Soldiers & Sailors Observatory – Indianapolis, Indiana - Atlas Obscura

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Soldiers & Sailors Observatory

This Indianapolis landmark offers a secret panoramic view of the city.  


Constructed over a 13-year period between 1888 and 1901, the Soldiers & Sailors Monument has come to symbolize both Indianapolis and the state of Indiana in the over 120 years since its dedication. But despite its high profile as an emblem for the state, most visitors never realize there is more than meets the eye to this historic memorial. The secret: the limestone obelisk can be entered and anyone can climb to the top of the 284-foot tower for an even better view of the city.

Atop the monument sits an observatory, which offers a stunning, aerial view of the Indianapolis skyline. Visitors will have a clear view of the domed state capital, along with other prominent buildings and streets in the vicinity. The observatory includes historical photographs from when Monument Circle was constructed, close-up photographs of the “Victory” statue that crowns the obelisk, and height comparisons to other monuments around the country. This little-known site has the potential to take anyone’s trip to downtown Indianapolis to new heights.

Know Before You Go

Visitors can reach the observatory by climbing 330 steps at no charge or by riding an elevator for a small fee. The observatory is not recommended to those who suffer from claustrophobia or a fear of heights. There's also a small gift shop at the monument. The small museum at the monument is currently closed. 

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February 1, 2022

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