Itinerant Fan

Lucas Oil Stadium

Though basketball is undoubtedly king in Indiana, there’s plenty of room for football in the Indiana sports fan’s heart. And when it comes to football in the Hoosier State, fans have a palace to flock to in Lucas Oil Stadium on the edge of downtown Indianapolis.

The home of the Colts and the NFL combine was designed with a loving nod to hoops in mind (to see how, just compare Lucas Oil Stadium to any building with “Field House” in its name). But it’s all football inside, and it is often cited as one of the NFL’s best stadiums. For evidence of that, look no further than the list of big events that have already been staged there in its short history: Super Bowl XLVI, the 2010 and 2015 Final Four and the Big Ten championship game every year since 2011.

Read on to find out how to make the most of a football-themed trip to Naptown.

  •   The Approach

    With a spot next to the huge Indiana Convention Center and close to where Interstates 65 and 70 converge as they cut through downtown, Lucas Oil Stadium is fairly easy to get to and unmistakable amid the Indianapolis skyline. The best exit off either route is West Street, which runs north-south through downtown; if approaching from the north on I-65, you’ll have to travel through downtown on West Street to get to the stadium.

    If you’re visiting Indy, you have a wide selection of hotels in the downtown area to choose from, including no less than four directly across the street. Many other brand-name hotels are located in the blocks between the convention center and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. So hoofing it to the game shouldn’t be difficult — unless, of course, it’s chilly outside, but in that case the city has you covered with its series of skywalks that allow pedestrians to walk around without having to brave the elements. Lucas Oil Stadium is connected to the skyway via an underground connector.

    Once you’re in the vicinity, parking is ample, with surface lots south and north of the stadium and numerous structures scattered throughout the blocks directly to the north. For a downtown Indianapolis parking map, click here. If you’re traveling in from out of town, or are one of those planners who likes to have their ducks in a row, Parking Panda might be a great tool for finding parking for you.

    Parking Panda allows you to search and pay for guaranteed parking spots ahead of time. They’ll email you the parking pass and a parking spot will be waiting for you upon arrival, eliminating the stress and uncertainty that the parking experience can induce. Click below to check out all of their options.

  •   The Build-Up

    There’s quite a bit to do around downtown Indianapolis, an area that has seen quite a bit of development in recent years thanks in part to the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium and the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. And on game days, of course, the area is teeming with football fans.

    You’ll find most of what’s worthwhile in the blocks north of South Street between West Street and Delaware Street. Georgia Street between Capitol and Pennsylvania is a particularly popular street among sports fans.

    There are quite a few familiar-name restaurants around (Buffalo Wild Wings, Hooters, Steak ‘n’ Shake and The Old Spaghetti Factory, just to name a few) but also a few local haunts worth checking out. One worth checking out, at least if you have deep pockets, is St. Elmo’s Steak House on Illinois Street — arguably the most famous restaurant in the city. Or, try an Indiana specialty, the pork tenderloin sandwich, at one of two downtown establishments — Loughmiller’s Pub and Coaches Tavern. Click here for more info on nearby restaurants.

    For their part, the Colts host a pregame party called “Touchdown Town” outside Lucas Oil Stadium’s north gate, complete with the usual bells and whistles — cheerleaders, live music, games, etc. Or, if you’d prefer to set up (or join) a tailgate, your best bet is to stake out the lot south of the stadium.

    If sightseeing is your thing, the NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indiana Statehouse and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument are all within walking distance.

  •   The Ambiance

    It’s unusual to see a building the size of Lucas Oil Stadium with a largely brick exterior, but that’s just one of the architectural features that sets the stadium apart. As alluded to above, the “field house” feel is achieved thanks not only to the brick but also to the gabled roof, much like you’d see on a house. The roof is retractable, its panels sliding down, and coupled with the large windows on both ends of the stadium (the ones on the north end are capable of sliding open), the venue can achieve an open-air feel on days when the weather is appropriate.

    The roof helps reinforce the illusion of size, despite the fact that the Colts hang banners from the roof supports in the same way teams do at arenas. But the seating bowl is comparable to most NFL venues, with three levels of seats and a luxury suite level mixed in. Two large videoboards are stationed in corners of the stadium.

    Befitting such a large venue, Lucas Oil Stadium’s concourses are large and generally easy to move around in, taking on a sort of convention-hall feel. In tribute both to the stadium’s title sponsor and to the home of the Indy 500, there are race cars, pictures of cars and drivers and race-themed concession stands scattered throughout the building.

    Speaking of concessions, they’re largely unadventurous at Lucas Oil Stadium, though Midwest comfort food items such as the pork tenderloin sandwich and pot roast sandwich are available.

The Particulars

Home Teams
Indianapolis Colts

500 South Capitol Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Year Opened


Upcoming Events
All times local
Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, December 16, 2018
1:00 pm
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New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, December 23, 2018
1:00 pm
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Wild Card Or Divisional Round Game: TBD at Indianapolis Colts
Saturday, January 5, 2019
3:30 am
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AFC Championship: TBD at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, January 20, 2019
3:30 am
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Monster Jam
Saturday, February 9, 2019
7:00 pm
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