With the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs the team is guaranteed two games in the lovely City of Indianapolis. This means that there will presumably be some Cavaliers fans that will be headed there from out of town for a long weekend to catch some playoff basketball.
That means all of you going will likely be looking for things to do while you're there and the Cavaliers aren't playing. With the games on Thursday night and Sunday afternoon, there will be plenty of time to explore the city. Don't worry, I thought ahead and figured out what you absolutely must check out while you're in the Circle City.
I reached out to Amy Haneline and Liz Biro of the Indy Star to get their thoughts on what to do in their city.
Danny Cunningham: Cleveland has a pretty solid craft beer scene, what is that scene like in Indianapolis? Are there any 'must have' beers that are specific to the city? Where can someone new to the city go to find them?
Amy Haneline: Indianapolis has an explosive craft beer scene – and I would definitely call it “solid.” The biggest brewer in Indianapolis is Sun King Brewery, and you can’t miss them. It’s core beers are on tap everywhere.
Our most award-winning brewer is Bier Brewery. Another top-notch pick would be Daredevil Brewing Co and its flagship beer Lift Off IPA (for the hopheads).
A visit to Daredevil Brewing Co is perfect for visitors to Indianapolis because it is on Main Street in Speedway, you know, where any sports fan would probably want to see the massive Indianapolis Motor Speedway with perhaps a stop
There lots of other cool stops on Main Street too. (Full List on Indy Star)
DC: Game 3 in Indianapolis is Thursday and Game 4 is Saturday, that leaves Friday night wide open. If you're a younger fan making the trip, what's the Friday nightlife look like? if those party days have passed you by, what's something good for a relaxing Friday night?
AH: I would head to some of our trendy, surrounding neighborhoods like Fletcher Place, Fountain Square, or Mass Ave where there is no shortage of places to eat, drink and chill. My top picks include Tappers Arcade Bar, Hotel Tango Whiskey Distillery, and Union 50. If you want something closer to the center, Slippery Noodle blues bar is a classic and one of Indiana’s oldest bars.
DC: When you're in Indy you're going to have to eat, what are the best places to grab a nice dinner? And where would you suggest hitting up for lunch?
AH: I’m deferring to Liz Biro our food and dining reporter on this one! All I will say is that you HAVE to try the shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s. It’s a cliché around here, but you just have to do it.
Liz Biro: Totally agree with Amy on these. I’d add for Downtown night dining, Mass Ave is the place to be. Totally vibrant and young, but all ages welcome. Popping food/cocktail-centric night life. Union 50 has it all, including music. All the new places on this list are now open, expect The Kitchen. I’d add Rooster’s Kitchen, Mimi Blue Meatballs, The Eagle and Bakersfield to the list. Also, something like 300 bourbons in the back bar at Goodfellas.
Find a more laid-back vibe in Fountain Square, best cocktails at Thunderbird, best food at Pioneer and life music later in the night. Also, Kuma’s is a heavy metal burger place def worth a trip.
Up at Fletcher Place, hit Rook. Amazing cocktails, Asian fusion, super vibrant and conveniently next door to Tappers.
Day dining, means Milktooth, for sure, but also don’t miss General American Donut Co., craft doughnuts and they show vintage cartoons on Saturday.
DC: Lastly, before the game, I'm sure there will be plenty of places around Banker's Life Fieldhouse filled with basketball fans, anywhere a Cavs fan should go to feel at home?
AH: Just check out our list of 20 best sports bars: 20 Indy Star's Best Sports Bars
I doubt Cavs fans will feel at home….this is Pacers land! Watch out for the ear blows.
If you do end up heading to Indy for the weekend, be sure to check out as much as Amy and Liz suggested as possible!
Special thanks to both of them for their help with this!