Your COSUGI Compendium: Everything You Need to Know About Indianapolis
COSUGI is coming up and we can hardly wait. To help you make the most of your conference, we’ve got your complete guide to COSUGI and downtown Indianapolis. There are tons of things to do in Indianapolis, so we’ve tried to limit our suggestions down to places you could get to by walking.
We got so excited by all there is to do that we’ve had to split our guide into two posts. This post covers all the fun places to see and how to get there. Part two will focus on what’s really important: food!
The conference is hosted by Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. Located 8 miles from the airport, the Indianapolis Marriott Downton is nestled nearby numerous interesting downtown locations, which we’ll talk more about below.
Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
350 West Maryland Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Hotel offerings include an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center with cardiovascular equipment and free weights, business center, and a 24-hour onsite convenience store. Complimentary wireless internet access is included in the guestrooms for COSUGI attendees. There are many restaurants nearby the hotel, as well as an attached bar and grill, and—most importantly—a Starbucks.
Important: If you have not yet made a hotel reservation, the conference hotel Indianapolis Marriott Downtown is now full. Overflow accommodations are provided at the Westin Indianapolis, with access to the Marriott via a skyway.
Go Express Travel offers shuttle rides to the downtown area for $10 each way. The Indianapolis Marriott Downtown is stop 2 on the route. (There is another Marriott hotel listed on the schedule, but Stop 2 gets you to COSUGI central).
If you’ll be driving in to Indianapolis or renting a vehicle, keep in mind the cost of parking. The Downtown Marriott provides COSUGI attendees a 10% discount on self-parking. This discount benefits hotel guests as well as local attendees. Locals can pick up a voucher at the COSUGI registration desk to receive their discounted parking.
Public transit is also an option. If you’re coming from the Indianapolis International Airport, catch the #8 Meijer bus. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes Monday through Friday, 7am-7pm; if you’re arriving on the weekend, Route 8 runs every 30 minutes from 6am-7pm and then every 70 minutes until midnight. To get to the Downtown Marriott, ride #8 for 38 minutes. Get off at West St & Washington St. The Indianapolis Marriott Downtown is located one block east of West & Washington. Bus fares may be purchased online or with exact change on board a bus. Purchase a single trip for $1.75, a single day for $4.00, 10 trips for $17.50, or 7 days for $20.00. You can find the bus route map here.
Be adventurous and hop on a bike! Indianapolis hosts Indiana Pacers Bike Share, a bike-sharing system, with bike stations all over town. You can purchase a 24-hour pass for $8. All trips 30 minutes or less are included with your pass; trips longer than 30 minutes will incur additional fees. You can purchase a pass online or at any station kiosk using a credit card. Pick up and drop off a bike from any station. A bike share station can be found across the street from the Downtown Marriott on the north side of the hotel. Click here for a map of the Bike Share stations.
If you’ll be arriving early
Victory Field, the minor league baseball stadium, is only two blocks from the Downtown Marriott. If you’re arriving early, you might consider catching a game. The Indianapolis Indians will be playing May 21st at 7:05pm and May 22 at 1:35pm against Scranton Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders.
For those with a taste for the theater, the Indiana Repertory Theater will be performing Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap on May 21st and 22nd at 2:00pm and 6:00pm. Tickets are $20-47. The theater is a 5 minute walk from the hotel.
There are lots of places to get out and enjoy spring in Indiana and a much to do within walking-distance of the hotel.
Go for a walk! The White River Trail is only a 6 minute walk from the hotel. The paved trail winds along the banks of the White River. In total, the trail runs 10.6 miles, but you could use the trail and the New York Street bridge to do a 2.7 mile loop. The walking the loop takes about an hour and will guide you through the White River State Park, past the Indianapolis Zoo and the White River Gardens. Arrays of butterflies float through the White River Gardens every spring—don’t miss them!
Maybe seek some adventure at the Indianapolis Zoo. The Indianapolis Zoo is located a mile from the Downtown Marriott, about a 20 minute walk. The Indianapolis Zoo was the first attraction to be triple-accredited as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. Open daily 9am-4pm (open until 5pm Fri-Sun). Ticket prices vary. Purchase in advance for best pricing.
And of course there’s the Indy 500. This year will mark the 100th Indianapolis 500. The official race is scheduled for May 29th, but there’s lots of pre-race activities, including concerts, vintage car laps, and practice races. Check out the Indianapolis Motor Speedway site for more info.
Maybe one of the best ways to get a taste of Indianapolis is the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. The 8-mile urban bike and pedestrian path connects neighborhoods, cultural districts, and entertainment amenities. Different loops offer varying distances and opportunities to see different parts of the city. Consider hopping on a Bike Share ride or hitting the pavement to tour some of the most beautiful places in Indianapolis.
Places to See
While you’re in Indianapolis, be sure to do a little sight-seeing. There’s plenty of interesting places to see in downtown and right nearby the hotel.
Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is an 11 minute walk from the hotel. The Vonnegut Memorial Library is housed in the Emelie Building, a German Renaissance Revival building on the National Register of Historic Places. The library celebrates Vonnegut’s literary, artistic, and cultural contributions. Open 11-6, closed Wednesday.
Indiana Historical Society is a 7 minute walk form the hotel. The William H. Smith Memorial Library and Basile History Market are open 10am-5pm, closed Sundays (the library is also closed on Mondays). You might also be interested in visiting the Indiana Experience, which takes you back in time via three-dimensional re-creations of historical places, virtual journeys, and the immersive music the Cole Porter Room. Entrance to the library and market: free. Indiana Experience cost: $7.
Indiana State Museum offers a chance to “explore Indiana’s past, present, and future—from mastodons and dire wolves to contemporary art by some of Indiana’s best artists.” Open Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Cost: $13
There are two gardens on the Indiana State Museum grounds, the Turner Garden and the Watanabe Garden. The Turner Garden consists entirely of native prairie plants as “was intended to be a microcosm of an Indiana prairies, such as would have been historically present in northwestern Indiana.” The Watanabe Garden is a mixture of prairie and shade tolerant native plants, cultivated to “represent the varied plant communities found in the state.”
Located next to the Indiana State Museum is the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. The Eiteljorg collects and preserves high-quality Western art and Native American art and cultural objects. Current exhibits include The Grand Canyon, Jingle Rails, and the Quest for the West art show. Open Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm. Cost: $13.
The sartorially-inclined will find lots to do, with both the Circle Centre Mall and the Merchants Plaza Shopping Center only a 5 minute walk away. If you open to straying farther from the hotel, you might also consider visiting the Mass Ave Arts District. Known as Mass Ave, “this five-block area is ripe with theaters, restaurants, art galleries, and… a number of eclectic, independent boutiques.”