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Lou Harry's A&E

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Arts & Entertainment, etc.

Beyond the Gen Con tables

August 16, 2017

Tens of thousands of Gen Con visitors spend the bulk of their time here tabletop gaming and shopping the dealer room at the Indiana Convention Center. (This year, with record crowds expected.)

But many also venture beyond the convention center walls. How far?  I asked returning conventioneers, via Facebook, what attraction they journeyed to on previous visits.

While some of the responses were expected (including canal paddle boats, the Children's Museum, and Indy's many brew pubs), the answers of others revealed an exploration zest appropriate for fans of dungeon crawls, shipping trade routes and space adventures.

Architecture fans touted the Athenaeum, the Scottish Rite Cathedral and the Indiana War Memorial. A Pokemon hunter pushed for Garfield Park. Music fans recommended a stop at the Rhythm Discovery Center while history buffs spoke out for the USS Indianapolis memorial and Fort Harrison.

A runners touted White River State Park. A pair of honeymooners said they came in early for a day at the Zoo. One gamer even said she checks out mini golf courses whenever she travels for a convention.

Even the Indiana Medical History Museum got a recommendation. (With a local responding that she didn't know we even had one here).

Even attractions and stores as far flung as Conner Prairie in Fishers and Greenwood's Half Price Books got nods.

As for new attractions, Bad Axes Throwing, which IBJ featured here, seems to be generating some interest, along with the growing number of escape rooms. And, of course, some go searching for other gaming locations. (See IBJ story on gaming cafes here.)

Responded one ambitious father on Tuesday: "I've been here since Sunday for Gen Con. We've already seen the War Memorial, Monument Circle, the State Fair, Circle Centre and an Indians game. We are going to do the Lucas Oil stadium tour today and see the Speedway today or tomorrow."

Of course, the responses weren't free from cynics.

"Unfortunately, I"m from a bigger city," wrote one. "Indianapolis is underwhelming. I'm just there for the con."

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