University of Kentucky basketball is headed to Indianapolis for the Final Four this weekend, and 70,000 fans are expected to be part of the madness. If you are one of them, here are some tips for making the most of your time.
Indianapolis is hosting events for fans of all ages, and there are plenty of Indy sites to see.
There are several Final Four related activities being hosted this weekend, many of which are free. Details can found at NCAA.com/final-four/fan-events. But here are a few specifics:
■ Final Four Fan Fest, which runs April 3 to 6 at Indiana Convention Center, is "the ultimate pregame destination" where you can meet former stars and participate in a variety of activities.
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■ Reese's Final Four Friday, April 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium, is where you can see the teams practice one last time.
■ Reese's College All-Star Game, April 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium, features some of the best senior college basketball players from around the country.
■ NCAA March Madness Music Festival, April 3 to 5 at White River State Park, is a free three-day outdoor festival with many local and some big-name artists, including Rihanna, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Imagine Dragons and Weezer.
■ Final Four Dribble, April 5 at Downtown Indy, gives kids a chance to dribble their way through downtown Indianapolis and get a free T-shirt, a basketball and entry into the Final Four Fan Fest.
Indianapolis has more to offer than Final Four related events.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a must-see if you are traveling with family, according to Morgan Greenlee, the senior communications manager at Visit Indy.
"The museum is the world's largest and considered by many the world's best children museum," Greenlee said. Two exhibits on display are Inside Hollywood Film & TV! You're on the Set and Transformers: Robots in Disguise. The museum's website is Childrensmuseum.org.
Another good place to visit is White River State Park, which Greenlee said is the hub for a lot of activity in Indianapolis. The park hosts many museums in addition to the NCAA Hall of Champions. Check out the attractions at Inwhiteriver.com.
"We have done everything we can to be ready for this weekend," Greenlee said. She also said she doesn't expect business this weekend to be affected by the recent controversy over the state's new law that allows businesses to deny service based on religious beliefs. "We are known for Hoosier Hospitality."
Bar owner Daniel Jones agreed with Greenlee. Although the law is being talked about, his bar, Chatham Tap, is in an area of the city that has been active in its opposition to the bill, Jones said. For more information on Chatham Tap, go to Chathamtap.com.
Other bars in the area where you can watch the game if you are not lucky enough to have tickets include:
■ Scotty's Brewhouse, Scottysbrewhouse.com, which features live music and an "I hate Christian Laettner" double IPA specialty beer.
■ Kilroys, Kilroysindy.com, which is in the heart of downtown and has more than 50 televisions.
■ Slippery Noodle Inn, Slipperynoodle.com, Indiana's oldest bar, which hosts live jazz and blues.
If you are trying to get tickets to the games, check out NCAA.com/vip, the official site for ticket exchanges. Some of the ticket exchanges include hotel bookings.
And if you're still looking for a hotel room for the weekend, it's probably best to look outside the county line, Greenlee suggests. Some hotels farther from the stadium might have rooms available.
If you are attending the game, Lucas Oil Stadium will be implementing its clear-bag policy for the tournament. For more about that policy and other restricted items, go to Lucasoilstadium.com/visitors/faqs.aspx.
There also are several Easter-related events for interested fans who are staying through the weekend. There will be many Easter services, in addition to Easter egg hunts for the kids and Easter brunches. For a list of Easter services in Indianapolis, go to bit.ly/1NBVZaV. For a list of Easter brunches, go to bit.ly/1DpUf5f.