Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Flights arrive at Indianapolis International Airport (tel. 317/487-9594; www.indianapolisairport.com). Most major domestic airlines can get you there. IndyGo's (tel. 317/635-3344; www.indygo.net) Green Line Express provides nonstop service from the airport to downtown daily 5am to 9pm, departing every 20 minutes or so, for $7. Taxis average $25 to downtown and $45 and up for trips to the north side. Share-a-ride car service through Carey Indiana (tel. 800/888-INDY [888-4639] or 317/241-6700; www.careyindiana.com) costs $13 to downtown and around $40 to the north side. All major national car-rental agencies are represented at the airport. (Phone numbers and websites for all the major U.S. airlines and car-rental agencies can be found in appendix D.)
By Train -- Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; www.amtrak.com) has a station at 350 S. Illinois St. (tel. 317/263-0550), with trains arriving from Chicago (trip time: 5 1/2 hr.), Cincinnati (3 1/2 hr.), and Washington, D.C. (18 1/2 hr.). Note: Amtrak service to Indianapolis is spotty and often includes some time on a bus.
By Bus -- Greyhound (tel. 800/231-2222; www.greyhound.com) has a station downtown at 350 S. Illinois Street. The discount carrier Megabus (tel. 877/462-6342; www.megabus.com), with drop-offs and pickups downtown (no station), connects Indy with Chicago, Cincinnati, and Columbus. If you're willing to detour through the Windy City, you might be able to save a bundle (early bookers can snag seats on some routes for as little as $1, though $15-$30 is more common).
By Car -- Major routes into Indianapolis are I-65 from the northwest (Chicago) and south (Louisville), I-69 from the northeast (Detroit), I-70 from the west (St. Louis) and east (Columbus, Ohio), and I-74 from the southeast (Cincinnati).
The Indianapolis Convention & Visitor Bureau is at 30 S. Meridian St., Ste. 410 (tel. 800/323-INDY [323-4639] or 317/639-4282; www.indy.org); its website offers video podcasts of what to see and do in the city and a variety of printable maps. The Indiana Tourism Hotline is tel. 800/556-INDY (556-4639). Find local events online at www.indydt.com and www.indyarts.org. Indy's free alternative paper, Nuvo, covers the local dining and entertainment scene, and is available at locations around the city, or you can check it out online at www.nuvo.net.
IndyGo buses (tel. 317/635-3344; www.indygo.net) run on heavily traveled routes; fares are $1.50 (or $3.50 for a day pass). The Red Line Circulator buses are free and run a continuous path circling downtown and around the IUPUI campus (Mon-Sat 7am-10pm). But you can't rely on public transportation to get everywhere you want to go, so you'll really need a car. Based on a grid system, the city is easy to negotiate, and parking is generally easy to come by. The Circle Centre mall lots are usually a good parking bet downtown, and it's only $1.50 for up to 3 hours; you can park there all day (6-12 hr.) for $12 (higher during special events).
Cabs usually line up at downtown hotels, or you can call a radio-dispatched taxi. Try Yellow Cab (tel. 317/487-7777).
If you need a doctor, call Methodist Hospital, at I-65 and 21st Street (tel. 317/916-3525), for a referral. Riley Children's Hospital, 702 Barnhill Dr. (tel. 317/274-5000), is a top-notch children's hospital.
A growing number of Walgreens and CVS locations have 24-hour pharmacies. If you're staying downtown, the Walgreens at 1530 N. Meridian St. (tel. 317/261-1753) is convenient; otherwise, check the Yellow Pages.
Indianapolis is fairly safe, but do exercise standard precautions as you would in any city. Stick to well-lit/well-traveled areas when walking around (especially at night), and be careful walking alone to your car in large outdoor parking lots.
Special Events -- Seats for both the Indianapolis 500 (run the day before Memorial Day) and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (late July) sell out very early, though you may be able to get tickets at the last minute. Call the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ticket office at tel. 317/484-6700 at least 10 to 12 months in advance.
For a particularly smashing time, crash the Indy Tennis Championships, held in mid- to late July. Past champs include Pete Sampras and Andy Roddick, and the stadium court also grants a great view of the downtown skyline. Call tel. 800/622-LOVE (622-5683), or check out www.tennisindy.com for further details and tickets.
The Indy Jazz Fest (www.indyjazzfest.net) runs for a long weekend each June, and the Indiana Black Expo (tel. 317/925-2702; www.indianablackexpo.com) spans a full 10 days in July featuring speakers, live music, and more.
For 10 days in late August/early September, downtown plays host to the Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival (tel. 317/223-8616; www.indyfringe.org), which showcases local, national, and international theater, dance, music, and more.