The people of Indiana are going all out to welcome visitors to Indianapolis for Super Bowl 2012. It's all part of Hoosier Hospitality. To help gay visitors coming in for the main event period between Wednesday, February 1st, through Sunday, February 5th, I've compiled some relevant info and tips.
Bars / Clubs
Usually bars serve alcohol until 3am every night except Sunday, when they close at 12:30am. During the Super Bowl period there will be Sunday alcohol sales for on-premise consumption in a special downtown zone. Alcohol cannot be purchased for off-premise consumption from 3am Sunday until 7am Monday. (I actually sat in my car once on a Monday morning waiting for a liquor store to open at 7am, but that’s another story.)
For dance clubs, I recommend Talbott Street (2145 N. Talbott St.) and Greg’s Place (231 E. 16th St.)
Talbott Street will have a Madonna theme on 2/5. On 2/4 the cover is $5 before midnight, and the theme is tailgate party, with a drag show at 9:30pm, 11pm, and 1am. Same theme on 2/3, plus shows, but with the last drag show at 12:30am instead of 1am. Doors open at 9pm each night.
At Greg’s Place, the club opens at 3pm on Super Bowl Sunday. There will be free food during the game. The dance floor opens after the game. The bar opens at 4pm on 2/1-2/4, with the dance floor opening at 9pm on 2/2-2/4.
For dining + bar, two good places are English Ivy’s (944 N. Alabama St.), serving food until 3am, and Downtown Olly’s (822 N. Illinois St.), open 24/7.
The two bars that are most easily walked to from the center of downtown are The Metro and The 501 Eagle.
The Metro Nightclub (707 Massachusetts Ave.) will have an 80s party on 2/4, starting at 9pm and with no cover. They also have a restaurant for dinner 5pm to 9pm on all days except Sunday, and a gay gift shop upstairs.
The 501 Eagle (501 N. College Ave.) is a leather bar. On 2/3 is “Dark & Cruisy”. On 2/4 it’s Sports Uniform Night, and on 2/5 the bar opens at 1pm to get ready to show the game.
Unicorn Club (122 W. 13th St.) advertises itself with “We are the Midwest's only club with male entertainment seven nights a week!” They have male dancers performing from 10:30pm each night. There are also drag performers on Thursday.
Super Bowl parties
Most parties are private affairs, but there are several that you can buy tickets for. Here are some ticketed parties where celebrities are expected to show.
- The Rolling Stone Bacardi Bash is on 2/4. The scheduled entertainment is LMFAO, Lupe Fiasco, Cobra Starship, and Gym Class Heroes.
- The Rolling Stone Rock and Roll Fan Tailgate party is on 2/5, with Jane’s Addiction, Pete Wentz, and The Roots.
- The Elevate’s tent on 2/3 will have Black Cards, featuring Pete Wentz.
- The Laces and Leather party on 2/3 will have hosts Jenny McCarthy, Carmen Electra, and Jenni “Jwoww” Farley.
- The Laces and Leather party on 2/4 will have hosts Bridget Marquardt, Holly Madison, and Kendra Wilkinson.
- If you want to see DJ Pauly D, go to the Fantasy Party Tent on 2/4.
- For $499 you can watch Paula Deen get her pork on doing cooking demonstrations at the Indiana State Museum, on 2/5, starting at 11am.
Jimmy Fallon is taping his Late Night show on 2/1-2/3, and on 2/5, at the Circle Theater on Monument Circle. The advance tickets are gone, but you can wait outside of the theater for standby tickets. You need to get there early, and no later than 3:30pm. The 2/2 show would be the one to go to, because Taylor Lautner and Adam Levine will be guests on that one.
The Today Show will be broadcasting from Pan Am Plaza on 2/3. It will only be Ann Curry and Al Roker though. You’ll get to see Al ride the zipline, and Jimmy Falloon will make an appearance. Jenna Wolf will do the show on 2/4, and Ann, Al, Natalie and Savannah will be broadcasting on Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl related activities downtown
The big photo op is the 30’ high XLVI Roman numerals on Monument Circle. Another good photo would be of the big blue JW Marriott with the image of the Vince Lombardi trophy covering one side.
The Zipline is 80' tall and 800' long and allows riders to fly across several blocks of Capitol St. Tickets must be purchased on-site at the Zipline Launch Tower (258 S. Capitol Ave.). They are $10 on a first come, first served basis (starting an hour before the ride opens) and sell out quickly. The Zipline operates 3pm to 10pm on 2/1, and 11am to 11pm on 2/2-2/5.
The NFL Experience is an indoor NFL theme park for football fans at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Besides free autograph sessions with NFL superstars, the NFL Shop for official Super Bowl XLVI merchandise, opportunity to see the Vince Lombardi Trophy up close, a full set of Super Bowl rings, and some Football Hall of Fame memorabilia, the main attraction is the NFL Play 60 Game Zone where adults (and some kids) get to play along doing various passing, kicking and running activities. It’s a good opportunity to watch straight boys walking around or showing their athletic prowess. If you don’t have a ticket, you can buy on site ($25) to avoid Ticketmaster charge. Enter the convention center at the NW corner, the intersection of Capitol Ave. and Maryland St. If you have a ticket, enter further south on Capitol, nearer the intersection with Georgia St. It’s open 3pm to 10pm on 2/1 – 2/3, and 10am to 10pm on 2/4. Closed on 2/5.
By the way, if you have Super Bowl tickets and are a member of the general public, without instructions to enter a certain gate, don’t head to the stadium. The main entrance for the public is the NW corner of the convention center, corner of Capitol and Maryland. That’s where the bulk of the security apparatus will be.
The Super Bowl Village is the three blocks of Georgia St. between Capitol and Pennsylvania. There are free concerts throughout the day and evening at the Verizon Stage (in front of Bankers Life Fieldhouse) and at the Pepsi Stage at Meridian St. You can see the Ice Gurus from Food Network doing their things, and participate in interactive games at Tailgate Town. Also, you can run in a human sized hamster wheel at the Super Dash.
The Huddle at the NE corner Meridian and Georgia is basically a big indoor rest area for people. It has food at the Chef’s Table, live entertainment, and an NFL ticket exchange where you can buy authenticated tickets from resellers to the game. On the 2nd floor is a Lids store with lots of Super Bowl and team merchandise.
At 9pm daily is a small aerial pyrotechnic show.
Museums / Galleries
Visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the 10th largest art museum in the U.S. Also, see the Indianpolis Children Museum, the largest of its kind in the U.S. Currently, there is a special exhibit on the fashions of Mattel’s Barbie.
Don't miss seeing the world's largest sports facility, the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Every May it is home to the Indy 500, the largest single day sporting event in the world. The number of spectators inside the track on race day is more than 3 times even the largest Super Bowl to date. The museum is open 2/1-2/5, 9am-5pm.
The Indiana State House is open 9am-7:30pm on 2/2-2/3, and 9am-5pm on 2/4. Tours of the historic state capitol building are given every hour.
There will be a large exhibition of art from the downtown art galleries and dealers at the IDADA Art Pavilion, 202 N. Alabama, open daily 10am-7pm.
Ignore all the Super Bowl guides for Indianapolis that proclaim St. Elmo’s Steakhouse as the best place to eat. It is indeed a good place to eat, but you’re not getting in. It’s booked solid, and only extraordinarily lucky people or VIPs will get the limited walk-up seating. Ask the volunteers throughout the downtown outside (who have the earbands that say “ask me”) or in The Huddle where to eat. They have tablet computers to look stuff up, and they are supposed to be notified real-time of what the line sizes are at various restaurants.
If you are looking for cheap fast food, there are 12 food trucks, offering a wide variety, on the NW side of Monument Circle from 11am to 10pm, 2/2-2/5. There are two shifts of the trucks, and the first set rolls out and the second one come in between 4pm and 5pm.
If you want quick pizza, Papa Johns has a food truck just north of the Verizon Stage, and nearby at 30 E. Georgia is Hot Box Pizza, selling $4 slices until 4am.
A conventional source right in the middle of things is the Circle Center Mall food court on the 3rd floor, north side. The mall is open 10am to 10pm on 2/1, and from 10am to midnight on 2/2-2/4. On Super Bowl Sunday, it’s open from 11am to 10pm.
From 2/1 to 2/4 there will be parking at various lots and garages at event prices. Here is a map of downtown parking: http://bit.ly/zYLnQf . For Super Bowl Sunday parking, you can try here: https://sbxlvi.clickandpark.com/superbowl. Another option is the underground parking at Circle Center Mall. It’s $80 on 2/5, $20 up to 8hrs and $40 for 8-24hrs on 2/1/-2/4.
Cabs are very limited in Indianapolis and usually are mainly available by calling a taxi company ahead of time, requesting a pickup. Taxis are always available in front of the major hotels, but the best bet is to go to one of two special cab stands downtown during 2/1 – 2/5. On the east side of downtown, it’s on the diagonal Virgina Ave, between Pennsylvania and Delaware streets. On the west side of downtown, it’s on Washington St. between Senate and West St. If you are taking a cab out from the center of downtown, be aware that you may have trouble getting a cab later to take you back (due to the limited availability). A good tactic is make some new friends wherever you went to (who have a car) who will drive you back to the center.
Information / Assistance
If you need assistance at any time, ask one of the many policemen on duty, or anyone in a blue and white scarf (they are volunteers there to help you). Also, you can text a question to 242242 or call 1-855-472-2012. You can info on traffic, dining, and the city by texting “INFO” to 722012. The main website for info is http://www.indianapolissuperbowl.com. Use m. instead of www. for the mobile site.