What’s Happening Along the White River This Summer

Get ready to experience the best of the White River this summer! The colors of spring give way to the sounds of summer as the river corridor comes alive with an incredible lineup of outdoor concerts, on-water recreation activities, community events, and….chimpanzees!?

Sounds of Music Return

Melodies of all sorts complement the natural beauty of the river all summer long!

  • Symphony on the Prairie at Conner Prairie in Fishers returns with 16 different shows under the evening skies featuring the Indianapolis Symphony and musical guests. From sounds inspired by Tom Petty, ABBA, Taylor Swift and more, there’s a genre for every taste.
  • Everwise Amphitheater brings a lineup of dozens of popular national touring acts to the riverbank in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis. Sarah McLachlan, 311 with AWOLNATION, Lyle Lovett, Pat Benetar, and Whiskey Myers are just a few of the names appearing on stage this summer.
  • Rock the Ruins at Holliday Park brings outdoor music to one of the river’s most popular parks. Orville Peck, Amos Lee, Elle King, Hippo Campus, and De La Soul are among the acts appearing in the shadows of the park’s famous Ruins structure. 
  • Concerts at the Commons in Noblesville’s Federal Hill Commons welcome regional bands covering famous acts like the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Garth Brooks, and Bon Jovi. And they’re free!
  • Animals and all that Jazz at the Indianapolis Zoo provides a truly unique experience. The Thursday evening experience, included in the price of zoo admission, showcases a diverse lineup of musicians from across the Midwest, covering jazz genres from classic to contemporary, smooth soul to blues, and even blending in the sounds of pop and R&B.

Get on the Water

Summertime is the best time to get out on the water. If you have your own boat, canoe, or kayak, check out our paddling page for boat ramps and launch locations as well as where to find hazardous dams and safe water level recommendations.

  • The river has two liveries where you can rent kayaks and canoes for two to four hour trips. White River Canoe Company is located in Noblesville with trips starting in northern Hamilton County and also offers tubes. Frank’s Paddlesports Livery is based in Riverside Park in Indianapolis with trips starting in Broad Ripple, and they also offer stand-up paddleboards.
  • Have a bigger group? Friends of the White River’s River School program offers guided raft trips (the same rafts you see on whitewater but without the rapids!). The organization’s volunteer guides will also provide on-water education about the river while you float!
  • Feeling more competitive? The White River Paddle Days and Festival returns this year with three canoe and kayak races on June 14-16 in Daleville, Noblesville, and Indy. All equipment is provided and all experience levels are welcome. 

Chimpanzees at the Zoo

This summer, a new chimpanzee habitat opens at the Indianapolis Zoo, welcoming these magnificent creatures to the riverfront in White River State Park. Among the largest such habitats in the nation, it has been designed to allow the animals to have a variety of choices as they roam through wire bridges overhead around the zoo.  By the way: did you know that the Indianapolis Zoo is a global leader in animal conservation? From its Indianapolis Prize, the top award for conservation in the world, to serving as host for the Global Center for Species Survival, Indianapolis continues to lead the fight to protect species around the world.


Fishing is always a popular warm-weather activity along the river, and while we’re not divulging anyone’s secret spot, we have put together a handy guide about the most common fish in the river, locations of boat ramps, fish consumption advisories, and fishing regulations.

  • Free Fishing Days: June 1-2 and September 28 are Free Fishing Days in Indiana, meaning Indiana residents don’t need a fishing license to fish. Miss these days? Licenses are only $23/year for residents and can be bought online or at a network of retailers. Kids 17 and under don’t need a license.
  • Guided fishing more your thing? White River is home to Indiana’s premiere guide service, Two Forks Guide Service, who can take you out on an all-day, fully-furnished experience of solitude and beauty on the river!

Community Gatherings

Want to meet up with friends along the river? There are plenty of regular and special events coming up this summer.

  • Noblesville First Friday makes historic Downtown Noblesville your evening destination with fun-filled themed experiences and special deals at shops and restaurants. Stop by the first Friday of any month throughout the summer (and beyond)!
  • The Summer Nights Film Series at Newfields showcases a wide variety of films–from black-and-white classics to modern blockbusters, under the stars every Friday night during the summer.
  • HATCH Fest showcases talented local artisans and makers showcasing their handmade goods, including wood items, books, pottery, bath and body items, craft art, jewelry, home decor, and more! It takes place in Downtown Noblesville and even better: it also coincides with the St. Michael’s Strawberry Festival!
  • The Taste of Indy returns to White River State Park on July 6 with delicious bites, live entertainment, and a vibrant display of community spirit. 
  • Black: A Festival of Joy is back for its third year on July 13 in Riverside Park in Indy to celebrate the vibrant diversity and collective strength of the Black community. You’ll find live performances, food trucks, vendors to shop, relaxation stations and more!
  • Light Up the Night brings a unique visual experience to Potter’s Bridge Park in Noblesville on August 23. Live music and lighted entertainment adds to the ambiance of the historic bridge and connecting paths festooned with lights and luminaries. 

You can earn rewards points for almost all of these places and activities through our free Discover White River Rewards Pass. Points can be redeemed for exclusive stickers and t-shirts as well as on-water experiences. Sign up for the digital pass today!

Looking for all the happenings along the river? Be sure to check out our online events calendar for the scoop on everything going on this summer!