With the housing situation being what it is, has anyone tried staying at one of the places far from the convention center? Anything from 5-15 miles away.
Room rates become much cheaper and the only issue is transportation and travel time. I've heard some of these hotels offer shuttles, but those shuttles were spotty in the past. How's the taxi or rideshare situation with Uber and Lyft?
I once stayed at the Comfort Inn on Shadeland Ave. near I-465. The drive in wasn't a problem back then, but current construction on I-70 would make that much different now.
There was no shuttle for that hotel. I think shuttles had been dropped years prior to my stay there.
We drove in ourselves, so we didn't test Lyft or Uber from that far out, but generally I've had no real problems with either service in Indianapolis.
Biggest Uber problem I ever experienced while at Gen Con wasn't the drivers fault; it was once when I was in the JW downtown and the driver had to circle twice because he couldn't get into the crowded pickup area. And didn't see me trying to wave him over on West Street. If that's the worst problem I've had, then I can honestly say I've had no real problems.
From that distance you'd want to look into day parking like Gate 10 if available still or plan to budget $50 a day for Uber/Lyft. There are parking garages in downtown Indy that aren't too bad pricing but not guaranteed.
Peak hours I'd expect over $20 for the trip each way and a little extra for a tip.
If you have people without accounts for either, it's a good week to try and take advantage of referral and new member promotions from the services so you can like refer a friend who joins and you each get $5 off or whatever they're doing then. Travel time hasn't been too much of an issue in past but who knows with road work.
It's not too bad but you want to budget your time expecting to be there longer since you can't easily go to and fro, or if possibly and know you someone in a connected hotel see if you can use their room as a safe storage spot during the day.
I've always considered this the default for Gen Con, with downtown or connected hotels being a nice luxury if you can get them, especially as visitor numbers climb back up to pre-unpleasantness levels.
2018/19 I stayed at the Embassy Suites North, we used Uber/Lyft as I'm not brave enough to drive on the wrong side of the road. Always plenty of drivers available and we could often double up with other people going to the convention to save money.
Both years my wife (who isn't a big gamer) took my swag back to the hotel then had an afternoon visiting the huge Target up that way then got a jumbo margherita and nachos at a restaurant next door.
Sometimes it can also be an advantage when you're looking to get food as restaurants near the hotel usually aren't as busy as the ones by the ICC
There were always other hackers or playing games in the lobby and at breakfast and cocktail hour so it still felt like part of the convention, and the ICC has a quiet room as well as quite a few more secluded areas if you need a rest away from the chaos of the convention itself.
I stayed at the Indy Hostel my first Gen Con, and public transport/taxis weren't ideal, but that was before Uber/Lyft, so that *might* be a more viable option these days.
Several years ago, in the Earth That Was, we couldn't get a downtown hotel and stayed out by the airport. Since my schedule differed from my roommates and I didn't have a car, one day I took the hotels complimentary airport shuttle to the airport. From there I took the Indy 8 city bus to the ICC. Not fast, but cheap. They also ran a downtown express from the airport, but it was $10, I think. I don't know if it still runs or not. Indy 8 does. I took cabs back. They were $25 as I recall.
Last year, I was coming in solo, so downtown was out no matter what. Since I come from the Cincinnati area, it made no sense to drive to the North or West side. I stayed in Shelbyville. Being close to the gambling casino, I figured the hotels would be better. The Holiday Inn and Suites was pretty nice. Just over $100/night with taxes and a full breakfast buffet. It took me exactly 30 minutes to drive in to Gate Ten Parking, and from there a further 15 minutes to the ICC.'All told not bad, but the day I had a game that went to midnight did make for a tired drive back and somewhat early morning. But I am fairly certain I was the only GenCon attendee there.
While I can't comment about last year as I lucked into a connected hotel, in 2018/19 there were drivers who would drive to Indy and stay in cheap motels as they knew they'd make a killing during the convention. We had one driver who lived in Miami but had driven up for the convention work.
I’ve always stayed in hotels about 5-15 miles outside downtown and never had a problem with Lyft or Uber.
Having to account for the cost is something you’ll need to keep in mind. I’m lucky though because a work benefit I have pays for Lyft/Uber rides at no cost to me.
I have always stayed in Greenwood, about 15 minutes away, and parked in the mall parking garage. No issues at all and it is incredibly convenient as long as you don't mind paying hte$25 parking. But I drive to Gencon os its just more convenient.
For a six year block (2014-2019) I stayed pretty far away in Plainfield at a friends house and drove in each day. I originally would purchase a one month downtown parking pass but now use Gate10 parking. Out side of the early Thursday and staying a little late for TOVA on Saturday it isn't much different than staying closer. It is also a massive plus to not have to spend $1500+ on hotels which really cut into any budget for the con.
Looking currently it seems the hotels in Plainfield are averaging $70-80 per night, which would equate to 4:1 on hotel spending versus downtown.
I recommend the hotels at Southport Rd and I65. Good variety. I think there are 7 or 8 hotels and they are roughly 10 to 15 minutes from the ICC. I've time it. Lots of breakfast places nearby.
Pre-Covid, I used to stay down in Beech Grove, just off South Emerson and 465. Room rates were really affordable ($55/night in 2004, if I remember right), the hotel was clean and quiet, the staff great, a 24-hour Wal-Mart practically in the backyard, and a 24-hour Steak & Shake across the street, plus who knows just how many other restaurants within a mile.
And I really enjoyed the drives coming and going -- just a really good time to get the head lined up for either gaming or sleep. (We won't get into trying to go from I-65 (again, if I remember right) across four lanes on traffic on the 465 to the Emerson exit -- in probably less than a mile. Not fun, especially with the poor lighting, sometimes heavy traffic, and that almost-90 degree turn from 65 to 465 at highway speeds. Yeah, made going down to Southport Road a lot more attractive.)
Today, that Steak & Shake and Wal-Mart are closing at 11pm, and that same hotel's asking for $150/night during Gen Con. Yeah, they caught the fever, and, yeah, I'm not going back because of that.
Last year, I stayed at a Red Roof Inn in the northeast area. Staff was great, but the hotel definitely gave a "no-tell motel" vibe. The drive in and back wasn't the most fun either, what with the road construction, and dining, especially late night, was pretty scant within a mile or two. But, for a solo traveler like me, it was affordable and it worked.
Crossing my fingers things'll be better at a different hotel in a different part of town this year.
The almost total loss of the 24-hour business concept is one of the worst permanent side effects of the last few years. I always suspected most of those businesses could not possibly be profiting from staying open overnight and were only doing so because people wanted it, and their rededication to profit over all else and near-universal cessation of 24-hour convenience has really confirmed it.
That said, I do agree it is not the end of the world if you end up outside of downtown, even though admittedly I started booking 11 months out specifically to avoid it. My group still has inside jokes and other fond memories relating to the 30-minute drive in from/out to the suburbs from the era we were not downtown.
VBRO and airBNB. I had a VBRO house last year on College Street just north of the fairgrounds. Awesome neighborhood with a deli grocery and gyro place within walking distance. Houses 10, ran $1000 for the week. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, nice neighborhood. Tried to get it again this year.
SOUTH PARK BANKER VOICE: Well, you loved the house and want to reserve it 6 months before GenCon. Let's enter your data. There it is! And.....It's gone....
Doing an airBNB this year. Almost walking distance from the con. Sleeps 6. $1200 for the week.