Lucas Oil Stadium is consistently rated as one of the NFL’s best stadiums. It’s unique exterior profile pays homage to Hinkle Fieldhouse, one of the state’s most celebrated basketball venues and home to the Butler Bulldogs. When Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl XLVI, the entire landscape of the downtown area changed as Georgia Street became a pedestrian-friendly block with a variety of sports bars and other entertainment options.
Perhaps the city’s most popular reputation is that it hosts some of the longest-running annual conventions and sporting tournaments, and features a convention center that is connected to downtown destinations through a tunnel system.
If big ball sports isn’t your thing, the city still hosts the largest single spectator sporting event in the Indy 500. Some cities have “more to do,” but few keep pace with Indy for sports.
What to Eat
St. Elmo’s Steakhouse
The most recognizable Indianapolis staple for steaks and cocktails. This was Peyton Manning’s favorite, where he actually paid to have a private room to entertain friends and teammates. The restaurant is famous for steaks and arguably the most shocking cocktail sauce in the US. It’s worth a visit for these two dishes alone, but the menu has plenty of other options. Enjoy an Elmo Cola if you’re into having a cocktail with dinner. St. Elmo’s is located downtown just a few blocks away from Lucas Oil Stadium but will be packed on football weekends, so reservations will be a must.
One of the most popular areas of Indianapolis’ downtown area is Massachusetts Ave., just northeast of the city’s center. Numerous bars, restaurants and shops are lined up in the area including local favorites like Bru Burger, Bakersfield, Salt on Mass, and the Rathskeller. What makes The Eagle standout is that it is arguably somewhat overlooked — even by locals — and has a ridiculously tasty menu that includes a brown sugar bacon appetizer, blackened shrimp po boys, and white cheddar grits (add shrimp). The restaurant’s staple is its chicken, which can be enjoyed on a bun or directly on the plate.
Biggest tourist attraction
NCAA Hall of Champions
Sports fanatics regularly flock to see all of the history found in the NCAA Hall of Champions. Located southwest of the city’s center in White River State Park, the Hall of Champions should set the sporting mood. White River State Park also contains the TCU Amphitheater, which hosts national musicians and other entertainers, and is also located right on the Indianapolis Canal. Throw in that the Indiana State Museum is just a short walk away, and there is a lot to do in and around this major sports landmark.
Under the radar attraction
This “under the radar” attraction is quickly coming onto the national radar. In fact, Time Magazine recently named Indianapolis one of the world’s greatest places in no small part to the Bottleworks District. This area is near Massachusetts Ave. and turned an old Coca-Cola bottling facility into a social hotspot that includes restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.
Game day experience
The stadium is conveniently located to the southwest of the city’s center and has ample parking. Locals will flood into a variety of lots that are speckled all around the downtown area, with attendants displaying prices for each location. The parking prices are reasonable and the walk to the stadium is less than a mile or so, even from the exterior lots. Tailgating is not centralized but can be found all over in each of the parking locations that surround the stadium. Find a tailgate in the lot you choose or swing through during your walk to the stadium and you’ll get a taste of Hoosier Hospitality — well, unless you’re a Patriots fan.