Events

Everything You Must Do in Indianapolis This Spring

Updated On 03/14/2018 at 03:58PM EST Updated On 03/14/2018 at 03:58PM EST
pink
pink | yakub88/Shutterstock.com
Saturday
Mar 3
Schrott Center for the Arts
Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds bring The Dollop podcast to the Schrott Center for the Arts at Butler University. Conceived by Anthony in 2014, it specializes in telling obscure, true stories from American history, while Reynolds and Anthony make smartass comments. It’s like the RiffTrax guys sat in on a history class.
Cost: $25-$50
Saturday
Mar 3
Eiteljorg Museum
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art explores how Western movies and TV shows shaped our perceptions of the actual American West. The exhibit offers interactive exhibits, artifacts from old shows, lectures, and screenings, and covers everything from old TV staples like Bonanza to Django Unchained and HBO’s Westworld.
Cost: Included with $13 adult museum admission
Friday
Mar 9
The Vogue
Think of this one-night celebration of art and alternative sexuality as a sort of cocktail mixer for kink fans, complete with DJs, live performances, and “play spaces” where attendees can let their freak flags fly. Net proceeds from the event go to the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, which advances the rights of consenting adults in the BDSM, leather, fetish, swing and polyamory communities. The event actually has its own safeword: “red” -- just in case you need it.
Cost: $20-$35
Wednesday
Mar 14
The Indianapolis City Market
Enjoy the unusual acoustics at this one-of-a-kind karaoke party in the City Market Catacombs -- a collection of rough-looking tunnels deep beneath downtown. Enter through a nondescript door located in an alley at Wabash and Delaware streets, and enjoy one gratis can of Sun King Beer (there’s plenty more if you want to pay). Tomlinson Tap Room will offer its own Indiana craft beers, plus wines. And of course, karaoke. It’s an over-21 event, so bring ID. And wear closed-toed shoes, because the Catacombs really are just a series of rough, uneven tunnels.
Cost: $5 cover.
Friday
Mar 16
Downtown Indianapolis
Indianapolis gets so excited about the Emerald Isle’s favorite holiday that it starts partying a day early. Festivities begin with a huge downtown parade and block party, then (if you’re still game), the St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl on Main Street in the town of Speedway, running from 8pm to whenever. Local brew pubs and eateries stand ready to help you get in the spirit.
Cost: Free admission to parade and pub crawl
Friday
Mar 16
The Indianapolis Zoo
It’s hard to imagine anything more tranquil than this annual event, in which thousands of vibrantly colored butterflies hatch out and spend their lives cavorting inside cavernous, flower-filled Hilbert Conservatory. Prepare for some serious relaxation -- but try not to sit or step on any of the building’s winged denizens.
Cost: Included in price of Indianapolis Zoo admission, which varies depending on the month and day of the week. On March 16 it’s $11.95 for adults, $9.20 for children.
Saturday
Mar 17
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indy's Pink fans will be among the first to experience the pop diva’s Beautiful Trauma World Tour, which kicks off March 1. If you’d like to see the artist The Los Angeles Times called “perhaps the most gifted and imaginative physical performer in pop right now,” you better get a move on. This show will sell out quick.
Cost: Tickets start at $125
Saturday
Mar 17
Downtown Indianapolis
Now that it’s actually St. Paddy’s day, pop a couple of aspirin, put on your sunglasses and visit the Blarney Bash block party on Georgia Street. There’s plenty of music, green beer, tons of food, and absolutely no kids (you gotta be 21 or older to attend). Or try the Shamrock Beer 5K Run/Walk, a not-very-serious “sporting event” in which costumes are encouraged and beer stops are positioned along the course. The truly stouthearted can close out the over-21 festivities at St. Patrick’s Day With Fistful of Haggis and Mother Grove at Centerpoint Brewing. In case you’re wondering, A Fistful of Haggis is a Scottish punk band.
Cost: Free admission to Blarney Bash; $10 and up to Shamrock Beer 5K Run/Walk; no cover at St. Patrick’s Day With Fistful of Haggis and Mother Grove.
Thursday
Mar 22
The Hi-Fi
Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, a supporter, or just like to dance, the Low Pone Queer Dance Party at The Hi-Fi on Virginia Avenue has got you covered. Hosted by Auntie Christ, with special guest DJ Mary Fagdalane, it offers a night of creative drag play, plus thumping, relentless beats.
Cost: No cover
Friday
Mar 23
The Vogue
Enjoy big sound, big hair, and all the biggest ’80s hair metal hits during this monster show at The Vogue. Power ballads and majestic guitar solos provided by the cover band Snakeskin Cowboy. It's cheap show, too.
Cost: $10
Saturday
Mar 24
Monument Circle
Demand action from lawmakers in this march to end gun violence and mass shootings in schools. Children and families will be out en masse across the country, so if you feel strongly about this particular issue, show your support. The march in Indianapolis starts at Monument Circle on Saturday at 7:30am and officially ends at 1pm. Also keep in mind that HeadCount is registering voters at several of the events around the country, including Indy's. 
Cost: Free
Saturday
Mar 24
Kuntz Soccer Stadium
Who says egg hunts are just for kids? Well, just about everybody. But don’t let that stop you from trying Indy Parks’ 1st Annual Adult Moonlight Egg Hunt. Drinks and food will be available at this over-21 event, along with an entire soccer field laden with plastic eggs containing everything from chocolate to tickets for special prizes. Bring a flashlight, and feel free to take a selfie with the event’s bunnie mascot.
Cost: $15 per person, $10 for each additional person in your group
Sunday
Mar 25
Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Patrick Wilde started out as a stripper, and now, for some reason, he’s hosting "Chefs -- The Sizzling Kitchen Showdown," a multi-city tournament to help other male strippers “get off the pole and into the pantry.” Chefs who win the contest’s various challenges get one step closer to becoming a chef at Wilde’s yet-to-open eatery, Eros. Losers must ditch an article of clothing.
Cost: $32-$48
Saturday
Mar 31
Lucas Oil Stadium
For years Indianapolis’s soccer team, the Indy Eleven, played home games at IUPUI’s smallish Carroll Stadium. This year they’re moving to the much bigger (to put it mildly) Lucas Oil Stadium, otherwise known as the home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Their regular season home opener is against FC Cincinnati, but don’t expect a sellout. While Carroll Stadium only seated about 9,000, Lucas Oil can handle well north of 60,000.
Cost: Tickets start at $15
Indianapolis Indians
Indianapolis Indians | Richard Paul Kane/Shutterstock.com
Friday
Apr 6
Victory Field
The Triple-A baseball Indianapolis Indians kick off their 2018 campaign against the Columbus Clippers at downtown’s Victory Field. Gates open at 5:30pm, with a fireworks show following the game. Be sure (if applicable) to take advantage of the “60 Degree Weather Guarantee,” which earns you another ticket to the April game of your choice if it’s below 60 degrees at first pitch.
Cost: $11-$40
Friday
Apr 6
Sun King Brewery and Tasting Room
Baseball fans can pre-party at downtown’s Sun King Brewery and Tasting Room before the Indians’ home opener, then bicycle with the mayor to Victory Field to take in the game. There’s no fee to ride, but you’ll need to purchase tickets to the game. The biking advocacy group IndyCog will furnish valet bike parking.
Cost: Bike ride free.
Saturday
Apr 7
Downtown Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
This 3-mile, 6-mile, and 10-mile run/walk event is the perfect warm-up for the 2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. If that’s your thing, of course. But if you’re just looking for a low-pressure chance to get some fresh air and kick off your spring fitness program (and take a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is part of the route), it’s perfect for that, too.
Cost: $60 for the series
Sunday
Apr 15
Clowes Memorial Hall
The man who can make everything from working as a department store elf to the fare at fine dining restaurants seem funny comes to Clowes Memorial Hall. You might want to get tickets early, because anytime the author of Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and When You Are Engulfed in Flames (among many others) reads his works, there’s never an empty seat in the house.
Cost: Tickets start at $42.50
Monday - Sunday
Apr 23-29
Various Locations
Ask for a tenderloin anywhere but Indiana, and you’ll likely get a blank stare. But here, you’ll receive a toothsome piece of pork pounded until it’s the size of a hubcap, breaded, flash fried, and served on a comically small hamburger bun. Enjoy it for yourself during Indy Tenderloin Week, when local restaurants offer this legendary sandwich for a wallet-friendly $5. A portion of the proceeds goes to Second Helpings.
Cost: Just the price of the sandwich.
Saturday
Apr 28
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Support the Humane Society of Indianapolis with Mutt Strut, which gives canine owners the chance to march their pets around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval. Register as an individual or as part of a team (or rather, pack). Expect about 7,000 humans and 6,000 dogs. Music, food, and vendors will be on hand. Pro tip: You can also bring your turtle, bird, or even cat, so long as it behaves.
Cost: $25 registration for adults
Indy 500
Indy 500 | HodagMedia/Shutterstock.com
Wednesday - Sunday
May 9-13
Virginia Avenue
The 2018 edition of this five-day Fountain Square and Fletcher Place music festival is free and open to all ages. The lineup includes a who’s who of local and regional acts, including Bigfoot Yancy, Rose Hotel, O.D.D.I.T.Y., and Heaven’s Gateway Drugs. As those names suggest, the lineup covers everything from hip hop to folk to rock.
Cost: Free to $125 (for special Booster Club pass)
Friday
May 11
Broad Ripple Village
Think of this as the highbrow, non-alcoholic version of a pub crawl. Running from 5pm to 9pm, it offers a walking tour of the Broad Ripple neighborhood’s galleries, boutiques and shops, each hosting its own specially prepared exhibit. Destinations are scattered throughout the village.
Cost: Free
Saturday
May 12
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis 500 is still a couple of weeks down the road, but you can scratch your racing itch with this preliminary event, which features three warm-up races, crowned by the 85-lap main event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s twisting, turning road course.
Cost: $25 and up
Saturday - Sunday
May 19-20
Indianapolis Art Center
For the arts crowd, the two-day OneAmerica Broad Ripple Art Fair marks the unofficial start of summer. Taking place at the Indianapolis Art Center, it offers original works from more than 225 artists and artisans from around the state and nation. There’s also music, food, and plenty of chances to get cultured. Tickets are good for both days, in case (as has happened pretty regularly in the past) one of them is rained out.
Cost: Ticket prices TBD
Friday
May 25
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Some people like a little bit of racing, but shrink from the all-day commitment necessary to view the Indianapolis 500 in person. For them there’s this event, which even has the word “lite” in its name. Enjoy the final day of practice for the Indianapolis 500, the Freedom 100 race, the Indy 500 Pit Stop Competition, and the rock-intensive Miller Lite Carb Day Concert.
Cost: $30 for general admission ticket, which includes concert
Saturday
May 26
Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
It’s kind of apropos that Big Sean’s most recent solo album is called I Decided. Fans in the cities where his Unfriendly Reminder Tour stops will get to help pick the evening’s playlist. If you want to influence his Indy selections, visit his website and vote for your favorites. But get tickets for his outdoor show at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park sooner, rather than later. With Playboi Carti, Shy Glizzy, and GASHI.
Cost: Tickets start at $50
Sunday
May 27
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Join roughly a quarter of a million of your closest friends at the largest sports facility on the planet for the world’s most famous automobile race. As always, 33 drivers will blast around the 2.5-mile oval 200 times -- this year in brand new, super-streamlined cars that should make for even tighter racing. Which is saying quite a bit, given that last year’s champion won by only 0.2 seconds.
Cost: GA tickets for race day start at $35, but prices vary depending on availability
Sunday
May 27
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The start of the Indy 500 is amazing. So, typically, is the ending. But if you’re looking for something to do during the several hours in between, try the Indy 500 Snake Pit, featuring a killer musical lineup that makes just as much noise as the race. This year’s acts include Axwell X Ingrosso, Deadmau5, Diplo, and GRiZ. Remember, however, that you need a separate ticket.
Cost: Tickets start at $45 for the Snake Pit
Thursday
May 31
Flat12 Bierworks
If you’ve always thought that alcohol was the only thing missing from the spelling bee experience, then head over to Flat12 Bierworks for the first annual Flat12 Spelling Bee(r) Competition & Scripps National Spelling Bee Watch Party. It’s a great opportunity to quaff a few brews, watch a bunch of overachieving 10-year-olds spell words you’ve never even heard of, and perhaps reflect on the fact that while they’re pursuing their dreams, you’re drinking and watching TV in the middle of a Thursday. Flat12 is making a special brew for the occasion, and plans its own beer-themed spelling bee for the audience.
Cost: Free admission
Saturday
Jun 9
Military Park at White River State Park
Indiana’s largest LGBT celebration, Circle City IN Pride, lasts an entire week, but the peak blowout happens on Saturday. The fun starts with the Cadillac Barbie IN Pride Parade through downtown Indy, then continues from 10am to 7pm with the 2017 Circle City IN Pride Festival inside Military Park at White River State Park. Wall-to-wall music? Check. Food and drink? Check. Drag queens? Check. Huge crowd? Check.
Cost: $5 admission
Saturday - Sunday
Jun 16-17
Herron Morton Place
One of the most popular art fairs in the United States, this juried event offers works from more than 270 artists from across the nation and attracts north of 60,000 visitors to its outdoor location in the historic Herron Morton Place. It’s big, it’s fun, and it’s free.
Cost: Free admission