t’s easy for me to pinpoint the most thrilling few minutes of a December visit to Indianapolis — if measured
purely by adrenaline. It was taking a couple of quick laps (with a driver) in a street-legal race car at the Dallara Indy- Car Factory and event venue, where the chassis for Indianapolis 500 race cars are built. But there was much more to get
excited about during the long weekend, organized around the 2012 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Associa- tion) Big Ten Championship football game at the 63,000-seat Lucas Oil Stadium. The stadium was the site for another big game you may have heard of — last February’s Super Bowl XLVI
— and the visit gave me, along with a group of meeting planners, a chance to see, not only the expanded infrastruc- ture that made Indy one of the most successful Super Bowl hosts ever, but the city’s ongoing development. My visit began with a hard-hat tour
of The Alexander Hotel, scheduled to open this month with 209 guest rooms and 12,500 square feet of meeting space certified by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). Even unfinished, the hotel’s public spaces were striking, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows open to golden late afternoon light. Part of a downtown mixed-use develop- ment called CityWay, the Alexander
has partnered with the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) to commission 12 site-specific artworks from local, national, and international artists, as part of a collection of about 40 IMA- curated works that will fill the hotel. Dinner was at the newly opened,
warmly elegant Cerulean, also at City- Way. The imaginative menu, which lists the names of the local farms where it sources ingredients, includes entries such as mushroom custard and hay- smoked quail with cherry butter, but the dish I found myself talking about all weekend was the spiced peanut-butter ice cream served with banana, caraway, and burnt honey. I stayed at the JW Marriott India- napolis, which, at 33 stories with 1,005
Superlatives With venues, hotels, dining, and more all within walking distance, Indy’s downtown was ‘perfectly spaced’ for Super Bowl XLVI, one sports blogger raved.