As a kid, I grew up going to the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade each year. We’d go in a huge group ofpeople and back in the 80s, you could sit right on the side literally steps from the bands and floats. Times have changed and security is much tighter now, but the good times still roll!
The parade is part of the 500 Festival events for the month of May and always takes place the Saturday before race day. Now with our family in tow, we’ve done the parade a few different ways: in large groups and small groups, in the sun and in the shade, arriving early and arriving just in the nick of time. Either way, just as long as you catch the police at the beginning and the Purdue marching band and legendary drum on a roll, you’re guaranteed a good time!
You can buy tickets to sit in assigned seats or bleacher spots, but we’ve actually never done that. Each year we say we’ll “upgrade” from the free spots on the side, but that’s yet to happen! Pack the kids, pack the car, and pack the food….the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade is something you must experience if you live in Indy. It’s a low to no cost way to make memories with your family!
We’ve parked in several different spots, but our best space was at the Murat parking lot located at North and New Jersey Streets. Make sure to arrive early before 11 AM to ensure a space in this lot. If it is full, there are nearby lots for roughly $5 per car that you should be able to find within an hour of parade start at noon.
Loaded up and ready to go!
Wagons, strollers, coolers, sunscreen, blankets, the crew, and of course the food!
Coming in from the east, all streets west of Delaware are closed, so once you get past Delaware, you’ll be able to walk on the streets and possibly catch some of the floats and horses prepping to march! We enter in on North street and always aim to sit under the shade of the Federal building or across the street in the lawn. This is the start of the parade at Noon on the dot and also the first to finish by 1:15PM. It makes for a nice exit to avoid major crowds, too!
We skirted in just in time for the start this year, and although our seats were not the best behind this tree, our littles found a way to get a great view. They’re happy, we’re happy!
The motorcycle police are lined up at the start and have been performing for as long as I can remember. In behind them is the Purdue marching band and legendary rolling drum. Definitely two of my favorite acts….even as an IU grad!
The Motorcycle Police in action and doing bike tricks. Kids…don’t try this at home!
Floats and bands, Pacemates and Princesses, race car drivers and entertainers…you’ll love to see it all!
May you trip down to see the parade and add this to your annual family memories as we have….Enjoy!