Indy has the “Smell of Freedom”

Sebastian and I have been talking about how we rank Indianapolis on our list of host cities. Apparently, one man in the Smith & Wesson booth told a reporter that the city has the “smell of freedom.” Um, I’ll assume he’s not talking about the smell coming out of the grates near one corner of our hotel’s property because that’s sewage, not freedom.

Regardless of the one area that requires holding your breath for a bit as you walk by, Indy has been a pretty decent city for the convention. There are tons of hotels in walking distance, and the skywalk system meant that rain on Friday wasn’t an issue at all. However, the prices for food and beverage – mainly beverage – have been pretty outrageous. Every bar we’ve passed or been in around here has crappy beers for $5+ per glass. However, the food has been consistently excellent. We haven’t had one mediocre meal here.

I didn’t go between official events at the convention center and any other location beyond the JW Marriott, which is connected to the convention center, so I don’t know how the walk compared for those who did attend the multiple events. Generally, I really hate that set up, so it’s probably a good thing for my perception of the city that I didn’t attend those other events.

Other than Claddagh Irish Pub that put up a big sign telling gun owners who carry that they weren’t welcome, every other place had chalkboards and other signs posted welcoming NRA members. And based on how many people we saw sporting NRA & gun-related apparel, those welcoming joints were doing pretty well.

While I’ve had a pretty decent time in Indy, I would put it in the middle of the list of decent host cities. Considering that, according to Sandy Froman, NRA hasn’t held a convention here since 1976, it’s done very well in terms of getting people through the doors and onto the show floor. There’s a ton of parking around the area and many great places to stay.

Indy has been far better than cities like Charlotte, NC (too expensive), Pittsburgh, PA (terrible traffic management) and Louisville, KY (too spread out), but not quite as good as Phoenix, AZ (great layout) and Houston, TX (fantastic facilities). One big drawback to Indy that was also an issue in St. Louis is the presence of overly aggressive panhandlers. One person I know here posted on Facebook about the issue, and also included that he wasn’t so sure the person was that hard up when they pulled out a cell phone and started chatting up someone.

Overall, it was a good annual meeting. I hope that the numbers we hear later this morning show that others thought the same thing.

8 thoughts on “Indy has the “Smell of Freedom””

  1. “Every bar we’ve passed or been in around here has crappy beers for $5+ per glass.”

    Whoa, whoa, whoa there. Check your fire!

    Elevenity billion craft brewers in the city and you didn’t have good beer? You didn’t get up to Broad Ripple and its platoon of breweries or the downtown craft brewers–Flat12 or Indiana City or, one of the giants of Indiana brewing, Sun King?

    Not having good beer is NOT on the City of Indianapolis!

    1. And she’s speaking pretty much of Indy as a convention city, meaning what’s around at the convention center. Most of the time people coming in to a convention aren’t going to have a car to be able to get that far away.

  2. Car? Why use a car? The good beer was within skipping distance.

    It was only a seven walk block to Sun King. Flat 12 was even shorter. Maxine’s Chicken & Waffle was five blocks. No need for a car.

    I am shocked that the craft brewers were not out handing out fliers near the Convention Center.

  3. I know what you mean about those aggressive panhandlers!

    I think Indy was a great location. Coming up I went through Louisville and going back through Cincinnati. When you figure all the major cities within reasonable driving distance, I’m surprised that it hasn’t been held there since 1976.

    1. I’d rather go back there than Louisville in 2016. Louisville was my least favorite city. Indy I think about ties with St. Louis…. though for different reasons. Indy was a much better food city, though the prices around the convention center were pretty high for beverage (though not so bad for food).

  4. Looking forward to Nashville next year. And Atlanta in 2016. I suspect the panhandlers will be just as bad, or worse, in Atlanta though. And well, look for Bloomberg / CNN to be set up and ready to document any even slight confrontation in an attempt to prove NRA = Racism.

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