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Things to do before a night at the Pacers game

Milan, Indiana...
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Things to do before a night at the Pacers game

I am coming to Indy with the woman I love and her two sons and my two young daughters. We will have 3 6th graders and one getting ready to turn 9 my daughters Birthday is the 16th. We are coming on friday the 15th for a Pacers laker game. I was looking for fun inexpensive entertainment before the game. We may come up early and trek around and go to Union station or maybe hit a museum or something do you have any suggestions?

Bloomington, Indiana
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for Bloomington
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1. Re: Things to do before a night at the Pacers game

First welcome to the TA forums!

Second, thanks for providing some details (kids & ages) rather than just a generic, "what should we do."

Can't swear about things being "inexpensive" (more on this later), but here's a few ideas/comments:

1. I would think the Children's Museum should be near the top of the list. It's *literally* world class and recognized as one of the best in the US/world. It's not in downtown proper, but a few miles north (30th Street & Meridian(?), I'd guess maybe a 10 minute or so drive from the Circle.

2. "Museum Row" There are three museums right next to each other on the NW fringe of downtown. The Eitlejorg (western art), Indiana State Museum (check for special exhibits and it has an IMAX theater), and the NCAA Hall of Fame(?). They're literally steps from each other and easily walkable from pretty much walkable any downtown hotel (weather obviously a factor here).

3. The Zoo & White River Gardens as just a little bit west of the Museum Row (with a pedestrian bridge) and if the weather cooperates might be worth checking it out.

4. The Canal Walk is also in this general area, running from the White River to the east/north along the north side of Museum Row.

5. Mass Ave, located on the NE quadrant of downtown has some eclectic shopping, restaurants, etc. Probably a little more adult oriented, but there is a toy store (Mass Ave Toys?).

6. Monument Circle & Indian War Memorial. The tower is officially the "Soldiers & Sailor's Monument" and includes a small museum and the War Memorial is just a few blocks to the north. It's been decades since I've been inside either one and not sure of hours, etc. (Also, seems to me that one or both were closed recently for some repairs/renovations, but it's only a vague notion).

7. Circle Center Mall. Pretty much in the heart of downtown, so window and/or real shopping is an easy walk from any hotel and the Fieldhouse. As I remember the lobby areas of the Fieldhouse have some displays, etc. so you might spend a few minutes checking those out.

8. General walking downtown. There's plenty to see: the State Capital and plenty of other interesting (some historical) buildings, hotel atriums, the "ArtsGarden" attached to the Mall, etc.. There's also a couple of "trails" (maybe "Art" & "Cultural"); I've never officially walked either one, but as you wander around you'll see signs and "dedicated" sidewalks related to them (at least I have).

9. Indianapolis Museum of Art. This will also require a drive, again guessing 10 minutes or so. It's on Michigan Road (aka Martin Luther King Drive) at 38th Street. It's got a kid's art activity center and also an outdoors exhibit area (known as the 100 Acres (?)) that goes around a nice little lake, and boarders the central canal and White River. Also a greenhouse and general gardens area too.

10. Regarding Union Station, my understanding is that most of it is closed off at this time. When it was first restored (decades ago), they tried to make a go as a sort of "mall," but it didn't take and I don't think the entire thing has reopened since then. The hotel that went in (Crowne Plaza) did survive and I believe a few other spaces are occupied, but I don't think you can wander the full insides at this time. Now, the Crowne Plaza might be worth a check out as they have actual Pullman Cars as their high-end suites (might check at the front desk, they may let you look inside).

Regarding "inexpensive" with the number of people you've got you might consider purchasing an annual membership at whatever you decide to do. Obviously the devil's in the details, but with groups this can sometimes save a few bucks, break even or come close to breaking even. The idea with breaking even (or coming close) is that while you don't save anything this trip, but if you should happen to make it back in the next year, then you can go for "free." The idea being that you're spending a few bucks to bet that you'll make it back to Indy in the next year for a repeat visit to the attraction (and with this added incentive are more likely to do).

Hope that helps and would love to hear what you decide on/a trip report,


Milan, Indiana...
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2. Re: Things to do before a night at the Pacers game

thanks for taking the time to respond

Milan, Indiana...
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3. Re: Things to do before a night at the Pacers game

I appreciate your time and effort, but we did not make it down as early as we thought in fact with the traffic and parking we made it just in time to get in our seats and catch the whole game. It was awesome though, wish the lakers would have lost :( on our next trip we plan on hitting some of the things you suggested for sure especially the childrens museum.

4. Re: Things to do before a night at the Pacers game

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