Crown Hill Cemetery
Crown Hill Cemetery contains more than 200,000 graves and is the third largest non-governmental cemetery in America. Its wonderful views as the highest point in Indianapolis, as well as the abundance of flora and fauna found within the beautifully landscaped grounds, have made it a favorite among locals.
Pick up a map from the Crown Hill Funeral Home, Cemetery and Heritage Foundation, or download one from the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation website. Follow some of the cemetery’s 25 miles (40 kilometers) of winding roads throughout the 555 acres (225 hectares) to see beautiful gothic buildings, notable burial sites, mausoleums and artworks.
As you make your way around, keep your eye out for the resident white-tailed deer; more than 30 are known to live on the grounds. The area is also a haven for coyote, raccoon and red-tailed hawks.
Climb the stairway to the highest point in the cemetery, also the location of the tomb of poet James Whitcomb Riley. From here, enjoy the 360-degree panoramic views of the Indianapolis skyline.
Between June and October, free tours are run on almost every Saturday. These guided walks last from 90 minutes to two hours, and cover about a mile (1.6 kilometers). You’ll learn about everything from Civil War Women to the Flu Epidemic of 1918, depending on the theme of the tour. The most popular theme is the Heritage Tour, which includes highlights from the other tours and will guide you around some of the cemetery's most notable graves, including U.S. president Benjamin Harrison, John Dillinger, a notorious gangster, and Howard Garns, the inventor of Sudoku. There are also a few driving tours.
If you visit on Memorial Day, head to the Confederate Mound. People come from all over the area, dressed in authentic period costumes, to take part in Civil War re-enactments at the site where 1,616 Confederate prisoners of war were buried.
Crown Hill Cemetery is a five-mile (eight-kilometer) drive north of downtown Indianapolis. The grounds are open daily and entry is free.