After a flurry of annexation and construction in the last few decades, the population of this suburban city stands at 45,000, ten times what it was in 1990.
And yet the story of Westfield goes back some 200 years, to the 1830s when Quakers relocated here from the Carolinas.
Opposed to slavery, these settlers are known to have been active on the Underground Railroad, providing a haven for escaped slaves making their way to Canada.
Westfield neighbors Carmel to the north, which puts world-class shopping, entertainment and culture at easy reach, and is easy to get around on foot or by bike thanks to rail trails like the Monon Trail.
1. Conner Prairie
Less than ten miles from Westfield, this sprawling living history museum is one of the most beloved attractions in the Indianapolis area .
Conner Prairie is named for the entrepreneur and politician, William Conner (1777-1855), who built himself one of Indiana’s first brick homes on this land by the White River in 1823.
That Federal-style house has been restored and is presented as it would have looked some 200 years ago. The attraction around it was established in the 1930s by the industrialist Eli Lilly (1886-1977), another important figure from Indiana’s past.
There’s much to experience at this nationally renowned destination, with costumed actors offering even more depth.
Check out the Lenape Indian Camp, a pioneer community from 1836, the story of an 1863 Civil War raid, an animal barn for children, the Makesmith Workshop where you can participate in traditional crafts, as well as all kinds of special seasonal activities.
In the summer the museum becomes the home of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, with sensational concerts on the prairie attracting as many as 100,000 people on Friday and Saturday nights.
2. MacGregor Park
If you need to escape to nature you need look no further than these 100 acres of rambling scenery in Washington Township.
Created following a donation by a local family in 1999, MacGregor Park is a haven for passive recreation, home to prairie, woods, wetlands, a creek, open fields and a number of themed gardens.
These can be encountered on 4.5 miles of marked aggregate trails, with a choice of three loops to hike. There are bridges crossing the creek, as well as observation platforms for birdwatching and photography.
Summer is a lovely time to visit, with plenty of shade created by the tree canopy and a startling variety of wildflowers in the prairie and special pollinator garden.
3. Grand Park Sports Campus
In 2014 this one of the largest sports complexes in the world opened in Westfield.
Welcoming 1.5 million visitors each year, Grand Park Sports Campus is on 400 acres and has more than 30 multipurpose fields (mainly for football, soccer, lacrosse and rugby) as well as 26 baseball/softball diamonds, a restaurant, viewing suites and spectator lounge.
Arriving a couple of years after the campus opened was the centerpiece, the Grand Park Events Center, a 370-square-foot facility, used for indoor sports, conventions, live entertainment and more.
Also new is the hard-surface flooring, expanding the scope of the campus to court sports like basketball, futsal and volleyball. Grand Park Sports Campus is also home to the Pacers Athletic Center, a facility with five basketball courts, purchased by the NBA franchise in 2017.
4. Monon Trail
Gradually taking shape since 1993 is a celebrated rail trail on the right-of-way of the Monon Railroad, which operated from 1847 to 1971.
The Monon Trail has recently been extended to the town of Sheridan, adding up to more than 20 miles through the northern Indianapolis suburbs and into Central Indiana.
The trail passes through Westfield west and roughly parallel to U.S. Route 31, making it a trouble-free way to reach Carmel’s exciting downtown areas and impressive Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts.
For people traveling into Westfield, the Monon Trail is connected to the Grand Park Sports Complex, so you won’t need a car to use this facility.
5. Urban Vines Winery & Brewery Co.
When it opened in 2017, Urban Vines became the first winery in Westfield, sourcing its grapes from a variety of trusted growers.
There’s also a small and very young vineyard on this five-acre plot, which also includes an outdoor patio and a meadow for big events.
Urban Vines crafts award-winning reds, whites and fruit wines, and makes its beers using only four ingredients for its unfiltered and unpasteurized beers: Water, yeast, grains and hops. If you’d like to sample the range you can choose from dry, sweet or “everything” wine tasting options.
And as a partner there’s a menu of apps, salads, charcuterie boards and artisan pizzas. Summer is an ideal time to be here, when you can bring a blanket for a live music performance in the meadow.
6. Cool Creek Park & Nature Center
In the very south of Westfield is one of the most beloved parks in Hamilton County. One feature that can’t be found anywhere else is the series of SomaStations, innovative equipment designed to keep adults active.
The playground meanwhile is one of the best around, with no fewer than 13 slides, as well as two disc swings, a share swing and even numerous auditory elements.
The park encompasses 90 acres so there’s a lot of room to stretch your legs on four miles of trails. Also present is the Cool Creek Nature Center, with child-friendly displays and live animal exhibits introducing you to the natural scene in Hamilton County.
Hard to miss on Westfield’s main street, Indiana State Road 32, Birdies is a sports bar with 36 holes of mini golf outside.
You don’t need a reservation to play a round, and the course is open till as late as 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights, perfect for date nights. Birdies opened in 2020, and the course is designed to be fun, while requiring skill more than luck.
The holes are set amid rocky landscaping, with outcrops, shrubs, gravel beds and a creek crossed by bridges.
The sports bar is an ideal place to catch the game, with a grillhouse making bites like wings, sliders, pulled pork nachos, parmesan truffle fries and salads.
Popular picks include beer battered fish & chips, pretzel bites & beer cheese and the All American burger, with an all-beef patty and lots of melted cheese.
8. Quaker Park
Named in honor of Westfield’s founders, this community park opened in 1997 and has added some new features in the last few years. Quaker Park is a trailhead for the Midland Trace Trail, which we’ll cover in more detail below.
For families there’s a newly expanded playground, including heat-resistant turf and a specially designed area for the littlest children, aged 6 to 24 months.
This neighbors a splash park, which is a favorite place for kids to escape the heat in summer. Among the other amenities there’s a relaxing garden area, a charcoal grill, an educational trail for younger children, a shelter and a basketball court.
9. Midland Trace Trail
At Quaker Park you’ll encounter a trailhead for this multi-use trail, which runs for four miles in Westfield, and for a further three in Noblesville.
Safe, broad, well-maintained and equipped with plenty of signage, the trail is on the old right-of-way of the “Midland” Central Indiana Railway, traveling east to west through the city, mostly alongside Indiana State Road 32.
This is a growing trail system with a number of new sections in the pipeline when we wrote this article, and intersecting the Monon Trail just east of Quaker Park.
10. Clay Terrace
Just south of Westfield and reachable via the Monon trail is a major lifestyle center with just shy of 80 stores and services.
In keeping with the ever-growing communities surrounding it, Clay Terrace is designed to be walkable, with sidewalks spruced up with hedges, trees, street lighting and neatly clipped hedges.
Essentially, Clay Terrace is a super-convenient downtown area, home to chains like Sephora, Whole Foods, Claire’s, Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Eddie Bauer, GameStop and American Eagle. Red Robin, Qdoba, Harmony Poke & Bubble Tea and Kona Grill are just a few of the dining choices.
Rare for a mall, Clay Terrace is also dog friendly, with a dog park that even has a hose, water bowls and agility equipment.
11. Freedom Trail Park
Opened in 2010 as part of a major prairie restoration project, Freedom Trail park is just northeast of the old downtown area.
As well as a big sweep of natural grassland, this space has plenty of useful amenities. A real plus here is the wonderful all-inclusive playground and sensory garden, the result of a close collaboration between the Hamilton County Autism Support Group and the City of Westfield.
Also at the park are paved trails, multi-use sports fields, vine-covered teepees and a sand table.
12. Wood Wind Golf Club
There’s an almost overwhelming choice for golfers in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis, with more than 40 public or municipal courses within 20 miles of Westfield.
A good local public option is Wood Wind Golf Club, which has an 18-hole championship course with a relatively straightforward design that should suit novice and intermediate players.
One of the less forgiving holes is the 6th, a par 5 with a tricky dogleg right and a green backed by water. Also noteworthy is 14, a par 3 over water.
13. Village Park Plaza (Regal)
On the commercial corridor along U.S. Route 31, there’s an expansive shopping center at the boundary between Westfield and Carmel.
Village Park Plaza has a big directory of familiar stores, like Hobby Lobby, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Five Below and Lane Bryant, along with independent local services and shops for jewelry, beauty supplies, children’s clothing and much more.
When it comes to food there’s a Chili’s, Five Guys, Chick-fil-A, Steak ‘n Shake and a handful of other chains. This is also the location for the 17-screen Regal Village Park movie theater.
14. Prancing Ponies
This company has made a name for itself providing ponies for children’s birthday parties across the Indianapolis area.
But Prancing Ponies is a visitor attraction in its own right, inviting families onto their 20-acre farm in summer for Pony Dayz, featuring a petting farm, playground equipment and, of course, pony rides for a small fee.
There’s also a farm stand where you can buy locally sourced, fruit, vegetables and meat, as well as a newly expanded picnic area.
During the school summer break, Prancing Ponies organizes Down on the Farm Summer Camps for school-age children, while there’s also a toddler camp and preschool camp earlier in the season.
15. Westfield-Washington Historical Society and Museum
When we wrote this article, work was underway on a reconstruction of the log cabin home of early Westfield resident, Nicholas Barker (1795-1869).
This will be located in the formerly vacant lot behind the quaint City Hall on Penn Street. Part of that founding group of Quakers, Barker is thought to have been involved in the Underground Railroad.
There are also interesting displays about Westfield’s origins and progress at a small museum building already on this site.
This houses a surprisingly large collection of historical artifacts, from photography to decorative arts, textiles, coins, furniture, handicrafts, books and Native American objects.