Drive an IndyCar at the Final Four

Final Four fans now have another reason to be excited about coming to Indianapolis in April. From April 3-6, the Indy Racing Experience is offering four different opportunities that will take fans racing around the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

1. Drive an IndyCar

Imagine getting behind the wheel of an IndyCar that has raced in the Indianapolis 500. Make it a reality with this driving experience. Participants will go through an instructional class and then suit up and take to the track. If you are an adrenaline junkie looking for unique opportunities, this experience is for you.

2. Two-seat High Speed IndyCar Rides With Professional IndyCar Drivers

Race around the track with a licensed IndyCar driver at speeds up to 180 mph. The IMS has done over 50,000 two-seater rides and each and every one has been amazing for participants. Sit back and at least try to relax while a professional driver takes you around IMS.

3. Ultimate Drive and Ride Experience

If you can’t decide what experience best fits you best, you can get the best of both worlds by choosing a combination of the first two options. Participants will get to experience driving an IndyCar themselves as well as riding around the oval with a licensed IndyCar driver.

4. Victory Lap Experience

Take a victory lap around the IMS just as the winner of the Indianapolis 500 does each year in your choice of an IndyCar, NASCAR, or Chevy Impala Event Car. For only $60, this is a great option for families looking to make long-lasting memories together. Participants must be 9+.

All experiences will fill up quickly. Click here to reserve your spot.

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Categories: Sports
Tags: Final Four, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing Experience

Bourbon Women to Launch in Indy

FL Siposium 3

Ladies, the amazing news is true. Bourbon Women is launching its first-ever branch in Indianapolis. I know your next question. Your involvement is both welcome and encouraged. Here’s a little background to get you started.

Bourbon Women formed in 2011 to serve as the voice and unifying body for female bourbon drinkers, and strives to preserve the heritage that surrounds the making and responsible enjoyment of America’s only native spirit. Since its inception, Bourbon Women has attracted hundreds of members from across the US. You can become a member, too!

You heard right; a member-based organization all about bourbon education and networking for all of Indy’s whiskey loving ladies. So, how did Bourbon Women get its start, and what makes it incredibly unique?

Bourbon Women was founded by a woman named Peggy Noe Stevens. Peggy has worked in the beverage industry for 25+ years and was the first female Master Bourbon Taster in the world. Her catalyst to do something for women came as the result of her tastings audiences makeup of predominately men. Peggy says, “Women actually have been part of the bourbon industry for 200 years in various capacities; they just never received the credit. Women are the other half of the population, but the industry truly chose men as their profile drinker and target audience. Loyal bourbon women were out there, just not marketed to. This is a foundational reason we began Bourbon Women.”

Now’s your chance to get involved. Don’t miss the two launch events happening in March, which just happens to be Women’s History Month.

Launch 1: Saturday, March 7, 2-5 pm. at Payless Liquors located at 1225 North Madison Avenue in Greenwood, Indiana. You’ll have the opportunity to engrave your very own Woodford Reserve bottle!

Launch 2: Thursday, March 12, 6-8 pm. at Vine & Table, located at 313 East Carmel Drive in Carmel, Indiana. You won’t want to miss it.

Both events will feature extensive bourbon tastings, cocktails and delicious food samples. The March 7 event also offers the special opportunity to meet master distillers from Garrison Brothers and Hobson Roberts. Both events are free, and reservations are not required. Attendees are encouraged to drink responsibly and to rely on Uber, taxis or a designated driver as needed.

DSC_0184

Follow Bourbon Women and learn about future events at:
Twitter: @BourbonWomen
Facebook: Facebook.com/BourbonWomen

Cheers!

P.S. On March 7, before Bourbon Women’s first launch event, check out Remarkable Women of Indiana at the Indiana State Museum to further celebrate Women’s History Month.

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Categories: Arts & Culture, Dining, Meetings & Events, Nightlife, Uncategorized
Tags: bourbon, carmel, cocktail, cocktails, Distiller, drink, Event, Female, first-ever, food, Free, greenwood, Indiana State Museum, Indy, Ladies, Launch, Payless Liquor, tasting, tastings, Vine and Table, whiskey, Women

12 Historic Places to Instagram in Indianapolis

Each day, more than 70 million photos are shared on Instagram, the third-fastest growing social network. In Indianapolis, Instagram has inspired the creation of Igers Indy, a local Instagrammer group. Popular hashtags include #igersindy and #indyarchitecture, which highlights Indy’s historic buildings and architectural curiosities. Explore the hashtags while exploring the city, and don’t forget to tag Visit Indy and #LoveIndy!

 

1. Morris-Butler Home

Any architecture- or preservation-loving Instagrammer would love to photograph the Morris-Butler Home, an 1865 construction located in Indy’s Old Northside. The home is one of the city’s best examples of Second Empire architecture. Furthermore, the Morris-Butler Home is located in a historic neighborhood that is both picturesque and extremely walkable.

 

2. Oldfields-Lilly House and Gardens

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Oldfields-Lilly House and Gardens is a 26-acre historic estate and house museum. The 22-room mansion was once the home of J.K. Lilly Jr., the grandson of pharmaceutical chemist Colonel Eli Lilly. Both the home and the gardens—which were designed by Percival Gallagher of the Olmstead Brothers—offer free admission.

 

3. Indiana Statehouse 

One of downtown Indy’s architectural gems is the Indiana Statehouse. Constructed in 1888 in the Renaissance Revival style, the Statehouse boasts marble floors and a stained glass dome. The symmetrical interior is golden and grandiose, and is incredibly photogenic. The Statehouse is open to the public and free to visit. Tours of the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are also available.

 

4. Monument Circle 

Located in the heart of Indianapolis is Monument Circle, a brick-paved roundabout featured in Top Ten Outdoor Spaces. “The Circle” is home to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which offers a 360-degree, birds-eye view of the city. Surrounding the Circle are a number of historic buildings, including Circle Tower. Take a selfie in front of the iconic Monument, or rotate your camera 90 degrees for a new perspective on a downtown destination!

 

5. Crown Hill Cemetery

Crown Hill Cemetery was established in 1863 and is located just a few miles north of Monument Circle. At 555 acres, Crown Hill is the nation’s third-largest non-governmental cemetery. Notable individuals interred at the cemetery include President Benjamin Harrison, infamous bank robber John Dillinger and Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. Riley’s tomb is located atop the 842-foot Crown Hill, which affords visitors a view of downtown Indianapolis.

 

6. The Athenaeum 

The Athenaeum was constructed in the 1890s as a cultural center for the German-American community of Indianapolis. Located in bustling Mass Ave, the Athenaeum still hosts a number of social gatherings, including live music events held in the Biergarten during the warmer months. Indy’s oldest restaurant, the Rathskeller, is also located in the building. Visually, the Athenaeum is full of opulent details, including its leaded glass windows.

 

7. James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home

The James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home is located in Lockerbie Square, Indy’s oldest surviving neighborhood. For 23 years, Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley lived in the neighborhood, which is abound with historic properties. The Riley Home is decorated ornately with furniture used by the poet, but the exterior is just as regal—visitors will want to capture its brick construction with the hashtag #oldhouselove.

 

8. Scottish Rite Cathedral 

The Scottish Rite Cathedral was constructed between 1927 and 1929. It is one of the largest and best examples of Masonic architecture in the nation, with every dimension being evenly divisible by three. The cathedral is owned by the Valley of Indianapolis Scottish Rite, an affiliated body of Freemasonry that offers guided tours. The building’s craftsmanship is seen in its woodwork, patterned ceilings and stained-glass windows.

 

9. Old National Centre (Murat)

Built in 1909 and originally known as the Murat Centre, the Old National Centre is located in the heart of Mass Ave. The Old National Centre is home to a concert hall, theater and other event spaces, including the opulent Egyptian Room. The building, modeled after Islamic temples found in the Middle East and Egypt, is a unique piece of architecture in downtown Indy. Be sure to share photos of its minarets with the hashtag #indyarchitecture!

 

10. Indiana War Memorial Plaza

The Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District comprises five city blocks and 24 acres, making Indianapolis second only to Washington D.C. in acreage devoted to veterans. The district also contains two museums, including the 210-foot Indiana War Memorial. From the top of its steps, the Memorial offers picturesque views of downtown Indianapolis at all hours of the day or night.

 

11. Garfield Park

Garfield Park is Indy’s oldest city park, having been established in the late 1800s. Today, the park spans 136 acres and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is home to a conservatory, sunken garden, arts center, amphitheater and other amenities, including an outdoor pool and sledding hill. In the spring, the 10,000-square foot conservatory and sunken garden feature a rainbow of colorful bulbs.

 

12. Union Station

Indianapolis was home to the nation’s first “union station,” where, in 1886, construction for the red brick head house was started. The Romanesque Revival construction features a soaring clock tower and a two block-long barrel vault ceiling, and the stained glass window even has its own hashtag: #thatrosewindow. Today, the head house serves as a banquet hall and event space. Instameets have even been held at historic Union Station!

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Categories: Arts, Arts & Culture, Photoblog
Tags: historic indianapolis, history, indianapolis, Instagram

The Best Ways to Celebrate Presidents’ Day in Indy

President Harrison Home

President Benjamin Harrison Home

George, Abe, and Tom knew the value of a dollar. In fact, their faces grace our currency today. They would never want you to overspend on a holiday thrown in their honor. Indy is rolling out the red carpet for the former POTUSes and offering you a wide variety of things to do while spending very little. Check out these great ways to celebrate Presidents’ Day in Indy.

Conner Prairie

I can think of absolutely no better way to celebrate Presidents’ Day than with actual presidents. OK, so they’re historical re-enactors, but still. From boxing with Andrew Jackson to planning a surprise birthday party for George Washington, there are so many great ways to get all presidential at Conner Prairie. Best of all, admission is FREE. The fun will be held from 10  am to 5 pm on Monday, February 16. Check out all of the details here.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Go ahead and start humming “Hail to the Chief” because at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, honest Abe will be making an appearance. Special activities will be featured from 10 am to 3 pm throughout the museum on February 16th. In honor of the special day, admission is only a George Washington ($1) for children and an Abraham Lincoln ($5) for adults.

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Did you know that Indianapolis is home to the 23rd president of these United States of America? Each year, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site rolls out the red carpet for LIVE from Delaware Street. On February 16th from 10 am to 3 pm, chat with the amazing actors who portray the president and his family. Step back into 1898 as you tour the beautiful home with special interactive tours beginning on the half hour all day long. Step back into 1898 as you tour the beautiful home, beginning on the half hour all day long. Admission is $5 for students ages 5-17 and $10 for adults.

Indiana State Museum 

Just in time for Presidents’ Day, the Indiana State Museum has unveiled a new exhibit entitled “So Costly a Sacrifice: Lincoln and Loss.” Focusing on the funeral traditions of the 1800s, this exhibit is a fascinating exploration of Lincoln’s assassination and the mourning that followed it. The display actually includes part of President Lincoln’s funeral bier. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm on Presidents’ Day and access to the special exhibit is included in your regular museum admission price.

Indianapolis Public Library

Why not do a little research with your family on Presidents’ Day? Check out the beautiful and state of the art Indianapolis Public Library. Search the catalog for age appropriate books. Trace genealogy. Explore the beautiful public spaces. Sit in on a story time or other event. The options are limitless.

Fort Benjamin Harrison

If the weather trends warm, why not take a hike at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park? You can hike, bike, run, and play in the park named after Indianapolis’ favorite president.

George Takei at Clowes Memorial Hall

While not very historical or Presidential, actor and activist George Takei will be speaking at Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University on Monday, February 16 at 7:30 pm. The tickets are actually FREE but limited to 2 people (a $0.75 Ticketmaster fee is required). You can reserve your tickets here but don’t delay because this event will more than likely sell out.

How will you celebrate Presidents’ Day in Indy? Leave a comment with your plans!

 

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Categories: Arts, Arts & Culture

Ten Amazing Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Indianapolis

Traveling with kids can be challenging, especially at mealtimes. Satisfying rumbling tummies, a variety of food needs, and keeping kids entertained at the same time overwhelms even the most stalwart of parents. Plus no one wants to see a check the size of Mt. Everest when it comes time to pay the bill. Indianapolis features a number of restaurants perfect for children of all ages, certain to fill their bellies without emptying your wallet.

Sub Zero

Scotty’s Brewhouse

With five locations in the greater Indianapolis area, you can find a local Brewhouse no matter where you stay. With a great kids meal offerings, including gluten free options, Scotty’s will satisfy both the big and little people. Plus, they offer FREE kids meals on Tuesdays and Sundays to their VIP members. The program is free and allows you to log points for your purchases.

Old Spaghetti Factory

Our girls have always LOVED the downtown Old Spaghetti Factory. From its vintage feel to the trolley in the middle of the restaurant (our favorite place to sit!), the Old Spaghetti Factory delights kids of all ages. The kids’ menu includes some classics and gluten free pasta is only an additional $0.75. Your little ones are certain to go crazy over the special drink offerings too – strawberry lemonade, cotton candy limeade, Italian cream soda, milkshakes, and more. Mom and dad can enjoy all sorts of garlicky Italian goodness, too.

Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowling 

Have an active crowd? Why not bowling and dinner? Fountain Square can meet both of your needs at Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowling. Save $5 off your experience with this coupon. Pick up a classic American styled dinner at the snack bar or pop next door to the ever delicious Smokehouse on Shelby.

Bazbeaux Pizza

What kid doesn’t LOVE pizza? What parent doesn’t LOVE pizza? My favorite Indianapolis stop is Bazbeaux. There are amazing unique offerings for the big people and more traditional slices for shorter set. At lunch time, you can even purchase pizza by the slice. Gluten free crust is available, too.

BRU Burger

Cheeseburgers and french fries are a family favorite. BRU Burger is one of Indy’s best dining destinations. Kids meals there clock in at $6 a piece and feature an entree, drink, and french fries. Gluten Free buns are available upon request. Top things off with a milkshake.

General American Donut Company

Want your children’s eyes to pop out of their heads? Show them a picture of the Sprankle from General American Donut Company. Seriously, it is kid’s dream come true. With unique flavors made from scratch daily AND Stumptown Coffee for mom and dad, you will LOVE this Indianapolis original. Get there early, though. General American Donut closes at 1 pm or when they run out of donuts, which is earlier on weekends.

The Flying Cupcake

I’m pretty sure as a kid I had a dream that looked like The Flying Cupcake Bakery. It’s a beautiful, confectionary heaven. With gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and even four-legged kid offerings, The Flying Cupcake offers five – soon to be six – locations and more flavors than you can imagine! And soon a sister destination – Dancing Donut – will open in March.

Adobo Grill 

Want a fiesta? Adobo Grill offers kids who love Mexican fare a dream come true. The kids menu features quesadillas, tacos, and chicken fingers. I’d be able to dine alone on the freshly prepared guacamole, made right at the table. The menu also features plenty of gluten free options.

Subzero Ice Cream

Ice cream + science lesson = best parent ever award. Subzero Ice Cream lets you feed your kids and teach them, too. You can customize your frozen treat with a base of custard, frozen yogurt, ice cream, and even non-dairy options. Then mix in hundreds of different choices to make a one-of-a-kind treat!

Johnny Rockets

The Indianapolis area offers three locations of this retro-styled dining destination. Kids will love the simple food, fun music, and interactive dancing staff. Want to save money? Be sure to check out the Johnny Rockets Promotions available!

Live in or visit Indianapolis regularly? What kid-friendly destinations would you add? 

 

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Categories: Deals, Dining, Family

Inside Hollywood Film & TV Exhibit Opens at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Hollywood at The Children's Museum of IndianapolisAn “On Air” light above a doorway indicates that something is happening on the set within the new exhibit at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. As scenes are acted out on set, families are invited to take part in a live game show. Performances carry on throughout the exhibit as children and adults make their way through, trying out different roles, on and off camera.

As visitors arrive outside of the “Inside Hollywood Film & TV! You’re on the Set” exhibit, they are encouraged to snap a photo on the mock studio golf cart. Grab your credentials when you walk in and select the perfect job for you. All the little actors in your crew should grab a costume to wear on screen.on the set at tcm

A collection of costumes from classic and popular movies is on display, see how many of them you and your kids can identify. Children can host their own talk show and select props from the prop department for their television debut. From there, step behind the camera and watch the action on the screens and monitors located throughout the “studio.” Adjust other elements to prefect the lighting and sound.

Cartoonists and fans of animation will love the photo opp on the Simpson’s couch, a life size animated cell and the chance to be the voice of a cartoon character.

A very popular area in the exhibit is the green screen. Be a part of an action movie – it’s the best place to be a hero! Children love seeing exactly how the green screen operates. childrens museum on the setWho knows, they may even figure out how to make some on screen magic tricks work!

Inside Hollywood Film & TV! You’re on the Set is a visiting exhibit that will be at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis through July 26, 2015. Admission to the Children’s Museum is $21.50 for adults, $20.50 for seniors, children ages 2-17 are $18.50. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Enjoy free admission the first Thursday of every month 4 pm to 8 pm.

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Family Theatre in Indy this Spring

As the curtain opens from the center of the stage, a staggered hush falls over the audience from the center of the theatre and outwards to the left and right simultaneously. Like the “wave” at a sports event but different, the excitement instead is demonstrated in silence. Mouths close, voices stop in the middle of a sentence, a word. All eyes face forward and the tiny chins on the littlest children point slightly upward as they strain to see the stage, uncertain what to expect or exactly where to look.

Live theatre is readily available in Indianapolis and when it comes to offerings for children and their adults, Indy can entertain the younguns in your family too. This spring, take in a play, a musical, a puppet show and an ice-capade! Here are some great shows on stage this spring:

"The Giver" at the Indiana Repertory Theatre

“The Giver” at the Indiana Repertory Theatre

“The Giver” at Indiana Repertory Theatre (140 W. Washington Street)

This one and a half hour play is an adaptation of the award-winning book by Lois Lowry. Following the story of a 12-year-old in a utopian society, cast members will question their predictable lives and learn something about truth. Stay after the show for a discussion with the artists and staff. On stage now through February 21st. Tickets are $25-47 for adults and $20 for students.

“Charlotte’s Web” at Beef & Boards (9301 Michigan Road)

Beef and Boards is a favorite place to see a great show and a few times each year they offer a very popular children’s theater production. On Fridays and Saturdays, February 20 through March 21, take your kids to see “Charlotte’s Web.” This one hour production will sell out so be sure to get your tickets in advance. Tickets are $15.50 + $1 processing fee.

“Rumpelstiltskin” at Peewinkle’s Puppet Studio (25 E. Henry Street)

Peewinkle’s is a very special place where marionette magic happens. Don’t miss this puppet theatrical presentation of “Rumpelstiltskin,” March 19 – April 18. The $3 puppet workshop after the show is worth attending. There’s no such thing as a bad seat in the intimate theater with bench seating. Popcorn is included with your ticket. Reservations are recommended. Tickets are $12. Children under 2 are free but must sit in your lap.

“Annie” at Old National Centre (502 North New Jersey Street)

The Broadway classic opens in Indianapolis February 24 and runs through March 1. Don’t miss a chance to take your kids to this hit musical that has returned to popularity with today’s youthful audience, thanks in part to the new movie released in 2014. Sing along with the songs and fall in love all over again with Annie. Tickets are $28-$110. Purchase tickets online.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Clowes Memorial Hall (4602 Sunset Avenue)

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler, will play April 7-12. The retelling of the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colors, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including Those Canaan Days, Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door. Tickets start at $28 and are available for purchase online.

Disney On Ice presents “Frozen” at Bankers Life Fieldhouse (125 South Pennsylvania Street)

While the show won’t take the ice until September, tickets are on sale now (use code word: DAZZLE to unlock the presale tickets). Disney on Ice Frozen has sold out across the nation and Indianapolis expects the same. Grab those tickets now and bring your family to downtown Indy for this spectacular show that will get your whole crew singing along and engaged in the familiar story. Tickets are $25-$85 + fees. Tickets available online.

For more family theater offerings, check the Visit Indy calendar regularly.

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Categories: Arts, Arts & Culture

10 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Indy

Landmark for Peace

Landmark for Peace

1. Landmark for Peace

Designed by Greg Perry, who created the memorial in 1996 with sculptor Daniel Edwards, this artwork stands at 17th & Broadway. The location is significant because this is where Robert F. Kennedy, on April 4, 1968, delivered a speech memorializing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after he was assassinated earlier that day.

2. Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant

Dive into authentic Ethiopian cuisine at Abyssinia. Located right in Indianapolis, Abyssinia is the only restaurant of its kind around. In Ethiopian culture, it is significant for people to eat from a “common plate,” so your dining experience will be no different. Not only will your friends and family share a common plate, you will also forego the use of silverware. All the food in Abyssinia is eaten with injera, which is a type of Ethiopian bread. The experience at Abyssinia is sure to be fun and unique.

3. Ruby Bridges at The Children’s Museum

Visit “The Power of Children: Making a Difference” exhibit at The Children’s Museum to learn how a first grade African-American girl persevered through harsh adversity as one of the first black students to be integrated into a white school system. Ruby was the only black student at her school and only student in her class. Her story is both inspiring and educational and demonstrates the challenges many African-American families faced integrating after segregation.

4. Art & Soul 2015

The 19th annual Art & Soul festival is a great way to celebrate Black History Month. Art & Soul is a celebration of African-American art and artists in Indiana. Throughout February, there will be free performances at the Indianapolis Artsgarden that will include improv, spoken word, dance, and more.

5. Sankofa Black Heritage Festival

The Indiana State Museum will be hosting the Sankofa Black Heritage Festival on February 7th from 11 am-3 pm. The festival will include dance, drumming, and demonstrations that celebrate African art, history, and culture. The celebration will include West African and African-American art and will be viewed from a Hoosier perspective.

6. Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) will be celebrating Black History Month by highlighting the contributions of African-American artists to the world of music with a free, general admission concert on February 10th. The ISO will be teaming up with guest conductor Chelsea Tipton II and the Voice of Light Choir from the Light of the World Christian Church located in Indianapolis to put on a show consisting of Edwin Hawkin’s “Oh Happy Day,” Quincy Jones’s “Hallelujah,” and more.

7. Jazz on the Avenue

Jazz on the Avenue is a long running program hosted at the Walker Theater. Madame C.J. Walker was born in New Orleans, which is well known for its vast contributions to jazz music. The Walker Theater puts on Jazz on the Avenue once every month. The performance during Black History Month is by Lonnie Lester on February 27. General admission is $10.

8. Stroll down Indiana Avenue

Indiana Avenue encompasses and celebrates Indianapolis’s rich African-American culture. Currently home to IUPUI’s campus and several medical establishments, the Indiana Avenue district used to play host to several jazz and art festivals in the 1920s and 1930s. Other things you will find on the avenue today that link it back to its roots include the previously mentioned Walker Theater, artworks celebrating its rich jazz history, and beautiful architecture including Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Crispus Attucks High School.

9. Visit the Crispus Attucks Museum

The Crispus Attucks Museum is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Street. The museum consists of four galleries and over 70 exhibits that celebrate the African-American experience. The exhibits range from student and school history to local, national, and international history. Admission to the museum is free and donations are welcome.

10. Good Hair Film Screening

The Indiana Historical Society is hosting a film screening for Chris Rock’s movie, Good Hair. In the movie, Chris Rock visits beauty salons, scientific laboratories, and Indian temples all in an attempt to answer his daughter’s question, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” The film features hair care professionals and celebrities including Ice-T and Reverend Al Sharpton. The film will be shown February 19th. Admission is $5 for IHS members and $8 for nonmembers.

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Categories: Arts & Culture

Planning Ahead for Gen Con 2015

It may only be January, but veteran Gen Con attendees know the benefits of planning ahead for Indianapolis’ largest convention of the year. When it comes to booking hotel rooms, planning your travel to and from the airport, and coordinating meal times at our Top 25 Local Restaurants, Visit Indy aims to make your stay as big of a success as your time spent in the gaming halls.

Preparing for Gen Con 2015

Here are a few things you need to know today to plan your trip:

1) Date Change – Gen Con is now two weeks earlier in the year, scheduled for Thursday, July 30 – Sunday, August 2.

2) Housing Block Reservations – Hotels will begin to take reservations for Gen Con on Sunday, January 25 starting at noon EST. Indianapolis has the most connected hotels with skywalks than any other convention facility in the United States, explaining one of the many reasons why the convention has been hosted in Indianapolis for several years. Booking a room at one of these hotels ensures you will have skywalk access to the convention center:

To view other Indianapolis hotel options, check out Gen Con’s hotel map here.

Gen Con veterans should note the new housing registration process. Housing access codes will no longer be available. According to Gen Con, “When Housing Registration opens at noon (Eastern) on Sunday January 25, all customers who have purchased eligible badges will be randomly entered into a queue and then given access to the Housing Portal, one at a time. This will distribute the high demand on the Housing Portal over approximately one-to-two hours, instead of a minute or two as in previous years.” To reserve a room, you must have an eligible Gen Con 2015 badge. All badges with the exception of child wristbands are eligible for housing registration. For more information about housing, including nightly minimum stays, read this 2015 Registration Updates newsletter from Gen Con and visit the attendee guide for housing and travel overviews. 

Gen Con and the Indianapolis hotels offer many ADA accessibility accommodations. To inquire about booking an accessible room, please call 317-688-1323 to make a reservation and ask questions. These rooms are not booked through the online process mentioned above.

3) Badge Reservations – Possibly the most important to-do item is to acquire your badge. Reservations start Friday, January 23 at noon EST. All badges must be purchased online through Gen Con’s website. The best badge for your buck is the 4-day $80 pass, which increases to $90 if purchased on site. You can also snag Family Fun badges for Sunday at the low cost of $35. Children under 8 can attend Gen Con for free if accompanied by an attending adult.

4) Travel to Indianapolis – Our award-winning airport averages 135 daily departures to 39 nonstop destinations. GO Express Shuttle will be partnering with Gen Con for the third year in a row to offer shuttle service. Details about routes and scheduling will be available Tuesday, January 20 online at gencon.com and in that day’s email newsletter. If you are traveling from the Midwest, consider scheduling your trip on the Megabus, which drops you off in downtown Indianapolis.

5) Travel in and around Indianapolis – Last year, Indianapolis launched the widely successful Pacers Bikeshare program, which offers 250 yellow bicycles at 25 stations that can be rented for 30 minutes or all day to get you around town. These stations are available from 5 am to midnight and are conveniently located near the Cultural Trail and other key Gen Con events. Click here to find the locations and see pricing.

If your destination is further away or your hotel is not located downtown, take advantage of Uber rides for easy scheduling and pick ups. Download the Uber app to request a driver for yourself or your group of friends.

Whether you are local to Indianapolis or attending from a far, Gen Con is a truly unique experience that the whole family can enjoy. From filling Georgia Street with over 40 food trucks to navigating the exhibit hall with hundreds of gaming vendors, Gen Con 2015 is sure to be an event you don’t want to miss. Catch up with us in the next few months as we share more tips for making your Indianapolis visit the best one yet!

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Categories: Arts & Culture, Blog, Meetings & Events
Tags: Gen Con, Gen Con Indianapolis

Tinker Coffee Gives Indy a Jolt

Did you know, according to the National Coffee Association, 83% of Americans drink coffee? 

I’m certainly one of those who enjoy the smell, taste, and the overall process of getting a cup of java prepared.  I’m up at 6:20 am each morning to start my morning routine, which includes my morning cup.

Last week I altered my morning coffee routine, a painful process.  I commuted to work without my cup in hand.  In the end, it was well worth it.

Tinker Street Coffee IndianapolisI held out consuming my first cup until I visited with the owners of Tinker Coffee Co, a new storefront roaster located downtown Indy.

Steve Hall and Jeff Johnson are brothers-in-law, and co-founded and co-launched the gourmet roasting coffee company in November 2014.  They rehabbed a unique building on 16th street in the historic Herron-Morton Place district of Indy, converting the space into a cozy paradise for coffee lovers.  The centerpiece to this homemade roasting company is a 1991 coffee roaster, a machine they purchased from another roaster in Boulder, CO.

 Stepping into the space, you can smell the aroma of fresh coffee being ground, roasted, and poured.

 And, they take this process seriously, spending weeks researching where to buy the beans from, as there are more than 50 countries around the globe who grow coffee beans.

Coffee beans at Tinker Street Coffee IndianapolisSteve and Jeff educated me on coffee trees and their need to grow at high altitudes in a tropical climate where there is rich soil.  Namely, “in the Equatorial zone, between latitudes 25 degrees North and 30 degrees South.” How about that for knowing your product?

Besides location, other factors affect the quality and flavor of coffee. Variety of the plant, the chemistry of the soil, amount of rainfall and sunshine, and the precise altitude at which the coffee grows.

Being able to step inside an Indy coffee roaster and talk with those who have sourced and made your coffee bean is unique.  For instance, I love Hawaiian coffee, and have learned to also enjoy Guatemalan coffee too.  My morning jolt was a Guatemalan brew from the Huehuetenango region, and they even knew the elevation of the bean was 1,400 miles above sea level. 

You can peruse more than five different single-origin coffee beans currently on the shelves, and taste ahead of buying to ensure you get the perfect cup.

So, next time you are craving a cup of coffee, swing by Tinker Coffee and talk shop with Steve and Jeff.  You won’t regret the experience getting to your perfect cup.

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Categories: Dining
Tags: Coffee; Tinker Coffee