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Touring the Browns’ road cities: Indianapolis’ stadiums, cultural trail, and the Indy 500

Learning more about some of the attractions in the city of Indianapolis.

Duke v Louisville Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Our road cities tour continues with a look at Indianapolis, where the Browns will play in mid-October for their second road game of the season.

Getting to Downtown Indianapolis

If you live in Cleveland and are able to drive, you can consider making the 5-hour drive to Indianapolis, either by way of Columbus-Dayton, or by Toledo-Fort Wayne. Either path will get you there in roughly the same amount of time. If you want to fly in to the Indianapolis International Airport instead, there are not any direct flights there from Cleveland. For about $150, you can take Spirit Airlines there on a 7-hour connection; or you can pay about $270 to get there in about 3 hours on a different airline like Delta.

By vehicle, it is a 19-minute drive to Downtown Indianapolis from the Airport. If you are looking for public transportation, Indianapolis does not have a modern rail system. You can board the #8 bus from the Airport for a 50-minute trip down Washington Street into Downtown Indianapolis. The cost of a one-way fare is $1.75, but an All-Day pass is available for $4. The bus runs every 30 minutes, though, so if you just miss it, that’ll extend your wait time even longer.

Indianapolis’ Sports Stadiums and Arenas

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the annual NFL Combine (for now), is located in the Southwest corner of the Downtown Indianapolis area. It opened in 2008 an has a retractable roof, seating a listed 63,000 for football games. The outside of the stadium stands out, straying from your typical oval-shaped open-air stadiums. The surrounding area isn’t deserted, as it is near the Indiana Convention Center and a 10-minute walk away from Circle Centre Mall.

The Colts’ training camp location is at Grand Park in Westfield, IN, which is a 40-minute drive from the stadium (32 miles).

Colgate v Arkansas Photo by Joe Robbins/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Indy’s other major sports team, the Indiana Pacers in the NBA, play at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse. It is a 5-minute drive from Lucas Oil Stadium, or a 13-minute walk, located Northeast from where the Colts play. The outside of the fieldhouse fits a very similar theme to Lucas Oil Stadium, and there were renovations made recently to improve the entry plaza and other interior gathering spaces.

Even though the city doesn’t have a MLB team, just up the street from Lucas Oil Stadium is Victory Field, home to the Indianapolis Indians, a AA team that is part of the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system. Baseball American and Sports Illustrated once coined Victory Field as the “Best Minor League Ballpark in America.”

5 Tourist Things I Would Do in Indianapolis

1. Visit Monument Circle: At the center of Monument Circle is Indianapolis’ version of a Soldiers and Sailors Monument, dedicated to the Hoosiers that served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Frontier Wars and the Spanish-American War. The Monument is open Friday-Sunday from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM, and you can walk 49 steps to reach the observation level and get panoramic views of the city skyline from 231 feet in the air.

2. Go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum: Even if you’re not there when the Indy 500 is taking place, visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum basically checks the same box since it is located on the grounds. Tickets are $15 for adults. See winning cars of the Indy 500, rotating exhibits, and plenty of photo opportunities. I’m not into sports car racing, but I feel like this one of those things you have to do if you’re visiting Indianapolis and want to paint a memorable picture in your head of the city.

Indianapolis 500 Mile Race - Carb Day Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

3. Bicycle the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: I am always on the lookout for cities with good bike trail infrastructure, and Indianapolis has that with its 8-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail. There are dedicated walking and biking paths that go along a mix of art, water, landscaping, all while passing through the city. There is also a Pacers Bike Share program where you check out a bike for $1, and then pay $0.15 per minute for the duration of your trip.

4. Browse the Indianapolis City Market (and Possibly Catacombs): The inside of the Indianapolis City Market has the look-and-feel of the West Side Market, although it seems there is less produce and more prepared food stands, with seating areas around the edges and in the upper level. It would be a nice spot to try some local food, and then if you time it up and go on a Saturday, you can purchase a $17 ticket to see the underground Catacombs from 1886.

5. See Old Ruins at Holliday Park: Last, but not least, is Holliday Park, a large city park that contains a lot of big-park features, but also includes a section dedicated to various ruins, as you can see in the pictures below. The fascinating bit of trivia here is that the ruins are made up of the St. Paul Building, which was torn down at 220 Broadway in New York City in the 1950s. Be aware that the park is actually a 22-minute drive (10 miles) north of Downtown Indianapolis, though.

Random Other Adventure if You Have Time and Money

St. Elmo Steak House: One of the most known places to eat in Indianapolis is St. Elmo Steak House, known for its specialty shrimp cocktail. It has national popularity; in 2020, it was reportedly in the 25 highest-grossing independent restaurants in the county with $21+ million in sales. I would pass by the outside of it to snap a picture, but I wouldn’t eat there myself because the prices are pretty crazy-looking, and I’m not really a steak or drink person either.

If you have been to Indianapolis before, please share some of your thoughts and recommendations, whether they be tourist attractions or dining locations!