We all go to Gen Con for what is the without a doubt The States best gaming convention--but like most gamers there comes a point that we all want to get away from the crowds. So we step out into the street and find some food or places to relax...but then we contend with the TENS OF THOUSANDS of other Convention goers who flood the streets. Yeah, you could go to The RAM and hang with Privateer Press or head over to Claddagh Irish Pub which happens to be a Gen Con favorite. Most don't make it past the Circle Center Mall--afterall, who wants to pass up a cheap food court? BUT where do you go when you don't want to have to contend with anyone else?
We've been to Indianapolis for more than Gen Con having friends there such as our pals, The Nerd's Domain, and we like to get away and relaxing to recharge. Maybe you do, too? So, here are some of our favorite ideas for getting away from the crowd that is trying to get away from Gen Con!
BRU Burger Bar
Roxy and I discovered BRU Burger bar when we went to Critical Role Live and needed to get away from the insane line! As we were walking two families motioned us over and asked us to join them and offered some beers. They asked all sorts of questions: who we were, what we thought of the city, and what brought us to the convention. The atmosphere of BRU is so AMAZING! We decided to go ahead and eat here. Great food and great atmosphere and far enough away from the convention that we could just relax. Come for the burgers and pretzel sticks; stay for the unbelievable desserts!
BRU Burger Bar: 410 Massachusetts Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46204
Pearl Street Pizzeria and Pub
Sometimes at Gen Con you don't need to travel too far to find some good food; and Pearl Street Pizzeria and Pub is a prime example of good eats close by. The trick is that it is HIDDEN. It's on a small cross street with nary an advertisement and a really unassuming storefront. Once inside you'll find delectable pizzas and brews. A popular location amongst locals who may or may not wonder, "How the heck did YOU know about this place?"
Pearl Street Pizzeria and Pub: 65 East Pearl Street Indianapolis, IN 46204
Massachusetts Street Art District
Often referred to by locals as Mass Ave; this artsy part of Indy is home to tons of theaters, restaurants, art galleries, and eclectic shopping locales galore! From the self-described The Best Chocolate In Town to the an old speakeasy, The Ball and Biscuit. This is a place to go and get away from it all! Tons to see and do and far enough away from the convention you can walk around at your leisure far from the hustle and bustle of Gen Con's crowds.
This is also home to Indy's Pride Parade and Festival--and I'd say every business on the road proudly supported with their LGBT flags! Definitely visit and support this area!
Shhhhhhh.... don't tell anyone, but Indianapolis has it's own boardgame cafe. It's a small and quaint place nearing the end of Mass Ave at it's furthest end of Downtown. Because of it's focus it may be fairly busy, but at the right points in the day you can get in and play some games (there is a cover charge which will deter most con goers from lounging about). Sure, there are bigger boardgame pubs out there, but this one is just perfect if you want atmosphere and some peace.
Kingmakers: 881 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Family Time Games!
Indianapolis Family Time Games is the best gaming store in Indy (and we've been to them all)! It's a huge store with a open layout and tons of games--and it's an official sponsor, yearly, for Indy Pop Con (one of Indy's other famous conventions). Last year it even had a bus that departed from the store to Gen Con daily; talk about saving some money! Roxy and I consider this place a home away from home whenever we visit and their selection cannot be ignored. Sure you're at Gen Con and seeing the best new and upcoming titles, but sometimes you just want that game store atmosphere (and to not have to pay Gen Con's ticket fees for games--you know it's true). So go and show Family Time some love and I promise you won't be disappointed!
So there is our Gen Con Guide; hope to see you there--and if you have suggestions, put them in the comments!