See and do
Few galleries in the world rival Indianapolis Museum of Art for size and content. Here, find works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Monet and Picasso alongside sculptures from prominent American artist Robert Indiana, famous for his 'Love' installations. Next door to the museum is a sprawling 100-acre nature and sculpture park. 4000 Michigan Rd, Indianapolis. +1 317 923 1331.
In the heart of downtown Indy there are several more museums worth visiting, including the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art and Indiana State Museum. At the State Museum, a majorStar Wars exhibit is on display until September 2. 650 W Washington St, Indianapolis. +1 317 232 1637.
The city’s larger-than-life motor race, the Indianapolis 500, draws more than 300,000 people each year. At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, even non-speed freaks will be in awe at both the track and the cars inside the museum. 4790 W 16th St, Indianapolis. +1 317 492 8500.
Pop across the street to the Dallara IndyCar Factory where the sleek cars are made and take a street-legal ride on the nearby streets in a custom-made two-seater. 1201 Main St, Speedway. +1 317 243 7171.
At the other end of the scale, Indianapolis is heavily embracing cycling and paths have been created right across town on the ‘Cultural Trail’. Organise a bike with Active Indy Tours (they’ll meet you at your hotel or a landmark) and go explore a visually attractive and laid-back town. +1 317 520 2914.
Eat and drink
Midwest America is embracing farm-to-table cuisine with restaurants showcasing some of the best food in the land. The Libertine, chef-owner Neal Brown’s diner-style restaurant and bar, is renowned for pork belly tacos, roasted bone marrow and whiskey cocktails featuring small-batch bourbons from across the border in Kentucky. 38 East Washington St, Indianapolis. +1 317 631 3333.
At Plat 99 in the hip Alexander Hotel, clued-up bar staff mix a top Hemingway Daiquiri, best enjoyed on the deck outside. 333 N Delaware St, Indianapolis. +1 317 624 8200. Downstairs at Cerulean, chef Caleb France’s comfort food with a twist (think cauliflower frites, marrow fritters and corn macaroons) is fast becoming the toast of town. 339 S Delaware St, Indianapolis. +1 317 870 1320.
The coffee in Indianapolis rocks. A great cuppa is to be had at Goose the Market, a quaint café that serves top sandwiches (order the Batali) and doubles as a boutique beer store – visit the cellar downstairs and grab a bottle of local Saison. 2503 N Delaware St, Indianapolis. +1 317 924 4944.
The Midwest is also the place to find some of the biggest and juiciest steaks known to mankind. These are best found at St Elmo, a quintessential middle-of-the-nation steakhouse, where the meat is flame grilled and potatoes well browned. Wash one down with a Cabernet from California. 127 S Illinois St, Indianapolis. +1 317 635 0636.
The microbrewery revolution continues to race off the charts in the United States, and Indianapolis is one city that's driving it. Sun King Brewery produces over a dozen top drops, including an impressive Sunlight Cream Ale and expertly crafted hefeweissen.135 N College Ave, Indianapolis. +1 317 602 3702. The smaller Flat 12 Bier Werks is popular for its beers and outdoor terrace and the star of the show is the Walkabout Pale Ale that features hops from Oz. 414 Dorman St, Indianapolis. +1 317 635 2337. Fountain Square Brewing Company is a hidden gem in Indianapolis, a very cool establishment in an increasingly hip part of town. Try the Backyard Porter. 1301 Barth Ave, Indianapolis. +1 317 493 1410.
Where to stay
Conrad Indianapolis is a big-brand hotel with the soul of a boutique property. Hospitable staff and spacious rooms are complemented by lobby bar Tastings, where you can order tasting glasses of ten of America's top reds and whites. 50 West Washington St, Indianapolis. +1 317 713 5000.
Qantas flies daily to Indianapolis from Melbourne in partnership with American Airlines. Qantas offers three cabins of service – Business, Premium and Economy – and onboard expect award-winning service, food, entertainment (hundreds of movies, TV shows and games) and some of the most comfortable seats in the sky.