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Tuesday, April 16
The Indiana Daily Student


Hotel options for Little 500 weekend


Every year, IU’s Little 500 brings together students, families and even celebrity guests — Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj performed in 2011 — to view the iconic bike race. As the weather warms up, so does the celebration, as visitors come from across the country to spend the weekend exploring the city.  

For those who need a place to crash each night, there are several hotels in Bloomington close to locations such as College Mall and Kirkwood Avenue — so even if you’re not a townie, you’ll have everything you need to have a successful Little 500 weekend.

Some hotels advise guests to expect heavier traffic and increased rates. Here’s what you can expect from hotels in the area and where they’re situated in the city so you can pick the best place for you.  

Travelodge Hotel is less than half a mile from IU’s campus and across the street from College Mall. Guests can take a stroll through campus, shop or rent a boat at Monroe Lake — and when hunger strikes, Bloomington’s nearby Fourth Street is filled with international dining options.  

Because of problems with rowdy parties that happened at the hotel in the past, Travelodge Hotel manager Josh Long said Travelodge requires guests to put down a deposit during Little 500 weekend which ensures costs will be covered if issues such as property damage happen. This deposit is usually $100.

While the last few years have been quieter at the hotel, particularly since the pandemic, people looking to book a hotel who are not visiting for the race but are concerned about potential noise should inquire about how busy a given hotel might be before they book so they know what to expect, Long said. 

“Any hotel I know will cooperate with you and let you know,” he said. “They’ll have a better idea of where to put you in the hotel for a quieter area if that’s a concern to you.” 

Comfort Inn is also located near College Mall and offers an outdoor pool and pet-friendly rooms. Shawna Lewis, an employee at Comfort Inn, said prices to book a room are typically more expensive during Little 500 weekend, typically running up to $300-$400 a night. Rooms at Comfort Inn normally start from $194 a night, according to Choice Hotels.  

Lewis said guests are usually a mixture of students, families and visitors from out of town, especially during the summer when the pools open.  

Hampton Inn, located on North Walnut Street, offers free parking and is within walking distance of IU’s Memorial Stadium. Oliver Winery and The Golf Club at Eagle Pointe are also nearby.  

Deonte Love, an employee at Hampton Inn, said for last year’s race Hampton Inn saw a spike in reservations, including bikers staying at the hotel for the weekend. However, prices usually stay fairly consistent during Little 500.  

“As far as our rates, I want to say they’re just above average, but not nearly as expensive as our busier events like sports,” he said. “Not too out of typical range.”  

Closer to campus on Kirkwood Avenue, just a five-minute walk from IU’s Sample Gates, is the Graduate Hotel. Visitors staying there can grab a bite to eat at the many restaurants on Kirkwood or the sSquare before heading out to browse the shops or take advantage of the bustling college nightlife. The Graduate is pet-friendly and offers free bike rentals, a 24-hour fitness center and even a “Stranger Things”-themed suite experience.  

The Graduate typically sells out or gets close to selling out during Little 500 weekend, Graduate guest experience manager Matthew Hazen said.  

“I would say that we see a good mix of alumni and parents of current students at the hotel during the weekend,” Hazen said. “We do receive a decent number of out-of-towners that have heard about Little 500 and want to experience it which is always great to see, but the majority of our guests for the weekend are definitely people with ties to the university.” 

With artwork and design elements that reference Little 500 and other iconic Bloomington characteristics, even those who aren’t staying at the hotel come in to check out the lobby, Hazen said.  

“We try to be the ‘“living room of the community’ and love to be a frequent stop for locals like ourselves,” Hazen said.  


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