This is addressed to fans of the Baltimore Ravens who may be headed to Indianapolis for the divisional round of the playoffs (I hear the Mayflower moving van in the dead of night Baltimore-Indy express is lovely this time of year):
It's some advice about what to do if you're headed to Indianapolis for the 3-day weekend.
I myself traveled to Indianapolis not too long ago (and I was hoping to address this to fellow Jets fans, but now we might not even get the chance for a return trip to Indy, since the Jets will most likely host the Ravens in the AFC Championship game) to see a football game. And that's of course option number one for a trip to Indianapolis, the Colts.
They also have the NCAA Headquarters.
And...did I mention the Colts?
First of all, great idea going for a Colts game - that's when you get to see the city at its best - it's like a magnet, drawing Colts fans from miles around for the biggest happening in the state. I can't even imagine what it's like for playoff football - it was a great atmosphere for a regular season game.
Other than that, there are lots of places to eat. More places to eat than you would think considering how few people usually populate the city. And I'll start you with a two-fer - a great place to stay and eat - the Union Station Crowne Plaza hotel. The hotel is awesome - it's an old train station rebuilt into a hotel, and they refurbished and kept the authenticity of the train station. You can even stay in a room that's a converted train car, so you can get the train car experience! (I did not do this on my trip.) The hotel is around the corner (literally) from Lucas Oil Stadium, and inside the hotel is a great little sports bar where you could probably watch the early playoff game before your game.
Beware - they have a live radio or TV show going in the bar before the Colts, so you'll probably have to get there early. And bad news - remember when I was touting the skywalk connecting the hotel and stadium? It's out of commission while they re-build the convention center. So you'll have to walk on the boring old sidewalk.
Maybe the Pacers will be in town, and you can catch a game at Conseco Fieldhouse. The arena is nice-looking - I only saw it from the outside - it's modeled after the high school fieldhouses in the area. If the Pacers aren't in town, maybe Conseco will be hosting a local college game. It would give you something else to do.
Because other than eating, going to the Colts, or the Pacers, there's not much else to do. What? The NCAA Headquarters? Don't bother. Not worth the $5 admission at the NCAA Hall of Champions...or the $3 senior fee my dad got (it was his 60th birthday, remember). There are a few trophies hanging around, a bunch of banners of all the current champions (but no Hockey Championship banner for Boston University, which once I saw how lame it was inside I searched for just to make the trip worth it...and never found...I wonder if they take down the in-season banners..), and there are lots of hands-on type sports games...for 5-to-10-year-olds. My brother and I spent about a half-hour shooting baskets in the 'game-winning baskets' gym area, and that might have been the non-football and drinking-beer highlight of the trip.
So, I guess my best advice would be this, Baltimore fans...go Saturday morning, see the game Saturday night, stay at the lovely Crowne Plaza (all the windows face in to the lobby, so there's no natural light - you'll sleep like never before), and then leave early Sunday morning. Enjoy the rest of your 3-day weekend at home.
Then get ready for a trip to New York for the AFC Championship game!