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Lucas Oil Stadium

Indianapolis, IN

Home of the Indianapolis Colts

4.9

4.5

Lucas Oil Stadium (map it)
500 S Capitol Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46225


Indianapolis Colts website

Lucas Oil Stadium website

Year Opened: 2008

Capacity: 62,421

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Lucky Horseshoes

Indianapolis has the best downtown sports scene in the United States. Every venue in Indianapolis is top notch, and a trip to see the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium is no different. In fact, it may be the best sports experience in the world. That may seem like hyperbole, but go to a Colts game and you will agree that it is a top notch venue.

Maintaining the downtown location, but including a retractable roof means that Lucas Oil Stadium is perfect not only for football but for many other events, including the 2010 Final Four. The stadium is also the host of the Big Ten Football Championship game through 2015. Of course, the highlight was Super Bowl XLVI held here in 2012.

The venue's retractable roof has a window that opens to a view of downtown Indianapolis. The decision of whether or not the roof is open is made at least 90 minutes before kickoff, although the team will try to make the decision and announce to fans somewhere between 2-3 hours before kickoff. The roof is able to open or close in under 11 minutes. The goal is for fans to know whether or not they may want to bring a jacket or sweatshirt with them or leave it in the car.

Lucas Oil Stadium has been named the best stadium experience in 2011 and 2012 by Stadium Journey Magazine.

4.9

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

The Colts offer more than 350 points of sale for food and beverage on game day. You should not expect to wait in line very long and there is a wide variety of options available. A full listing of all of the available concessions and their proximity to each section can be found in the Colts fan guide, which can be downloaded or picked up at Guest Services. It's a helpful tool to ensure you miss as little time as possible in finding what you want while at the game.

While there is plenty of selection and convenience, Lucas Oil Stadium is missing that one signature food item to really set it apart. When visiting a new venue, having something that expresses the local products is important. Since corn, pork, and beef are some of the most prominent agricultural products of Indiana, I would love to see the menu reflect something that would incorporate that. Perhaps a "Colts Burger" with beef, ham, a local cheese, and corn salsa should be on the menu.

That lone wish aside, there is plenty to like to keep tummies happy throughout the game. The homestyle pot roast sandwich ($8) is an interesting and tasty item. I can also recommend the Eisenberg Black Angus hot dog ($5.25), pork tenderloin sandwich ($9), bbq pork sandwich ($8), and Italian Grinder ($9) as good options.

Pizza is provided by Papa John's ($8). There are also vegetarian and gluten free options available on each of the three concourse levels.

Atmosphere    5

On the north side of Lucas Oil Stadium (confusingly found on South Street), there is an area known as "Touchdown Town" that is open before every game. Formerly known as the Fan Zone, it consists of a variety of elements such as the Quarterback Challenge, live music, and food and drink, including $3 Bud Light bottles. One food truck has chocolate chip and caramel cookies for $2 and those are highly recommended. It's free to enter and definitely worth a stop if you have any kids with you.

The gates to the stadium open two hours before kickoff, and there is plenty to see inside. The tradition of racing is honored along the lower concourse both by some of the concession stands, but more noticeably by the full sized racecars found throughout. There is also a live stage where music is performed until 30 minutes before kickoff. When you enter, be prepared for a change in temperature if it is a humid day; the stadium maintains a very nice temperature that keeps fans cool regardless of the weather outside. Of course, when it gets more temperate outside, the roof opens and fans can enjoy the elements.

Once you find your seat, you will be sitting comfortably. Legroom is better than average and there is a cup holder for each of the blue plastic seats. There are a few white seats that are part of the Colt's horseshoe logo, which is found in section 453.

There are two HD scoreboards in opposing corners, each with a 97x37 foot screen. They are massive and sharp and easily visible even from the far opposite corner. As opposed to the large scoreboard hanging at Cowboys Stadium, these screens in no way distract from the play on the field, making the entire stadium and viewing experience feel much more open and clean. You will also find occasional game stats, and like many NFL stadiums these days, fantasy football stats throughout the contest, as well as scores of out-of-town games.

If you like an elevated view of the game around the 50-yard line, then section 640 should be the ideal location to sit. One of the great things about seeing the NFL live is the ability to see pass patterns develop, and this spot will put you in the catbird seat for a great overall perspective.

NFL commercial timeouts feel short when you're at your house - just enough time to make it to the fridge or bathroom - but in person, they can seem really drawn out. The Colts do a good job of filling that time with on-field announcements or video highlights on the scoreboards.

Neighborhood    5

All of the sports venues in Indianapolis are very centrally located, so you may consider trying to find a date where you can see a doubleheader. The AAA Indianapolis Indians play at nearby Victory Field, and the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever play just up the street at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Other options are visiting Butler to see the football team play at the Butler Bowl. Later in the season you may want to time your visit to see the Butler basketball team at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Of course there is also the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard 400, which offers a fantastic museum and tour throughout the year. Whenever you visit Indianapolis, there is sure to be a great sporting event to see.

The location of Lucas Oil Stadium is ideal. Just south of downtown, there is plenty of parking for tailgating, but not much worth noting in the immediate vicinity. Instead, you can easily walk northeast about three blocks where there are many excellent bars and restaurants to spend time before or after the game.

One favorite is St. Elmo Steakhouse, located on Illinois Street. It's a fine dining establishment and you will want to make reservations in advance if attending on game day, although you can also feel comfortable in a football jersey sitting at the small bar before or after the game as well. They have local beers and really great food. They are also famous for their prime rib slider and shrimp cocktail.

Across the street from St. Elmo is the RAM Brewery. This is a reliably good chain with their own beers and good burgers and sandwiches. They have plenty of TVs to stay up to date on the latest NFL games that you may be interested in.

The Tilted Kilt has a branch at the corner of Meridian and Georgia if you enjoy the Scottish theme and scantily clad waitresses.

Fans    5

Indiana may be known most for basketball, but these fans love their Colts. Each game is a major event throughout the state, and you can see the passion and appreciation for their team on gameday. Tailgating occurs not only in the lots of the Colts, but throughout the city in lots and alleys stretching for a mile from Lucas Oil Stadium.

This group is clearly embracing its future with second-year quarterback Andrew Luck's jersey the most prevalent, although a few fans prefer to keep Peyton Manning's name on their back. That doesn't mean that they aren't proud of their past though, and even Manning's image up on the big screen will get the crowd buzzing.

The contrast in the level of noise between when the team is on offense or defense is astounding. This is partially a carryover of the Peyton Manning era when he would make calls from the line of scrimmage, so the crowd has been trained over the years to be quiet when watching the offense. The only time you will hear the crowd is after a big play, when the announcer calls, "That's an Indianapolis Colts..." and the crowd responds exuberantly, "FIRST DOWN!"

On defense the crowd can be menacing, but they are far from hostile. On the contrary, Colts fans are very hospitable to visiting fans and you won't see anything more than good-natured ribbing toward opposing fans. You can feel comfortable wearing your team's jersey if you are following them on the road.

Speaking of jerseys, Colts fans may wear more home jerseys per capita than any other venue I have seen. It's a vast array of current and former greats, although the fans seem to prefer donning the numbers of current players, something the marketing department surely appreciates.

Access    5

Parking will cost you as much as $40 to park right next to the stadium. If the weather is nice and you don't mind the walk, then consider moving further away to save some money. The prices quickly drop to $25, then $20, and so on. However, if you are like me and find paying for parking abominable, you can get there early and find a free spot on the street. I found a spot on Meridian just north of I-70, about 50 feet from lots charging $20.

A quick getaway is relative of course, and like many NFL games there will be some slow movement to get you back on the road. My suggestion is to give yourself an hour of leisure time wandering around the venue rather than trying to rush out through the mob. That recommendation made, the traffic is far from unbearable, although for the game I saw, I-70 was closed going through downtown that caused some additional waiting. This work will be completed at the end of October 2013, so you should not have a problem after that.

Inside the stadium the concourses are wide and easy to navigate. There are plenty of restrooms, including 26 family restrooms, and each facility is clean. I was surprised that every restroom was not equipped with motion sensors on the sinks and toilets. That seems like an upgrade that could be made in the future. However, you won't see much of a line, even at halftime because of the abundance of restrooms.

The facility is very much handicap accessible as well, with plenty of ramps and elevators to get fans where they need to go.

Return on Investment    5

The Colts come in above the NFL average on the Fan Cost Index, but luckily it is still worth what you will pay. The Colts were 10th in total Fan Cost Index for 2012 with an average ticket price just over $85. Their food and drink comes in below NFL averages, and programs are free, which definitely adds to the overall value.

Tickets in the upper deck end zones start at $50. It's a great perch to see plays develop and you also have that skyline view of downtown Indianapolis. Lower level seats go for as much as $136 before you begin to get to the club level pricing. There is no doubt that an NFL game experience is an investment, but this is one investment that is well worth the money you will spend.

Extras    5

The Colts receive extra points for the friendliness of staff. I am always amazed that all sports facilities aren't filled with helpful and friendly staff, but the fact is it just isn't the case. I interacted with at least 20 different staff members during my most recent visit at Lucas Oil Stadium, and each one was friendly and helpful. The Colts should be commended for the training and selection of their game day team.

The Colts offer a mobile app that is compatible with Apple products, Blackberry, or Android devices, which gives fans real-time statistics. There is staff located on each concourse specifically devoted to helping fans use or download this app. The building also features free Wi-Fi.

The Guest Services booth offers giveaways to fans who are attending their first Colts game, or who are celebrating a birthday. It is always a good idea to stop by Guest Relations when you visit a new venue, and Lucas Oil Stadium is no exception. Fans here are honored as well with small banners throughout the concourse featuring a fan dressed in Colts' clothing and indicating the initial year the fan bought season tickets. Great to see this and other teams should take note.

The view of the skyline through the North windows is excellent and a signature photo opportunity.

TVs on the concourse are located in giant Colts helmets, a neat idea.

The one area that can be improved here is to have their only Lombardi Trophy on display. New England and Pittsburgh make their championship hardware available to all and I believe every team should do so. The banners and retired numbers are nice, but I want to see the culmination of all that hard work and that is the trophy.

Final Thoughts

Lucas Oil Stadium is a fantastic venue, with the emphasis on the fans. The club makes sure that the people who support them are treated properly from the beginning of the game day experience to the end. There are so many thoughtful touches here, and that along with the superb location and friendly staff make it a must-see venue. This is one of the best sports stadium experiences in the country and should be on an NFL fans bucket list, especially as the team is well on its way to becoming an attraction in itself.

Other than good natured ribbing by Colts fans. I t is magnificent. But do miss old dome. Jets fans o

Other than good natured ribbing by Colts fans. I t is magnificent. But do miss old dome. Jets fans out rank Cincinnati as bad fans.

by colts48 | Oct 15, 2010 11:31 AM

Detroit

Ford Field in Detroit hosted Super Bowl 40, which was between Minneapolis and Indy.

by ghenson | Oct 05, 2012 04:08 PM

@ghenson

Thanks. Missed that one. Updated article...

by paul | Oct 05, 2012 06:17 PM

@ghenson?

Detroit hosted Pittsburgh and Seattle. Indianapolis played their 2 Super Bowls in Miami, against Chicago and New Orleans.

by 19mike59 | Oct 05, 2012 06:59 PM

Yup

This is by far the best stadium in the NFL, even if it does look like a barn on the outside. I'm extremely proud to be a die-hard Colts fan.

by terrifyingtoads | Oct 10, 2012 04:33 PM

indy

This stadium is the coolest looking stadium ever I have been to soooo many Colts games and i have not had one bad experience.Tailgating s very fun too because the fans there are amazing.

by imax1234 | Dec 16, 2012 10:26 AM

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Crowd Reviews

A Great Sea of Blue

Total Score: 4.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Opened in 2008, at the eye-popping cost of $720M, Lucas Oil Stadium is one of the absolute jewels of professional sports stadiums, located in perhaps the best downtown sports cities in the country.

In 2009, Stadium Journey named Lucas Oil Stadium as the best stadium in the NFL, and our return visits in 2010 and 2011 lived up to those expectations.

The stadium generally has a capacity of 63,000, but that can be extended to 70,000 for special events such as the Super Bowl (to be hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012) and the NCAA Final Four (which will return to Indianapolis in 2015). Super Bowl XLVI will be hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 with the New England Patriots taking on the New York Giants.

The amazing thing about Lucas Oil Stadium is that it manages to feel immense and intimate at the same time. It is the second smallest NFL home field, next to Chicago's Soldier Field, yet it feels overwhelmingly large. The walk down the ramp from the top level to the bottom took me 15 minutes, and I move fairly briskly. This is important to know, because if you choose to go up the escalator, that escalator is up only until the start of the 4th quarter, so getting down will take some time.

It is an architectural marvel with its retractable roof and sliding window wall on the north end of the stadium, which looks out to downtown Indianapolis.

Lucas Oil Stadium- Showcasing Indianapolis Sport

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is one of the country's newest venues, opening just in time for the Colts' 2008 NFL season. This beautiful building, constructed across the street from where its predecessor (the RCA Dome) once sat, holds 63,000 screaming Colts fans (about 62,500 of which seem to be wearing Peyton Manning #18 jerseys) for eight regular-season home games every year.

Notable features of the stadium include a large window at one end (that can be opened to give more of an outdoor feel as well as provide a scenic view of downtown ) and a two-panel retractable roof, which the Colts can decide up until 90 minutes before kickoff if they would prefer to be closed or open. (That's some serious home-field advantage!)

My first visit to Lucas Oil Stadium was for a preseason game in August 2009. I left impressed, to say the least.

go peyton

Total Score: 5.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

enemy of the patriots are my friends jason says coltys are the epitimany of the evils in our world and they do not have a stadium with a 4.6 rating but should have 1 with a negative 4.6 rating

go peyton

Total Score: 5.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

enemy of the patriots are my friends jason says coltys are the epitimany of the evils in our world and they do not have a stadium with a 4.6 rating but should have 1 with a negative 4.6 rating

go peyton

Total Score: 5.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

enemy of the patriots are my friends jason says coltys are the epitimany of the evils in our world and they do not have a stadium with a 4.6 rating but should have 1 with a negative 4.6 rating

True Blue

Total Score: 4.86

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Indianapolis has the best downtown sports scene in the United States. Every venue in Indianapolis is top notch, and a trip to see the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium is no different. In fact, it may be the best sports experience in the world. That may seem like hyperbole, but go to a Colts game and you will agree that it is a top notch venue.

Lucas Oil Stadium opened in time for the 2008 season. It is the second smallest venue in the NFL in terms of overall capacity (62,421), but can be expanded for events up to 70,000 fans. The stadium has already hosted a Final Four (2010), and will once again host the college basketball event in 2015. The stadium is also the host of the Big Ten Football Championship game through 2015.

Lucas Oil Stadium was host to the 2012 Super Bowl. For as new as this facility it is, there is already plenty of history here.

The venue has a retractable roof with a window that opens to a view of downtown Indianapolis. The decision of whether or not the roof is open is made at least 90 minutes before kickoff, although the team will try to make the decision and announce to fans somewhere between 2-3 hours before kickoff. The roof is able to open or close in under 11 minutes. The goal is for fans to know whether or not they may want to bring a jacket or sweatshirt with them or leave it in the car.

Absolutely FANtastic!

Total Score: 4.86

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Bow down the rest of the league :)

indy

Total Score: 4.43

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

the best stadium ever

Awesome

Total Score: 5.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

It's the symphony of perfection

very awesome

Total Score: 4.57

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 5

You cant miss out on Lucas oil stadium.The food is not great but thats why there are a lot of restraunts and fast food places to eat and thats why you should tailgate before the game.The atmosphere is great because the stadium is so big and loud and because it get so cold in Indianapolis the roof will close if it rains or if its to cold.You want t catch a game when its nice out so the roof will be open and you can look out the big windows at the Indy skyline.The fans are great because they are polite and they always sell out and they always stay even if its a blow out.They are very loud which always makes it feel like you are at a football game.Parking is good because there is a huge parking lot on each side on the stadium and there are parking garages in the area and they are not to expensive.The stadium is also very good for visitors because of I-70 and that makes things so much easier for visitors.Getting tickets is another thing because tickets are either sold out or they are way to expensive to go.tickets range from50-350$.Overall Lucas oil stadium is one of the best places to see a foot ball game.

really???

Total Score: 0.43

  • Food & Beverage: 2
  • Atmosphere 0
  • Neighborhood: 0
  • Fans: 0
  • Access: 1
  • RoI: 0
  • Extras: 0

My cell phone was stolen after being in a 40 yard line suite! Completely unacceptable and ridiculous!!!!!

Best NFL Stadium

Total Score: 5.00

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 5
  • Extras: 5

Upgrade the scoreboards and you have a perfect 10!

Share your thoughts about Lucas Oil Stadium

Local Food & Drink

RAM Restaurant & Brewery  (map it!)

140 South Illinois Street

Indianapolis, IN 46225

(317) 955-9900

http://www.theram.com/

St. Elmo's Steak House  (map it!)

127 S Illinois St

Indianapolis, IN 46225

(317) 635-0636

http://www.stelmos.com/

Local Entertainment

Indiana Repertory Theatre  (map it!)

140 W Washington St

Indianapolis, IN 46204

(317) 635-5252

http://www.irtlive.com/

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis  (map it!)

3000 N Meridian St

Indianapolis, IN 46208

(317) 334-4000

http://www.childrensmuseum.org/

Lodging

Hyatt Regency Indianapolis  (map it!)

One South Capitol Avenue

Indianapolis, IN 46204

(317) 632-1234

http://indianapolis.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp

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