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Located in the heart of vibrant downtown Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an ideal way to experience all the city has to offer. The trail links five cultural districts flush with museums, theaters, shops, restaurants, hotels, and parks. It also features engaging public art specially commissioned for each of the neighborhoods through which it passes.
The route is comprised of a core downtown loop with a northeast spur that heads out along Massachusetts Avenue, where it connects to the south entrance of the famed Monon Trail. Another spur takes off from the southeast corner along Virginia Avenue through the Fountain Square Historic District, where it connects to the Pleasant Run Trail. This section of trail, from the intersection with Pleasant Run Trail north to Prospect Street, is an on-road separated bike route. A small spur from the southern midpoint of the downtown loop leads to the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts football team. The southwestern section of the trail includes a connection to White River State Park and the White River Wapahani Trail. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, NCAA Hall of Champions, and Indiana State Museum can all be found in this southwest section.
Turning north from the southwest end of the downtown loop, visitors will come to a bridge overlooking a scenic 1-mile canal. Wide ramps from the bridge lead to the canal loop. The canal path is heavily used by pedestrians and is therefore not recommended for bicyclists. The northern section of the loop features a stunning combination of the Indianapolis Central Library, American Legion Mall, and University Park. Artful signage and seating document history along this stretch of the trail. The canal can also be accessed from the northern end of the loop.
Throughout, the trail is clearly identifiable with tinted concrete pavers, providing visual continuity. There is no official start or end point to the trail, increasing its utility, as it is fully accessible along its entire route. Visitors will also find bike-share stations located along the trail. During winter, snow is removed, allowing year-round use of the path.
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is a great example of an urban trail network that offers residents and visitors biking and walking options for work or play.
Parking is available in White River State Park (801 W. Washington St.) on the western end of the trail, where you will also find a visitor center with restrooms. Note that there are parking fees. From I-70 take Exit 79A for West St. Head north on S. Missouri St. Go 0.8 mile and continue onto S. West St. In 0.2 mile turn left onto W. Washington St. In another 0.2 mile turn right at the traffic light onto Schumacher Way to enter the parking lot for White River State Park. The visitor center and trail access are to the right in the parking lot.
Metered on-street parking and garage parking are also available throughout the city.
I rode and my daughter ran the Cultural Trail in September 2016. It is mainly a large square around the downtown area with a few branches which in some cases connect with other trails (the Monon and Pleasant Creek Trails). We found the trail to be very well marked and easy to follow with many opportunities for stopping at a cultural venue or a quick bite to eat or to relax at an outdoor park. A highlight of the trail is the portion that dips below street level along The Canal and connects with the White River Wapahani Trail which goes by the Indianapolis Zoo. The trail is easy to negotiate and quite flat. That said, this is not the trail for a training ride as there are many streets to cross and the trail is shared in some places with walkers occasionally making for crowded conditions. It is a trail very well-suited for a leisurely ride with easy access and parking, and definitely rates very highly among urban trails.
A personal favorite. Not for speed or cruising but for the art, atmosphere and people watching. Such a beautiful greenway- especially at night. Downtown Indy is all lit up. Being a Cycadelic Cyclist, my glowing bike goes well with the other LEDs.
This trail is really a must if you are into a casual fun and an interesting ride. The trail goes by most of the better scenery and places in the city and if you have something else in mind the trail gets you close. If all you want to do is ride, recommend supplementing this with the monon trail. If your a sightseer and tourist then just spend the night. Downtown hotels are a bit pricey but there are others on the outskirts of the trail. Indy did the trail right.
I tried this trail with my wife who doesn't like to feel like it is a work out. It was fantastic. The trail was very nice. The variation in trail features and surrounding sites were fantastic. We also stopped and varied the route to go through some of Whitewater State Park. Simply stated, it was a wonderful adventure and my wife enjoyed it. I have a tendency to do overkill or I get bored. I really had fun and got the workout at the same time. We will use this again absolutely.
The Cultural Trail has made downtown accessible for our family to reach downtown via The Monon Trail. Last weekend our family of four biked from Westfild for an overnight trip to Indianapolis. This trail made it safe an easy for us to reach our hotel for the weekend.
We rode this recently. Nice and flat. Lots of cultural exhibits and goes all along the downtown canal. We got a bit lost around one part but asked other friendly bicyclets. Wonderful experience.
I live in Bloomington but am always looking for great trails to ride. I love riding in downtown Indy. The cultural trail is safe and well designated for bikes and pedestrians. I always hit the Monon trail on the north side of Indy which the cultural trail connects to. I ride the Monon trail all the way to Carmel and then back to downtown Indy and head home to Bloomington.
The cultural trail is gorgeous, right through the heart of Indy, taking you by some of the coolest spots in the city. The trail itself, is one of the nicest I've ever been on, well marked and shared easily by pedestrians and bikers. Love this trail, awesome that it hooks up with the Monon as well
Indiana isn't known for its progressiveness in a lot of things, but in recent years the state has put much energy into promoting non-motorized transportation by developing a network of awesome trails. The Indy Cultural Trail ranks at the top of the list, not just by Indiana standards, but on a national scale. The city did a fantastic job of designing the trail, from its traffic calming measures to support this roadside pathway, to its incorporation of rain gardens to filter runoff and beautify the trail, to its commissioning of engaging public art. Even if you have just a few hours, do this trail, on bike or foot. You won't be disappointed!
In May 2014, the city will introduce a bike-sharing program that will enable visitors and locals alike to hop on and explore Indianapolis on wheels. For Indy residents, check out Matthews Bicycles northeast of downtown on Pendleton Pike (MatthewsBikes.com). They sell some fantastic rides, and the friendly staff will take excellent care of you.
A distinctively designed urban trail experience that provides access to major downtown cultural destinations while linking to other major greenway corridors - Monon, White River, Pleasant Run, Canal, etc. Trail surface is actually asphalt pavers, not concrete, which are artfully placed to define lanes and provide warnings for upcoming stops and crossings. Public art, vibrant plantings, distinctive lighting,and custom signage add to the experience.
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