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November 10, 2022

Clowes Memorial Hall: What To Know Before You Go

A treasured Indianapolis venue for live performances, Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University has welcomed guests of all ages since its opening in 1963. This versatile space, known for offering an eclectic mix of entertainment, continues to draw fans from around the city and beyond. Whether you prefer ballet, Broadway, or stand-up comedy, you will surely find a show you love.

If you’re planning a night out to Clowes, here’s what you should know before going.

Butler University Bulldog statue


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This multi-purpose venue has hosted grand-scale opera and even served as the home for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Luminaries such as Barbara Streisand and Elton John have performed here. And the tradition of world-class entertainment carries on to this day.

On any given night, you might find musical performers from around the world, various kid-friendly productions, and theater of all styles. Although the 2,148-seat auditorium may sell out quickly for top shows, you can always find great seats at Only Indy Tickets.


A Perfect Setting For Performing Arts

You may feel some drama and intrigue before shows even start as you regard this inspiring structure made of Indiana limestone. The high walls, grand foyer, and other distinctive architectural features set the tone for the night ahead. An acoustic and visual masterpiece, Clowes Memorial Hall was designed by Evans Woollen III and John M. Johansen.

This impressive facility was named after Dr. George Henry Alexander Clowes, a former research director at Eli Lilly and Company and champion of the arts. Dr. Clowes was the driving force behind the venue's creation and the principal donor, along with his wife, Edith Whitehill Clowes. Take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking surroundings before you settle in for the night.


Parking At Clowes Memorial Hall

The best option for parking is the 1,025-space visitor parking garage at the 4700 block of Sunset Avenue between 46th and 49th streets. Guests should enter off Sunset Avenue. You should expect to pay a $10 fee for most events. If you require accessible entry, park on the main floor of the garage or in the lot directly northeast of the venue. Additional visitor parking is available on campus. It's always best to arrive early, find a good parking spot, and reduce your time in line. Doors to the venue open one hour before each show unless otherwise noted.

Leave The Following At Home

The list of prohibited items is fairly standard, including weapons, illegal substances, and outside food and beverage. In addition, you should leave the following at home:

  • Bags larger than 12” x 12”. This would include backpacks and duffle bags.

  • Any electronic devices larger than a cell phone (e.g., tablets and laptops).

  • Professional photography and videography equipment. Flash photography is, of course, banned, along with laser pointers and flashlights.


Make The Most Of Your Night Out With Dinner And A Show

Why not take advantage of your night out and grab dinner before the show? Butler is next to Broad Ripple, a vibrant local hangout with abundant dining options. You'll find craft breweries and cuisine from Indian to Cajun. Here are a few spots you might try:

  • Chatham Tap: This popular establishment styled after traditional English neighborhood pubs made the list for several reasons. It's directly on the Butler University campus, so the proximity is exceptional, but you'll also find outstanding food. If you like wings, you'll be in foodie heaven, as they have some of the best in the city. If you want something not quite as messy while wearing your going-out clothes, go for a sandwich, fish and chips, pizza, or burger.

  • Aristocrats: Try a giant tenderloin sandwich, refreshing salad, or pasta entree at this local Indy favorite off College Avenue. An eclectic interior with wood-lined walls and an assortment of antiques and artwork creates a unique dining experience. If the weather accommodates, you can grab a table on the patio. If the weather doesn’t accommodate, try to find a table inside by the fireplace.

  • Sushi Maki: How about some fresh sushi to start your night? Also, on College Avenue, Sushi Maki is just a few minutes off campus. Try the famous Passion Salmon roll topped with a spicy citrus sauce or the King Kong fried roll with shrimp, crab, and jalapenos. If you want something other than sushi, go with a bento box.


Venturing Around Butler University Campus

A beautiful campus in the middle of Indianapolis, Butler University has much to offer both students and the public. If you’re visiting for a show at Clowes Memorial, you might be interested in exploring the grounds, including:

Holcomb Gardens: Located on the north end of campus and accessible via a pedestrian bridge, Holcomb Gardens offers 20 acres of beautiful landscape to enjoy. You will surely find some artistic inspiration at the poets' corner or the philosophers' bench. This excellent site overlooks the historic Indianapolis canal and a man-made lake.

Hinkle Fieldhouse: One of the most famous basketball arenas in the nation, Hinkle Fieldhouse has played host to six U.S. presidents, various international competitions, and everyone's favorite NCAA tourney Cinderella team, the Butler Bulldogs. Constructed in 1928, this legendary venue was named a national historic landmark in 1987. It's often remembered as the site of the championship game in the movie "Hoosiers." Guided and self-guided tours of the facility are available.


Hotels Near Clowes Memorial Hall

If you're traveling to a show from out of town, you'll be happy to know there are a wide variety of hotels near Clowes Memorial Hall. The JW Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn are popular choices if you prefer to stay in downtown Indianapolis. If you're coming from the north and wish to remain on that side of town, there are options close to Butler University, like Ironworks Hotel Indy and Homewood Suites by Hilton. Both are located off 86th St. with quick access to I-465. You should have no trouble finding a room within minutes of the venue. If you're flying into Indianapolis International Airport, you can get to Butler in less than 30 minutes.


Get Your Tickets For Clowes Memorial Hall

Join the fun this season at Clowes Memorial Hall and find great seats for any show at Only Indy Tickets. Get there early to appreciate the architectural appeal of this venerable venue that still evokes a modern, contemporary feel nearly 60 years after opening night.