NCAA tournament: What to do in Indianapolis

March 27, 2014 

If you're headed to Indianapolis for the NCAA men's basketball tournament game between Kentucky and Louisville, you'll probably seek some activities unrelated to the matchup.

We asked the folks at Visit Indy, the city's tourism bureau, for suggestions. Here's what they said.

Game-related things to do

Check out live jazz and blues at Slippery Noodle Inn. Three blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium, Indiana's oldest bar once was a brothel. The basement has the original door used for sneaking slaves through on the Underground Railroad, and bullet holes mar the wall from bad boy John Dillinger. When Indy hosted the NCAA Final Four in 2010, actor and musician Tim Robbins got up on stage for an impromptu jam session. (372 S. Meridian St. (317) 631-6974. Slipperynoodle.com.)

Walk to White River State Park. The 250-acre urban greenspace has seven attractions and a central canal. Inside the park is the NCAA's headquarters, including its visitor attraction, the NCAA Hall of Champions. It includes a look at the 23 sports that the NCAA governs and a 1930s gymnasium where you can shoot hoops. (White River State Park: Bounded by White River Pkwy. and Washington, West and New York Sts; Inwhiteriver.com. NCAA Hall of Champions: 700 W. Washington St., $3-$5, (317) 917-6084, NCAAhallofchampions.org.)

Taste local beer at Sun King Brewery. Step inside the urban microbrewery for free tours and tastings. Sun King helped the state of Indiana take home more gold medals than any other state at the Great American Beer Festival. You're visiting from the land of bourbon, so don't forget to ask one of their brewers what is in the works for a future bourbon beer. (135 N. College Ave. (317) 602-3702. Sunkingbrewing.com.)

Neighborhoods to explore

Both Mass Ave, the nickname for Massachusetts Avenue, and Fountain Square are within walking distance of downtown. These neighborhoods are where the locals hang, the visitors bureau's Morgan Greenlee said. They're off the beaten path, so you can beat the crowds, find great restaurants and bars, and go boutique shopping.

Where to watch the game

Scotty's Brewhouse. A local sports bar with TVs at every table, even in the bathroom stalls. It serves American food and has a big beer menu that includes local favorites from Sun King Brewery. (1 Virginia Ave., a block from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Pacers. (317) 571-0808. Scottysbrewhouse.com)

Chatham Tap. Because it's off the beaten path but within walking distance from downtown, getting a table there might be easier than at other bars. USA Today named it one of the top 10 sports bars in the nation this year. It's typically a soccer bar, and it has great food and drinks. (719 Massachusetts Ave. (317) 917-8425. Chathamtap.com.)

Kilroys. It's right in the heart of downtown Indianapolis and a few blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the NCAA games will be played. If you can score a table here, you'll be in for a rowdy crowd. Kilroys is known for its breadsticks. (201 S. Meridian St. (317) 638-9464. Kilroysindy.com.)

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