Indianapolis, the largest city in Indiana and its state capital, is located in the center of the state on the White River. Settled in 1820, “Indy” was incorporated as a city in 1832 and saw tremendous growth with the advent of railroads in the 1840s and the automobile industry at the turn of the century. Today, Indianapolis is the twelfth-largest city in the United States, with a steadily growing population of around 800,000 and a strong, diverse economy supported by manufacturing, agriculture and the service industries. Leading employers in the area include electronics, pharmaceuticals, publishing, food processing and insurance companies. Indianapolis is one of the busiest convention centers in the country. Cultural attractions in Indianapolis are plentiful.
Some of the finest art and artifact collections in the country can be seen at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art and at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The latter is set on 52-acre grounds with the restored mansion of J.K. Lilly Jr., surrounded by beautiful gardens. The city is also home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Repertory Theatre and Indianapolis Civic Theatre. The NBA’s Indiana Pacers (18,000-seat Conseco Fieldhouse) and the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts (56,000-seat RCA dome) bring major league sports to downtown Indianapolis. Other pro teams include the Fever (WNBA), the Indians (minor league baseball), the Firebirds (Arena Football) and Blast (USL soccer), but the area is best known as the home of the Indianapolis 500 road race and a hotbed of college basketball. A few miles west of downtown, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) packs in more than 250,000 spectators each Memorial Day weekend for the Indy 500, a tradition since 1911. The IMS also houses a Hall of Fame Museum and part of a golf course. Within an hour’s drive are perennial NCAA basketball tournament powerhouses Indiana, IndianaState and Purdue. Within a 2-hour drive are Notre Dame, Louisville and Cincinnati.
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