Indianapolis: Like No Place Else
By: Susan McKee
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Mention Indianapolis to most people, and the first thing that comes to their minds is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The famed 2-1/2-mile oval has been the centerpiece of the city for nearly a century. Originally meant to be used for just one automobile race a year -- the Indianapolis 500 -- the speedway now hosts the 500 (an Indy-car race), the 200 (a NASCAR race) and a championship motorcycle race.
Hoosiers and Hoops
Indiana is a basketball-loving state where a high-school tournament is as important as any NBA contest. Locals call this lust for the game "Hoosier Hysteria," a passion for b-ball immortalized in the 1986 film Hoosiers. The pro team, the Indiana Pacers, plays in the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Indy was so determined to have a pro football team, it kidnapped one from Baltimore. The Colts are Indy's now, and the city built them an enormous palace in which to play, the Lucas Oils Stadium. Locals are awed by the size of the retractable-roofed arena just south of downtown, at a cost of $720 million. The Colts' former home, the $82 million RCA Dome, was flattened in late 2008.
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Indianapolis is home to one of the premier museums of Native American art. The collection of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art was opened in 1989 by Harrison Eiteljor, a local entrepreneur who made his fortune in mining out West. He assembled the museum’s core collection, which includes work by the Taos Society of Artists, Nicholai Fechin and Leon Gaspard. A full schedule of traveling and special exhibits rounds out the Eiteljorg’s offerings. The museum hosts an Indian Market and Festival each summer.
White River State Park
This 250-acre urban park in the heart of downtown is Indy’s version of the National Mall in D.C. It’s home to the Indianapolis Zoo, the Eiteljorg, the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions, White River Gardens and the field where minor league baseball’s Indianapolis Indians play.
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