Things to do in Anderson Indiana

A Guide to 20 Things to Do in Anderson Indiana: Discover the Hidden Charms

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Just a short drive north of Indianapolis is the town of Anderson. On a recent day trip, we discovered quite a few fun things to do in Anderson Indiana. Whether you’re a local resident or a curious traveler like us just passing through, you’ll find a delightful array of activities and attractions to fill your days in this charming city.

From exploring the great outdoors at a lovely Indiana State Park to immersing yourself in art and culture, Anderson offers something for everyone. Step into the past with its rich history, indulge in culinary delights, attend thrilling community events, and create unforgettable memories.

Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the best things to do in Anderson, Indiana, and discover the hidden treasures that await you in this captivating destination.

👉 Staying overnight in Anderson?

I’d probably choose to stay in the lovely Embassy Suites in Noblesville – it’s a short drive to Anderson, and conveniently located just off the interstate.

Explore the Outdoors in Anderson

Considering Anderson is less than an hour north of Indianapolis, there are some pretty fantastic opportunities to get outside and explore.

1. Mounds State Park

Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana, is a terrific spot to visit due to its captivating blend of natural beauty and rich historical significance. With its ancient earthworks constructed by Native American cultures, including the renowned Great Mound, the park offers a glimpse into the region’s vibrant past.

Mounds State Park should be top on your list of things to do in Anderson Indiana

The picturesque landscapes, encompassing woodlands, trails, and the serene White River create an enchanting backdrop for hiking, picnicking, and exploring nature. Frequent educational programs at the Nature Center, checking out the wildlife viewing room, and interpretive activities provide opportunities for learning and discovery, while family-friendly amenities and abundant wildlife make it an ideal destination for all ages.

You can also visit the Bronnenberg House while you are at Mounds. This 1800s house and farm were built by the Bronnenbergs and they took it upon themselves to help preserve the mounds.

Bronnenberg House at Mounds State Park in Anderson

Mounds is my go-to park if I want to go hiking in an Indiana State Park as it’s one of the state parks near me, and I love doing a little hiking and then enjoying a delicious rootbeer or ice cream after!

Whether you’re seeking cultural insights, outdoor adventures, or a tranquil escape, Mounds State Park is sure to leave a lasting impression on your visit to Anderson, Indiana.

2. Shadyside Memorial Park

Shadyside Memorial Park was originally created in the late 1800s as a private park for the employees of the Union Traction Company. In 1923 it was sold to the city of Anderson and has been a public park since then.

The park offers a variety of amenities that cater to different interests. Families can gather for picnics, spreading out their blankets on the expansive grassy areas, while children can laugh and play on the playground equipment designed for their enjoyment. The park also provides well-placed benches and shaded areas, offering ideal spots for quiet reflection or enjoying a good book.

One of the park’s notable features is its beautiful memorial garden, honoring the memory of loved ones. The garden’s peaceful ambiance and meticulously landscaped flowerbeds create a serene space for contemplation and remembrance. Visitors can take a moment to pay their respects or find solace in the tranquil surroundings.

Shadyside Memorial Park also has a lovely terraced garden, amphitheater, and botanical walk. Plus, it connects to the White River Trail System.

Whether you seek a peaceful retreat, a place for family outings, or a venue for community gatherings, Shadyside Memorial Park in Anderson, Indiana, provides a serene and inviting space for all. Its lush green landscapes, memorial garden, and diverse amenities offer a haven of tranquility where visitors can escape the every day and connect with nature and one another.

3. Rangeline Nature Preserve

Love mountain biking? Then a trip to Rangeline Nature Preserve should be on your list of things to do in Anderson Indiana. This lovely 180-acre park has mountain bike trails for all levels of experience. There are also hiking trails if that is more your speed.

Don’t forget to wear your helmet if you do decide to try the biking trails as some of them are quite advanced and challenging!

Embrace the Arts and Culture

Anderson, Indiana, is a city that has a rich arts and cultural history that is luckily being revived. From captivating art exhibits and theatrical performances to live music festivals and community events, Anderson fosters a creative spirit that leaves a lasting impression.

4. Anderson Museum of Art

The Anderson Museum of Art is a cultural treasure nestled in the heart of Anderson, Indiana. Housed in a beautiful historic building (definitely take a look at the gorgeous ceiling), this museum serves as a hub for artistic expression, appreciation, and education. As you step through its doors, you are greeted by a diverse collection of artwork spanning various mediums and styles.

Anderson Museum of Art

From traditional paintings and sculptures to contemporary installations and mixed media pieces, the museum’s exhibits offer a dynamic and engaging experience, and many of the works of art are also for sale.

The Anderson Museum of Art also showcases rotating temporary exhibitions, ensuring there’s always something new and exciting to discover. In addition to its impressive collection, the museum hosts educational programs, workshops, and special events, fostering a deep appreciation for the arts and encouraging creativity within the community.

Outside of the Anderson Museum of Art

 5. Gruenewald Historic House 

The beautifully restored Gruenewald Historic House was built in 1873 and is unique in that it is actually two historic homes combined into one. The original (backside) of the house is an old two-story cabin (built in 1860) and the front was added on in 1873 to create the house you’ll see today.

The house contains beautiful antiques, a lovely garden and a lot of interesting art. Tours are available by request although there are several open houses throughout the year as well as frequent events such as teas, book clubs, etc.

Discover Local History

Founded in 1827, Anderson initially grew as a small trading post along the White River. However, it was the arrival of the railroad in the mid-19th century that spurred the city’s growth and established it as an important industrial hub. Anderson quickly became a center for manufacturing, particularly in the automotive industry, earning the nickname “The Detroit of the South.”

The city played a significant role in producing automobiles and automobile parts, attracting workers and families seeking employment opportunities. Over the years, Anderson faced the challenges of economic fluctuations and shifts in the manufacturing industry.

Today, the city has diversified its economy and continues to evolve, focusing on education, healthcare, and a revitalized downtown area. Anderson’s history is proudly preserved in its architecture, museums, and cultural landmarks, offering a glimpse into the city’s vibrant past while embracing its promising future.

6. Madison County Historical Museum

We had such a fun time exploring the Museum of Madison County History. Located right downtown, near the Paramount Theater, this hidden gem is FULL of everything related to Madison County and Anderson history.

Museum of Madison County History

Housed in a beautiful historic building, the museum serves as a captivating window into the region’s history, preserving and showcasing artifacts that highlight the stories, traditions, and contributions of the community.

As you step inside, you are transported through time, immersing yourself in exhibits that span various eras, from Native American settlements to early pioneers, industrialization, and beyond. The museum’s collections include a diverse range of items, such as photographs, documents, clothing, tools, and household objects, each offering a glimpse into the daily lives of those who came before us.

We were treated to a guided tour by one of the docents, and he pointed out all kinds of interesting facts, and as a lifelong resident was able to share a lot of insider stories too. Just the kind of history I enjoy best! Admission to the museum is free, and the volunteers love to show people around.

Display inside the Madison County Historical Museum

If you have a train or dollhouse aficionado in your family, don’t miss the basement of the museum which houses an impressive display of both! And, even if your kids aren’t into history, visiting the basement of this museum can definitely count as one of the kid-friendly things to do in Anderson Indiana!

With its dedication to preserving and sharing the rich heritage of Madison County, this museum stands as a valuable resource for locals and visitors alike, fostering a deep appreciation for the region’s past and the people who shaped it.

7. Anderson Roll Arena

Ready for a blast from the past? If you grew up roller skating on the weekends (as I did), then you will feel like you’ve gone back in time when you step into Anderson Roll Arena.

This local roller skating rink is frozen in time (and prices are pretty close to that too!). Grab your friends or family, lace up some skates, and have some fun. Your kids can experience the experience of skating to the hokey pokey and shooting the duck!

Add roller skating at Anderson Roll Arena to your list of fun things to do in Anderson Indiana

The concession stand even feels like it’s stuck in the 80s with slushees, candy, and the like. If you loved roller skating as a kid (or want to try it for the first time now), don’t miss the Anderson Roll Arena.

8. Anderson Indiana Speedway

Just like Indianapolis, Anderson Indiana has a rich automobile racing history – thanks to all the automobile industry factories that used to call Anderson home.

The quarter-mile speedway was originally built in 1948 and has had numerous stock car races since then. If you enjoy racing and don’t have it in you to visit the Indy 500, give the Anderson Indiana Speedway a try for a fun and unique outing.

Fun Things to Do in Anderson Indiana at Night

Date ideas in Anderson? Why not? There are plenty of things to do in Anderson for adults. In fact, since Anderson is so close to Indy, we often head over there just for the evening as there are several fun and unique things to do in Anderson at night.

9. Harrah’s Casino

When we can’t make it to Las Vegas, Harrah’s Casino (which used to be called Hoosier Park Racing) in Anderson fills the gap. The gaming floor features a wide selection of slot machines and table games. If you go on the weekends, it can get pretty crowded, but if you visit during the week you’ll have the place to yourself!

Harrah's Casino in Anderson means Las Vegas fun in Indiana

Additionally, Harrah’s Casino offers a variety of dining options, ranging from casual to fine dining, allowing you to indulge in delicious meals and refreshing beverages throughout the evening. And, if you like horse racing, during the season you can bet on and watch live horse races!

From the thrill of gaming and horse racing to the enjoyment of tasty cuisine, Harrah’s Casino in Anderson promises a night of excitement, entertainment, and the possibility of winning big

10. Cultured Urban Winery

What a fun little find just down the street from the Madison County Historical Museum! Cultured Urban Winery is a tasteful and relaxing little wine bar new to downtown Anderson.

With a variety of delicious wines (try the sweet Key Lime Pie Bubbly if you like bubbles), and fun small plates, it’s a delightful spot to relax on an evening in Anderson.

Inside Cultured Urban Winery in Anderson

There are also plenty of unique events – live music, cooking classes, and more, so definitely look to see what’s happening when you are visiting Anderson Indiana.

I love a local winery and when we visited, we had a fun time talking to the owner. Her passion for good wine, enjoying life, and helping Anderson revitalize was evident!

11. Catch a show at Paramount Theater

The Historic Paramount Theater in Anderson is a wonderful place to see a live performance. Located downtown, this 1929 theater has been beautifully restored and today hosts plenty of famous acts such as comedians and live bands.

Check to see if there is something going on at the Paramount when you visit for an entertaining night on the town!

Paramount Theater in Anderson Indiana

The Best Restaurants in Anderson Indiana

For a fairly small town, there are plenty of restaurants in Anderson Indiana. Although you can find pretty much any chain in town, we don’t want those, so here are some of the best local restaurants!

12. Jackrabbit Coffee

Of course, like any day trip I embark upon, my first find is the local coffee shop! Located in the West Central Historic District (just a few blocks from downtown), this cute little coffee shop serves a mean Americano along with plenty of other tasty expresso drinks.

Jackrabbit coffee in Anderson Indiana

The inside is charming, but my favorite part of Jackrabbit Coffee is the expansive patio in the back. Sitting in the sunshine nibbling on a bagel and drinking a strong coffee is the perfect way to start any day of exploring and finding fun things to do in Anderson Indiana.

Coffee and bagel at Jackrabbit

13. Have a beer at Creatures of Habit Brewery

Just like coffee, I love a good local craft brewery and Creatures of Habit did not disappoint. After visiting the Museum of Madison County History we walked across to street to sit at the bar and try a variety of delicious local beers.

The beer list is fairly extensive with a nice mix of Creatures of Habit beers as well as guest taps. Add to that an extended bottle list and everyone will be able to find something they enjoy.

Beer at Creatures of Habit in Anderson Indiana

The atmosphere was comfortable and we sat at the bar for quite some time chatting with the bartender. Next time we hit the casino in Anderson I plan on eating dinner here first as the menu looked terrific.

14. Gene’s RootBeer Stand

Gene’s RootBeer Stand is an Anderson staple. Open seasonally, if you love a solid rootbeer and hot dog stand, you’ll be thrilled with Gene’s.

Gene's Rootbeer stand in Anderson Indiana is a staple

Pull your car up to Genes Rootbeer stand and let the friendly staff take your order. Prices are reasonable and the food is filling. Personally, I love the hint of vanilla flavor in Gene’s rootbeer – so much that we often bring a cooler, buy a gallon, and take it home to enjoy later!

15. The Lemon Drop

Another famous local Anderson restaurant is The Lemon Drop. Known for their mouth-watering onion burger, fries, milkshakes, and lemonade, the Lemon Drop will take you back in time.

Delicious onion burger from the Lemon Drop in Anderson Indiana

Seating is mostly at the counter, and there isn’t much of it, so be prepared to wait if it’s a busy night. Also, get ready to throw your diet out the window, as nothing on the menu could be considered healthy food, but if you love old-school diner food, you won’t even care!

16. Oakley Brothers Distillery

We first encountered this distillery several years ago when waiting for our kids while they were visiting Indy Scream Park. It turned out to be a delightful discovery!

With a wide variety of carefully crafted spirits and innovative cocktails, whiling away a few hours at Oakley Brothers Distillery is fun and enjoyable!

If you love good drinks in a comfortable yet cool setting, add a stop at Oakley Brothers Distillery to your day of fun things to do in Anderson Indiana.

Annual Festivals and Celebrations

Anderson, Indiana, is a city that knows how to celebrate and bring people together through a variety of vibrant annual festivals and events. Throughout the year, the community comes alive with excitement, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Here are a few of the notable festivals and events that grace the calendar in Anderson:

17. Anderson on Tap: Craft Beer, Wine & Spirits Festival

Craft beer, wine & spirits enthusiasts rejoice during the Anderson on Tap festival, which showcases an impressive selection of craft beers from local and regional breweries. Attendees can sample a wide array of brews, savor delicious food offerings, and enjoy live music in a festive atmosphere.

18. Madison County Fair

The Madison County Fair is a highlight of the summer season, drawing both locals and visitors alike. This multi-day event offers a wide range of attractions, including carnival rides, livestock exhibits, live entertainment, delicious fair food, and agricultural showcases. It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience the agricultural heritage of the region and enjoy family-friendly fun.

19. Andersontown Powwow and Indian Market

Celebrating the Native American culture, the Andersontown Powwow, held in September, includes performances, artisan crafts, and authentic Native American cuisine. The festival provides a unique opportunity to learn about and appreciate the rich heritage of the indigenous peoples in the area.

Mounds at Mounds State Park

20. Get scared at Indy Scream Park

Do you have haunted house fans in your family? Then a visit to Indy Scream Park in the fall is a must-do. My teenagers have made it an annual tradition to spend an October evening wandering through the haunted houses!

I’ve been assured by them (and they’ve visited them all) that Indy Scream Park is the BEST place for haunted adventures in central Indiana.

These are just a few examples of the exciting annual festivals and events that take place in Anderson, Indiana. The city’s calendar is filled with a plethora of engaging activities, showcasing the vibrant culture, heritage, and sense of community that makes Anderson a truly special place to visit and call home.

Where is Anderson Indiana?

Anderson Indiana is located North East of Indianapolis. It’s less than an hour and a quick, easy thirty minutes from the Hamilton County suburbs.

FAQs: Anderson Indiana

What is Anderson famous for?

Natural gas was discovered in Anderson in 1887 which led to a strong industrial growth in the city. Sadly many of these companies are long gone, but you can explore their history at the Madison County Historical Museum.

What are some interesting facts about Anderson, IN?

Anderson was originally known as Anderson’s Town as well as Andersonton before becoming Anderson as we know it today.

Who is the most famous person from Anderson Indiana?

Although there have been several famous people from Anderson Indiana, the most famous is Gary Burton.

Who beat the mounds in Anderson Indiana?

The Adena-Hopewell people created the 10 unique earthworks in Anderson Indiana.

The Lemon Drop in Anderson Indiana

Conclusion: Anderson Indiana Things to Do

In conclusion, Anderson, Indiana, is a hidden gem with a plethora of activities and attractions to offer visitors. From exploring the historical significance of Mounds State Park and immersing oneself in the vibrant arts and culture scene, to enjoying the excitement of Harrah’s Casino and attending the annual festivals and events, there is something for everyone in this charming city.

Anderson’s rich history, natural beauty, and warm community spirit combine to create a memorable experience for all who venture here. Whether you’re a nature lover, an art enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a fun-filled getaway, Anderson invites you to discover its unique treasures. So pack your bags, embark on an adventure, and embrace all that Anderson, Indiana, has to offer. You won’t be disappointed!

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Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the best things to do in Anderson, Indiana, and discover the hidden treasures that await you in this captivating destination. #Indiana #daytrips
Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the best things to do in Anderson, Indiana, and discover the hidden treasures that await you in this captivating destination. #Indiana #daytrips