By: “Designer, Reader, Writer” from Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Indiana Central Canal or what is better known as The Canal or the Canal Walk to us Hoosiers, welcomes every one of all age groups and interests. Looking back I remember going there and sitting on the benches. I would watch the people excitedly making their ways around the 3 mile loop, and the marathon runners, walkers, bicyclist, or even just the casual walker out for a stroll. The landscape is so pretty and full of lush trees, bushes, and flowers to admire. When you reach about midway through the canal walk, you can go up and over on an old bridge to the other side if you don't want to go all the way around. A few people like to stop and make a wish and then admire the fountain and waterfall they just made a wish in, some even will peddle their down the canal in a paddle boat. Year round you can go and explore and see the canal and experience the seasons as they change. Different seasons change the activities available there.
Depending on which direction you go, the scenery varies. You can see the ducks and geese meandering around and if you look in the water you'll be able to see the fish swimming around peacefully; there may even be a few koi in it as well. Sometimes taking up some of the shared water space are gondola rides, kayaks and paddle boats. All of which offer a great relaxing time on the canal. The north end of the canal offers the Medical school campus and if you’re on the south you'll end up in the White River State Park if you continue to walk. While on the canal it is possible to eat some tasty food at several different restaurants offering a variety of styles to choose from. There is even night life available if you’d like to stay later to have a drink or two.
Besides the food and drink venues, you can also visit the Glick Indiana History Center, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and also the State Museum. All of these are in walking distance of the canal and on your way you can stop and see the Medal of Honor Memorial; it's also really beautiful if you can catch it at night. They even have a 9/11 memorial and a tribute to the USS Indianapolis so that you can learn a little history while you're visiting.
Speaking of history that is offered, here is a little about the canal and how it was originally intended for connecting central Indiana to the rest of the world of trade and commerce. The canal would then connect several other existing canals together creating a running trade system. Unfortunately The Panic of 1837 ended up causing a five-year financial depression and the funding was eventually cut off in 1839. There had been only an 8 mile stretch of the canal that had been supplied with water and in 1871 the Indianapolis Water Company purchased and built a pump housing unit to provide modern power. But in the 1960s the road ways were expanding and forced the canal underground to make way for an interstate system, so in 1976 the water company deeded their part of the canal to the city of Indianapolis, paving the way for the great modern place that is now.
Moving onto modern day, the canal was rebuilt and lowered to revamp the canal to run through its portion of the city. The canal is now a recreational place and also now a major landmark in the city of Indianapolis. There are eleven bridges and each are devoted to a particular era and movement of the history of Indiana. Following along the canal walk you have all of this art and history to keep your adventurous side running at full speed.
So while visiting the canal you can end up in many different areas, seeing many different aspects of what some of the downtown Indy life. Also to keep in mind, different times of the day offer different things to do. In the evenings you explore the food and drinks and maybe see some art if you’d like. If you’re a daytime person you can go enjoy all of the activities that are offered; it’s really an overall great place to visit.
Canal Society of Indiana
Indiana Central Canal
White River Canal, Indianapolis