Top 10 Things Indiana Is Famous For

indiana is famous for
Contributing Writer
| 5 min read

From its corn to its basketball teams and prestigious athletes like Mark Spitz, the state of Indiana has many things to be proud of. Located in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America, Indiana is the 17th-most populous state of the United States. For visitors, there is always something to look forward to. Whether you wish to learn about its key historical figures like the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, or you want to attend the most prestigious American Championship car-racing, Indy 500, Indiana is a land of discovery. With its magnificent topography, you can find sand dunes on its northwestern side, or gorgeous caves and meandering rivers in its south. But there’s also the food lovers’ site where you can eat various pies in its Amish Country or mediate in Tibetan temples in its Bloomington city. But what are the things that Indiana is really known for? Find out below some of the top things Indiana is famous for.

1. Corn

Corn Field
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tony Webster used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The fact that the state of Indiana is situated in the corn belt region of the United States makes it clear why corn is considered as ‘the king’ here. The Midwest region of the country is known as the corn belt region as it has been dominated by corn production since the 1850s. One interesting fact about the US is that it grows about 96,000,000 acres (39,000,000 ha) of corn, and so it’s the largest corn producer in the world! And Indiana is one of its prime states that grows corn mostly to feed animals.

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2. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alexander Gardner used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was an inspiring figure in the history of American politics. He was born into a poor family in Indiana. He taught himself and became a lawyer and then became the leader of the Whig Party. He served a very crucial role in abolishing slavery in the United States and bolstering the federal government. He was also one of the catalyst factors to cause the American Civil war in the 1860s.

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3. East Race Waterway

South Bend East Race Waterway
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michael J. Lane used under CC BY 2.5

Experience an unforgettable adventure at the East Race Waterway in the heart of downtown South Bend in Indiana. This man-made whitewater rafting course is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It can be a good way to escape from your daily routine and experience an adrenaline kick in an affordable way. You will have the choice of one-ride or three-ride passes, including a kayaking day pass as well.

East Race Waterway

Address: 109 S Niles Ave, South Bend, IN 46617, United States

Website: East Race Waterway

Opening hours: Sat: 12pm - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm (closed from Mon - Fri)

Price: 6 USD per person

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4. Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Doha Stadium Plus... used under CC BY 2.0

Indiana’s most praised athlete - Mark Spitz - is a former American swimmer who was a nine-time Olympic champion. He was the most successful athlete of all time at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, when he won seven gold medals, thus breaking the world record which lasted for 36 years! He was known for his freestyle and butterfly titles when he chose to swim for legendary swim coach, James Doc Connsilman at Indiana University. In total, he has achieved 23 world swimming records and 35 United States records throughout his swimming career.

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5. Hoosiers

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Stephenmcleod used under CC BY 3.0

When visiting Indiana, you will certainly come across the term Hoosier, and it won’t take you long to understand that a ‘Hoosier’ is actually someone living in the State of Indiana. The term has been in use since the 1840s, and it was popularized by John Finley’s 1833 Poem, ‘The Hoosier’s Nest’. There is a possible explanation for why local residents are called Hoosier.s One theory suggests that early settlers would knock on a door and be met by the typical question, ‘ who’s here?’, which soon became ‘Hoosier’.

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6. Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carey Akin used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Right in the suburb of Indianapolis on Memorial Day weekend, you will likely get to attend the much-anticipated automobile race, the Indianapolis 500 or Indy 500 held every year. The Indianapolis 500 is usually praised for being a prestigious American Championship car racing event that’s known for its ‘open-wheel’ or ‘open-cockpit’ formula. It is one of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world.

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7. Basketball

Hoosier Gym Game
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hammersoft used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Just like the corn is associated with the state of Indiana, in the same vein, there is basketball but in a more intense way, which locals call the ‘Hoosier Hysteria’. This is the excitement and passion that Indianans have for the sport. Though the birthplace of basketball is in the state of Massachusetts, the basketball’s inventor, James Naismith, claimed that basketball really has its origins in Indiana. He made this remark upon attending the Indiana basketball state finals game in 1925, where about 15,000 basketball fans were screaming and cheering for their teams.

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8. Bedford limestone

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user taken by William ... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Another important feature of Indiana is certainly the Bedford limestone or Indiana limestone, which is formed using calcium carbonate deposited over millions of years as marine fossils. And you can easily find these limestones in south-central Indiana, between the Bloomington and Bedford cities. Native Americans first discovered the limestone, and settlers later used it for building windows and doors. Back in 1827, the first quarry in Indiana was created, and then in 1929, Hoosier quarries were developed to cater to the building of bridges and tunnels during the railroad’s expansion.

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9. Ice cream

Ice Cream Dessert (Unsplash)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user alexjones used under CC0

And what if there was a holiday for eating ice cream? Indeed, when you are in Indiana, you can enjoy the National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day when a myriad of local ice cream shops across the state serve a special menu dedicated to honoring Ice cream. That’s a dream come true for so many children and adults alike who love sweet treats. Normally held on a Saturday, this special day is packed with music, door prizes, and many are encouraged to dress in pajamas to celebrate the holiday. Special menus are also filled with a good selection of waffle sundaes, breakfast shakes, special breakfast toppings, and donut paninis.

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10. The University of Notre Dame

Main Building at the University of Notre Dame
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Matthew Rice used under CC BY-SA 4.0

It is not a surprise that the University of Notre Dame is praised for being one of the top universities in the United States. With a 50-year-long study-abroad program and over 15 summer programs, including 50 master’s programs, this research university is one of the most-sought-after universities among undergraduates in the States. But what makes it really unique is the presence of numerous majestic landmarks such as the Golden Dome, the Touchdown Jesus, or the Basilica on its campus. And it becomes obvious why the University gives much importance to teaching the New Classical Architecture to its students.

The University of Notre Dame

Address: Notre Dame, IN 46556, United States

Website: The University of Notre Dame

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The land of the Hoosiers

Discover this midwestern state of the United States, one of the key producers of corn, and home to key historical figures like Abraham Lincoln. We have compiled a list of the top things Indiana is famous for to help you plan your trip. If you’re looking for more fun things to do, you could also check out the best hiking and trekking spots as well as other outdoor activities.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Heyleena is a passionate travel writer who enjoys writing travel articles for people who seek to explore new places in a more conscious way. From travel guides to recommended vacation rentals, get...Read more

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