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Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

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Coweta, Oklahoma...
posts: 5
Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

We are taking a road trip from Oklahoma to Indianapolis to tour the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then make our way to Kentucky - specifically to the Nascar track in Sparta for races on September 20 and 21. We would also like to see the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. I'm looking for some suggestions of things we might see or do along the way, and some recommendations for accomodations and restaurants.

Thanks so much for anybody's help!!

Chula Vista...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 2,576
reviews: 102
1. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

Hi and welcome,

Here's a possible route to get you from Indy to Sparta and then onto Bowling Green:


In the small town of Greensburg, IN, there's a little restaurant on the town square called "Stories." It's where many locals go and has good ol' Midwestern comfort food.

On top of the court house across the street from Stories is a tree that's been growing out of the tower since the 1800's.


Or, if you wanted to drive a little farther down I-74 to Oldenburg (about 3 miles north of the Interstate), there are two restaurants that are known for their fried chicken: Wagner's Village Inn and The Brauhaus. Wagner's is pan-fried with a lot of pepper, so it takes a while to prepare. You can't go wrong with either. (I used to live in nearby Batesville for 17 years.)



In Batesville, there's a nice little restaurant called Lil' Charlie's with a more contemporary menu and their own brewed beer.


Across the Ohio River from Spara in Florence, IN is Belterra Casino, a place to stay(?) (I've not been there, so I can't tell you anything about it.)


I know it's the same weekend as the race, but Cincinnati has it's Oktoberfest that weekend as well. (Cincinnati has a large German heritage and it is the largest Oktoberfest in the US.)


Hope that helps with your planning.

Destination Expert
for Indianapolis
posts: 334
reviews: 82
2. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

If you leave Indy via I-65, there is a small tourist town called Nashville in Brown County. Some shops and a large state park are in that area. There are also some places down near Louisville such as Falls of the Ohio State Park and Squire Boone Caverns. Check websites to see what/when these places will be open.

If you decide on taking I-74 to Cinci area, then make your way to Sparta that way, a similar town is Metamora. Not as big as Nashville, but same feel. Another post has discussed other things along the I-74 route. There is also a casino closer to Indy in Shelbyville, IN.

Coweta, Oklahoma...
posts: 5
3. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

zed1958 and Ravekid - Thank you both so much! This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. We love the non-chain restaurants and the little out of the way spots. We usually take the long way anywhere we go and end up finding the coolest stuff to see and do that way. I appreciate your help, I've lurked on TA for several trips we've taken and have always come away with tons of good info.

Another thing my husband wanted me to ask the fine TA folks :) Is there a safe or non-safe part of Indy that we woud want to avoid? We have no idea if there is a better part of the city we need to be researching? If it makes a difference, I get a discount on anything in the Holiday Inn chain, but we're not dead set on that chain only if we can get a better deal.

Thanks again!!

posts: 458
reviews: 54
4. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

Personally, I would avoid staying at the two areas with hotels that would be closest to the IMS. This would be I-465 & Crawfordsville Rd and I-465 & 38 Street. Just not the best areas to stay IMO. Even though the price might be a little higher I would stay downtown. Indianapolis has a great pedestrian downtown with lots of hotels within walking distance to food, points of interest, and nightlife. The drive to/from IMS and downtown is about 7 miles. If you are touring the IMS during the day and looking to stay outside the city toward the south as to continue your route to KY I would suggest the I-65 S & County Line Rd exit. There is a nice Holiday Inn Express there and a nice selection of restaurants to choose from.

Coweta, Oklahoma...
posts: 5
5. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

Nawlins4LIFE - perfect! That is exactly the answer I was looking for. We have never been to Indy, so the more specific info I can get, the better. Somehow, I always end up being the "navigator" even though I can't tell east from west, so this will make me look SO smart!! That is a great idea to stay south of IMS, since we'll probably just spend the one night then head to KY. We're just going to do the tour and take some pictures, so we don't have to worry about race day traffic!

Thank you!

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
posts: 6,630
reviews: 21
6. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

You've got some good advice above.

Another set of things you might consider (especially given since you've indicated you like to take the long way and find out of the way places) are located in the more central part of the state (from an east/west standpoint) - generally to the west of I-65, but not totally - and there is some overlap with things already mentioned.

Columbus, Nashville, Bloomington, French LIck/West Baden and things in that general area. Rather than going into details and re-typing information on these cities/towns you might look at my responses in the following threads (they are generally similar and note that in some of these threads I have more than one response, there will be at least one response that talks about the above cities/towns):




Beyond that you might want to check out the individual forums for each of these destinations (and others in the general area?) for more information.

Hope this helps,


Destination Expert
for Indianapolis
posts: 334
reviews: 82
7. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

If you stay south of Indy and like taking backroads and have some time to kill, you might want to take Indiana State Road 135. It basically starts in Greenwood (a suburban city just south of Indianapolis, the border between the two is County Line Rd.) and you can take it down to Nashville, IN. The road feels like a normal multi-lane city road near Indy, but as you go further south, it becomes more scenic. If Bloomington, IN, home of Indiana University's flagship campus, sounds interesting, you can take Indiana State Road 37 from Indy through Martinsville and then you hit Bloomington. It is about fifty miles from County Line Rd.. If you get enough of Bloomington, you can then take Indiana State Road 46 out of Bloomington and that also will take you to Nashville, IN. From there you can stay on 46 to I-65 south and head to Louisville that way.

Also, if you are into antiques or outlet malls, both of such places exist at exit 76A/B on I-65 south. Edinburgh Premium Outlets and Exit 76 Antique Mall are both located at this exit. This exit is just north of the one you would take to visit Nashville/Brown County or Columbus.

Coweta, Oklahoma...
posts: 5
8. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

huntlawoffice - thanks a bunch, I will check out those links!! I did search a little bit, but must not have seen those. And Ravekid, you're speaking my language, I am definitely into outlet malls!

9. Re: Drive from Indianapolis to Kentucky in September 2013

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