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Indy buzzing as Final Four weekend gets closer

Sunny skies and warm weather shined down over Lucas Oil Stadium Wednesday as preparations for the weekend's Final Four games are well under way.

Workers covered every side of the stadium putting up signs -- plenty of them Wisconsin Badgers logos -- and getting the area ready for 70,000 fans expected here.

Friday is when activities will ramp up with open practices starting at noon and the college all star game after at 4:30 p.m. Those events are free. If you do plan to attend and carry a purse, make sure to have your items in a clear plastic bag no larger than a clutch purse, per NCAA rules.

Fan Fest starts Friday too. You can find that on Georgia Street, which the city constructed for large outdoor gatherings like the Super Bowl and Final Fours. Fan Fest will also be held in the Indiana Convention Center across from Lucas Oil Stadium.

Meanwhile, Badgers fans can expect a warm welcome -- especially thanks to the Indianapolis Chapter of the UW Alumni Association.  President Kathy Farr says Bucky fans will have two bars to pick from as \"Badgers\" bars if they can't get into the game.  The Keystone Sports Review on Keystone Avenue and Buffalo Wild Wings on Washington Street will serve as Wisconsin fan's \"home away from home\" for the weekend's games.

As for non-basketball related events, Indianapolis has plenty going on all weekend. Seven family-friendly museums (especially the Children's Museum and Conner Prairie Interactive History Park) and more than 250 restaurants stand ready to serve and entertain.

The staff at Visit Indy recommend checking out the Fountain Square District and Massachusetts Avenue for restaurants off the beaten path.

\"Once you are in downtown it's a grid formats, it's very easy to navigate,\" Visit Indy Senior Comm. Manager Morgan Greelee said. \"[We have] 70,000 parking spots in the city so you're going to have a parking spot. We're no strangers to a sporting events. We hosted the Super Bowl we do Indy 500's year after year. We feel really good about the logistics and navigation downtown and just getting out and exploring the city.\"

Wisconsin natives will be happy to hear there's options for beer and brats in Indy too. Visit Indy recommends checking out the Sun King Brewing Company where tours and tastings are free. The German Rathskeller restaurant on Mass. Avenue also features brats, an outdoor beer garden and live music.

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