WORTH THE DRIVE: Here’s how to celebrate March Madness in Indianapolis

For the first time, the entire men’s Division 1 NCAA basketball championship tournament will take place in its entirety less than two hours away from Dayton, from March 18 through April 5 in Indianapolis.

Even before the Big Dance tips off its First Four games, the Big 10 basketball tournament also will be held in Indy, from March 10-14.

Both tournaments represent an opportunity for Dayton-area sports fans and basketball enthusiasts to explore Indianapolis for a little close-to-home vacation. There are many novel happenings taking place in Indy in celebration of the March Madness tournament.

Health officials remind those travelling anywhere in the coming weeks to follow all public-health mandates and advice to help avoid the spread of COVID-19.

“Next month, the stage is set for Indy to play host to the entire NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament when we welcome 67 teams to the city for 68 games over a span of 25 days,” said Nate Swick, communications manager at Visit Indy. “This will mark the first time March Madness in its entirety has been held in one single location: Indy.”

Swick said even if fans don’t plan to attend the tournament itself, there are plenty of exciting ways to soak in March Madness away from the arena. Here are Swick’s top recommendations for a March Madness trip to Indianapolis:


🏀NCAA Hall of Champions: Indy is home to the NCAA’s headquarters alongside the Hall of Champions, a museum representing all 24 NCAA sports and boasting two levels of interactive exhibits, a sports simulator and a 1930s-era retro gymnasium.

🏀Sports Legends Experience at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: The largest children’s museum in the world is home to the 7.5-acre Sports Legends Experience, an interactive way to experience 12 outdoor sports and 3 indoor exhibits encompassing physical fitness and the history of sport.

🏀Crispus Attucks Museum: Located inside Crispus Attucks High School, the museum takes visitors back to the 1955 Crispus Attucks High School basketball team, led by a young Oscar Robertson. The team became the first all-black team in the nation to win a state high school basketball title.


🏀Head to Monument Circle, the epicenter of Indy, to experience Shining a Light, a synchronized light presentation currently themed to basketball. Sports fans will also enjoy checking out the Reggie Miller mural on Michigan Street downtown or posing with the Peyton Manning statue outside of Lucas Oil Stadium.


🏀Plump’s Last Shot: Basketball fans will love this dive bar in Broad Ripple, named for its owner Bobby Plump, the man who made “the shot heard around the world” and inspired ESPN’s #1 movie, Hoosiers. Be sure to check out the walls of basketball memorabilia while chowing down on a classic Hoosier breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.

🏀City Market: Visitors will enjoy perusing the stalls and grabbing a bite to eat at Indy’s City Market, the former site of Market Square Arena, which was home to the city’s first Final Four in 1980.

🏀The World’s Spiciest Dish: No trip to Indy is complete without tasting what The Travel Channel deemed to be “the world’s spiciest dish” — the shrimp cocktail at the iconic St Elmo Steakhouse, which also has a sister restaurant, Harry & Izzy’s, next door (it’s co-owned by Peyton Manning). The horseradish-laced cocktail sauce will clear the sinuses and set the stage for further exploration for what Indianapolis has to offer.

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