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5 tips for Ravens fans headed to Indianapolis

So, you're taking your purple passion on the road to Indianapolis. Flights are sold out. AirTran is adding another. Doesn't matter, you're getting there one way or another. Super, say the folks at Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association. (Of course, they're talking about the "Super" Bowl and they're not picturing the Ravens in it.)

I talked with Chris Gahl at VisitIndy.com and he said Indianapolis is a great town for sports fans. There's football, racing and come spring, basketball - the city is hosting the NCAA Men's Final Four. Indy also hosts the Super Bowl in 2012.

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Super. So here are some tips and things to do in Indianapolis for Ravens fans. (Thanks, Chris - and hey, no hard feelings if we don't see you in Miami.)

1. Experience the airport. If you arrive by air, take a moment and look around. What you're seeing is the city's new $1.1 billion airport terminal, which opened a little more than a year ago. The state-of-the-art facility has a clean, modern feel with several art installations, including a terrazzo floor mosaic in the "Civic Plaza" area. If you ride the people mover, a series of LED dots tracks your path overhead with bursts of colored lights.

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2. Don't bother renting a car. Take the IndyGo "Green Line" from the airport (right outside baggage claim) to downtown: a 10-minute ride that costs $7 each way. The shuttle serves 16 hotels, as well as Lucas Oil Stadium, and runs every 20 minutes. Once downtown, there are 200 restaurants and 50 attractions within walking distance - and the city has climate-controlled skywalks that connect hotels to the Circle Centre Mall, a hub of pre-game activity, according to VisitIndy.com.

3. Have dinner with Peyton. Chris says St. Elmo Steakhouse is a hangout for Colts QB Peyton Manning. The restaurant has been a city landmark since 1902 and also has the largest wine cellar in Indiana. Other suggestions: Nicky Blaine's for tapas; R Bistro for romance; Cafe Patachou for healthy, organic eats - a fave of race car drivers Danica Patrick and Helio Castroneves; and the Slippery Noodle Inn, the oldest bar in Indiana, for tailgating.

Associated Press Photo

4. See the city by Segway. If the weather's good, you can enjoy White River State Park, a 250-acre green space in the center of downtown. It has great running trails or you can rent a Segway for a tour.

5. Make it to a museum. Head indoors for a visit to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, the world's largest children's museum according to VisitIndy.com. Or check out the NCAA Hall of Champions or the Indianapolis Speedway's Hall of Fame, located inside the famed oval, featuring more than 70 vehicles on display.


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