Lucas Oil Stadium: Travel Guide for a Colts Game in Indianapolis

••• Lucas Oil Stadium. Raymond Boyd / Michael Ochs Archives

The Colts have a recent legacy of elite quarterbacks. Peyton Manning led them for many years and now Andrew Luck has taken over the reins. Luck and Indianapolis Colts fans are reaping the benefits of Manning’s success as the team now plays in Lucas Oil Stadium, which was built in 2008. One of the NFL’s elite venues, Lucas Oil Stadium hosts Super Bowls and Final Four when it’s not acting as home to the Colts.

Heading to a Colts game should be a priority for anyone in the Northeast and the Midwest because it’s so easy to reach. There may be another great quarterback after Luck, but now’s the time to check him out in a home game at Indianapolis’ downtown treasure of a football stadium

Tickets & Seating Areas

There aren’t that many tickets available on the primary market for the Colts given the team’s recent success. The few tickets that are available go on sale weeks after the NFL schedule comes out or the week of the game when visiting teams return some of their allocation. Unfortunately, a lot of what is made available are single seats. You can buy tickets through the Colts either online with Ticketmaster, via phone, or at the Lucas Oil Stadium Stadium box office. (When you buy from Ticketmaster, just be careful to uncheck the “Resale” button so you know that you’re buying primary market tickets and not secondary market ones.

Normally the only tickets available during the initial onsale are in the 600 (aka Terrace) Level, the highest one in the stadium, but the visiting team returns could include some seats in the Loge Level or Lower Level. Ticket prices in the 600 Level generally range from $54 to $83. The Colts don't vary their ticket pricing based on the opponent because so many of their tickets are season tickets.

You can always go to the secondary market if you can’t find any tickets on Ticketmaster. Obviously, you have the well-known options like Stubhub and the NFL Ticket Exchange or a ticket aggregator (think Kayak for sports tickets) like SeatGeek and ‎TiqIQ.

The Colts have all their Club Seats located between the 20-yard lines. As a nice plus, the seats are padded and have extra leg room. There’s no differentiation between Club Seats as all Club Seat ticketholders receive the same amenities. These fans will have access to the ADVANTAGE and Faegre Baker Daniels Club Lounges, which include full-service bars and made-to-order food stations. Complimentary popcorn and discounted hot dogs are also made available to patrons. Ticketholders have the opportunity to purchase reserved parking for all 10 games and enter Lucas Oil Stadium through special VIP entrances.

Getting There

It’s very easy to get to Lucas Oil Stadium given its location in downtown Indianapolis. Most people drive to the game via I-65, I-69, I-70, or I-74, possibly with some help from I-465. Amtrak provides train service that brings you from areas towards Chicago and Cincinnati. There are also the local bus lines, called Indy Go, that make their way through downtown Indianapolis.

Bus information can be found through the Indy Go website.

Tailgating

There’s always tailgating when football is being played and Indianapolis is no different. While there are plenty of good bars and restaurants located downtown, fans are out in numbers tailgating around Lucas Oil Stadium. The best way to set up your tailgating situation is to reserve a parking spot in advance through the prepaid online system by ParkWhiz. There are also alternatives for fans who don’t want to pay the high prices of parking near the stadium. Parking at street meters is a fine option with your best options being north that are free on weekends but require a longer walk to the stadium.

The Colts set up “Touchdown Town” in the parking areas just north of the stadium. It includes games for kids, live entertainment, autograph signings by former players, appearances by Colts cheerleaders, merchandise for sale, and drinks.

It generally opens three to three and a half hours before kickoff and is a decent alternative if you don’t want to do all the work yourself. There’s also the “Blue Crew,” which sets up shop a few blocks west of Lucas Oil Stadium. They’re the largest tailgating club and membership is required to join. It’s a nice option for season ticket holders are those attending multiple games because benefits include 10% off food and drink provided in the tailgating area.

Pregame & Postgame Fun

Indianapolis is a city that’s easy to walk around and Lucas Oil Stadium is just on the south edge of downtown so it’s easy to get there from the surrounding bars and restaurants. You’ll have a great time moving around to some of the restaurants downtown before or after the game. We have to start with St. Elmo Steak House, known as one of the best steakhouses in the country. They’re known for their shrimp cocktail eating contest, but you’ll enjoy the steak as well. In terms of cheaper fare, Shapiro’s Delicatessen offers up a peppered beef sandwich that keeps people coming back. There are also a couple good food trucks to check out.

Those looking for a drink might stumble into Chilly Water Brewing Company and enjoy the wide variety of beers from the microbrewery. Of course, there are a couple great sports bars to occupy your time between games. Obviously, there are a few sports bar options worth checking out. High Velocity Sports Bar is slightly more upscale, but will service your sports needs with their 60 flat-screen TVs.  Scotty's Brewhouse is a more down to earth spot with 29 beers on draft and everything you’d expect from a sports bar.

At the Game

The food at Lucas Oil Stadium isn’t going to wow you. Despite the fact that it opened in 2008, the concessions aren’t in line with the high-level stuff you’re getting from most new stadiums these days. Your best bet for something creative would be the Italian Beef or Homestyle Pot Roast sandwiches. The Walking Taco isn’t bad either as it’s a crushed bag of Doritos and taco fixing all mixed together. If there’s anything the Stadium can do well, it’s the craft beer selection. You’ll be able to enjoy a few local beers on tap including Osiris Pale Ale and Sunlight Cream Ale.

Where to Stay

There are a decent amount of hotels in downtown Indianapolis, but there’s certainly not an overwhelming amount. There are major chain hotels downtown like Courtyard by Marriott, Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Sheraton, and Westin. There are also a few options outside of downtown (about 10 minutes away), allowing you to either drive, taxi, or Uber into downtown.  Wherever you stay, you can use Hipmunk (a travel aggregator) to help with your hotels. You can also look for a house or an apartment to rent and you’ll be spoiled for choice as people look to make a quick buck off a football weekend. Again, you’ll be better served finding something close to downtown if possible, so that going out to restaurants and bars won’t be an issue. You should constantly be checking websites like AirBnBVRBO, or HomeAway to find the best deals.