With Gen Con rapidly approaching, we asked our friend and Indianapolis native Brian Dunten to give us a few tips and tricks to maximizing our (and your) fun in the city throughout the con. And wow, did he deliver! The following is a list of attractions, restaurants, and other helpful links guaranteed to make your stay in Indy a little easier this year!
Brian is a husband, Gaymer, and web developer from Indianapolis. When he isn’t playing Friendly Local Guide for folks coming to Gen Con, he enjoys RPGs and other tabletop games, science fiction, and photography. He tweets very infrequently @SiderealKnight.
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Every year as Gen Con approaches, friends from across the country plan trips to my hometown for the Best Four Days in Gaming. I am often asked for suggestions for places to eat, or suggestions for activities that might interest non-gamer spouses. This year, the good folks at The Illuminerdy asked me to come up with some insider suggestions for travelers to my fair city.
Although I’ve lived in Indianapolis for 25 years, I can’t claim to be an expert. This list contains some suggestions, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. I’ve tried to highlight businesses unique to Indy.
I am not affiliated with any of the following companies or organizations, nor am I a professional reviewer or critic. I am not familiar enough with the food truck scene to offer suggestions in that area.
Getting Around Indy
While downtown Indy has become quite pedestrian- and bike-friendly, getting to much of the rest of the city will require a car or using public transit. Please take into account the usual Indiana summer weather: highs temperatures in the 80s or 90s, significant humidity, and pop-up squalls and thunderstorms.
Indiana Pacers Bikeshare (downtown only)
IndyGo Bus System
Parking in Downtown Indy
(Now with two downtown locations!)
https://www.marsh.net/store-locator/ (enter zip code 46204)
227 W. Michigan Street, Indianapolis IN, 46204
320 North New Jersey Street, Indianapolis IN, 46204
(Three locations in or near downtown.)
http://www.cvs.com/stores/store-locator-landing.jsp (enter zip code 46204)
175 N Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
105 E Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
1545 N Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
(Two locations in or near downtown.)
http://www.walgreens.com/storelocator/result.jsp (enter zip code 46204)
1530 N Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Adult beverages are also available at the groceries and drug stores listed above. Please be aware that Indiana law restricts the sale of alcohol on Sundays. While you can buy individual drinks at bars and restaurants, bottled liquor cannot be sold on Sundays.
Big Red Liquors
25 N. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
150 N Delaware Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Maybe you’re arriving in Indianapolis a few days before Gen Con, or perhaps you’re travelling with a non-gamer spouse. What else is there to do?
Most of these locations are in easy walking distance of the Indianapolis Convention Center area hotels.
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
500 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Indiana State Museum
650 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Indianapolis Zoo & White River Gardens
1200 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
340 N. Senate Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204
NCAA Hall of Champions
700 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Victory Field (Indianapolis Indians Baseball)
501 West Maryland Street, Indianapolis, IN 46225
These attractions are far enough away from downtown Indy that you will need some kind of transportation (see above).
Nashville, IN 47448
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers, IN 46038
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Hall of Fame Museum
4790 W 16th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222
Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Indianapolis has a diverse restaurant scene, but unfortunately many of the more interesting “local flavor” options are outside walking distance of the Convention Center area.
Near the Indiana Convention Center
Many of the restaurants within a few blocks of the Convention Center are part of national or regional chains. They tend to serve food that is familiar to folks from all over the US. There aren’t many bad choices, but some folks find the options to be fairly ordinary. Here are some of the more interesting choices.
110 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
(Breakfast and lunch options and hours.)
225 W Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Fogo De Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
(Endless meat. Try it for lunch rather than dinner for a price break.)
117 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Harry & Izzy’s
(The more affordable member of the local St. Elmo family. Good food, somewhat upscale prices.)
153 S Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN 46225
(7am – 2pm; mostly breakfast options)
301 N Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery
(21 and over, good pub food)
301 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
The Ram Restaurant & Brewery
(A Gen Con favorite, they go all out to welcome gamers. Decent food, fun atmosphere.)
140 South Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN 46225
St. Elmo Steak House
(An Indianapolis institution with arguably the best steaks in town. It’s expensive, but excellent.)
127 S Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN 46225
(Another perennial Gen Con favorite. Good quality bar & grill fare, and they welcome gamers with open arms.)
1 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Slippery Noodle Inn
(21 and over, live jazz & blues music nightly)
372 S Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46225
Massachusetts Avenue (“Mass Ave”) Neighborhood
The Convention Center is located in Downtown Indy’s southwest quadrant. Mass Ave runs through the center of the northeast quadrant, and is home to a number of small theatres, eclectic shops, good restaurants, and fun nightlife. You could probably walk from the Convention Center to Mass Ave, but with the Indiana summer weather I would suggest taking the bus, a taxi, or driving. There are few public parking lots, so be prepared to pay the parking meters (credit cards are accepted at streetside terminals).
(“Tacos. Tequila. Whiskey.” Mexican street food and a vast selection of tequila.)
334 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204
(A regular contender for Indy’s best pizza.)
329 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204
(Very tasty designer burgers.)
410 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Mimi Blue Meatballs
(A new locally-owned restaurant. Their specialty is inspired by the owner’s grandmother. They have daily “Blue Ball” specials.)
870 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Pizzology Craft Pizza & Pub
(Another contender for Indy’s best pizza.)
608 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Yats Cajun Creole
(This regional chain got its start here in Indy. “Cajun Creole comfort food.” Very reasonable prices and authentic recipies. The menu changes daily.)
885 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Fletcher Place & Fountain Square Neighborhoods
These two neighborhoods lie along Virginia Avenue, which runs southeast from downtown. They are home to a cool mix of restaurants, shops, working artists, and live performance venues.
(Italian-inspired food & shared plates. Menu changes daily.)
653 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46203
(7am – 3pm Brunch. Considered by some to be the leading edge of Indy’s dining scene. )
534 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Red Lion Grog House
(They serve a version of Ole’ English cuisine, and boast a huge beer menu.)
1043 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46203
(Contemporary Asian-inspired cuisine.)
719 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Santorini Greek Kitchen
(A contender for “best Greek food” in Indy.)
1417 Prospect Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203
(Some of the best Thai food in the city.)
936 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46203