The Indy 500: Traditions, Crowds, Culture and More
Known as the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500 (or “Indy 500,” as it’s referred to by most) is one of the world’s best known and most acclaimed motorsport events.
Held every year in May within the city of Indianapolis, the Indy 500 is by far the city’s biggest event, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators both from throughout Indiana and the Midwest, and from overseas.
Are you considering visiting Indianapolis for the Indy 500? Below, we’ve covered the event’s main traditions, history and culture, with helpful tips on everything from crowd sizes to making sure you get accommodation for the event.
When is the Indy 500 held?
The Indy 500 is typically held on the last Sunday of May, typically coinciding with Memorial Day weekend. The exact date of the event varies every year, making it important to check ahead of time if you plan on traveling to Indianapolis for the race.
How many people watch the Indy 500?
The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most watched events in the world of motorsport, attracting millions of viewers around the world. On average, several million people watch the race on TV, while anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 people attend the event in person.
Where is the Indy 500 held?
The Indy 500 is held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Built-in 1909 and expanded and upgraded over the years, the venue is the largest capacity racing circuit in the world, with seating for more than 400,000 people when infield seating is added to the existing stands.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located in Speedway, a suburb of Indianapolis. Most of the people traveling to Indianapolis for the event stay in the city or surrounding area, then travel into Speedway to attend the race.
When did the Indy 500 start?
The Indy 500 is one of North America’s oldest racing events, dating back to 1909. The current 500-mile race format dates back to 1911 when the race’s organizers decided on a long format event in the style of Le Mans.
Visiting Indianapolis for the Indy 500
The Indy 500 is by far the biggest event of the year for Indianapolis, meaning the city really sets aside time to prepare for the event. Hotels that are often less than completely occupied become fully booked and somewhat busy restaurants become extremely crowded.
Because of this, it’s important to prepare in advance if you plan on traveling to Indianapolis for the Indy 500. You’ll need to buy tickets for the event in advance and book your accommodation in Indianapolis as early as possible.
It’s also important to plan your route from your accommodation to Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of time. The city becomes very crowded during the event, meaning that traffic, availability of taxis and other transportation options can become more of a challenge.
The Indy 500 is an iconic event in the world of motorsports, and a unique experience that’s worth enjoying if you’re in Indianapolis on Memorial Day weekend. From the tradition to the incredible speed and skill on display, few motorsport events can match the Indy 500 experience. If you are using this event to promote your business, this is a great place to set up an Indianapolis event booth in “The Snake Pit” as long as it is within certain requirements of the raceway vendor management. For more details on that, visit the Indy 500 website and let us at Exponents know how we can be of further assistance with your event booth.