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A Traveler’s Guide To The Big Ten Championship Game

We’re only five days out from Penn State’s first-ever trip to the Big Ten Championship Game, and Penn Staters are in a frenzy coordinating the logistics of their travel to Indianapolis this weekend. Here’s what you need to think about to get there, stay there, tailgate, and enjoy the game.


This is the part where you might feel doomed. After incredible demand and selling out its original three buses, UPUA opened seven more buses, offering a total of 550 seats for students to travel for free on its Blue & White Brigade. But even if you didn’t get a spot, you’ve got some other options.

Round-trip flights between State College and Indianapolis are currently listed at upwards of $1000, so we recommend driving in some capacity. If you have a personal car available or if you can find someone to ride with, this is probably the easiest option.

According to CNN, the average gas price in Pennsylvania is $1.95 — and it’s even cheaper in Ohio and Indiana. With 500 miles between State College and Lucas Oil Stadium, it should cost a little less than $40 each way to drive a vehicle with average gas mileage. If you’re carpooling, the trip will cost each person about $20 if you split the total four ways.

If you’re stuck in State College with no car, some other bus services are also offering transportation to and from Indianapolis. Rally Bus will cost about $120 per person and will depart Saturday at 6 a.m. from Walmart on North Atherton Street.

This might be a convenient time for Penn State’s ride sharing services to finally take off. If we missed any options here, let us know in the comments.


The game itself is a night game — kickoff is scheduled for 8:17 p.m., so the game will probably end around 11:30 p.m. or so. If you drove to Indianapolis and tailgated all day, you probably shouldn’t drive back to State College right away, so you need to find somewhere to sleep.

Indianapolis is heralded as one of the best convention cities in the nation, so hotels are scattered through the city in no short supply. Depending on your price point, the closest hotels to the stadium may be too expensive. The cheaper options are mostly booked by now, so you might have to stay somewhere outside the city.

Airbnb is another convenient option besides traditional hotels, and can often be cheaper. Locations can range from a single room to an entire house, so you should be able to find something to fit the size of your group.

If all else fails, find someone else with a hotel reservation and an open spot on the floor. Or sleep in your car.


Luckily, tailgating is permitted at Lucas Oil Stadium, so that’s one weight lifted off our shoulders. The stadium provides a few guidelines on its website. You can read the full text of the guidelines below.

All parking is first come, first serve. Unfortunately, spots may not be be reserved in advance, so vehicles wishing to tailgate together should arrive at the same time since spots cannot be held for people arriving later. Parking spaces are reserved for vehicles only, so tailgating activities should be either in front of, or behind the parked vehicle without blocking the drive aisle. For safety reasons, all aisle ways must remain clear and allow enough room for the passage of a safety vehicle.

You can also park downtown near the stadium if you don’t want to tailgate in the parking lots — here’s a map to find a space. If you’re worried, you can try to reserve a spot using ParkWhiz.

Inside the Stadium

This might be the most important information you hear all week — Lucas Oil Stadium has a retractable roof. It’s December, so the stadium will likely be covered on Saturday (read: Leave your parka at home.) Consider this when picking our your game day outfit. We recommend light layers.

As for concessions, the stadium has 59 permanent stands and 90 portable carts. According to the stadium’s website, the food ranges from traditional hot dogs and fries to pork tenderloins and gyros. Unfortunately, the word on the street is they don’t accept LionCash.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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