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Thread: Looking for seating advice for Indianapolis 500

  1. #1

    Looking for seating advice for Indianapolis 500

    Hello, I'm located in Australia and I'm new to the forum. I signed up because I have an interest in the Indycar series and am planning to visit the US this year to see the Indy 500 and also the Detroit Grand Prix the following week.

    My immediate question concerns the seating at Indianapolis. I plan to purchase a ticket from the IMS website and I'm trying to decide between several options, so would be interested to hear the opinions of those of you who have been to the track.

    My best options seem to be the following: Tower Terrace high up towards the north end; NE Vista midway up towards the north end; Stand G high up towards the west end; SE Vista midway up towards the south end.

    At this stage I'm thinking either the Tower Terrace or NE Vista as my most favored options.

    Thanks in advance for any advice/opinions.

  2. #2
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    I would try to sit somewhere in the entrance of turn 1 or the exit of 4.
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  3. #3
    Ohioan thehairpin's Avatar
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    Tower Terrace isn't a bad seat for seeing the start/finish and ceremonies and, being on the north end, you'll have a good view of the cars coming off turn 4.

    How north is the NE Vista seat? If it's still in the turn. it's probably a good seat. if it's in the short chute, not so much.

    G Stand is pretty much in the south short chute, so probably not great.

    SE Vista wouldn't be bad. I've heard more good reviews of NE Vista, but SE Vista eliminates the risk of a seat in the short chute.

    By the way, if buying from IMS, remember to request a post-race garage pass. It's free with the purchase of a ticket through IMS, but you have to request it. There aren't many drivers in the garage area at the time (although there are some), but it's still pretty fun, especially watching the cars go through post-race technical inspection.

    By the way, feel free to ask if you have any other questions about your trip. There's lots of people on here with experience attending both Indianapolis and Detroit.
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  4. #4
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    To each his own. I’ve sat in the south vista for over 30 years and wouldn’t trade them for anything but E Penthouse. I wouldn’t take a seat on the straights if it was free. But more power to whoever sits wherever and likes it.
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  5. #5
    Registered User TeamChevy's Avatar
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    I've spent the last 7 races sitting in different parts of the track each year, to experience all the different views. I've sat in NE Vista, Tower Terrace, J Stand, South Vista, and Paddock sections. Out of those my favorite would be the NE Vista, followed by the South Vista. With the NE Vista, you get to see the cars coming at you full blast out of turn 2 and all the way into the short chute between 3 and 4. It's truly an incredible view. Plus, you get a nice view of the massive infield crowd and snake pit. But, the passing action into turn 3 is what really makes these seats great. South Vista is also very good, you get a nice wide view of the cars coming out of 1 and into 2, and there's a decent amount of passing going on here. Tower Terrace I also feel are pretty underrated seats. You get a nice view of the front stretch, and if positioned correctly, have a nice wide view of the cars and less of a fence blocking your view. At IMS, there are no bad seats, so you will have the time of your life no matter what!

  6. #6
    Still good Southwest Vista seats available. With that stand you can narrow the section to 01 to 05 so you will be in the turn. There are ROW K available.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by thehairpin View Post
    Tower Terrace isn't a bad seat for seeing the start/finish and ceremonies and, being on the north end, you'll have a good view of the cars coming off turn 4.

    How north is the NE Vista seat? If it's still in the turn. it's probably a good seat. if it's in the short chute, not so much.

    G Stand is pretty much in the south short chute, so probably not great.

    SE Vista wouldn't be bad. I've heard more good reviews of NE Vista, but SE Vista eliminates the risk of a seat in the short chute.

    By the way, if buying from IMS, remember to request a post-race garage pass. It's free with the purchase of a ticket through IMS, but you have to request it. There aren't many drivers in the garage area at the time (although there are some), but it's still pretty fun, especially watching the cars go through post-race technical inspection.

    By the way, feel free to ask if you have any other questions about your trip. There's lots of people on here with experience attending both Indianapolis and Detroit.
    Thank you for your information. The seat I'm looking at in NE Vista is section 11. From what I've seen in photos, section 12 has a great view all the way down the back straight and into turn 3. Do you think section 11 would be close enough to get a similar view or do you think the early sections of SW Vista, as suggested by PaddockMoose would be a better option?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Hello, I'm located in Australia and I'm new to the forum. I signed up because I have an interest in the Indycar series and am planning to visit the US this year to see the Indy 500 and also the Detroit Grand Prix the following week.

    My immediate question concerns the seating at Indianapolis. I plan to purchase a ticket from the IMS website and I'm trying to decide between several options, so would be interested to hear the opinions of those of you who have been to the track.

    My best options seem to be the following: Tower Terrace high up towards the north end; NE Vista midway up towards the north end; Stand G high up towards the west end; SE Vista midway up towards the south end.

    At this stage I'm thinking either the Tower Terrace or NE Vista as my most favored options.

    Thanks in advance for any advice/opinions.
    My current seats are at the north end of the Tower Terrace just north of the pit speed line Section 71 row HH. If you want to see side by side action on the front stretch this is the place to be. Most of the passes are set up along this part of the straight and fully accomplished well before the yard of bricks. I was in the Paddock just south of the row of bricks, Row R in 2015 and didn't see much side by side action besides restarts.

    These seats are well up underneath the suites above and safe from the elements, whether it be the sun or rain. However, there is the risk of some dumb ass spilling a beverage on you. It happened once in 2016 and once in 2017, nothing too bad though, just annoying. One piece of advice should you want to be in this area, bring a good blanket or seat cushion as these seats never get warm as they are always in the shade. I have a good view of a diamond vision screen mounted on the main outside grand stand. It's not directly across from me but I can see enough of it. I can't see much of the pylon too well but the diamond vision screens scroll and provide up to date information that makes the pylon redundant.

    Restrooms and a variety of concessions are easily available behind the tower terrace. Also, if you purchase through IMS you are eligible to receive the post race Gasoline Alley pass (If you get a Bronze Badge, it will not get you into Gasoline Alley on race day). If it doesn't come with your tickets, call or email the ticket office and they should send them. I had to ask for mine last year but they didn't question it or make an issue, they just sent them in the mail.

    Last year after the race I made my way from my seats to Gasoline Alley to the south. I saw Sato walk across the over pass from Victory Circle to the Media center for press interviews. I only wish I'd known and been ready with the right lense on my camera to take pic of him.

    As for the Gasoline Alley pass they won't let you in right away after the race, they give the teams some time to get crew and equipment back to the garages. The teams start packing up well before the race actually ends but there are still things to be seen. Some drivers will come out and sigh autographs. Many of the cars still have to go through tech and you get get up close to them, maybe even ask team crews a question or two about their driver's race. It's kind of the last gasp of taking in the race and saying, "Wow,,,I'm actually here at the Indy 500". You can get to Gasoline Alley from the seats around the outside of the track but it will be a hike if you are anywhere besides the main grandstand.

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  9. #9
    Double post
    Last edited by Chaparral4; 01-08-2018 at 04:30 AM.

  10. #10
    Thank you Chaparral4 for your information. Looks like a pretty good spot and your photos are great. What sort of camera are you using?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Thank you Chaparral4 for your information. Looks like a pretty good spot and your photos are great. What sort of camera are you using?
    In 2015 I was using a Canon T3 with a 75-300 zoom lens. I've since upgraded to a Canon 7D mk II. I've also picked up a Sigma 100-600 zoom lens. It might be too much lense for Indy but I'll be there most if not all of practice and qualifying to test out.

    Just yesterday I bought reserved seating in turn 7 for the GP. According to the 3d map view I should be just over the high fence as the cars enter the turn from the back stretch. I think the large lense will come in handy there.

  12. #12
    Insider Liz's Avatar
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    I have to put in a word for G stand since I've spent my 500 life there. Since the trees were removed you really have an unobstructed view of the cars coming out of Turn 1 and can see into the backstretch.

    Last year was very active with the Dixon crash etc, but that was really unusual for our area. You can really get a great view of passes being set up from G. Plus G has pretty reasonable pricing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth Detector View Post
    To each his own. I’ve sat in the south vista for over 30 years and wouldn’t trade them for anything but E Penthouse. I wouldn’t take a seat on the straights if it was free. But more power to whoever sits wherever and likes it.
    Ditto what he said. Fun watching the cars dive into Turn 1

  14. #14
    Reset your fuel,Go Go Go Z28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Thank you for your information. The seat I'm looking at in NE Vista is section 11. From what I've seen in photos, section 12 has a great view all the way down the back straight and into turn 3. Do you think section 11 would be close enough to get a similar view or do you think the early sections of SW Vista, as suggested by PaddockMoose would be a better option?
    Close to 30 years in section 11 of the NE Vista for me, now row LL. Sections 1-17 are very similar, if you see pictures of the empty stands 11 is the narrowest section where the old Stand L used to end, the turn 3 radio announcer perch is right above and it is between 2 camera positions. You can pick up the cars out of 2, see them follow the snake or spread out down the back straight, see when someone thinks they can go in the grass and when they're wrong about going through 3 two wide. With fewer infield stands you can see all the way around to the exit of 4.

    The advice would be every other day you want to park along the front straight, on race day you want to investigate a route to and how to park on the north end and retrace your steps away from the track to save some walking.

    Sift through all everyone has to say and you decide.
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  15. #15
    Insider Ken-Paul's Avatar
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    Here is an early TF thread on the topic and I think it contains some really helpful advice:

    What is the best seating area for the Indy 500?
    Last edited by Ken-Paul; 01-08-2018 at 10:41 AM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Thank you for your information. The seat I'm looking at in NE Vista is section 11. From what I've seen in photos, section 12 has a great view all the way down the back straight and into turn 3. Do you think section 11 would be close enough to get a similar view or do you think the early sections of SW Vista, as suggested by PaddockMoose would be a better option?
    Best view of a passing area, highly recommend. The higher the better, i've sat as low as row t in section 9, can't say i'd want to go much lower then that. NE vista is well exposed to the elements so be prepared we have seen mid 90's for temps in recent years, i know not everyone can handle that in the sun...plenty of sunscreen and water and it's never been too bad.

  17. #17
    I would recommend high in Turn 1. You will get an unparalleled view of the start (the most spectacular moment in sports), be able to see the crowd and some of the prerace ceremonies and be in a great passing area. NE Vista Turn also is a great vantage point so you cannot really go wrong.
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  18. #18
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    You have been given some great advice from some great fans here, all of whom make great points and love their respective seats for their own reasons! All i will add is that, if you can afford it, buy seats in Paddock Penthouse, those are in my opinion the best seats at the track. You can see them coming off of turn 4, the whole front stretch, all the pre-race festivities, the start, pit stops, turn 1 and the entrance to turn two. These seats are sold out through the IMS website but you can always get some from a fan who is selling theirs because they can't make it for whatever reason.

    By the way, congratulations on your decision to come watch the worlds greatest race, you will have a blast!
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  19. #19
    Registered User TeamChevy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I Love May View Post
    I would recommend high in Turn 1. You will get an unparalleled view of the start (the most spectacular moment in sports), be able to see the crowd and some of the prerace ceremonies and be in a great passing area. NE Vista Turn also is a great vantage point so you cannot really go wrong.
    High up in turn 1 are the best seats in the house, but they're also very hard to come by unless you have a very high budget, from my experience. NE Vista Turn offers a comparable view at a much lower price point, since you can usually get them from the box office, or second hand at around face value. What really sets turn 1 apart is the view of the front stretch and pre-race ceremonies. I have yet to sit there for race day, but it's certainly my goal to do so soon.

  20. #20
    Ether are expensive as hell... But I think the lower rows of the B penthouse higher sections now beat the pants off the E penthouse.

    E penthouse still has the posts in front, but since they redid the roof on B penthouse, the view from the lower rows (A thru F) is AMAZING. Utterly AMAZING.
    HOWEVER. Once you get above the new thick posts G and above. Pretty cruddy. And as we have seen, some of the seats are blocked in view by the handicap areas.

  21. #21
    Ohh and one BIG warning about the North end of the track. The new snakepit. Worse for Turn 3, but it's still very visible and audible in Turn 4.

    There is a MASSIVE and I mean MASSIVE amount of Bass thumping, Flame jets, fog, and general raging going on there.

    Additionally, the snake pit Screens are very visible from J H stands, and are extremely attention grabbing with their epileptic seizure causing displays.

    So while you may get the view of the T3 passing zone.. the trade off is Sun, and the Snakepit.

  22. #22
    I sit in H every year and have never found the Snake Pit to be a distraction. Different strokes I guess.

    OP - If you can swing it financially, high up in T1 are the best seats in the house. If you are on more of a budget, I love H stand. I would avoid the middle of the front straight, personally.

    Also, consider finding seats in front of one of the big video boards. They are a game changer in terms of the viewing experience.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by RTS7 View Post
    I sit in H every year and have never found the Snake Pit to be a distraction. Different strokes I guess.
    It is not as a big deal from T4, The race will drown it out there, but on those rare moments no car is around, you will hear it.
    T3 less lucky..

    Still, rather have the snakepit then those DAMN bleachers they used to have inside the turns up there.

    I was a LONG LONG LONG J stand guy. J stand is good. You can tell if someone is getting a run on someone for the front stretch. I saw Goodyear in 92 get a run on Junior and thought, ahh hell, this is going to be close.

  24. #24
    Registered User TeamChevy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTS7 View Post
    I sit in H every year and have never found the Snake Pit to be a distraction. Different strokes I guess.
    I haven't found it to be a distraction from Turn 3, either. Last year I barely noticed it. Unless you're looking for it or trying hard to listen for it, it's not a big deal. They have heard complaints from fans and did a nice job of shielding it a little bit more in the last couple years.

  25. #25
    Resident of the NE Vista Mario4ever's Avatar
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    Section 11 in NE Vista is in a great location. You'll be in the sweet spot of the turn. Below are some photos from NE Vista section 13 where I sit.






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  26. #26
    Registered User heliogordy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liz View Post
    I have to put in a word for G stand since I've spent my 500 life there. Since the trees were removed you really have an unobstructed view of the cars coming out of Turn 1 and can see into the backstretch.

    Last year was very active with the Dixon crash etc, but that was really unusual for our area. You can really get a great view of passes being set up from G. Plus G has pretty reasonable pricing.
    20 year G Stand veteran who just this year moved to SE Vista right next to G Stand...I agree with Liz 100%. G offers a unique view.
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  27. #27
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    I would try to get the best seat in Turn 3. Turn 1 is the best but sold out, T3 is a similar view with tickets still available. Get as high and close to the center of the turn. You can see T2, back stretch all the way from the exit of T4 to the front stretch. And you have video to see the rest of track.

    Mario 4 got the photos. You should still be able to get those seats.

    OTOH, you can get any seat off the tickets scalpers on the street. You might get lucky and get a good deal in T1. If you're coming from OZ the ticket price will be the least of your expenses. Do you have a hotel?

  28. #28
    Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for all the great information and advice. I've purchased a ticket for section 13 of the NE Vista, which I think I'll be happy with. The main thing is that I now have something locked away and don't need to worry about turning up in Indianapolis without a ticket. Looking forward to a great experience in May!

  29. #29
    Registered User TeamChevy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for all the great information and advice. I've purchased a ticket for section 13 of the NE Vista, which I think I'll be happy with. The main thing is that I now have something locked away and don't need to worry about turning up in Indianapolis without a ticket. Looking forward to a great experience in May!
    Congratulations!! And welcome to the world’s biggest race! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the Month, if you need suggestions on places to eat etc. Everyone here will be glad to help.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by LowRyter View Post
    I would try to get the best seat in Turn 3. Turn 1 is the best but sold out, T3 is a similar view with tickets still available. Get as high and close to the center of the turn. You can see T2, back stretch all the way from the exit of T4 to the front stretch. And you have video to see the rest of track.

    Mario 4 got the photos. You should still be able to get those seats.

    OTOH, you can get any seat off the tickets scalpers on the street. You might get lucky and get a good deal in T1. If you're coming from OZ the ticket price will be the least of your expenses. Do you have a hotel?
    As it turns out, I've purchased in the same section as Mario4ever. Looks like a great spot.

    Price is not a big issue for me and I know you can get tickets to turn 1 and the penthouses through the third party ticket agencies, but I didn't want to go down that path as I was concerned about reliability of delivery to Australia and the possibility of tickets arriving after I'd already departed for the US. That's why I chose to buy from the IMS website, as their collection and delivery options are more suitable for my circumstances.

    As you said, there is also the possibility of perhaps picking up a penthouse ticket on the day if I feel the need to change from the ticket I've purchased.

    As for accommodation, that's something that I'm looking at now. Haven't quite decided yet how many nights I'll need. I'm likely to arrive in Indianapolis on the Friday or Saturday before the race. Is it worth going out to the track on Saturday? What do they have on that day?

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