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How to Have the Best Time Ever in Indianapolis

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Indianapolis has long been a destination for sports fans. Fresh off last month’s NCAA Final Four championships, the city is now prepping for the annual Indianapolis 500, which takes place this Sunday, May 24. Greg Tinsley, general manager of the Conrad Indianapolis, hopes that sports spectators spread the word about the city’s other great offerings including its parks, coffee spots, and art (the Conrad boasts its own serious collection, including works from Warhol, Picasso, and Dali found in its new art-themed suites). Here, Greg shares his picks for how to navigate the city Indy weekend. And if you don’t have tickets yet, he says to give him a call. His lead concierge, Lee Ann Parrotte, “knows a guy.”

Best Place to Take in the Race: Eagle Creek Park

“Eagle Creek is one of the largest parks in America. Head there to grill with friends and broadcast the race, or listen to the radio broadcast at Tastings Wine Bar at the Conrad Indianapolis.”

Race Weekend Hotspot: Fountain Square

“There’s always something going on at Fountain Square, especially at Hi-Fi music venue located inside the Murphy Building.”

Essential Breakfast Spot: Milktooth     

“Your coffee order should be the Notorious F.I.G., which is cold brew with fig-amaro simple syrup and a shot of milk. For breakfast, order the city ham and gruyere Dutch baby pancake with the cranberry-red onion mostarda and grapes.”

534 Virgia Ave., (317) 986-5231 

Comfort Food Fix:  Mimi Blue Meatballs    

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“This downtown spot is a must. Choose the ’4 Baller,’ which is your choice of four different meatballs (everything from beef to veggie), the sauce of your choice (marinara, spicy Bolognese, mushroom gravy), and a side of the dirty mashed potatoes.”

870 Massachusetts Ave., (317) 737-2625

Wine Bar for Wine Snobs: Tinker Street     

“If you’re feeling peckish, order the Indiana cheese plate which comes with rhubarb jam, apricot paste, and honey, and then pair that with the ‘Pink Stuff’ Cotes Du Roussillon Rosé. For a heartier meal, go with the pastured pork belly with kimchi, sorghum seed and a farm egg and splurge on the S’more pot de crème with hickory ash.”

402 E. 16th St., (317) 925-5000

Where to Get Some Exercise:  The Indianapolis Culture Trail

“The Indianapolis Cultural Trail was designed to take bikers and pedestrians through popular districts and streets of the city. The Indianapolis Pacers Bike share makes sightseeing a breeze.”

Where to Take to the Water: White River State Park

“We have a canal in White River State Park complete with Venetian gondolas and serenading guides.”

Best Cultural Site: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park

“This park is the site where Robert Kennedy gave his memorable speech the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. It should be on everyone’s list to visit. The park is home to the Landmark for Peace Memorial Sculpture, which honors the contributions of both slain leaders.”

Photo by Joe Skibinski