Spring is the best time to take an easy road trip from Chicago to a new place. Especially if that new place is to a growing community like Southern Indiana, also known as SoIN. With cities like New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Clarksville, there are plenty of exciting things to do all year long, but springtime is when this place really comes to life.

Check out my guide and discover why SoIN should be on your road trip from Chicago bucket list.

Taylor Blog Big Four Bridge
Big Four Pedestrian Bridge | Photo by Taylor Justin

Things to Do in Southern Indiana (SoIN)

SoIN is great for experiencing nature-filled excursions, sampling flavorful food options, or even shopping for the Kentucky Derby. Located just 1 mile away from Louisville, SoIN is situated across the Ohio River and offers many fun things to do in the spring season. Here are five exciting things to do in the area.

Taylor Blog View From Big Four Bridge
Big Four Pedestrian Bridge | Photo by Taylor Justin

1. Experience Ohio River Excursions

One of the highlights of visiting SoIN is the opportunity to explore the scenic Ohio River. You can take a stroll on one of the region's top attractions, the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge, a former train trestle bridge that connects Jeffersonville, Ind. to Louisville, Ky., providing visitors with fresh air and great views of the Ohio River. Weather and river-level permitting, you can also explore the river and find fossils dating back more than 390 million years at the Falls of the Ohio State Park. Whether you're in the mood for recreation or leisure, the Ohio River has something perfect for you.

Taylor Blog Dinner at MESA 
Dinner at Mesa by Chef Todd Alexander | Photo by Taylor Justin

Taylor Blog Board and You 
Dinner at Board and You Bistro & Wine Bar | Photo by Taylor Justin

Taylor Blog Union GameYard
Lunch at Union Restaurant & Gameyard | Photo by Taylor Justin

2. Sample Modern Cuisine

Southern Indiana boasts a diverse culinary scene, with options ranging from elevated dining experiences to outdoor, all-season game bars. For bites to share, stop by the popular Board and You Bistro & Wine Bar. If you want something casual and good for large groups, hit up Union Restaurant & Gameyard. If you're looking for a dining experience that is intimate, conversational, and chef-driven, visit MESA. I experienced a 4-course Asian-infused dinner led by Chef Todd Alexander, and it was a highlight of the trip!

Taylor Blog NoCo 
Water Tower at NoCo Arts & Cultural District | Photo by Taylor Justin

Taylor Blog NoCo The Depot Derby Fashion
Event Space NoCo Arts & Cultural District | Photo by Taylor Justin

Taylor Blog The Depot NoCo Derby Fashion
Vendors at NoCo Arts & Cultural District | Photo by Taylor Justin

3. Discover the Growing Arts and Culture Scene

SoIN boasts a flourishing arts and cultural scene, which is great to explore during the spring. Visit New Albany for First Fridays, a monthly celebration of local artists, galleries, and more. Stop by The Depot and NoCo Arts & Cultural District, a colorful destination for events, entertainment, and creativity. Lastly, experience an intimate magic show at J&B Magic Shop & Theater featuring some of the world's best performers. Don't forget that audience participation is highly recommended (according to this participant).

Taylor Blog Schimpff's Family
The Schimpff Family | Photo by Taylor Justin

4. Explore Historic Landmarks

No historical landmark tells a sweeter story of the rich history of SoIN and Jeffersonville quite like Schimpff's Confectionery. The candy store is a family-owned business, serving up delicious treats for more than 130 years. The current owners, Warren & Jill Schimpff, continue to host candy-making demonstrations of their famous cinnamon red hots and other treats on an ongoing basis. You can also find historic landmarks throughout the area and recommendations on all things SoIN at the newly opened Southern Indiana Visitor Center.

Taylor Blog Downtown New Albany
Downtown New Albany | Photo by Taylor Justin

5. Roam through Revitalized Downtowns

The downtown districts in SoIN are unique and offer various things to do. While you’re exploring the history of Jeffersonville, take a stroll on Spring Street for boutiques, galleries, vintage shops, and more. It’s also a must to stop by the Black-owned, sensory-inclusive dessert shop, Taylor's Cereal Bowl Kitchen, for a cool and delicious treat. In New Albany, you can't go wrong with a nightcap at one of their many novelty bars and lounges. Sample an eclectic assortment of wine pours from Wine Shop or enjoy a creative cocktail at High Street Apothecary, a sultry speakeasy.


Where can you stay in SoIN?
If you're looking for an affordable place to stay during your road trip from Chicago check out The Fairfield Inn & Suites in New Albany, Southern Indiana. This modern hotel has plenty of great amenities, including free breakfast! They're also centrally located to shopping districts and easily accessible to the various cities that make up SoIN. 

How do you get around SoIN?
Navigating SoIN is a breeze, thanks to its compact size. Whether you choose to explore on foot, by bike, drive, or use a ride-share service, getting around the area is easy and convenient.

Taylor Blog Southern Indiana Visitor Center


SoIN is a fantastic community that blends Midwest comfort with Southern hospitality. The locals are welcoming, the cuisine is mouth-watering, and it's an all-around fantastic destination to explore all within a 10-mile radius!

If you're familiar with my blog, you already know that I love exploring cool cities and small towns, and SoIN should be added to this list.

This was a truly memorable road trip experience, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for SoIN. If you are interested in planning a trip and learning more about SoIN this spring or anytime throughout the year, visit their website at GoSoIN.com.

This blog was written by Chicago lifestyle blogger Taylor Justin and originally published on her website, The Haute Seeker. Follow Taylor on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for more unique travel experiences and cool things to do in Chicago and beyond.