5 fun things to do in Indianapolis, Madison this summer

Indianapolis skyline.

If more people are vaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to dip a toe into the trip. If a quick weekend getaway sounds about right, here are some options across the Ohio River.

The Bottleworks District

It’s a short two-hour drive north from Louisville on Interstate 65 to Indianapolis, where visitors will find the recently opened Bottleworks District.

The Bottleworks District is located on the campus of the former Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Indianapolis and features a boutique hotel, dining room, movie theater and much more just off the famous Mass Ave. Indy. If you’re unfamiliar with Indianapolis, the Bottleworks District is northeast of downtown Indianapolis, at the very end of a dining and nightlife area on Massachusetts Avenue.

The luxurious Art Deco Bottleworks Hotel was built in 1931 and reopened in December. It includes show stoppers like an ornate rotunda and spiral staircase, Parisian street lamps, and hotel rooms with private balconies and plush bathrobes.

King Terrace Rooms ($ 369 / night) have large balconies with downtown views. The price for a standard king room is $ 249. However, they can be lower on weekdays outside of rush hour.

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Here are other things you can do in the Indianapolis Bottleworks District:

The Garage Food Hall is a 30,000-square-foot renovated portion of the old Coca-Cola bottling plant in the Indianapolis Bottleworks District, home to over a dozen international food vendors and carefully curated retailers.

Living room theater

The Living Room Theater brings art films to downtown Indianapolis. The theater has eight screens and a European-style cafe and lounge that brings cocktails and food to your theater seat. The theater shows local and internationally recognized films and independent filmmakers.

Mechanical pins

Pins Mechanical has both standard bowling and its smaller cousin, duckpin bowling, 40 pinball machines, arcade games, oversized jenga plus craft beer and classic cocktails to enjoy while playing.


Pumkinfish, a versatile salesman at Garage Food Hall, Indianapolis, Monday January 4, 2021. The project, which is part of a complex converted from an old Coca-Cola bottling plant, anchors the northeast end of the dining and entertainment district Massachusetts Avenue in downtown.

As the Bottleworks District continues to expand its boutiques, spas and exercise facilities are opening their doors. Good Neighbor opened its first boutique outside Detroit with the puff-sleeve dresses and sandals you need for the summer – plus a men’s department and great knitwear. Becker Supply Co. and Pumkinfish have also opened.

The 71st Madison Regatta

Once you’re back on the road with a Memorial Day weekend getaway, you’ll likely want to make future travel plans.

The Madison Regatta is a nice outdoor option for a long weekend. The regatta will take place July 2-4 on the Ohio River in historic Madison, Indiana. The three-day event has been held annually for 70 years and is one of the oldest and largest seaplane boat races in the United States. Extreme Hydroplane Racing offers the H1 Unlimited, Grand National, National Modified and Grand Prix racing series.

In the week leading up to the races, Madison City and the regatta organizers host a range of events including a pageant, a fire station water polo fight, 0km run / walk, the regatta boat parade, a fireworks display, and the Roostertail Music Festival.

The outdoor music festival in Bicentennial Park begins Friday night after the Regatta / City of Madison annual parade on Main Street and continues on Saturday night. The line-up for Roostertail will be released shortly and can be viewed online at MadisonRegatta.com/music/.

Visitors can make the short 55-mile trip from Louisville to Madison for the day or stay overnight. Madison has great bed and breakfasts, cabins, guest houses, campsites and hotels.

Tickets are now available. This year’s general admission ticket will be approved for both the Madison Regatta and the Roostertail Music Festival. Tickets are $ 40 through June 26 and $ 50 from June 27. They are only available at selected locations or at the gate. More information is available at MadisonRegatta.com.

Reach out to Kirby Adams at [email protected] or Twitter @kirbylouisville.

So is it safe to travel?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated their guidelines to state that fully vaccinated people can travel domestically at low risk for themselves. Remember, however, that the pandemic is not yet completely over and you still need to be diligent to protect your own health and that of you.

Vaccinated or not, travelers should take proper precautions and follow a few tips before hitting the road:

  • Plan ahead.Check with state and local authorities where you are on your route and your planned destination for information on local conditions and any restrictions.
  • Minimize stops along the way.Pack meals, extra snacks and drinks, and an emergency kit on the side of the road.
  • Follow public health guidelines and the new mask guidelines. If you aren’t vaccinated, wear face masks and remember to distance yourself socially. Wash your hands regularly and pack disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser.
  • Check with your hotel.Before any hotel stay, call ahead to find out what precautions will be taken and the requirements to protect guests.

For more helpful travel advice from AAA, see the organization’s COVID-19 travel restriction card. There you can find the latest state and local travel restrictions.