On September 19, 2012Larry Olmsted answered the question:Sports fuels commerce and tourism in Indianapolis, and you can watch all kinds of major sporting events here all year long. Home teams include the NFL’s Colts and NBA’s Pacers, while the city’s biggest event is the Indianapolis 500, the largest single day sporting event in the world, drawing more than 300,000 spectators every Memorial Day weekend. A close second is NASCAR’s Brickyard 400, held on the same track — the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The speedway also hosts a MotoGP motorcycle race. Another big annual event is the Big 10 Conference college football championship, and a major part of the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament is held here every year, either a men’s or women’s Final Four or Sweet Sixteen round in alternating years. Indianapolis is home to several Olympic teams, including USA Track & Field and USA Gymnastics, and regularly hosts major events in the sports.
On September 19, 2012Larry Olmsted answered the question:When leaving Indianapolis, make sure to bring home a piece of the city’s heritage — new or old. The most popular Indianapolis souvenirs are from the Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — take home a model of the Marmon Wasp, the yellow car that won the first-ever Indy 500 in 1911. At the Indianapolis Museum of Art, pick up a miniature replica of Robert Indiana’s iconic square, four-letter LOVE statue from the gift shop. While the 3-ton original outside the museum is red, keepsake versions are available in all sizes and colors. And if you can, snag a six-pack of local beer to bring home with you. Indianapolis has a thriving craft brewing scene — check out the beers at the popular Sun King Brewery.
On September 19, 2012Larry Olmsted answered the question:Indianapolis Midwestern to the core, so the local dining scene has long revolved around meat, and lots of it, but the city still offers variety and surprising culinary offerings that go far beyond simple fare. According to Forbes Travel Guide editors, the five best food experiences in Indianapolis are:
1. Breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. There are dozens of restaurants around town specializing in this iconic Indianapolis dish. A huge, thinly pounded pork cutlet is breaded, deep fried and served on a hamburger-sized bun.
2. Dinner or drinks at Plump’s Last Shot. This beloved hole-in-the-wall pub is named for Bobby Plump, the high school basketball player who hit the game-winning shot that inspired the movie Hoosiers. Plump, a local hero, has been known to tend bar on Tuesday nights.
3. Shrimp cocktail from St. Elmo Steak House. Served with a fiery cocktail sauce full of fresh Missouri-grown horseradish, the James Beard Award-winning eatery is known for the classic appetizer. Countless celebrities — including several U.S. Presidents — have cleared their sinuses here.
4. Home-grown beer. Indianapolis has a thriving micro-brew beer scene. Seek out Sun King Sunlight Cream Ale — it took home a medal at the World Beer competition. Food trucks line up outside their downtown brewery year round.
5. Steak. There’s no way to miss Indianapolis’ love affair with red meat, especially high quality steak. In addition to hometown favorites St. Elmo Steak House and Harry & Izzy’s, where Super Bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning is a part owner, the city has outposts from national chains including The Capital Grille, Shula’s Steak House and Morton’s The Steakhouse.
On September 19, 2012Larry Olmsted answered the question:The best nightlife in Indianapolis is along a six-block stretch of the hip Broad Ripple neighborhood. The area — ten minutes north of downtown — has one bar, café, theater, brewpub, comedy club or live music venue after another. Broad Ripple is known for its vibrant social scene and nightlife, and many of the bars stay open until 3 a.m., staying true to the neighborhood saying, “We’re open if you are.” Hit up Crackers Comedy Club for nightly standup and comedy acts, hear live jazz at The Jazz Kitchen or watch the game and drink a pint at Old Pro’s Table.
On September 19, 2012Larry Olmsted answered the question:Thanks to the Super Bowl, seeing Indianapolis in one day has never been easier — or healthier. Prior to the 2012 NFL championship, the city unveiled its new Cultural Trail, eight miles of separated or marked pedestrian and bike paths linking six designated cultural districts, spanning downtown and nearby Broad Ripple, the trendy neighborhood where the city’s favorite son, David Letterman, grew up. Nearly all of Indianapolis’ major attractions are on this route, including the Central Canal (stop and kayak or ride a gondola), and plenty of restaurants. Many downtown hotels provide bikes to guests, so it’s easy to spend the day exploring the city.
On September 19, 2012Larry Olmsted answered the question:Indianapolis offers two distinctly different shopping experiences, but luckily, both are in downtown and close to each other. Circle Centre is the city’s best modern mall, with over 100 shops — including most well-known chain brands — all linked to 12 downtown hotels by climate-controlled skywalks. Massachusetts Avenue (known to locals as Mass Ave) is downtown Indianapolis’ funkier side, lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques, many of them owner-operated. The five-block area has theaters and shops galore — check out the shoe store that claims to be nation's oldest, Stout's Shoes, and follow your nose to the handmade chocolates at The Best Chocolate In Town.
On September 19, 2012Larry Olmsted answered the question:With its exuberant Midwestern hospitality, casual dining scene and world-class children’s museum, Indianapolis is a fantastic family destination. Here’s Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ list of the five best things to do with kids in Indianapolis:
1.Visit the largest children’s museum in the world. With a four-story Brachiosaurus bursting through its exterior, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is consistently ranked one of the best museums of its kind in the United States. Check out the dinosaur habitat with real fossils, the carousel and the steam locomotive.
2. Tour Trader’s Point Creamery. This 200-acre organic dairy — 16 miles from Indianapolis — is home to a herd of Brown Swiss cows and hosts tastings and hands-on demonstrations. Sample fresh, organic chocolate milk, ice cream and cheese.
3. Swim with dolphins. Every city has a zoo, but the Indianapolis Zoo is among the few with an in-water dolphin program. Don a wet suit and join the trainers in a specially designed pool where you and your kids can spend a half hour hanging out with the dolphins face-to-face.
4. Try Duckpin. Duckpin bowling, also known as candlepin, features grapefruit-sized balls, three throws not two, and narrow wooden pins. It is now virtually extinct — except in Indianapolis, at the historic Fountain Square Theatre Building, where you can play
with 1950s equipment.
5. Explore the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. This Smithsonian Institute affiliate is the Midwest’s version of Colonial Williamsburg. The 1,200-acre prairie town is populated by costumed actors who teach kids about about life in the Civil War era.
On September 19, 2012Larry Olmsted answered the question:Indianapolis’ best attractions are concentrated and convenient — it’s easy to sample the city’s combination of sports, culture and natural attractions in just a weekend. Here’s Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ list of the five best things to do in Indy:
1. Visit “The Brickyard.” Once paved with bricks, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — site of the annual Indy 500 — now has just a strip of the original surface at its finish line. The onsite Hall of Fame Museum is the city’s premier attraction. Finish your tour with a tram ride around the famed oval.
2. Meet the city’s most famous literary son. The author of Slaughterhouse-Five was born here and earned his own museum, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library — located in a building designed by his architect grandfather, Bernard Vonnegut, whose designs can be seen through the city.
3. Check out the NCAA Hall of Champions. The National Collegiate Athletics Association, headquartered in Indianapolis, runs 23 college sports — each with a display at the museum. Get involved with interactive exhibits, watch games in the media room and see the retro 1930s basketball gym.
4. Stroll the canal. Indianapolis’ 1.5-mile Central Canal runs through downtown, complete with a path for walking and biking, rental kayaks, pedal boats and even gondolas (imported all the way from Venice).
5. See the original LOVE sculpture. The reproductions of Robert Indiana’s famously square four-letter LOVE sculpture in New York and Philadelphia are just that, reproductions. The 3-ton original is displayed on the 150-acre campus of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
On July 27, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:As a fast-growing modern city in the Midwest, Indianapolis’ restaurant scene combines the region’s penchant for hearty American staples — think dry-aged steaks — with culinary trends. These are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ list of the five best places to eat in Indianapolis:
1. St. Elmo Steak House. One of the nation’s best old school steakhouses, St. Elmo won a 2012 James Beard Award as an American classic. Renowned for its spicy shrimp cocktail and tradition of serving shots of tomato juice, St. Elmo Steak House also has a Prohibition-themed lounge on its second floor.
2. R Bistro. This Indianapolis eatery stresses local ingredients and contemporary techniques. The menu here (with dishes like buttermilk fried quail with corn and blueberry salad) changes weekly and is entirely devoted to utilizing the best and local seasonal products.
3. Recess. Another of the new crop of restaurants focused on ultra-fresh ingredients, Recess changes its menu every day (it always includes a four-course pre-fixe dinner) and uses local Indiana products as often as possible — mixed with lots of fresh seafood. The restaurant offers long list of wines by the glass and an equally impressive craft beer menu.
4. Oakleys Bistro. Chef and owner Steven Oakley worked at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Charlie Trotter’s before opening this restaurant, serving dishes such as a roasted garlic waffle with lobster, zucchini and mustard cream. Catch wine tastings on Tuesdays.
5. Late Harvest Kitchen. This contemporary American eatery serves up satisfying and creative dishes — caviar pie, whole yellowtail snapper Provencal — in both small plate and entrée sizes. The casual restaurant includes an outdoor patio.
On July 27, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Indianapolis is home to a handful of full-service modern hotels — many built as part of the city’s sports-fueled downtown revival — along with some quirkier choices. These are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the five best places to stay in Indianapolis:
1. JW Marriott Indianapolis. This outpost of Marriott’s top tier brand is the largest of the chain in the U.S., with over 1,000 rooms. Opened in February 2011, the hotel’s rooms come equipped with LCD TVs and colorful décor.
2. Conrad Indianapolis. This 23-story hotel contains several floors of private residences — considered some of the best apartments in the city. It is home to Tastings, a wine bar with automated wine dispensers, as well as an outpost of The Capital Grille and a spa and salon.
3. Historic Canterbury Hotel. This traditional property combines the atmosphere of a grand hotel (you’ll notice when you walk through the large brass doors) with intimacy and modernity. The Canterbury sits in the middle of downtown and boasts five two-level luxury suites.
4. The Villa Inn. With just six rooms, this one-of-a-kind urban bed and breakfast has the charm of a private home — but with a full service spa and one of Indianapolis’ better restaurants, all in an Italianate brick mansion.
5. The Westin Indianapolis Hotel. With a downtown location, this is one of the city’s top business hotels, but also gets a fair share of leisure guests, especially for Colts games at nearby Lucas Oil Stadium. The contemporary hotel houses a Shula’s Steakhouse and offers in-room spa treatments.