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Downtown Indy Stay-cation with Tweens & Teens

If there is one thing kids love (at least my kids), it’s Spring Break. If there is one thing kids hate, it’s staying home for Spring Break. While Central Indiana doesn’t have much to offer in the way of sand and surf, there are several things for the tween and teen set that make a stay-cation at least bearable, if not downright fun.

1. Spend the night. I recommend a night or two at a downtown hotel. It makes not hitting the road for Spring Break a little more bearable. I look for internet deals, but have had good experiences at the Fairfield Inn at White River State Park and the Embassy Suites.

Two kids pose with the Dick's Last Resort statue

Dick’s Last Resort is a favorite restaurant for tweens and teens.

2. Eat like a tourist.  My kids — at least the boys — love going to eat at places I consider “tourist restaurants” such as the Hard Rock Cafe and Dick’s Last Resort. They especially love the irreverent, loud atmosphere — and the paper hats — at Dick’s Last Resort. I love that they are willing to pose for a picture, even if I do have to have the restaurant’s statue in it.

3. Channel their inner child. The thing about tweens and teens is that they are often so desperately trying NOT to be kids. But they are close enough that they can still get in touch with their inner kid. Two of our favorite places to encourage this include the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Rhythm Discovery Center. You’re likely familiar with the Children’s Museum, which was named the best museum in the country by USA Today Travel. Rhythm! Discovery Center is a hidden gem of an interactive percussion experience at the intersection of Illinois and Washington Streets, where your kids can tap out a tune or bang out a full drum solo.

4. Catch a flick. Whether you want to see the latest new release at the United Artists Theatre at Circle Center Mall or you opt for something larger than life at the IMAX theatre at the Indiana State Museum, tweens and teens generally enjoy going to the movies.

5. Walk it out. One thing I really appreciate about a downtown stay-cation is that I can park in the hotel garage when we arrive and not have to get in my car again until we check out. (To make this work, do the Children’s Museum first, then head to the hotel for check-in.) So make sure everyone has their tennis shoes packed because there are plenty of things to do and see downtown that are just a short walk away.

6. Indulge the sweet tooth. Without fail, our downtown stay-cations include a stop at either Rocket Fizz, an everything-you-could want candy store on Monument Circle; The Flying Cupcake, our favorite gourmet cupcakery; or Sub-Zero, a create-your-own-and-watch-it-freeze ice cream shop on Mass Ave.