 5am to 11pm with free public access and parking at various trailheads. Leashed dogs permitted across its different segments perfect for walking, running and cycling towards fitness or just neighborhood wandering led by curiosity over what’s around the next bend.

Connecting multiple Indianapolis parks on the city’s north side is the popular Town Run Trail. Cyclists, walkers and joggers flock to the paved 7.5 mile trail that runs adjacent to Broad Ripple and north to 96th street. Eleven access points from neighborhoods allow locals to hop on the trail at eight nicely equipped parks it passes through.

The linear park offers recreational green space for walkers seeking an urban hike through the city and fitness for runners and bikers. Parks along the trail have playgrounds, basketball courts, volleyball courts, trails and water fountains for refueling. Public art installation keep the scenery interesting on this heavily trafficked multi-use trail through northern Indy.

Marott Park

Name and Location: Marott Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Situated on West 96th Street since the late 1920s, Marott Park spans 155 acres of public parkland boasting pristine nature trails winding through oak and hickory stands, vernal ponds harboring rare ecosystems, vibrant community gardens tended with care and sprawling central Indianapolis vistas revealing the ever-evolving city’s silhouette visible in the distance from atop the park’s scenic forested ridges and hollows treasured by neighbors who gather at Marott Park to walk, play and reflect amid an overlooked natural treasure.

What to Expect: Traverse tucked-away paths under protective forest canopy leading you over footbridges crossing the meandering Indian Creek towards resident turtles sunbathing atop rocks poking from the sparkling current. Pause at the community garden bursting with plump tomatoes as butterflies dance float through the air before grabbing a shaded picnic spot to refuel and relish another magical Marott Park moment well worth leaving the city noise behind to find.

Visitor Information: Park access open daily from dawn until dusk year-round. Several shelter houses available for gathering reservations plus a 1/3 mile paved trail encircling community garden areas and a 1-mile nature area trail perfect for observing local plants and wildlife across diverse ecosystems woven throughout the park’s acreage and landscapes.

Covering 78 acres on Indy’s north side, Marott Park offers outdoor facilities for recreation leagues and casual athletes alike. Baseball and softball diamonds make up a large portion of the park along with soccer fields, tennis courts, walking paths, playgrounds and a skate park.

Its large open spaces allow for hosting tournaments and community events like markets in the park and movie nights. Firefighters Park located within Marott Park has a memorial to fallen firefighters and a playground designed for inclusive access for disabled children.

Military Park

Name and Location: Military Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Established in 1822 overlooking the White River as one of Indy’s original public plots, Military Park carries deep ties to local heritage as county militia once drilled along its 14 acres while women rallied for suffrage and citizens gathered to support soldiers headed into battle – traces of their spirits still palpable among patriotic monuments dotting brick-lined pathways used today for lunchtime strolling or battling boredom by counting cadence steps towards the Indiana WWI Museum just beyond its gates.

What to Expect: Hoist little ones atop an imposing WWII era tank stationed trailside then breeze under the shade of towering bur oaks, some older than the city itself, towards spiral stone fountains and memorial sculptures honoring lives lost and dreams defended. Grab lawn for some cloud gazing or pack a picnic spread to enjoy an impromptu lunch date immersed in American history still being written each day within steps of Military Park’s symbolic grounds.

Visitor Information: Located downtown bordering Indiana War Memorial Plaza Museum, the park open daily without fee. Benches and monuments dotting tree-lined paved walkways through open grass areas provide ample seating. Visitor parking available in nearby public garage lots otherwise access via Indy public transit bus or the Red Line stop at Vermont Station just around the corner.

Located downtown adjacent to the Indiana War Memorial, Military Park memorializes Hoosiers who have served in America’s armed forces. The small 4.4 acres park contains monuments honoring those who fought in wars from the Revolutionary War to present day operations overseas.

Ceremonies and events remembering those killed in action are frequently held in the park. Benches line its perimeter offering space for quiet reflection below mature shade trees. The dignified park sitting in the shadows of the imposing limestone Indiana State Capitol and other government buildings sees visitors paying their respects daily.

Paul Ruster Park

Name and Location: Paul Ruster Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Named for Paul Ruster, a revered Indianapolis philanthropist, Paul Ruster Park stretches across 120 acres of woodlands and wetlands where Indigenous tribes like the Miami once traveled along the White River’s lush basin now preserved offering families scenic picnic spots under soaring sycamore trees near shelters and loop trails perfect for observing area wildlife who find refuge in conserved park areas allowing kids to get hands dirty discovering tadpoles or spotting rabbits and deer drifting through the brush.

What to Expect: Spy turtles basking alongside duck families waddling along the ponds edge across steel bridges towards towering oak groves flanking Paul Ruster Park’s intermediate hiking trail revealing a towering tree fort where adventures are made 50 feet up blanketed by canopy only birds typically reachrewards those who seek subtle enchantment in overlooked corners of Indy’s natural bounty.

Visitor Information: Park access from dawn until dusk year-round. Contains playground, reservable shelter, 1 mile hiking trail, pond and sits adjacent the White River levy trails extending recreation. Visitors asked to stay on marked trails to respect delicate ecosystems. Prepare for pleasant immersion in nature with plenty sights to spark every age’s curiosity just minutes from city surrounds.

Southeast of downtown near Franklin Township, Paul Ruster Park occupies 50 acres containing wooded nature areas along Pleasant Run Creek, multi-use trails and sports facilities. A disc golf course winds through the park’s woods making for a challenging game.

Basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, playground and picnic shelter allow for family fun and recreation league sports. The park connects to the Pleasant Run Trailway allowing walkers and bikers to access even more green space and explore downtown Indianapolis.

Salt Creek Park

Name and Location: Salt Creek Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Originally founded in 1916, Salt Creek Park unfolds 147 acres of public parkland where early settlers once tapped sugar maples nurturing the surrounding landscape across grassy meadows and soaring ridgelines revealing panoramic Indianapolis skyline views enjoyed by modern families who gather today for reunions, walks along scenic creek-carved gulleys or claiming a shaded picnic spot under the sheltering wings of majestic bur oak trees whose sprawling canopies have inspired generations.

What to Expect: Spy birds and butterflies flitting between wildflower-dotted fields filled with black-eyed susans and goldenrod as dirt paths slither down towards Salt Creek’s rocky banks to reveal fossils glinting within broken limestone educating Junior Girl Scout troops who squeal when spotting ancient horned coral remnants glinting along the eroded shore once submerged below vast primordial seas.

Visitor Information: Park access from dawn until dusk year-round. Contains playground, shelter house, 1.5 mile hiking loop trail, fishing pond and access to creek recreation. Visitors asked to stay on marked trails to respect delicate ecosystems. Prepare for pleasant nature immersion with sights sparking every age’s curiosity just minutes from city surrounds.

Northeast of the city center, Salt Creek Park offers golfers, disc golf players, walkers and athletes nice recreation facilities totaling 49 acres. The park contains part of the Pennsy Rail Trail, an 8-mile paved trail following an old railroad corridor, where locals bike and stroll through woodlands.

The public 18-hole golf course wraps around Salt Creek providing challenge for all skill levels. Families can enjoy the new playground, athletic fields, basketball courts, picnic shelters and disc golf course. With ample amenities, Salt Creek Park appeals to many outdoor enthusiasts.

Rhodius Park

Name and Location: Rhodius Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Unfolding across 17 acres of public parkland first donated by philanthropist Florence Rhodius, Rhodius Park offers a scenic haven where towering oak and beech tree stands give way to open meadows, shallow ponds and Limestone outcrops polished smooth by the grinding wheels of passing time rewarding those pausing to glimpse fossils glinting along eroded banks ringing its central pond where families gather to feed ducks, recline sharing stories on sunny hillsides and wander wooded trails revealing park secrets.

What to Expect: Spy sunbathing turtles drifting amongst lilypads in the central pond framed by an elegant stone bridge where resident mallards paddle about before little ones race up winding slides bookending the playgrounds tucked under the shade of towering oak groves inviting nostalgic play or plopping down for an impromptu picnic on tables worn smooth by generations who laughed, loved and dwelled together within the park’s enduring pastoral pocket.

Visitor Information: Park access from dawn until dusk year-round with lighted walkways for evening events. Contains playground, shelter house, 1 mile loop trail circling pond and open event lawn areas. Visitors asked to stay on marked pathways to respect delicate pond ecosystems. Prepare for pleasant nature immersion with sights sparking wonder just minutes from city surrounds.

Rhodius Park brings 65 acres of sports facilities and family fun to northwest Indy. Baseball and softball diamonds make up a large portion of the park, which hosts league tournaments. The park also has soccer fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, walking trails, fishing pond and one of Indianapolis’ few public archery ranges.

Kids enjoy the large playground and parents appreciate the plentiful picnic shelters when hosting birthday parties. The park often sees teams holding practices or crowds cheering at weekend games on the diamonds. Locals also come to take a stroll on the pondside trails.

Broad Ripple Park

Name and Location: Broad Ripple Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Tucked along the scenic Central Canal feeding into the White River, Broad Ripple Park unfolds over 250 acres of public parkland where generations have gathered for little league games on busy diamonds, to dip lines into the fishing pond or to explore trails slithering over sprawling hillsides dotted with majestic oak groves once walked by Miami tribes finding peace along the river basin nourishing abundant wildlife still attracted to its fertile grounds promising serenity and play hidden along the canal.

What to Expect: Pause atop the metal truss bridge watching vibrant kayaks drift down the canal as duck families paddle along the shoreline before winding underneath stone tunnels giving way to sunny fields flush with games and laughter where families cheer little sluggers triumphant after hitting it out of the park then breathe deep soaking up carefree childhood vibes distilled over decades of warm Broad Ripple Park summer days.

Visitor Information: Park access from dawn until dusk year-round. Features reservable shelters, playground, ball diamonds, fishing pond, trails, canal access and Indy parks department programming. Visitors asked to stay on marked pathways to respect delicate ecosystems. Prepare for active fun or peaceful wandering along the water’s edgeimmersed in nostalgic nature.

Sitting along the White River’s north bank is Broad Ripple Park which grants locals access to the waterfront in an urban setting. The park stretches nearly a mile on 62 acres with ample facilities for active recreation and relaxation. A public pool, playground, basketball court, baseball diamonds, and soccer fields provide family-friendly activities.

Fishing spots line the river bank allowing visitors to drop a line into the water. Nearly five miles of multi-use trails weave through the mature trees where joggers and bikers find shade on hot days. The riverbank paths connect Broad Ripple Park to nearby parks offering walkers long scenic urban treks.

Skiles Test Nature Park

Name and Location: Skiles Test Nature Park, Indianapolis, IN

History and Significance: Blanketing over 257 acres of conserved meadows and woodlands straddling the White River, Skiles Test Nature Park welcomes hikers, birders and nature lovers seeking reviving trails or winding waterway access where early settlers floated goods towards trade once walking the basin forged by the river revealing fossils glinting along its eroded banks today traversed by new generations finding balance within its peaceful grounds.

Tucked away in a ravine on Indy’s northeast side lies Skiles Test Nature Park, a small hidden gem with big nature offerings. Despite covering only 48 acres, the park provides overflowing opportunities to spot wildlife along trails through woodland, prairie and marsh environments. Birders flock here hoping to catch sight of orioles, tanagers, owls and even bald eagles.

Three miles of trails lead hikers over a bubbling creek, along wildflower meadows and beside an outdoor classroom where naturalists give talks. Interpretive signage describes the park’s habitats and inhabitants helping visitors better understand the nature they are viewing during their woodland walks.

Indianapolis has a diverse collection of parks that give its residents ample access to green spaces and recreation opportunities right within the city limits. Large regional multi-use parks, pocket neighborhood parks and everything in between make enjoying the outdoors convenient for Indy locals and visitors. When seeking city parks that suit your interests, the parks on this top 12 list all offer appealing amenities that will entice you to visit again and again.

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