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  • Marc Viquez

Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis Colts






Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.57

Lucas Oil Stadium 500 S Capitol Ave Indianapolis, IN 46225

Indianapolis Colts website Lucas Oil Stadium website

Year Opened: 2008 Capacity: 62,421


 

Good to the Last Drop

Lucas Oil Stadium is considered one of the top destinations in the National Football League. Yes, there have been other stadiums built across the league since its opening in 2008, but when it comes down to every metric, the home of the Indianapolis Colts is among the better gameday experiences in the league. It possesses a true downtown feel with bars, hotels, restaurants, and nightlife just a few steps away from the main entrance. Its design also blends in well with the surrounding area but stands out significantly within the city’s landscape.

The 62,421-seat venue features a retractable roof that remains open unless inclement weather or lightning is within the vicinity of the stadium, the temperature drops below 40° F, or wind gusts are greater than 40 miles per hour. However, once it’s closed, it is not allowed to be reopened. The open roof does provide a natural breeze throughout the sections of the stadium and provides some great vantage points of downtown buildings.

The streets are packed with fans and nearby Georgia Street is open for pedestrians allowing fans to openly carry alcoholic drinks in a cup; Touchdown Town is just footsteps from the main entrance and provides live music, skills tests for kids, food samples, and more good times. Even if you are not a football fan, there is a lot of excitement to attract fans to the game.

Food & Beverage 4



There are 59 permanent and 90 portable concession stands with more than 500 points of sale located throughout the stadium offering everything from your basic nachos and hot dogs to quesadilla egg rolls and smoked brisket sandwiches.

There is a fantastic variety of concession options throughout the three main concourses it might be wise to take a look first to see what is available before making a choice. It is not uncommon to find something with a little more variety around each corner of the building.


Tasty options include the Colts Nation dog, a chicken sausage topped with apple jalapeno slaw, Italian grinders or shredded pork banh-mi sandwiches, and Johnsonville spicy sausage served on a pretzel bun. New concession items include turkey burgers with jalapeno slaw, chicken panini, street tacos, and loaded tater tots.

Coca-Cola products are available, along with beer options from Budweiser, Coors, Miller, and their family of beers. Local microbrewery Sun King offers a creamwhichtwo-and-a-half ale, Scotch ale, and pale ale at multiple stands inside the building.

Atmosphere 5

The design of the stadium itself is neither modern nor chic, but it blends in nicely with existing buildings and nearby factories in the area.

At most stadiums, fans enter vast parking lots well before kickoff to set up chairs, tents, and grills and begin their festivities. However, the stadium is located a few feet from vast bars and restaurants that open early for Sunday afternoon home games.

One of the first places you see as you near the stadium is Touchdown Town which opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes just before the game starts at 12:30 p.m. For the duration of its two-and-a-half hours of operation, the area provides a perfect canvas for all fans.


“Touchdown Town was created to offer fans of all ages a place to gather together to celebrate and build excitement for the upcoming game,” stated Larry Hall, Colts Vice-President of Ticket Operations and Guest Services. “Fans can enjoy a variety of activities including live music, football drills, giveaways, and food, and drink specials. Touchdown Town serves as the Colt's premier pre-game party location.”


Once inside, there is not a bad seat in the house in the spacious building. The main entrance features a sound stage for pre-concerts that overlooks the football field. Fans line up around the stage or watch pre-game practice on the field. The wide-open area serves as a town meeting hall for fans, and you cannot help but look around in awe if you are a first-time patron.

A sound stage for pre-game concerts overlooks the football field at the main entry plaza. Oversized collages of former Colts players and moments against the wall entitled “A House Built by Champions” features an homage to the state’s car racing industry with various model cars on display in the area.

Outside the stadium on South Street is the Peyton Manning statue that was unveiled in 2017, the most prolific player in the team’s Indianapolis history and one of the all-time greats put this team on the map, and could be credited for the construction of the very building that stands behind him.



Neighborhood 5

The stadium is within walking distance of nearly 50 different places to eat, drink, and dance. There are many ideal spots within blocks in the downtown area along with a few more choices in other neighborhoods a little less than a mile or so from the stadium.

The Slippery Noodle is a local institution and the oldest bar in the state; it offers music, food, and drinks and is across the street from the stadium. Kilroy’s Bar N’ Grill is a local establishment that has made its mark downtown and has plenty of room to accommodate fans before or after the game. If you are looking for a great steak dinner, St. Elmo’s or Harry and Izzy’s are two options. They are owned by the same ownership and are known for their spicy shrimp cocktail sauce that will please the horseradish aficionado.

The Fountain Square neighborhood is highly recommended and is bustling on the weekends. A few recommendations are Chili Water and Fountain Square Brewing, video games at Tapper’s, giant burgers at Kuma’s Corner, or duckpin bowling in a retro atmosphere. There is a distillery that makes some pretty special drinks at Hotel Whiskey Tango.

Mass Ave is another vibrant area offering more dining and drinking options. A few recommendations include The Eagle for some of the best-fried chicken in town, St. Joseph’s Brewery located in an old church, FortyFive Degrees for live music and great food, and BRU Burger Bar–fantastic homemade ketchup to dip into your fries.

If you are with the family, downtown has an array of attractions including the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions, and The Canal Walk. However, one of the true hidden gems is the Indiana Experience at the Historical Society. Visitors can step into three-dimensional re-creations of historic photographs complete with characters.

Fans 4

The fans of the Colts have been quite spoiled this century with only two losing seasons–one of those years landed the team's franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. The town that historically favors basketball became a football town with the success of the team and the play of quarterback Peyton Manning. The team also honors many of its season ticket holders with banners on the top level and their impact can be felt each game.


Access 5

Lucas Oil Stadium is a downtown venue that is easily accessible from the interstate. The imposing structure is visible off of I-70, and there are more than the city and private lots to choose from to park your car. These lots range from $20-$30, and if you are lucky, you may even find free street parking on Sundays. If you do a little more searching and feel like walking, there are less expensive options north of the stadium off of Meridian, Pennsylvania, and Capitol Streets.

Downtown Indianapolis has an array of one-way streets, but many of them are reverted to direct traffic back onto the interstate after the game. The local police do an honorable job directing traffic after the game to ensure smooth sailing from the parking lots onto the city streets and local interstate.

Inside the venue, the concourses are wide and spacious for easy access. There is plenty of signage, video screens, and open areas to help guide you through your visit. If you happen to get lost, ask a friendly staff member to help you find your way to a particular area of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Return on Investment 5

The single price for a ticket ranges from game to game and depends on how well the Colts are doing on the season. In the past, tickets could be purchased online for as low as $20, but when the team is vying for a playoff spot, those prices will increase to around $60. However, when winning, the crowd noise is booming. Parking can be found around the stadium for as high as $30, but other spots within walking distance are much less in price.


Extras 4

Lucas Oil Stadium earns several points including Touchdown Town on Georgia Street before the game. The atmosphere includes concerts, lounge chairs, children’s activities, drinks, and outdoor games. The earlier the season, the better the weather will be in Indianapolis.

A second point is for the Bud Light Zone, the perfect spot to hang out with friends and enjoy the game at the same time. The area is located on the upper concourse at the north end of the building and is a massive party in all four quarters.

A third point is for the customer service counters to offer soundproof headphones and weighted blankets to help offset the loud atmosphere inside the building. There are picture menus at all permanent concession stands and the team has also added a “Social Story” to its website, which provides helpful information and photos.

The final point is for a downtown location that is accessible for traffic on foot as well as by car. A visitor can take a walk with a sea of blue towards the stadium before the game, or enjoy a few tailgating spots if arriving earlier by car.

Final Thoughts

It is hard not to be impressed with the gameday experience at Lucas Oil Stadium for a Colts game. It is a stadium properly made for both the players and the fans. The pre-game festivities, friendly staff, frenzied environment, and location steps from some of the city’s best restaurants and bars make for a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at marc.viquez@stadiumjourney.com

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