One of the greatest things about Indiana is its rich, vibrant, and unique history. One of the best ways to uncover the history of Indiana is through an informational and exciting guided tour! Though there are dozens to choose from, here are the 10 best guided tours that should be on the top of your list!
Make your Halloween a little spooktacular by scheduling a tour of the underground catacombs in Indianapolis, Indiana. Located underneath what is now the City Market, the catacombs are all that remain of Tomlinson Hall, which caught fire in 1958 and was later demolished by the city of Indianapolis. With limestone pillars and numerous archway entries, this place is quite fascinating. Be sure to wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes. Please note that sometimes the catacombs can be quite musty and damp, and can be difficult for those with breathing sensitives such as asthma.
If all things undead and haunted appeal to you, then you’ll be sure to want to check out the Historic Indiana Ghost Walks and Tours based out of Westfield, Indiana, through Unseenpress.com Offering historic ghost walks and bus tours, founders Nicole and Michael Kobrowski have spent the last 16 years entertaining Hoosiers and visitors alike by taking them around haunted sites and locations throughout Indiana. If you want to make your Halloween a bit spookier this year, be sure to book a trip soon and be prepared…you never know what you might encounter!
Come down to Bloomington, Indiana, before it gets too cold to explore the beautiful, Italian like setting of Oliver Winery. William Oliver, founder of Oliver Winery, started the business as a hobby in the early 1960s. In 1971, he helped pass the Indiana Small Winery Act and Oliver Winery became an established business in 1972. The place itself is breathtaking, and one can envision it sitting among the other vineyards in California or Italy. Take advantage of the guided wine tastings or a free walking tour on the weekends. The best part besides the wine? You can also bring your furry friend (if they are on leash and well-behaved). Note that Fido is not allowed in the tasting room, however. Children are also welcome!
Who knew that Indiana had some famous blood come out of it? James Byron Dean was born right here in Indiana in 1931, and he was laid to rest at the Park Cemetery on Oct. 8, 1955, a little over a month after his death. The gallery was established shortly after his death in a beautiful 1903 Victorian home and features thousands of James Dean memorabilia. Visitors can see childhood photos, high school yearbooks, and even personal items that belonged to Dean himself.
The John Dillinger Museum in Crown Point, Indiana, is a definite must if you are a true crime lover, fascinated by old time bank robbers, or simply fascinated with history in general. John Dillinger, the infamous bank robber himself, is a familiar face (and story) to many Indiana residents. He was born in the early 1900s in the Oak Hill area of Indianapolis, and became one of the most well-known bank robbers throughout Indiana. The museum allows visitors to go on an interactive tour and learn not only about Dillinger himself, but also as a teaching example to show what happens to people who engage in criminal activity.
Take a trip back in time and visit the historic towns of French Lick and West Baden, Indiana. Visit the historic West Baden Springs Hotel to see where Rookwood Pottery was made, and at the French Lick Springs Hotel, discover which U.S. president announced his candidacy! During the twilight tours, guests can meet and interact with famous hotel guests, the rich, the respected and the absolute notorious such as Tom Mix, Clarence Darrow, Lady Astor, the unsinkable Molly Brown, a famous Chicago gangster, as well as the fortune teller Mademoiselle Louise, and so many more!
The Notre Dame campus in northwestern Indiana is a sight to behold all year round, but it’s one to be best experienced in the fall. See the beautiful Gothic and cathedral like buildings at one of Indiana’s most prestigious colleges, as well as some of the most recognizable landmarks: The Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The starting point for each tour is the magnificent Eck Visitors Center, and the best part is you don’t have to necessarily be a student to tour this beautiful campus. The tours are student led, but are open to the public and students alike!
Aside from walking, biking, or taking a bus, another great way to explore Indianapolis is by Segway, a two-wheeled personal transportation device for an upright, self-balancing glide. Using your weight to shift and turn, glide around Indianapolis and see some of the following: Celebration Plaze, Indianapolis Zoo, Military Park, and dozens of other locations throughout the Indianapolis area. At the start of every tour, each group (usually no more than six) will have a required training session and be provided helmets.
Have you ever wanted to make like Indiana Jones and explore the underground caverns and caves? Take a trip to southern Bedford, Indiana, this fall and unleash your inner Indiana Jones. What makes this trip a bit unique is visitors explore the caverns not only underground, but by boat. The cavern passages and water courses are illuminated by light only from above. If you visit during the wetter months, you can hear and see the river passing by. This truly is a wondrous sight to behold!
For those who love their history and architecture and were maybe a bit curious about the elegantly crafted monuments and buildings in southern Columbus, Indiana, a guided tour on the Columbus Architecture Tour Bus is an absolute must! On the tour, you will drive past more than 40 structures and works of art, and, depending on the availability, you might even be able to see inside a few of those structures! You’ll see works of art by artists such as Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese, Kevin Roche, and I.M. Pei. It’s not a wonder after seeing all these beautiful works of art that the American Institute of Architects ranked Columbus sixth in the nation for innovation and design, or why National Geographic Traveler put Columbus at the top of its list for U.S. historic destinations!