Cutting through the rolling hills of horse country, I-65 offers amazing natural features, great roadside eats, fascinating history, and some pretty awesome towns to explore-- from Indianapolis to Nashville to Louisville, you'll be experiencing some pretty cool places. Use this guide to make the most of your road trip along I-65 from Chicago to Birmingham.
I-65 starts in Chicago, one of the Midwest's coolest cities. There are endless things to see in Chicago, from Navy Pier to Willis Tower (BKA Sears Tower) to Millennium Park. Eat a deep dish pizza from Lou Malnotti's, a Chicago-style hot dog from Portillo's, and an Italian beef sandwich from Mr. Beef. Stay the night at Talbot Hotel, The Palmer House, Palomar Chicago, or one of the many other hotels in Chicago. Once you're well-rested and have had a taste of the city, get ready to hit the road!
The first thing you'll see once you take I-65 out of the city is endless fields of windmills, but fear not! There's more to see along the way than wind farms. Trust us, things are about to get interesting.
9750 Indiana Pkwy, Munster, IN, US
First stop is off Exit 1 at 3 Floyds Brewery. 3 Floyds Brewery has somehow taken craft beer to a new level with people clamoring for it across the country. A trip to their tap room for a pint or to pick up a few bottles is the perfect way to show everyone just how hip you are.
Pro tip: If you can’t work 3 Floyds into your trip, check the beer selection at Fair Oaks Farms further down the road, as they carry 3 Floyds (including their much-coveted Zombie Dust) while supplies last.
2300 Jackson St 46407, Gary, IN, US
Off Exit 10 in Gary, Indiana you'll come to Michael Jackson’s Boyhood Home. Don’t let Gary’s rough and rowdy reputation scare you off. The King of Pop’s house is literally just a couple stoplights off the highway so you NEED to stop here. There’s not a lot to Michael Jackson's House, just a granite memorial, but this is the perfect place for a picture that’ll make your friends jealous they don’t see more fun stuff on their road trips. Bonus points for moonwalking outside the house.
864 N 600 E, Fair Oaks, IN, US
At Exit 220, you'll come to Fair Oaks Farms. This isn’t exactly a “hidden gem,” since it’s right off the highway and there are plenty of signs along I-65 as you approach, but it’s definitely worth a stop. To state the obvious, the place is huge… There’s a cheese shop. There’s a bakery. There’s a market. There’s an ice cream shop. There’s an auditorium where you can watch a cow give birth (we're so serious.) There’s a place where your kids can learn all about how milk is made. There is honestly something for everyone here.
While the bread and butter (pun intended) of this dairy farm is its numerous family activities, it’s still well-worth stopping even if you’re childless. It's a great place for a quick snack... their fried fresh cheese curds are soooo good.
200 Battleground Ave, Battle Ground, IN, US
After the farm, I-65 will take you to the Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum. The battlefield is beautifully maintained with several monuments and memorials making it a great place to stretch your legs and learn about the battle that pitted Tecumseh and the Prophet against then-General William Henry Harrison. The Tippecanoe Battle would prove to be devastating to Native Americans as their settlement, Prophet’s Town, would be razed as a result. Admission for the actual museum is only $5 for adults.
West Lafayette IN, West Lafayette, IN, US
If the weather is nice, consider stopping by nearby Prophetstown State Park for even more nature and history (and a sweet waterpark in the summer).
2 N Salisbury St, West Lafayette, IN, US
If you’re more in the mood for a classic diner, we suggest Triple XXX Family Restaurant. Yes, the name seems all sorts of bizarre, but it’s actually Indiana’s oldest drive-in. It’s a Lafayette staple and has been collecting local and national accolades for years, even making an appearance on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
329 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN, US
Still at Exit 172 off I-65, visit Harry’s Chocolate Shop and the campus of Purdue University. If you’ve never toured this college's campus now’s a good chance to drive by Ross-Ade Stadium and other landmarks. When you're done seeing the "official" landmarks, stop by one of the "unofficial" Purdue landmarks... Harry's Chocolate Shop.
Truth be told, Harry’s Chocolate Shop is not a chocolate shop at all, but Purdue students and alumni’s favorite bar and grill. Originally functioning as a soda shop, Harry’s was supposedly serving something much stronger during Prohibition, if you knew the password, which was “Go Ugly Early.”
319 W. Main Street, Lebanon, IN, US
Tucked into an old filling station in the small town of Lebanon, IN (at I-65's Exit 139), Mo's Vintiques isn’t your average antique store… it's packed wall-to-wall with some of the coolest vintage automotive/racing antiques and memorabilia ever. From vintage go-karts and mini bikes to Indy 500 team jackets to old racing trophies, pins, buttons, and badges, the place is a car-lover’s dream. The exterior of the filling station is perfect for a photo-op, and even if you’re not in the market for a racing collectible, you’ll still absolutely love the aura of Mo’s Vintiques.
Take I-65 into Indianapolis, where you can hop off the highway and spend a day or two relaxing. Of course, Indy is home to the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy 500 Hall of Fame and Museum, but some of the coolest things to do in Indianapolis aren't racing-themed. The Canal and White River State Park District, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, and the National Art Museum of Sport are some interesting attractions worth visiting. Eat at St. Elmo Steakhouse, BRU Burger Bar or Pure Eatery, and check into the Old Northside Bed and Breakfast, The Columbia Club, or one of the other cool hotels in Indianapolis.
Franklin, IN, US
Hop off the highway and onto US 31 for a truly bizarre photo op. After you cross a creek you’ll notice the road splits around a little mound of earth. That’s actually a grave... with no less than 7 bodies in it. Despite originally planning to relocate the remains, the officials in charge were too afraid, so they just paved around it. It’s a unique photo op, for sure.
12595 Executive Dr, Edinburgh, IN, US
For some interesting shopping, visit Exit 76 Antique Mall. Here you’ll find over 600 booths covering a whopping 72,000 sq. ft. with everything from antique furniture to automobilia. You can't take a road trip without picking up a few souvenirs, right?
11606 Ne Executive Dr, Edinburgh, IN, US
Or across the road there's an outlet mall! It's not the most offbeat attraction on I-65, but deals are deals, man. The Edinburg Premium Outlets are exactly what you’d expect at a nice outlet mall.
400 Brown Street, Columbus, IN, US
While the stretch of road from Louisville to Indianapolis (and vice-versa) isn’t normally an overnight trip, maybe you’re coming from further away or you just want to spend more time in town, which you should strongly consider, because Columbus, IN is an incredibly place. For overnight road trippers, we recommend the Hotel Indigo Columbus. Of course, it’s an architectural and design gem itself with posh and beautiful accommodations.
Exit 68: Discover the architectural secret gem of the midwest, Columbus, Indiana
Despite being a city of just 44,000, Columbus, Indiana consistently ranks right behind big cities like Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, Boston, and DC for its architectural design, and that’s just one of the many things that make this small city such a perfect pit-stop on your I-65 journey.
329 Washington St, Columbus, IN, US
If you visit one thing in Columbus, make it Zaharakos. For 115 years this ice cream parlor has been a destination for both locals and ice cream-lovers abroad. With a beautiful 50 ft. mahogany bar, stained glass, and antiques from the turn of the century, the vibe of the interior is nostalgic perfection.
From here you can plan how you want to tackle the city's many architectural and artistic sites while you enjoy one of the antique music machines providing classic background noise.
506 5th Street, Columbus, IN, US
If you’re an architecture buff, your next stop is the Miller House and Garden Tour. If you love Modernist architecture with open, flowing layouts, flat roofs and lots of stone and glass, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven in the Miller House. Now owned and lovingly cared for by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the museum elaborates on the house and grounds. Tours of the property are $25 and last about an hour and a half. If you’re stopping by the Miller House, you should also cruise by the 6 other National Historic Landmarks in town.
8111 East 450 North, Columbus, IN, US
While in Columbus, IN you’ve probably worked up quite a thirst so why not try one of the area’s 4 breweries? For instance, a great place to wet your whistle is at 450 North Brewing Co.
2001 N Ewing St., Seymour, IN, US
Exit 50B takes you to singer John Mellencamp’s hometown of Seymour. The prolific musician's boyhood hometown has an art center thanks to John. When his childhood buddy’s house was put up for sale, Mellencamp bought it, used the pre-Civil War building during the filming of “Falling from Grace,” and then turned it into the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts. The place has become Mecca for “Mellenheads,” according to the SICA, and it is pretty much the only place you’ll find rare art created by John Mellencamp himself (and THE only place you can buy John Mellencamp prints).
100 N. Broadway Street, Seymour, IN, US
If you’re one of those “Mellenheads,” stop by the Jackson County Visitor Center as soon as you hit town for a special CD and map for touring his old stomping grounds.
Whether your trip along I-65 ends in Birmingham, or it ended way back in another city, or you keep on driving, it's nice to know that you don't have to adventure too far off the highway to experience the small town charm and big city fun to be had along the route!