Indianapolis Favorites for Your Indy 500 Experience

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Every year, thousands of racing fans flock to Indianapolis for the Indy 500, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." As the city prepares for the 100th running of the race this May, spectators from all over the world are gearing up for a weekend full of live music, entertainment and, of course, world-class racing. Are you coming?

If so, don't limit your experience to the Motor Speedway (although that will be loads of fun). Below are great ways to get out into the city and explore everything Indianapolis has to offer.

Museums & Monuments

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Whatever your interests, Indianapolis has you covered with a rich menu of museums and sightseeing destinations.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art boasts over 54,000 works spanning 5,000 years, featuring collections of African, American, Asian, European, Contemporary, and Design art.

But if history is more your game, head over to the Indianapolis Historical Society, whose “You Are There" experience combines historical photography and live-action storytelling to send you back into time in a wholly unique and immersive experience.

Plus, no trip to Indianapolis would be complete without a visit to the internationally-renowned Children's Museum of Indianapolis—a sprawling complex of over 470,000 square feet and 11 major galleries that U.S. News claims “lives up to its title as the world's largest children's museum."

If you're looking to combine downtown exploration with sightseeing opportunities, VisitIndy.com notes that Indianapolis' collection of war memorials is one the largest in America, second only to Washington, D.C.

Dining

No matter your tastes, Indy's array of dining options are perfect for any palate or budget.

Check out Milktooth for brunch, ranked number one on Indianapolis Monthly's list of top restaurants in 2016 for its use of local ingredients to breathe new life into greasy-spoon classics.

Then, enjoy dinner at Union 50—a “chef-driven" restaurant featuring “innovative dishes that change seasonally," recently named one of America's 100 hottest restaurants by OpenTable.

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Or, for a simpler fare, head to Bazbeaux's pizza, ranked by the Indiana Insider Blog as the best pizza in Indianapolis. For dessert, visit Broad Ripple Village for Bric's ice cream, where more than 30 flavors and multitudes of toppings will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Shopping & Nightlife

While you're in Broad Ripple, stroll down Broad Ripple Avenue and check out the assortment of quirky gift shops. Plus, imbibe in some of the great bars and nightlife all over the area, including the Thr3eWiseMen brewery and the British-styled Union Jack Pub.

Back closer to downtown there's Circle Centre Mall right in the heart of the city, along with Hotel Tango Whiskey in Fountain Square, an artisan cocktail bar and the first small batch distillery in the state of Indiana.

Then, just a short walk away is Action and Atomic Duckpin Bowling, a bowling alley built in 1928 that keeps alive the tradition of 1900s-era “Duckpin" bowling.

Outdoor Activities

If you're more drawn to the outdoors, both Eagle Creek Park and Fort Harrison State Park are just a short drive outside of Indianapolis. To stay a little closer to the downtown area, take a walk down the Monon Trail, the Central Canal Towpath, or the Canal Walk at White River State Park.

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And if after the Indy 500 you're still hungry for more sports, grab a ticket to a baseball game at Victory Field, home of MLB minor league affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians.

Getting Around & Staying Safe

How you get around during your stay will be just as important as what you'll be doing. IndyGo, Indianapolis' bus system, runs all over Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and a robust taxi system can take you to all the places buses can't, and provide late-night service.

indianapolis favorites

Ride-share company Uber has become increasingly popular in Indianapolis, and can often cost less than a traditional taxi.

Indy also recently unveiled a new rental car experience called BlueIndy, which features electric cars positioned all around the city that you can reserve quickly and easily online and be on your way.

And the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare program allows you access to a Pacers Bikeshare bike "for unlimited 30-minute trips for the duration of your pass or membership," which you can purchase at any station kiosk or online. There are 27 bike stations on or near the Cultural Trail- all available year round from 5am to 3am!

As you make your way around Indianapolis, be aware of the dangers typically associated with large, citywide events. WISHTV, a local news outlet, recently published a story with tips on staying safe during the Indy 500, including how to avoid pick-pocketing, parking scams, having your race ticket stolen, or buying a fake one.

For more tips on getting around safely in the U.S. (covering public transport, ride sharing, rental car, and travel health insurance), check out this resource.

Enjoy your trip to Indy and stay safe!

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