With the NFL Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis kicking off (pun intended!) this weekend, I thought it’d be a great idea to bring you guys a guide to spending 2 days in this diverse midwest US city. It’s home not just to the big game but also one of the most famous motor races on earth. Check out what Adam Bruk recommends for 48 hours in Indianapolis – JM
Things to See and Do
If have kids with you, the Children’s Museum is a must-see. If you don’t have kids, you should visit anyway.
Photo by clarkmaxwell on Flickr.
The Indianapolis Children’s Musuem is one of the best in the world, with exhibits covering a wide range of topics that are educational, interactive, and interesting, all at the same time. You know you’ve found the right building when a dinosaur is smashing into it.
Take a stroll through Broad Ripple Village, a few miles north of Downtown.
The pedestrian-friendly streets and canal-straddling sidewalks boast some of the region’s best shopping and eating spots.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the only local icon visible from space, which should draw you to its size for its own merits.
Photo by danielmorrison on Flickr.
Even if you don’t visit Indy during the biggest race, the 500, you can still explore the unique racing museum and the vast center of the loop.
The White River Canal snakes through the area slightly south of Downtown, connecting the Eiteljorg Museum, the Indiana State Museum, and the NCAA Museum in a carefully designed route ornamented with art and classical architecture.
Just as exciting as the endpoint is the ride itself, whether you’re jogging, riding a one, two, four, or six-seater bike, or pedaling a paddle-boat.
Food and Drink
Goose the Market
Directly north of Downtown is small but valuable deli, oddly named Goose the Market. In it, you can find a variety of fresh, premium, and exotic meats, as well as sandwiches made with said meats.
Photo by kimmanleyort on Flickr.
The downstairs sports a cozy bar and some tables for wine-tasting, but be warned: there’s not much room. Prepare for it to be swamped at lunch, even if you’re just grabbing some of their famous gelato.
Yats, with several locations in the greater Indianapolis area, is becoming a local legend. For a couple bucks, you get a heaping plateful of Cajun food.
The menu is somewhat random but always guarantees a mildly spicy combination of rices, beans, and meats.
3 Days in Paris
The City Market is a historic building a few blocks from the center of Downtown. It buzzes at lunchtime, when government workers and other locals flock to the assembly of eateries inside this vast, hollow building. My favorite is the crepe place, 3 Days in Paris. You can order either a healthy, egg-based breakfast crepe or an indulgent desert crepe.
Sun King Brewing has quickly become Indy’s proudest local brewery. The beer is relatively cheap and very unique. Fridays are a special hotspot, when locals pick up “growlers” of the brews for an astounding $5.
Photo by Indiana Public Media on Flickr.
How to get there
Airline passengers will have the luxury of passing through a brand-new terminal, built in 2008. The wings are typical but the center is a giant, open hub sure to relieve you of stress developed on your cramped plane ride. Getting downtown is as easy as hitching a ride on a frequent bus line.
If you’re lucky enough to live in the scenic Midwest, you may be able to take the Megabus, a low-cost, regional bus line that lets you travel through major Midwestern cities for less than $50 a trip. Greyhound will be at least double the price, but offers more amenities and greater reach.
Driving to Indianapolis is a terrific idea if you’re planning on being mobile and versatile while here. See below for more advice about driving in Indianapolis.
A bit of orientation
Here’s a handy map laying out all the sights mentioned above to give you an idea of where things are in Indianapolis. Click on the markers to see the sight listed and zoom and pan around to see more of the map.
View 48 hours in Indianapolis in a larger map
Get around in Indianapolis
The bus system, IndyGo, works in a spoke system. Buses depart from downtown to metropolitan locations, especially on the northside. If you’re staying downtown and looking to explore some of the close-but-not-that-close attractions in Indianapolis, IndyGo can be a time and money saver.
Indianapolis has been working in improving their biking environment for the past few years, adding lanes and marking them clearly. Biking is most useful if you’re staying on the Northside and traveling downtown, or vice versa. The Monon Trail runs from 146th in Carmel all the way down to 10th street in Indy, and is always full of joggers, bikers, and dog-walkers.
If your housing, entertainment and business stops are all in the downtown area, walking can relieve all your traffic-related stress. No tickets, parking, or planning to worry about.
Since approximately 2008, the Indiana Department of Transportation has been hard at work revamping the interstate surrounding the city. Plus, the City of Indianapolis has been improving streets in preparation for Superbowl XLI. Indianapolis is very car-friendly. Traffic is light and the streets are clearly organized.
Where to stay
The Conrad is nestled amidst Circle Center Mall in the heart of Downtown, a block from the Indiana Repertoire Theater and Downtown’s most prized eateries.
The JW Marriott is the newest building to dominate the Indy skyline. Its exterior is covered completely in one-way mirrors, reflecting a bright, blue tint you won’t lose sight of. It’s conveniently connected via skywalk to the Indiana Convention Center.
Indianapolis may not have the ritzy, modern houses of larger metropolitan areas, but there are many historic districts in Indy with beds and rooms to rent on the fast-growing online travel site.
Indianapolis doesn’t sport a huge offering of hostels, but for those looking for temporary or long-term housing, Indy Hostel is a cozy house south of Broad Ripple with homely features like a garden and patio.
Indianapolis is super-affordable for visitors. Hotel prices, especially, are way below the national average. You can get a cheap meal for under $7, a moderately nice one at $15, and a fine one starting at $25 a person.
Indianapolis is often over-looked as a less impressive younger sibling to Chicago. In reality, the Crossroads of America sports many unique features and attractions, all at an affordable rate.