The 500 Festival 2016 celebrates a big race—the Indy 500. Every Memorial Day, the most famous race on the Indy Car circuit is one of the biggest events in all of Indiana. Before the engines are fired, the 500 Festival Indianapolis includes a long list of fun things to do, including parades and a mini marathon.
500 Festival History and Facts
The first festival was organized in 1957 by civic leaders who wanted to strengthen the community and provide more events around the Indianapolis 500 race. The 500 Festival Mini Marathon, America's largest half marathon, first happened in 1977. It became an official event of the 500 Festival Indianapolis two years later. Many more events and fun activities have been added over the years. 500 Festival 2016 is sure to continue the tradition as it leads up to the big race.
Tickets to the 500 Festival Events
Ticket prices depend on the event, and separate tickets are required for the race. If you'd like to reserve seats for the parade, you could buy tickets for bleachers or chairs, and upgrades to VIP seats are available. Young visitors can enjoy the breakfast before the parade. This package includes tickets as well as chance to meet some of your favorite characters from the cartoon world.
For one day during festival, you can purchase tickets to go behind the scenes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. One of the most popular events 500 Festival Indianapolis is free for kids under the age of six and rest are less than the cost of a movie ticket. The ticket includes the chance to take a drive around the oval in the family car and admission to the Hall of Fame Museum.
For the 500 Festival Mini Marathon, you won't need a ticket to watch the race or enjoy the party afterward at Military Park. Runners for the marathon and the 5K need to pay an entry free and register in advance.
Directions to the 500 Festival Indianapolis
The events of the 500 Festival take place in downtown Indianapolis, in and around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located at 4790 W. 16th Street. From Interstate 465, take the Crawfordsville Road Exit, which is 16A. Follow until you reach 16th Street, and the speedway on the left. Or, you could take I-70 to the Hold Road Exit. Turn right on Olin Avenue, before taking a left on 16th Street to the IMS, where many of the 500 Festival events are held.
Lodging near the 500 Festival
Because the festival is held in downtown Indianapolis, you'll be close to many Indiana hotels that welcome travelers with great rates and vacation packages. The Red Carpet Inn, at 3740 N. High School Road, is close to the speedway and Interstate 465. It offers a total of 127 guestrooms, many with king-size beds. The hotel also has an Olympic-sized pool and complimentary breakfast service.
Another one of the Indianapolis Speedway hotels, the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center at 2930 Waterfront Parkway, is just three miles from the home of the Indy 500. The comfortable guestrooms include large-screen TVs and Internet access, while the hotel has a pool, spa, and restaurant to enjoy.