The Hoosier State
Indiana is a midwestern state in the Great Lakes region. Major cities include Indianapolis, Evansville, South Bend and Columbus. Several professional sports teams and events are located in Indiana such as the Indianapolis 500, one of the most important events in motorsports. Many college sports teams are also well known, including the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Indiana Hoosiers, Purdue Boilermakers and Butler Bulldogs.
Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes are located in the northwest corner of Indiana, providing many outdoor recreation opportunities. In the south, systems of caves are a popular natural attraction along with Hoosier National Forest and sites along the Ohio River. Browse the Outdoor Activities page to find more recreational opportunities for international visitors in Indiana. And for more information on Indiana cultural learning activities, see our Indiana cultural guide below or visit www.in.gov/visitindiana.
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Tippecanoe Battlefield Park. Photo by Mark D L.
Add some local history to your cultural exchange experience by visiting a nearby historical site or tourist attraction when living and working in the U.S.
The Center for History in South Bend has an extensive collection of exhibits and sites, including exhibits about the Northern Indiana region, historic houses, children’s museum and special events like films, lectures and public programs.
Conner Prairie Interactive Historic Park contains five historic areas that allow visitors to experience Indiana history, including the Civil War, the Lenape Indians, and life on a homestead or on the prairie.
The Indiana War Memorial Museum in Indianapolis looks back on the history of the military in the United States from the Revolutionary War in the 18th century to the present day, including a focus on the role of Indiana and its citizens in the military. Exhibits include weapons, uniforms, vehicles, equipment and other objects.
The Indiana State Museum in White River State Park, Indianapolis is a science, art and history museum. Exhibits feature objects from prehistoric times to the present, including a mastodon skeleton, Native American objects and items related to pop culture.
Indianapolis Zoo in White River State Park is home to animals like tigers, dolphins, elephants, sharks, lions, giraffes, bears, monkeys, penguins and many more. The animals are housed in exhibits that reflect their natural habitats, including oceans, forests, deserts and plains.
Tippecanoe Battlefield is the site of an important moment in American history when Native American tribes fought against U.S. expansion into Indian territory. A museum tells the story of the battle and history of the area, including displays of European and Native American artifacts and historic firearms. Hiking trails and a nature center are also available at the site.
- Active Indy Tours
- Adventure Indiana
- Chaos Haunted & Historical Tours
- Circle City Tours
- Columbus Architecture Tours
- Doe-Wah-Jack’s Canoe/Kayak Trips
- Indianapolis Food Tour
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing Plant Tours
- Walk Indianapolis
- White River State Park Segway Tours
The United States offers a wide variety of cultural learning opportunities through the arts. Dance, music, theater, opera, art museums and festivals are just some of the options available to international visitors who wish to experience the U.S. and its culture.
Art and Cultural Museums
- Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, Lafayette
- Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso
- Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Hall of Fame, Bean Blossom
- Carnegie Center for Art & History, New Albany
- Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis
- Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne
- Hamilton County Art Center & Birdie Gallery, Noblesville
- Indianapolis Arts Center, Indianapolis
- Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis
- Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis
- Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City
- Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart
- Richmond Art Museum, Richmond
- Snite Museum of Art, South Bend
- South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend
- Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute
- The Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel
- Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis
- Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis
- IndyFringe, Indianapolis
- LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra, LaPorte
- The Lerner Theatre, Elkhart
Many Americans are passionate about sports – and not just baseball and football! Get a glimpse into this part of American culture by watching or participating in a favorite U.S. sport or recreational activity in your local area.
Basketball fans may also be interested in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
For tickets to professional sports games in Indiana, check the team websites above. Tickets may also be available on the following websites:
- Ticketexchangebyticketmaster.com to buy or sell tickets from season ticket holders and fans.
- StubHub.com for tickets and last-minute deals.
College sports in Indiana have passionate fans and many competitive sports teams:
- Ball State Cardinals, Ball State University
- Butler Bulldogs, Butler University
- Depauw Tigers, Depauw University
- Evansville Purple Aces, University of Evansville
- Indiana Hoosiers, Indiana University
- Indiana State Sycamores, Indiana State University
- IPFW Mastodons, Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne
- IUPUI Jaguars, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
- Fighting Irish, University of Notre Dame
- Purdue Boilermakers, Purdue University
- Valparaiso Crusaders, Valparaiso University
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a racetrack and home to three large racing events each year - the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. The speedway can hold over 250,000 spectators. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is located on the grounds of the speedway and is dedicated to auto racing and automobiles.
The starting field of the 2007 Indianapolis 500. Photo by The359.
The United States is home to a variety of landscapes and climates to suit all types of outdoor activities. The courageous traveler can find extreme sports and outdoor adventure tours, while others may want to keep both feet on the ground in a national park or forest. Whatever your interests, take advantage of the many outdoor activities available during your time in the United States.
Clifty Falls State Parks has a waterfall, hiking trails, a swimming pool, tennis courts, picnic areas, camping areas and other outdoor activities in Madison, Indiana. Also check out the other state parks in Indiana and the many outdoor activities available at the parks.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore along Lake Michigan has 45 miles of hiking trails, camping, boating, fishing, horseback riding, swimming and 15 miles of beach area. Visitors can reach the park via public transportation or their own vehicles.
The Indiana Cave Trail includes Squire Boone Caverns, Marengo Cave and Bluespring Cavern, three caverns in the southern Indiana region. Tours are available at all caverns. Group tours, overnight trips and other activities are also available at some of the sites.
White River State Park is an urban park in Indianapolis and home to many attractions and sites, including the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens, minor league baseball field Victory Park, public art and many outdoor spaces. Kayaking, pedal boats and bike rentals are available.
Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve offers daily tours of its herd of buffalo. The park aims to preserve and honor the buffalo, also called a North American bison, which almost faced extinction in the 1800s.
Farmers Market in downtown Lafayette, Indiana. Photo by John Schanlaub.
One of the best ways to experience cultural exchange is through food and cooking. Visitors will enjoy exploring the regional specialties and local cuisine during their time in the United States.
Indiana is often known for its corn and dairy, but it also has many local foods and produce that Hoosiers are very proud of, like muskmelons, persimmons, berries and sugar cream pie (also called Hoosier pie).
- Devour Downtown Indianapolis, January/February and July/August
- Maple Syrup Festival, February, Salem
- Strawberry Festival, June, Rosedale
- Shoals Catfish Festival, July, Martin County
- Pierogi Fest, July, Whiting
- Cornbread Festival, September, Mansfield
- Madison Ribberfest BBQ & Blues, August, Madison
For a unique and local perspective on American culture, be sure to check out festivals and events near your cultural exchange program location. These events are a fun and interesting way to interact with locals and to learn more about American culture by experiencing it firsthand.
First Fridays in Goshen is a monthly event offering free cultural activities like free movies, artists, entertainment, food and kids activities. The events are held on the first Friday of each Month in downtown Goshen.
‘Round the Fountain Art Fair in Lafayette is an annual fine arts event in May. Artists from around the United States display their work for the public and a jury of judges.
Three Rivers Festival is a weeklong summer festival held in Fort Wayne each July. Parades, fireworks, races, children’s activities, art and crafts and an “international village” of cultural experiences are some of the events and activities available at the festival.
The Indiana State Fair is a large event that has been held in Indiana for over 150 years. The event runs for over two weeks in August and includes agricultural shows, food vendors, arts and crafts, carnival rides, live entertainment, cooking competitions and much more.
Feast of the Hunter’s Moon is a recreation of an annual October event between French and Native Americans at Fort Ouiatenon in the 18th century near West Lafayette. Participants dress in traditional clothing of the time period and authentic food is served.
The 500 Festival celebrates the Indianapolis 500, a 500-mile IndyCar race on Memorial Day weekend in May. One of the largest events of the festival is the Mini-Marathon, the largest half-marathon in the U.S. A parade, live bands, food vendors and other events are also held at the festival.
Employers may be able to assist with housing during your time in the United States, but this is not always possible for all participants. When looking for housing during your cultural exchange program, consider the cost of the accommodation, the distance to your work place and the amount of time you will be in the United States.
It's also important to avoid fraudulent housing. It is highly recommended that you secure short-term housing upon arrival (e.g. in a hostel) and conduct your housing search once you are in the U.S. Never give your financial information to a stranger over the Internet. Browse the Housing Information guides for InterExchange participants below for more tips and advice.
General Housing Information
- Housing information for Work and Travel USA participants
- Housing information for Career Training USA interns and trainees
Indiana Housing Resources
Some examples of housing and accommodation resources for Indiana participants include:
- Craigslist - Indiana
- American Homestay Agency
- Hostelling International
Public transportation options can be hit or miss, depending on your location in the United States. Buses are a common transportation option for short and long-term travel in the U.S., while some areas will also have trains, subways and other options.
Public Transit Systems
The Indianapolis metropolitan area is served by the IndyGo transit system, which includes 30 local bus routes in Marion County.
Citilink is the bus system in Fort Wayne, the second-largest city in Indiana.
Metropolitan Evansville Transit System (METS) operates 17 bus routes in the Evansville region.
Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for a complete list of public transportation options in Indiana communities.
The following bus companies operate in Indiana and nearby states:
South Shore Line Passenger Service is a train route operating between downtown Chicago and South Bend Regional Airport.
Participants in Indiana can use the following resources in case of an emergency or extreme weather event in their area:
Emergency Management Agencies
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): www.fema.gov and www.ready.gov
- Indiana FEMA updates on Twitter: @femaregion5
Interact with others and expand your skill set by volunteering in your local community. Volunteer organizations are often looking for short-term volunteers or for individuals to help with a single event, making it a great option for InterExchange participants who wish to add to their cultural exchange experience during their time in the United States.
Volunteer in Indiana helps individuals and groups find volunteering centers and opportunities throughout Indiana.
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) offers individual and group volunteer opportunities for projects like planting trees, cleaning up parks and recycling.
Help Indy Online lists non-profits in Indianapolis and helps volunteers find an opportunity that matches their interests, such as the environment, music or museums.
Volunteer at one of 11 food banks in Indiana and help fight hunger in the state. Volunteers help out with tasks like packing meals, sorting through donations, helping out in the warehouse, administrative work and other activities.