Judge Thuma’s Guide to Indianapolis: Great Places to Visit Near the NCBJ Conference Hotel

Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma (D.N.M.) wrote the definitive visitor’s guide to his native city, Indianapolis. This installment of Judge Thuma’s Guide covers eleven places to visit near the Marriott hotel where the NCBJ Conference will be held.

The Athenaeum. 401 E. Michigan St. The Athenaeum is a large building designed in the German Renaissance Revival style. It was built in 1898 for the German community. The Athenaeum has a German restaurant (the Rathskeller) and a coffee shop. I sometimes ushered at the theatre when I was in high school, part of my mother’s effort to expose me to higher culture.

Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 125 S. Pennsylvania St. This is where the Indiana Pacers play. It is an interesting arena, designed to harken back to an earlier day.Circle Theatre. 1 Monument Circle. Built in 1916 in the Neoclassical style, it is now home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. I saw 2001 A Space Odyssey there in 1968. Also Hair!

Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. 46 E. Ohio Street. Another Beaux-Arts building, completed in 1905, it is imposing, and the home of the bankruptcy court.

Indiana State Capitol building. 200 W. Washington Street. Completed in 1888, the capitol building is a handsome Beaux Arts building that houses all three branches of government. The stained glass rotunda window is original. I was a tour guide at the statehouse in 1979.

The Indianapolis Zoo. 1200 W. Washington Street. A nice, friendly zoo that is right across the river from the hotel. A pleasant way to spend a couple of hours with the family.

Lucas Oil Stadium. 500 S. Capitol Ave. Home of the Colts. The old Hoosier Dome was no great shakes, just another bubble stadium, but Lucas Oil Stadium (opened 2008) is quite something. You can’t miss its hulking presence.

Monument Circle, 1 Monument Circle, is the epicenter of the city. The neoclassical limestone memorial is worth a walk-around. In December it becomes the “World’s Largest Christmas Tree.”

The Eiteljorg Museum, 500 W. Washington Street. The museum, only a stone’s throw from the hotel, features Native American and Western art and artifacts. It is in a beautiful modern building that will remind you of New Mexico. It’s very well done.

Victory Field. Across the street from the hotel. Victory Field is home of the Indianapolis Indians, a Triple A ball club affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The ballpark, built in 1996, holds 14,200 fans and is a beauty.

White River State Park. 801 W. Washington St. The hotel is essentially in the park, which is 250 acres of canal, river, walks, zoos, gardens, and museums. It’s all new and nice.

The World War Memorial Plaza. Immediately north of the federal building, it is a good example of “City Beautiful” planning that was in vogue from 1900-1941. You can eat your lunch on Obelisk Square and watch the fountain.