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Thread: Looking for seating advice for Indianapolis 500

  1. #31
    Saturday is legends day. Just an extra cost country music concert and the garages which require a bronze badge or a pass.
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  2. #32
    Saturday isn't a big action day at the track. Some people enjoy it, but I find there's just not enough activity out there to make it worth it, and I need a break before the race. (Plus I have 30+ people to entertain.)

    As for Saturday, I would recommend:

    (1) The 500 Festival Parade during the day. It is one of the three largest annual parades in the United States and it is free to attend. It features racing heavily, including all 33 drivers introduced by row. It would be a nice way to check out downtown Indy as well.

    (2) The Little 500 at Anderson Speedway (30-40 mins north of downtown) in the evening. This race is a big deal in the short track community and draws a great crowd. If you want a little slice of Midwestern Americana before the big race, this is it.

    Of course, if you get into town on Thursday or early enough on Friday, you might also be able to do Carb Day and/or the Carb Night Burger Bash downtown.

    Where are you staying OP? Happy to provide other recommendations on lodging, food, whatever.

  3. #33
    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!
    If I hadn't lucked into my seats along the front stretch I'd be sitting in turn 3 near where you are going to be. You'll have a great view,,,a lot of passing takes place on the back stretch.

    As for my take on Saturday (Legends day). The memorabilia show in the Pagoda Plaza (just north of Gasoline Alley) is a real treat. If you are looking for something historical to take back home with you, you'll find something there for sure. The 500 Festival Parade is nice but I'd rather be looking at something to buy and getting it before someone else wants the same thing (whatever it may be). Also the IMS Museum and gift shop is open all day as well.

    As others have mentioned, not much goes on in Gasoline Alley, cars are in the garages closed or the doors only partly open as crews work inside. About the only thing the Bronze Badge does is allow those that have one to pass through Gasoline Alley and save them a few steps getting around. You still have access to the South Terrace seats and the seats above the South Terrace Suites to see on tract activity. Watching the older cars from various times in Indy history is pretty neat to see. Almost all eras are represented including a Lola turbine from 1968. If autographs are your thing a number of drivers from the past will be available though the way they do it, it looks kind of chaotic.

    I've taken good advantage of the bicycle rickshaws that are available. They work for tips, $5-$7 will get you just about anywhere you want to go within the track confines. They usually are readily available near the north and south tunnels as well as anywhere they are directing cars to come in and park inside the track. they are good guys and worth the few bucks to save your legs. I personally park south of the track in the gravel lots. Some days they charge for parking some days they don't. I have not figured out rhythm or reason as to how they work that out. Either I pay $10 or I don't.

    There's also a lot of activity on Main St. in Speedway IN, just south west of the track. Sarah Fisher has her Indoor Kart Track,,,pretty fun courses, both a small oval and road course with an upper deck. Her 1911 Grill serves some good food. In my opinion they have the best pork tenderloin sandwich on Main St. Across from the 1911 Grill is Charlie Brown's. A less expensive restaurant with a lot of Indy car memorabilia. At the North end of Main st. is Dawson's another good restaurant with a good pork tenderloin as well. Prices are reasonable where ever you choose to go.

    Dallara has their facility on Main St too. I don't know if they give tours during the week leading up to the 500 or not. I've not done the tour myself, I've heard mixed reviews.

  4. #34
    Meyer Camp Chase.K.'s Avatar
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    If you change your mind and want turn 1 I'll have 4 together as high and as far into turn 1 as you can get in Section E this year. No shade, but great views and the video board is directly across from us.
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chase.K. View Post
    If you change your mind and want turn 1 I'll have 4 together as high and as far into turn 1 as you can get in Section E this year. No shade, but great views and the video board is directly across from us.
    I would be highly interested in these.

  6. #36
    Registered User crsfulk's Avatar
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    I spent 15 years in the SE Vista and would not trade them for almost anything. Great view and great action!

    My biggest piece of advice is to not go for practice on Carb Day to see cars on the track for your first visit. There is no better sight than to see 33 cars come at you at the same time for your first view of Indycars at the Speedway.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by crsfulk View Post
    My biggest piece of advice is to not go for practice on Carb Day to see cars on the track for your first visit. There is no better sight than to see 33 cars come at you at the same time for your first view of Indycars at the Speedway.
    Great advice!

  8. #38
    Meyer Camp Chase.K.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeamChevy View Post
    I would be highly interested in these.
    I've had a few people reply. There are 4 seats together. I'll most likely end up with a pair of Penthouse B tickets we won't use this year either. The family decided to all sit together this year instead of spread out all over the place. Once everyone confirms we're sitting together I'll post something in the buy/sell forum.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by RTS7 View Post
    Saturday isn't a big action day at the track. Some people enjoy it, but I find there's just not enough activity out there to make it worth it, and I need a break before the race. (Plus I have 30+ people to entertain.)

    As for Saturday, I would recommend:

    (1) The 500 Festival Parade during the day. It is one of the three largest annual parades in the United States and it is free to attend. It features racing heavily, including all 33 drivers introduced by row. It would be a nice way to check out downtown Indy as well.

    (2) The Little 500 at Anderson Speedway (30-40 mins north of downtown) in the evening. This race is a big deal in the short track community and draws a great crowd. If you want a little slice of Midwestern Americana before the big race, this is it.

    Of course, if you get into town on Thursday or early enough on Friday, you might also be able to do Carb Day and/or the Carb Night Burger Bash downtown.

    Where are you staying OP? Happy to provide other recommendations on lodging, food, whatever.
    Thanks for the info. I haven't arranged accommodation yet but will try to do so shortly. Not quite sure yet which day I'm getting there as I'm looking at flight options and working out the rest of my schedule. I'll only have about 10 days or so for the entire trip, due to work and family commitments back home, so just trying to see what else I can work into it. My plan at this stage was to stay in Indianapolis until the Tuesday after the race, rent a car and drive to Canton to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame and then onto Cleveland and then Detroit for the Grand Prix there. I'll probably then need to fly back to the West Coast after that.

    Looking at the map, I see that Speedway is not too far from the airport. Do you think it is better to look for accommodation in that area or am I better off sticking with downtown?

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Chaparral4 View Post
    If I hadn't lucked into my seats along the front stretch I'd be sitting in turn 3 near where you are going to be. You'll have a great view,,,a lot of passing takes place on the back stretch.

    As for my take on Saturday (Legends day). The memorabilia show in the Pagoda Plaza (just north of Gasoline Alley) is a real treat. If you are looking for something historical to take back home with you, you'll find something there for sure. The 500 Festival Parade is nice but I'd rather be looking at something to buy and getting it before someone else wants the same thing (whatever it may be). Also the IMS Museum and gift shop is open all day as well.

    As others have mentioned, not much goes on in Gasoline Alley, cars are in the garages closed or the doors only partly open as crews work inside. About the only thing the Bronze Badge does is allow those that have one to pass through Gasoline Alley and save them a few steps getting around. You still have access to the South Terrace seats and the seats above the South Terrace Suites to see on tract activity. Watching the older cars from various times in Indy history is pretty neat to see. Almost all eras are represented including a Lola turbine from 1968. If autographs are your thing a number of drivers from the past will be available though the way they do it, it looks kind of chaotic.

    I've taken good advantage of the bicycle rickshaws that are available. They work for tips, $5-$7 will get you just about anywhere you want to go within the track confines. They usually are readily available near the north and south tunnels as well as anywhere they are directing cars to come in and park inside the track. they are good guys and worth the few bucks to save your legs. I personally park south of the track in the gravel lots. Some days they charge for parking some days they don't. I have not figured out rhythm or reason as to how they work that out. Either I pay $10 or I don't.

    There's also a lot of activity on Main St. in Speedway IN, just south west of the track. Sarah Fisher has her Indoor Kart Track,,,pretty fun courses, both a small oval and road course with an upper deck. Her 1911 Grill serves some good food. In my opinion they have the best pork tenderloin sandwich on Main St. Across from the 1911 Grill is Charlie Brown's. A less expensive restaurant with a lot of Indy car memorabilia. At the North end of Main st. is Dawson's another good restaurant with a good pork tenderloin as well. Prices are reasonable where ever you choose to go.

    Dallara has their facility on Main St too. I don't know if they give tours during the week leading up to the 500 or not. I've not done the tour myself, I've heard mixed reviews.
    Thank you, a lot of good information there. The memorabilia and museum sound like things I'd definitely be interested in. How much time would you to suggest to allow for these activities? Is the museum open on race day?

  11. #41
    I've enjoyed going to the track on Saturday the last few years...there's something to be said about the 1st time seeing it all being the day of the 500.

    If you go Saturday you can go to the autograph session, drivers meeting, walk through gasoline alley, collectibles show and room some of the front stretch stands. The museum is worth the visit for sure too.

    They also have vintage cars on track and paddockEd in open tents by the museum, this alone is worth the $10 for the day for me.

  12. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Is the museum open on race day?
    The website says it is open every day of the year except Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. I imagine it would be a nuthouse on race day (assuming it is open). Normally I'd say allocate about 2 hours for the museum and gift shop.

  13. #43
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    Saturday/Legends Day is by far the best (quietest) day of the weekend to go to the museum
    Some fans claim one series or another runs "real race cars." What's everybody else running, fake race cars? :confused:

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  14. #44
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    A lot of people are recommending seating for see a great race.

    But, my advice is that you should recommend seating where they can watch the pageantry of the Indy 500. The show at the start-finish line affords views of something every first timer should see.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoviVespa View Post
    A lot of people are recommending seating for see a great race.

    But, my advice is that you should recommend seating where they can watch the pageantry of the Indy 500. The show at the start-finish line affords views of something every first timer should see.
    I agree. The pageantry on the front stretch is truly amazing. However, watching the rest of the race from a front stretch grandstand is not great. Probably one of the worst places to actually watch the race. For that reason, I would recommend to the OP to buy a cheap, low row ticket in a stand that would allow for a great view of the opening ceremonies and start of the race. Then, after a few laps or after the first caution, make the walk to your seats in turn 3, where you’ll enjoy the rest of the race much more. That’s really the ultimate solution and I have done this myself before. There’s something amazing about seeing 11 rows of 3 come roaring down the front stretch to take the green flag. But after that, it’s a really hard place to watch the rest of the race from.

  16. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by TeamChevy View Post
    I agree. The pageantry on the front stretch is truly amazing. However, watching the rest of the race from a front stretch grandstand is not great. Probably one of the worst places to actually watch the race. For that reason, I would recommend to the OP to buy a cheap, low row ticket in a stand that would allow for a great view of the opening ceremonies and start of the race. Then, after a few laps or after the first caution, make the walk to your seats in turn 3, where you’ll enjoy the rest of the race much more. That’s really the ultimate solution and I have done this myself before. There’s something amazing about seeing 11 rows of 3 come roaring down the front stretch to take the green flag. But after that, it’s a really hard place to watch the rest of the race from.
    Yes, I have thought about this too, and I may end up doing exactly what you suggest.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeamChevy View Post
    I agree. The pageantry on the front stretch is truly amazing. However, watching the rest of the race from a front stretch grandstand is not great. Probably one of the worst places to actually watch the race. For that reason, I would recommend to the OP to buy a cheap, low row ticket in a stand that would allow for a great view of the opening ceremonies and start of the race. Then, after a few laps or after the first caution, make the walk to your seats in turn 3, where youíll enjoy the rest of the race much more. Thatís really the ultimate solution and I have done this myself before. Thereís something amazing about seeing 11 rows of 3 come roaring down the front stretch to take the green flag. But after that, itís a really hard place to watch the rest of the race from.
    Great Indy 500 fans like you and myself can disagree. We sit in Paddock Penthouse and have had the same seats since 1948. We LOVE our seats, can see the cars coming off of 4, going into 1 and can see the cars dive into turn 2. we get to see all the pit stops, and cars roaring past at peak speed. Not to mention the pageantry that the front stretch offers, that is worth the price of admission alone, but I will defend our seats as the best .... because anybody lucky enough to attend the '500 probably thinks their families long held seats are the best too
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  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by RHRfan#1 View Post
    Great Indy 500 fans like you and myself can disagree. We sit in Paddock Penthouse and have had the same seats since 1948. We LOVE our seats, can see the cars coming off of 4, going into 1 and can see the cars dive into turn 2. we get to see all the pit stops, and cars roaring past at peak speed. Not to mention the pageantry that the front stretch offers, that is worth the price of admission alone, but I will defend our seats as the best .... because anybody lucky enough to attend the '500 probably thinks their families long held seats are the best too
    Those are great seats man... any penthouse seat is good IMO. I was talking about the regular paddock grand stands, sat there for the start of the race once, and it was great at the start. But after that, it was way too hard to follow the race as all you could see was the cars from the side as they pass by you. When I got to my seats in the SE Vista, it was a night and day difference. I'm sure from the Penthouse you're high enough where you get a much better view. And I agree, anyone that's lucky enough to attend the 500 and have long standing family seats probably thinks their seats are the best. And they're not wrong!

  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    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.
    If you can deal with whatever weather may come, you CANNOT GO WRONG with NE Vista. The racing action is matched only by Turn 1, but at a lower cost. There are many knowledegable, long-time members here who will never choose to sit anywhere else because of these reasons. The only flaw is that the NE Vista is pretty isolated from the rest of the amenities of the track, except for the golf course, which is a good place to stretch your legs during delays. But if you've already seen the museum and pagoda areas on another day, just part north of the track and sit in NE Vista on race day to see the best on-track action.

    If you want to see all the pre-race festivities and pit action, sit on the front stretch, but the north part of Tower Terrace might be too far north to see anything good. The big screens in each turn will give you just as good a view of the festivities.
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  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Yes, I have thought about this too, and I may end up doing exactly what you suggest.
    I think it's a great strategy. Only thing to keep in mind is that it's a pretty long walk from the front stretch to turn 3. Hopefully you get an early caution so that you can make the walk without missing too much action, otherwise you will miss quite a few laps. You really can't realize how long the walk is until you're there at IMS. The place is truly massive. I still think it's a good strategy as long you're up for a long walk.

  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Yes, I have thought about this too, and I may end up doing exactly what you suggest.
    Just realize that it is a VERY LONG WALK from the start/finish line to Turns 2 or 3.

    If you choose this route, Turn 1 ($$$) or Turn 4 might be your best bet, so you don't miss 30+ laps during your walk.

    (TC just edged me out with his post. )

  22. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Butler View Post
    Just realize that it is a VERY LONG WALK from the start/finish line to Turns 2 or 3.

    If you choose this route, Turn 1 ($$$) or Turn 4 might be your best bet, so you don't miss 30+ laps during your walk.

    (TC just edged me out with his post. )
    Haha, great minds think alike.

  23. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Thank you, a lot of good information there. The memorabilia and museum sound like things I'd definitely be interested in. How much time would you to suggest to allow for these activities? Is the museum open on race day?
    The memorabilia show isn't too big. You can see all of it in about 40 minutes, unless if you are doing a quick walk through, then come back around to look at things in detail, such as books, photos, programs, yearbooks, team apparel. So it's just a question of what you are looking for. Traveling from Australia I would suspect you have some limitations, I doubt you'll be purchasing crashed body work from a race car or a Dallara nose and front wings. I'd say you'll get your fill inside of a couple of hours depending on if you engage with the vendors or others at the show. Bobby Rahal walked through a couple of years ago. Donald Davidson, the track historian usually walks through.

    I know the gentleman that runs it and it costs a lot for the space they have so it's not too big. I think it's 4 isles with a full row of tables along the back wall. Tables on either side of the entry door are for authors and celebrities doing book signings. A couple of years ago they had the author and Jim McGee there for his biography. I got his book and he signed it for me, a great guy. So it won't take up the whole day. The museum is open every day of the year. You would easily have time to do the memorabilia show and the museum in the same day as well as watch the legends cars go around the track from the tower terrace seats. You won't likely have access to your seats in turn three until race day. The track tends to keep a lot of the seating off limits until the day of the race.

    I forgot to mention the legends cars (Indy 500 cars that have been restored and driven on the track) are very accessible as well. They are under long tents usually in the museum parking lot. Most owners are very proud of their cars and will let you walk right up to them. No one seems to take issue if you are mindful and pass through under the tents to get from one side to the other (as apposed to walking around). Just be aware that no one is in the process of servicing a car and always be respectful. Always best to ask first if you want to look inside the cockpit or get a closer photo of the cockpit or engine (if uncovered) while under the tent. If a car is pulled out from under a tent you can pretty much look right in, again if they are about to tow or push it some place, best to give them some space but otherwise a very casual relaxing environment. Again the owners will often engage if you have questions and like to show off their cars.

    One of the cars I like, when the owner brings it, is the first Trusports Indy car Scott Pruett raced. It's incredible how tiny that car is and to see how the bodywork goes on it. A very interesting design and attention to detail.

    So there is a lot to do on Legends day at the track and plenty of time to do it. If you don't get to the museum you can do it on race day. Just know, if you are up in turn 3,,,,that is a big hike to get to the museum. Plus you'll be fighting "traffic" trying to get into the inside of the track, while everyone else is trying to leave after the race. Then you'll have a walk from hell from the museum to your car if you parked north of the track to be close to your turn 3 seats. Race day traffic is nuts and don't plan on parking inside the track. Without credentials you won't get within blocks of it. You'll appreciate just how big IMS is when you get there. Plan to do the museum and the other things leading up to race day rather than attempting on race day.

    I used to park to the west in someone's back yard north of crawfordsville road but I reserved in advance or was there at 5 AM looking to see what was available. Prices can vary but it's in the $50-$70 range these days. Further away to the west gets cheaper. A lot of home owners keep reserved space in their yards for repeat customers they know will be back year after year. So don't assume if you see a yard with open space they are going to let you park there. It could already be reserved.

    Last year I decided to spend similar money, (I think $60) for parking in the 1B lot to the north and west of turn 4. It worked out well, the walk wasn't anything too difficult. I would just walk down Georgetown and enter security across from the tunnel adjacent to the Pagoda for my seats. I personally like to get there at about 5:30 AM and not fight all the traffic. There is some traffic at that time but nothing like later in the morning. Vendors won't be up and running yet at that hour but they will be eventually. It was worth it to me to get the credential in advance through the IMS website and be done with it. As it turned out, I got back to my car just as the heavy rains came late in the day after the race.

  24. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by TeamChevy View Post
    I agree. The pageantry on the front stretch is truly amazing. However, watching the rest of the race from a front stretch grandstand is not great. Probably one of the worst places to actually watch the race. For that reason, I would recommend to the OP to buy a cheap, low row ticket in a stand that would allow for a great view of the opening ceremonies and start of the race. Then, after a few laps or after the first caution, make the walk to your seats in turn 3, where you’ll enjoy the rest of the race much more. That’s really the ultimate solution and I have done this myself before. There’s something amazing about seeing 11 rows of 3 come roaring down the front stretch to take the green flag. But after that, it’s a really hard place to watch the rest of the race from.
    In 1982 my dad and I went without tickets. We were outside turn 1 and got 2 tickets for the grandstand south of turn 3 (it no longer exists). We started walking after the purchase and could hear things start to build up for the start. as we walked along the main grandstand we could hear them start engines. My dad approached an usher who was collecting tickets at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the seats. He said sure and that he was going up to watch as well.

    We got up there and we were north of the tower (no pagoda at that time) and we watched the warm up laps. We all know what happened at the star that year, for those that don't,,,,,,,,YOUTUBE IT!

    Had they not red flagged the race we would've missed the first 40-50 laps easily walking around. As it turned out we got to our seats with time to spare before they got going again. So that's a lot of laps that could be missed and there have been races that have gone close to that many laps or more without a yellow flag.

  25. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaparral4 View Post
    in 1982 my dad and i went without tickets. We were outside turn 1 and got 2 tickets for the grandstand south of turn 3 (it no longer exists). We started walking after the purchase and could hear things start to build up for the start. As we walked along the main grandstand we could hear them start engines. My dad approached an usher who was collecting tickets at the bottom of the stairs that led up to the seats. He said sure and that he was going up to watch as well.

    We got up there and we were north of the tower (no pagoda at that time) and we watched the warm up laps. We all know what happened at the star that year, for those that don't,,,,,,,,youtube it!

    Had they not red flagged the race we would've missed the first 40-50 laps easily walking around. As it turned out we got to our seats with time to spare before they got going again. So that's a lot of laps that could be missed and there have been races that have gone close to that many laps or more without a yellow flag.
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  26. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Essemo View Post
    Looking at the map, I see that Speedway is not too far from the airport. Do you think it is better to look for accommodation in that area or am I better off sticking with downtown?
    Depends on your preferences and what you're looking to experience while you're here. I'm a huge proponent of downtown Indianapolis. There are a lot of great restaurants and bars, and it is extremely walkable. It would definitely get my vote, but again, it depends on what you're looking for.

    If you just want to be near the track for convenience's sake, you could stay out near Speedway. For me, when I travel to another city for a sporting event, I want to experience the heart of that city. So if you want to see the Indy's best side, I'd suggest trying to be downtown or at an Airbnb in one of the neighborhoods near downtown, rather than out in the west side.

  27. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTS7 View Post
    Depends on your preferences and what you're looking to experience while you're here. I'm a huge proponent of downtown Indianapolis. There are a lot of great restaurants and bars, and it is extremely walkable. It would definitely get my vote, but again, it depends on what you're looking for.

    If you just want to be near the track for convenience's sake, you could stay out near Speedway. For me, when I travel to another city for a sporting event, I want to experience the heart of that city. So if you want to see the Indy's best side, I'd suggest trying to be downtown or at an Airbnb in one of the neighborhoods near downtown, rather than out in the west side.
    Yep, stay in Downtown. Much nicer and more appealing neighborhood, not to mention safer. Plus it’s a short drive to Speedway anyways, about 10 minutes.

  28. #58
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    All great advice! i just can't wait for the '500 to get here already

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