Road Hawks

Indianapolis, Ind.

Fly or Drive?

Fly. Indianapolis is within feasible driving distance, but not within comfortable driving distance. The trip from Lawrence to the heart of Indiana lasts just less than nine hours and covers some not-so-scenic ground between St. Louis and Indy. Flights are reasonably priced from Kansas City, starting at $158 per person round-trip. You might be hard-pressed to find a non-stop flight, but even with a layover in Milwaukee the travel time is only approximately three hours.

Lucas Oil Stadium

Capacity: Seating can be expanded to 70,000 for basketball.

History: Opened in 2008.

Pep Rallies and Celebration sites

Pre-game: KU Alumni Night with the Indiana Pacers, 7-9 p.m., April 2. For $60, KU alums can watch former Jayhawk Brandon Rush in a pre-game shootaround before taking in a contest between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. The ticket includes all-you-can-eat (and drink) privilege.

Post-game: TBA. For information on post-game festivities, check in with the Indianapolis Chapter of the KU Alumni Association.

What to do at the tournament

Make no mistake, what's happening at Lucas Oil Stadium in early April is the main attraction. Indianapolis is the United States' 14th-largest city, but the Final Four stands out as the region's biggest entertainment draw. The arena is located just south of downtown Indianapolis and nearby many of the city's dining and entertainment options, so the general area should be well-stocked with fans of four varieties.

• The NCAA Hall of Champions is a one-mile walk northwest of Lucas Oil Stadium. The NCAA makes its home in Indianapolis and one of the benefits of this arrangement is the Hall of Champions. More museum-like than Kansas City's College Basketball Experience, the hall features special exhibits on art by student-athletes and some of college sports' most unusual streaks. The museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April 1 through April 5. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and kids and free for young children.

• The NCAA's own "Bracket Town" provides fans an opportunity to experience basketball outside of the arena. Held at the Indiana Convention Center, adjacent to Lucas Oil Stadium, the five-day festival includes slam dunk and three-point shooting contests, a battle of the bands and interactive features for kids and adults. Tickets are $10 for adults but only $6 for kids, military, seniors, or those with a college ID.

What to do away from the tournament

• Indianapolis is heavy on museums: The Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Indianapolis Children's Museum are all located within five miles of the arena. The zoo and children's museum both offer reduced ticket prices for visitors with Bracket Town or Final Four tickets.

Where to stay

If you're looking for a Final Four hotel in late March, you're probably a few weeks too late to find the pick of the litter. In this case, however, beggars can be choosers. But only between hotels located more than five miles from the arena.

On a budget

Super 8 Emerson — $75/night — 4530 S. Emerson Ave.

Jameson Inn West — $119/night — 3850 Eagle View Dr.

Super 8 Northeast — $99/night — 7202 East 82nd Street

Going all out

Ramada Airport — $189/night — 5601 Fortune Circle West

Candlewood Suites South — $139/night — 1190 N. Graham Rd.

Holiday Inn Express East — $199/night — 7035 Western Select Dr.

Where to eat

On a budget

Yats — Cajun/American — 659 Massachusetts Ave.

• Fountain Diner — Diner/Breakfast — 1105 Shelby St.

Going all out

Cafe Patachou — Brunch/Cafe — 225 West Washington St.

• 14 West — Steakhouse — 14 West Maryland St.

Urban Element — American — 901 North Pennsylvania St.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment