Trip Diary: Indianapolis

I was in Indianapolis recently for the ACRL 2013 conference. I hadn’t done a whole lot of prep before I left, but I did take the time to quickly make a map of interesting places to eat for this conference, as using my Seattle vacation map when I was back in Seattle for Midwinter was very helpful. I ran through a few different articles and blog posts of suggestions for places to eat, and added them to the map for easy perusal. I also added a few other places that I went to or had recommended while I was there. I only made it to a small number of these places, but it was reassuring to see that there were good options.

One interesting thing was that much of the downtown and convention center hotel area is connected by skywalks. You can go all the way from the JW Marriott to the Circle Center Mall without having to step outside, which is pretty cool. That meant I wasn’t dragging a coat around as it was easy to stay indoors to get back and forth. I did walk outside a few times when it was clearly going to be quicker than wending through the gerbil habitat of skywalks, but it was a great feature.

Overall I found Indy to be a good location for a conference. It was very easy to navigate and there was a good amount of bars and restaurants in easy walking distance of the convention center.

Slept at: The Westin Indianapolis. Clean and comfortable, as always. I do like that you can decline housekeeping for your entire stay and cash in vouchers for more points (or $5 off the hotel restaurants). This is an older hotel and so it was one of those where you had to hunt around for outlets – the most accessible one was under the desk, where they had provided a 6-plug power strip at least. There was one near the bed, but just far enough away that my cell phone cord didn’t quite reach the table.

Ate at: I enjoyed a light lunch on Wednesday at Tastings, a wine bar that had a menu of sandwiches, salads, pizzas and cheeses. Six of us went together and wound up pairing up to split salads and pizzas. It was quite tasty. After that I walked over to Marsh Supermarket, about a mile from the convention center, to pick up snacks to fuel me through the conference. I went a little overboard with what I bought, but it turned out to be a good thing as I can’t even tell you the number of granola bars I ate after swearing off Starbucks oatmeal. For dinner I wound up at Circle City Bar and Grille, one of the restaurants at the Marriott Downtown, which wasn’t really the plan but was just fine, given that there was a downpour as I stepped out of my hotel. The tomato soup was very good, and the sweet potato gnocchi wasn’t too bad.

Thursday I had a disappointing breakfast of oatmeal at Starbucks – they’ve changed it in the last few months, and it seems that it’s just a gummy mess now. I think I’ll be avoiding that from here on out, which is a shame. Lunch was a sandwich from the training session I gave, eaten way too late in the day. Which ended up being OK once I got my blood sugar level back up as dinner wound up being later than anticipated. I went to Ram Brewery to meet some GSLIS classmates, where I enjoyed their porter and amber, and had a nice salmon salad. Apparently they have a special on Thursdays where you can get an 18 ounce draft for $2, so that was nice. I tried their porter, which I liked, and their amber. I don’t normally gravitate towards ambers but with a name like Buttface Amber, you can’t pass it up.

Friday I ate a solo lunch at Palomino – their Sopressata pizza, which was very good. Dinner was a Clif Bar and hors d’ouvres at the all conference reception at the Indiana State Museum.

Saturday was a half day – I had intended to have lunch at Cafe Patachou, but that was everyone else’s idea. I didn’t have time to wait, and so I continued on (luggage in tow) towards the hotel where I was meeting folks to go to the airport later. In the end I just went into a Panera, as I could see they had tons of tables and I just wanted to sit and eat.

Travel: I wound up taking shared cabs back and forth to the airport – a van for five to or from a downtown hotel seems to cost between about $40-$45, which includes a 20% tip. You can also take an airport shuttle or the city bus, though, both of which are much cheaper.