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Nickel Plate Arts Trail: Tour Indiana Art by Road, Rail, or River

Is it possible to tour the myriad sites, shops, and scenes of Central Indiana all in one day? The Circle City has the Indianapolis Cultural Trail connecting its vital Indianapolis art centers, but Central Indiana has its own important arts artery: the Nickel Plate Arts Trail. Spanning 30 miles, from the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, Indiana to the small town of Tipton, Indiana and hitting on hundreds of art galleries, Indiana restaurants, and things to see along the way, the Nickel Plate Arts Trail is the trail to take if you want to see the best of Indiana art. With three ways to travel the trail, anyone can get in on the action.

There are three ways to experience the Nickel Plate Arts Trail, each one of them offering up unique adventures. The main leg of the trail is the driving route, which begins on Allisonville Road in Fishers, runs through Noblesville, and passes through many small towns–including Arcadia, Atlanta, and Cicero–before ending up in Tipton. If gas is too expensive, consider traveling the trail by rail: the Nickel Plate Railway is part of the Nickel Plate Arts Trail. Train riders can begin their Nickel Plate Arts Trail trip at the historic Fishers Train Station with locomotives provided by the Indiana Transportation Museum; the train stops at plenty of Indiana attractions along the way before ending up in Tipton with the car-based trail. The most adventurous way to experience the Nickel Plate Arts Trail is by river; the White River closely mirrors the trail and is accessible by canoe and kayak. Unlike the other methods of completing the trail, the drop in point for the river is in Noblesville.

The Nickel Plate Arts Trail passes by Conner Prairie in Fishers, IndianaThere are plenty of Indiana things to do on the Nickel Plate Arts Trail, since it winds through several of the more artistic communities in the area. In Fishers, the trail takes you past several Fishers art galleries and shops, allowing you to peruse and purchase at your leisure. Conner Prairie Living History Museum, located near the start of the Nickel Plate Arts Trail on Allisonville Road, is a popular first stop on the trail for its cool reenactments, immersive history, and family friendly fun. Other Fishers attractions are at your disposal on the Nickel Plate Arts Trail, all of them tons of fun for you and your family.

From Fishers, the Nickel Plate Arts Trail curves upward to Noblesville, Indiana, another thriving Indianapolis suburb. The train drops participants off in historic downtown Noblesville, where they can take in Noblesville’s Courthouse Square, an array of beautiful architecture and delicious Noblesville restaurants, perfect for taking a quick refresher from the trail. If you’re really interested in history, you can stop by the Hamilton County Courthouse or the Hamilton County Museum of History, both of which provide insights into the pioneer past of Noblesville.

Though 30 miles might not seem like a lot to drive or ride a train through, the Nickel Plate Arts Trail is almost impossible to finish in a single day, due to the huge amount of places to see along the way. The only trail in Indiana to offer three transportation options, you can go through the Nickel Plates Arts Trail dozens of times and never see the same thing twice. Automotive trail blazers will have more freedom to decide what attractions along the trail they want to see, though doubtless they’ll have a harder time getting through the whole thing in a day; riders of the Nickel Plate Railway have a more streamlined view of the Nickel Plate Arts Trail, with the train arriving and departing from points on the trail at scheduled times; and kayakers will certainly have the most adventurous time of it during their sojourn down the White River. All in all, the Nickel Plate Arts Trail is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the art and culture of Central Indiana.

The Nickel Plate Arts Trail is sponsored by the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information about the trail and the rest of Central Indiana, please visit the Visitors Bureau homepage.

Nickel Plate Arts Trail
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Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau
37 E Main St
Carmel, IN 46032
Toll-Free: 800.776.8687
Phone: 317.848.3191