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Thanksgiving trip

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Merritt Island...
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Thanksgiving trip

Hello All,

Back again with some questions. I had started planning a trip last year but we never made it.

Looking for a hotel downtown for a trip over Thanksgiving, and to go to a Colts game.

I know there re hotels right at Lucas Oil stadium. How convenient is that to downtown. We'd want to walk to the Christmas Light Festival Fri night.

Is it safe to walk this at night?

Or is it better to stay downtown and walk out to the stadium for the game?

Will likely rent a car but I don't think I want it for these two events.

Also,

Looking at the map it appears the boundaries are North of 70, east of the river and West of 65. Any bad areas to avoid?

Thanks

Bloomington, Indiana
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1. Re: Thanksgiving trip

The hotels that are down near the stadium are walkable to downtown. That said, I'd probably go with one of the other hotels. Here's a few comments about this & your other questions:

1) While walkable, they are farther from everything you'll want to be doing (other than the game) and you have to pass under some *major* RR tracks to get to the main area of downtown which creates somewhat of a mental (if not physical) barrier.

2) There are at least two of the other downtown hotels that are really very close to the stadium. One, the Crowne Plaza, is just on the north side of the tracks. The other, the Omni Severin, is about a block further. Others are a little further, but most are still within ~1/2 mile or so.

3) You'll be walking to the game (& back) just once, your other walking will probably entail more trips that this.

4) There's just more to do & more of a "street scene" nearby the other hotels. While it's better than it used to be (and still improving), there just isn't that much (beyond the hotels) right near the stadium.

5) Safety of downtown in general is good and shouldn't be any problem even late at night (insert standard "keep your big city wits about you" disclaimer here), but there will certainly be more people on the street etc north of the RR tracks than near the stadium (at least once the game stuff if over).

6) In terms of areas to avoid, not really and you'll know when you want to turn back (not out of safety, but more out of "there's nothing further on that I'd want to see"). Generally, "downtown" start petering out once you go south of the tracks (the first block or so does have plenty of businesses) and becomes pretty spares in terms of business, people on the street, etc. (i.e. it's more or an industrial area). Similarly as you move west towards I-65 you start to leave the core of the downtown area and you get the same effect.

7) You might do Google street view and see what I'm talking about re: RR tracks, how things get sparse as you move south & west, etc.

8) While I don't think you need a car if all your doing are downtown things, if you end up having one, that might be a reason to go with one of the stadium hotels. I'm pretty sure that they all have free parking, whereas I'm pretty sure all of the other downtown hotels charge for parking and/or you'll have to figure out where to park (& pay) on your own. The fees aren't too outrageous (given that it is simply a fact of live with many hotels in big cities); I want to say that most of them are in the $25-$30/day range. You might be able to shave this by a few bucks by self-parking, but you'll lose "in/out privileges" (which I think most of the hotels offer).

Hope this helps,

hlo

Fishers, Indiana
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2. Re: Thanksgiving trip

hlo nails it on the hotels. If you are just coming in for an event at the Stadium, the 3 hotels down there make a lot of sense. But if you are coming for the entire weekend, the downtown hotels make a lot more sense. There will however be traffic by the stadium on Friday and Saturday - the Indiana High School Football championships are at Lucas Oil Stadium. Two games on Friday and three on Saturday - so there will be more after dark traffic going under the railroad bridges than normal - and you won't quite feel as lonely when you walk - although you will likely be going against traffic.

Indy
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3. Re: Thanksgiving trip

If there are high school sports football, you need to book right now. Those hotels will fill up quick with parents and grandparents booking to what their kids play. Plus, I know that some of the teams will book hotels, especially if it is a school that doesn't see much in terms of championship play (they will make it a huge deal in the city/town). So at this time, you definitely want to book your room before the high school football tourney starts (lots of people with teams that have a good chance will book up rooms so long as they can cancel within x hours without incurring a cost. So I could see mom and dads booking rooms on the chance little Johnny's team makes it all the way, and if they are beaten in a game, they will just cancel the reservation.

Secondly, if you are going on the Christmas Tree lighting, you will be fairly safe. These big downtown events usually draw thieves, but these thieves usually target vehicles, not people. Don't leave anything in your vehicle visible in plain sight, or you stand a good chance of getting your window smashed. Also, don't leave anything you don't want stolen (work laptops, USB drives with work stuff/family photos, etc.). Even if they don't see anything, they may decide it is worth the risk to smash the window and pop the trunk. There will be lots of police downtown for this celebration, so armed robberies are usually few and far between. Just stay where there are people and you shouldn't have an issue.

Edited: 21 July 2011, 14:07
Merritt Island...
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4. Re: Thanksgiving trip

Thanks to both of you,

I'm leaning toward downtownnow and walk to the Colts game. Rent a car for any other activities. My guess is we wouldn't be alone walking to/from Lucas Oil from donwtown.

Merritt Island...
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5. Re: Thanksgiving trip

OK, opinions please.

Hampton Inn Downtown or Spring Hill Suites.

Christmas Lights Festival and a Colts game.

Thanks

Bloomington, Indiana
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6. Re: Thanksgiving trip

Very much a toss-up in my mind.

Springhill comes out a little better in the TA rankings, but not so much that I'd make the decision purely on that. (As I seem to remember, the Hampton used to do *real* well in the rankings.) Also, as an aside, I have indirect knowledge that "working" TA was a recent topic at a hospitality industry event in Indiana. Thus, there has been a *real* uptick in the number of reviews being posted in Indy & other destinations and this has impacted rankings, etc. Not saying there is anything wrong with this, just that you might consider it during your evaluation.

Didn't really look at the reviews, you might check these out to if: a) anything specific people loved or hated that is important to you, b) if there seems to be any (really a series) that are particularly suspect (one-post wonders, completely out of line with the other reviews, obviously a chip-on-their shoulder reviewer, too "gushy"), c) age of the reviews (e.g. in regards to my comment above and/or to see if there are any trends), and/or anything else that sticks out as being important to you.

Location wise not that much difference. Walking distances to the things you're planning on doing will be so close as to not really make a difference. I suppose I'd give the Hampton a slight edge re: location in general (a little closer to shopping, restaurants, bars, etc.), but again, not so much that it would be the deciding factor for me. If the Zoo/White River Gardens, Canal or Museums were on your list of things to do (or you think you might add them), Springhill is a better location.

Beyond these things, I'd consider: a) Price (don't forget to consider the parking charges & taxes in this calculation), b) amenities (is there anything specific you desire/don't care about), c) "freebies" (breakfast, etc.), d) what else you might be doing (re: location), e) brand preference (if any), and f) any "loyalty" points/rewards you might get at either of them.

Bottom Line: Don't think you'll go wrong with either one and it's the specific details that would lean me towards one or the other.

Hope this helps,

hlo

Merritt Island...
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7. Re: Thanksgiving trip

Thanks very much.

I am aware of the TA problem. I've been on here a long time and recently saw things changing. Tried to make plans in Miami this spring and every hotel had tons of great or tons of terrible reviews. All posters had exactly 1 review.

But back to Indy...

I could go with either one like you said.

The primary reason for the trip is the Colts game. But we're getting in ahead of he Christmas Lighting festival. So the Hampton would be good downtown to walk there right after we arrive. And not a bad walk to the game on Sun. I assume it's a safe walk.

We would likely visit the surrounding museums/parks on Sat. Spring Hill Suites is best for that.

One commenter questioned the area it's in.

Does that sound about right for deciding?

Fishers, Indiana
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8. Re: Thanksgiving trip

Both would be safe.areas and safe for getting to the game and everyone else. Springhill is going to be the newer hotel, part of the new Marriott complex which would connect it to the skywalk system that goes throughout downtown - just in case we get a Thanksgiving snow. I have been to the Sports Bar at the Marriott one time - very nice, lots of TVs.

Parking at the Hampton will be valet - there is a garage under the Marriott complex that I have to imagine allows self park.

I am generally a Hampton guy, but based on the age of the properties and the amenities in the Marriott complex, I would probably choose the Springhill, if price, etc are relatively equal. But let me be clear that I have not stayed at either.

Merritt Island...
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9. Re: Thanksgiving trip

Thanks,

So the skywalk will get us downtown Fri evening for the light show? There are also a few big hotels downtown by the convention center that didn't show up here on TA. They look connected as well.

Bloomington, Indiana
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10. Re: Thanksgiving trip

Somewhere (maybe a downtown Indy website? suggest trying Google) there is a map showing the skywalk connections for downtown Indy. Basically there are a series of skywalks connecting some of the larger hotels & major public building (mall, convention center, etc), which when put together can d move you to a lot of the downtown without having to go outside.

The downside is that it is kinda sparse. By this I mean not every major building on every block is connected (want to say there are a dozen, maybe 20 of the walkways). Thus, while you could (maybe) use the skywalk from your hotel to get to the circle and/or stadium (or closer to them) it might not be the most direct route. Now if the weather is lousy, you're not likely to mind walking a couple of blocks out of your way.

Went ahead & tried google: Here's a link to a PDF showing the location of the skywalks:

www.indydt.com/2011Skywalk.pdf

Hope this helps,

hlo