Does anyone remember where the "closed to traffic" section ends for Georgia Street? We've actually got 2 (out of block) rooms booked right now...1 connected to the ICC (Embassy Suites) and then the Homewood Suites Downtown. The Homewood is a lot cheaper and seems like it is just as safe for my teen to walk back to the room alone at night since Georgia is Gamer/Cop Central but I can't remember where it ends and turns into a normal road.
I believe that the "closed to traffic" section is just for the block between Capitol and Illinois.
I've never felt unsafe anywhere during gencon and that includes out at the bar scene. I'm sure someone has, but overall I feel like its a very safe environment. Either way, the Embassy is connected via skywalk/circle center, so if you're really worried about safety you dont even need to go outside if you stay at the Embassy. As you say the Homewood is cheaper so you're looking on leaning that way, Georgia is pretty safe and very well traveled all the way up to where the Homewood is. One thing to keep in mind is that the beer garden and concerts are out there, so if you're uncomfortable with your teen walking through that during certain parts of the evening you may want to consider the Embassy. I don't think I've ever seen even a person raise their voice in anger out there though.
Homewood has huge, beautiful rooms; a free breakfast; and is a very short walk from ICC. I also agree that almost anywhere in the immediate downtown area is extremely safe and the police have a very heavy presence during the convention.
Thanks everyone. I'm not nervous for me (I've gone to over 20 Gen Cons) just my 15 year old...and not even so much me as my wife is nervous. I just couldn't for the life of me remember where the car / non-police controlled area was at. I was thinking she'd be less nervous about the kid since it's an outside walk if it didn't require walking by any bar type areas.
And yes, Embassy is 10x better (and is in fact my #1 pick every year except this year when I wanted the Westin)...their breakfast is awesome, there's the manager's reception, and the rooms are large (plus I have the chance to get upgraded to the top floor executive suites like a few years ago).
We have stayed at the Homewood Suites downtown several times, and are staying again there this year. The only down side its there are a series of bars near/next to the hotel, so after getting off Georgia Avenue, you'll have to walk past about 40 feet of often semi-drunk non-gamers (including drunk bridal parties out for bachelorette bar crawls) on Meridian Street if you're coming back late on Friday or Saturday night. We usually get some comments if we're in costumes, but those are more amused than belligerent. There are usually police officers stationed those nights at the intersection of Georgia and Meridian. There are also young male hotel bellhops outside the doors to the hotel that open the doors and serve as doormen, and an off duty police officer who stays in the lobby. I have never felt unsafe for that 40 feet, but I'm a tall man. My three daughters and wife (often in costumes) have never expressed any concerns about their safety when they returned late at night.
And the Homewood Suites is the best hotel. Huge rooms, great breakfast and managers reception.
Hope that helps,
Steve Gibson, Northern Virginia Gamers (NOVAG)
I'll second the opinions on the Homewood. I stay there every time I am in Indy not for Gen Con. It's basically a straight shot right into the convention center and there is always an officer or two stationed right at that intersection to supervise the late night crowd. I've never had an issue during the con or any other weekend there with much rowdier crowds
Having stayed at both during Gencon i would hands down say Homewood is the better option. The rooms are larger, the hotel is smaller, the hotel is closer and I feel like the straight shot down Georgia street which is better than that weird walk up the car ramp into Embassy suites. I don't know anyone that uses the skywalk to go from Embassy to Convention center since it takes twice as long. Also like others have said there are bars near Homewood which is a positive. I would be more worried about my kids walking in areas with less people (this includes the skywalk) vs a densely populated area where if they shouted out someone would be there to help them.
I will say the breakfast at the Embassy is 10x better than Homewood.
Awesome. Thanks again everyone.
It sounds pretty universal that that the only value to the Embassy is the breakfast (which I'd say is worth like $20/day for my family), the manager's reception (worth a ton when I go with 5 buddies but not so much with the family), and the chance (very slim chance) I get upgraded to a top-floor suite (it did happen one Gen Con though and I was Gold then and Hilton Diamon now).
I'll probably go with the Homewood.
(Be on the lookout for a "Hilton Room Available...non-block" posting although it's technically a Diamond reservation so I may not be able to transfer it.)
Regardless of anecdotal opinions of how safe downtown Indianapolis is at night, I would warn to take caution. There are a number of transient people downtown that get rather aggressive and I have seen it at the street corners and even in the food court of the mall. I spoke with police officers last year and they said that it is a dangerous place and that there was a shooting during Gen Con just a few blocks away.
A taxi or Uber ride is worth the price of not getting into trouble with a late night walk...
If either of the rooms has at least two separate beds (or 1 bed and a pull out couch) I would be interested in taking the one you don't choose off your hands. Contact me via Gamecock City Adventurers on FB if you are wanting to give one up. (Haven't figured out how to IM people on this forum)
Homewood also has a manager's reception, as it, too, is a Hilton property.