May 1, 2023 - Things to Do

Your guide to everything Indy 500 that May in Indy has to offer

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Get out your checkered flags, Indy. The Month of May is here!

Why it matters: Over the next four weeks, Indianapolis will put on a series of events leading up to the Indianapolis 500, when as many as 300,000 people will descend on the city for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

What's happening: The festivities officially begin Wednesday with the 500 Festival Kickoff event on Monument Circle, where you can meet the 500 Festival princesses and take your picture with this year's Festival cars.

πŸ‘Ÿ Saturday is the 500 Festival Mini Marathon and 5K. Half-marathon runners: Don't forget to kiss the bricks during your lap around the track!

➰ See your favorite IndyCar drivers tackle another challenge β€” the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course β€”Β during the GMR Grand Prix on May 13.

πŸ§’ May 14 is the 500 Festival Kids' Day and fun run on Monument Circle.

🟒 The roar of engines returns to IMS on May 16 for the opening day of Indy 500 practice and continues through May 18.

πŸ’¨ May 19 is Fast Friday, the final day of practice ahead of qualifying. Expect drivers to top 230 mph and get the best look at who might claim the coveted front row.

πŸ₯ž The annual Breakfast at the Brickyard β€” where you, yes, eat breakfast but also get to drive your own car around the track β€” is May 20.

πŸ‘Š Bumping is back, which brings an added level of drama to qualifying, to be held May 20 and 21. With 34 cars vying for 33 spots, the slowest car won't make the race.

  • Of note: Positions 13-30 will be set on the first day of quals. The 12 fastest get a shot at the pole position on day 2, while the four slowest will duke it out for the last row.

🏎️ With the field set, practice picks back up May 22.

πŸ§‘β€πŸŽ€ Bryan Adams is headlining the Carb Day concert on May 26, which follows a couple hours of practice and the annual pit stop challenge.

🎈 The 500 Festival Parade through downtown gets race weekend going, taking place this year on May 27.

  • You can try to snag a spot to stand along the route, but if you want a guaranteed seat, get a ticket for the bleachers that line the route along Pennsylvania and Meridian streets.
  • The day before the race is also Legends Day at the track, where drivers past and present are available for autographs, and spectators can sit in on the public, pre-race drivers meeting.

🏁 May 28 is race day, baby.

Pro tip: Want to kiss the bricks without having to run a half marathon (or, you know, win the Indy 500)? Take the Kiss the Bricks Tour at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. For $25, you get a 30-minute bus tour that includes a lap around the famous 2.5-mile track and a stop at the finish line where you can kiss the bricks β€” just like every race winner has done since 1996. 😘


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