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Friday, March 5, 2010
Updated: March 13, 10:25 PM ET
Madness March: A trip like no other

By Tony Guadagnoli
Special to ESPN SportsTravel

2010 Tournament Travel GuideGraphic by Eliot Krohn

Quick clicks: Mouse over the basketballs on the map above or click on the list of cities immediately below to get to the NCAA tournament host of choice.

First and second rounds: Buffalo | Jacksonville | Milwaukee | New Orleans | Oklahoma City | Providence | San Jose | Spokane

Regionals and finals: Syracuse | Salt Lake City | St. Louis | Houston | Indianapolis


• Photo gallery: Memories of the Madness | Passport: Log your game

March Madness is here, and the journey ends in Indianapolis. It's a perfect equation.

Indiana and basketball go together like cocker spaniels and long, floppy ears.

All pockets of the state clamor for basketball. From tiny hamlets to some of the biggest high school gyms (the state boasts nine of the nation's 10 largest), Hoosiers have a legendary passion for roundball. So it's no wonder the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame's motto is "In 49 states it's just basketball. … This is Indiana!"

As the NCAA men's basketball tournament descends upon Indianapolis, where will your team have to travel to get there?

More Madness

Can't get enough of tourney time? Flash back to the 2009 bracket in this photo tour.

Consult our Tournament Travel Guide below for details on each host city and hoops venue in the bracket, from where to buy tickets and maps of your seats to the best places to eat and drink to the top choices for nightlife, local entertainment and attractions.

Wherever your team winds up, a basketball lover's dream comes to Indianapolis over the next month. Downtown Indianapolis will host 37 games in 35 days, culminating with the men's NCAA championship game April 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium. They include the Indiana State high school finals, the Big Ten women's and men's tournaments, Indiana Pacers tilts and the Final Four.

The list of the state's local products reads like a who's who of basketball fame: John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Bob Knight, Larry Bird, George McGinnis, Greg Oden. Those are just a few of the greats to play in the state.

This will be the first Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium, which will host again in 2015. The NCAA, based in Indianapolis, will keep the city hosting Final Fours on a rotating basis through 2039! That's like buying a 30-year mortgage on the Final Four.

Hoosier hysteria, indeed.

Now get prepped for the trip through the tourney with our guide to all 13 host cities and arenas:


FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS -- MARCH 18 and 20

NEW ORLEANS
• Arena: New Orleans Arena
• Host: Tulane
• Address: 1501 Girod St., New Orleans, LA 70113
• Phone: 504-587-3822
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• Nightlife areas: Frenchmen Street, in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, is where some terrific restaurants and many of the finest music clubs are located, including Snug Harbor and d.b.a. New Orleans. To hear classic jazz, check out Fritzel's on Bourbon Street, Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta Hotel and the Davenport Lounge in the Ritz-Carlton. Another great area for nightlife is the Warehouse District, specifically Rock-n-Sake, Republic, The Red Eye and The Howlin' Wolf.
• Sports bars: Gordon Biersch (200 Poydras St., 504-552-2739) is within walking distance of the French Quarter and Convention Center. Lucy's (701 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-523-8995) is also great for spotting some of the city's professional athletes, who like to hang out there.
• Restaurants: According to the city's official visitors' bureau, there are more restaurants open in New Orleans than ever before in the city's history. Most are within walking distance of the French Quarter, downtown hotels, the Warehouse District and the Superdome. New Orleans is known for its exceptional chefs and cooking. Among the places to try are Herbsaint and Donald Link's Cochon, featuring handmade boudin, rabbit, sausages, pork and other family recipes. Chef John Besh has four restaurants downtown (Luke is a French/German bistro, Domenica for Italian, Restaurant August for a more upscale dinner and Besh Steakhouse in Harrah's Casino). In the French Quarter, try classics such as Antoine's, Arnaud's and Galatoire's. Emeril Lagasse spearheads his flagship Emeril's in the Warehouse District, NOLA in the French Quarter, and Emeril's Delmonico. Others to note include Muriel's Jackson Square, Tommy's Cuisine (in the Warehouse District) and Paul Prudhomme's K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen.
• Cheap eats: Mother's (401 Poydras St., 504-523-9656) -- in the heart of downtown, features great po-boys (try the debris, dripping with roast beef) and true New Orleans staples, including jambalaya, shrimp creole and etouffe. Also Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St., 504-525-4544) -- open 24 hours for beignets and cafe au lait.
• Attractions: National World War II Museum; the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Insectarium; the Audubon Zoo at Audubon Park; shopping in the French Quarter; riding the Steamboat Natchez paddle-wheeler; riding the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.


PROVIDENCE
• Arena: Dunkin' Donuts Center
• Host: Big East Conference/Providence
• Address: One La Salle Square, Providence, RI 02903
• Phone: 401-331-6700
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• Nightlife areas: Federal Hill is the city's Little Italy, dubbed by some "The Heartbeat of Providence," and is home to many great restaurants. It's about a 10-minute walk to the arena. Also try the Waterplace Restaurant and Lounge, Red Room, Fatty McGee's, STATE and The 201.
• Restaurants: Don Shula's (21 Atwells Ave., Providence; 401-709-0347) -- right next to the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Enjoy a multitude of HDTVs and great steak at the eatery owned by the NFL coaching legend. McFadden's (52 Pine St., Providence; 401-861-1782) -- TVs all over the place, often switched to different channels. McFadden's offers standard pub fare and Irish classics, and the tenders pour a nice pint of Guinness. Murphy's Deli & Bar (100 Fountain St., Providence; 401-621-8467) -- an Irish-style watering hole with colossal roast beef sandwiches and giant windows looking out at the arena. Blake's Tavern (122 Washington St., Providence; 401-274-1230) -- a favorite local haunt, this little bar is brimming with character. Beer is cheap and cold and the food pleasantly surprises. Steps from "the Dunk." Local 121 (121 Washington St., Providence; 401-274-2121) -- a gorgeous restoration project, this higher-end locally centric restaurant is in a former hotel circa 1920s. Luxe Burger Bar (Five Memorial Blvd., Providence; 401-621-5893) -- Countless "build your own" burger options, alcoholic milkshakes, Gorgonzola tater tots and more.
• Sports bars: Trinity Brewhouse (186 Fountain St., Providence; 401-453-2337) and Union Station Brewery (36 Exchange Terrace, Providence; 401-274-2739). Both are good in their own ways and are less than a two-minute walk to the arena. RiRa (50 Exchange Terrace, Providence; 401-272-1953) is another hot spot, with live music nightly.
• Cheap eats: Haven Brothers Diner (72 Spruce St., Providence; 401-861-7777) -- a quirky Providence thing. The Haven Bros. truck pulls up to City Hall every night at 5 and stays into the early-morning hours. It's a living tribute to Providence's legacy as the birthplace of the diner. Great greasy cheeseburgers, shakes, dogs and fries.
• Attractions: WaterFire; RISD Museum; Trinity Rep; Providence Performing Arts Center; Roger Williams Park; Twin River Casino in Lincoln.


SAN JOSE
• Arena: HP Pavilion
• Host: San Jose State
• Address: 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose CA 95113
• Phone: 408-287-7070
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• Nightlife areas: SoFA (South First Street between San Carlos and East Reed streets) -- visual arts take center stage in up-and-coming contemporary arts space on South First Downtown. O'Flaherty's Irish Pub (25 N. San Pedro, San Jose; 408-947-8007) -- located at San Pedro Square, with live Irish music. San Jose Improv (62 S. Second St., San Jose; 408-280-7475) -- great food along with great comedy. Fahrenheit Ultra Lounge (99 E. San Fernando St., San Jose; 408-998-9998) -- an upscale nightclub. Hedley Club (Hotel De Anza, 233 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose; 408-286-1000) -- enjoy a beverage or listen to some of the Bay Area's best live jazz. Santana Row (Stevens Creek Boulevard and Winchester, San Jose; 408-551-4600) -- this upscale retail, dining and residential development sports more than 30 places to eat, drink, or have coffee.
• Sports bars: San Jose Bar & Grill (85 S. Second St., San Jose; 408-286-2397). Britannia Arms Pub (173 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose; 408-278-1400) -- a cozy British pub inside and a beer garden outside.
• Restaurants: Paolo's (333 W. San Carlos St., San Jose; 408-294-2558) -- award-winning Italian cuisine in an intimate atmosphere. Billy Berk's (99 S. First St., San Jose; 408-292-4300). Original Joe's (301 S. First St., San Jose; 408-292-7030) -- recently remodeled Italian restaurant, bar and lunch counter, beloved especially for its steaks and veal. Scott's Seafood Grill & Bar (185 Park Ave. San Jose; 408-971-1700).
• Cheap eats: Peggy Sue's (185 Park Ave., San Jose; 408-294-0252) -- 1950s-style diner with budget-friendly options. Sonoma Chicken Coop (31 N. Market St.; 408-287-4098) -- this is one of five (and growing) locations for tasty rotisserie chicken.
• Attractions: Tech Museum of Innovation; Winchester Mystery House; San Jose Museum of Art.


OKLAHOMA CITY
• Arena: Ford Center
• Host: Big 12 Conference
• Address: 100 W. Reno Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73102
• Phone: 405-602-8700
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• Nightlife areas: Bricktown Entertainment District is near the Ford Center and where most of the closest restaurants, pubs and bars can be found. Among the places to try: America's Pub (115 E. Sheridan Ave., Oklahoma City; 405-605-5782); RedPin Restaurant & Bowling Lounge (200 S. Oklahoma; 405-702-8880); Sapphire Bar & Lounge (208 E. Sheridan Ave., Oklahoma City; 405-602-6800); Skyy Bar Ultra Lounge (Seven Mickey Mantle Drive, Oklahoma City; 405-272-9222); Tapwerks (121 E. Sheridan Ave., Oklahoma City; 405-219-9599); Wormy Dog Saloon (311 E. Sheridan Ave., Oklahoma City; 405-601-6276).
• Sports bars: Bricktown Brewery (One N. Oklahoma Ave., Oklahoma City; 405-232-2739). Coach's (20 Mickey Mantle Drive, Oklahoma City; 405-232-6224). Brix Restaurant & Sports Lounge (27 E. Sheridan Ave. Oklahoma City; 405-702-7226). Rooster's Chicken and Beer (115 E. Reno Ave., Oklahoma City; 405-235-4600).
• Restaurants: Crabtown (303 E. Sheridan, Oklahoma City; 405-232-7227) -- the crab boil is a favorite of many, dumped on butcher paper, so dig in. The Mantel Wine Bar & Bistro (201 E. Sheridan, Oklahoma City; 405-236-8040) -- according to the Web site, the restaurant "has been recognized by Cornell University as one of the country's best 'gourmet' restaurants." This place can be pricey, but many say it is worth it. Nonna's (One Mickey Mantle Drive, Oklahoma City; 405-235-4410) -- Specializes in Italian food; dessert is a must. Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse (Seven Mickey Mantle Drive, Oklahoma City; 405-272-0777) -- named after the Hall of Famer, it is across from the AT&T Brickyard Ballpark, filled with memorabilia of the Mickster and specializes in USDA prime steaks. Toby Keith's I love this bar & grill! (310 Johnny Bench Drive, Oklahoma City; 405-231-0254) -- owned by the country singer, serves huge portions.
• Cheap eats: Bricktown Burgers (300 E. Main St., Oklahoma City; 405-232-4373). Chelino's Mexican Restaurant (15 E. California, Oklahoma City; 405-235-3533).
• Attractions: Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum; Oklahoma City Museum of Art; American Banjo Museum.


FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS – MARCH 19 and 21

BUFFALO
• Arena: HSBC Arena
• Host: MAAC/Canisius/Niagara
• Address: One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14203
• Phone: 716-855-4100
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• Nightlife areas: Chippewa Entertainment District in downtown features Soho Bar (64 W. Chippewa St., Buffalo; 716-856-7646), Buckin Buffalo Saloon (294 Franklin St., Buffalo; 716-853-4401) and 67 West (67 W. Chippewa St., Buffalo; 716-842-0281).
• Sports bars: W.J. Morrissey's (30 Mississippi St., Buffalo; 716-852-0930) -- one block from HSBC Arena. Benchwarmers -- (30 Mississippi St., Buffalo; 716-856-3740) -- also a block from HSBC Arena. Pearl Street Grill & Brewery (76 Pearl St., Buffalo; 716-856-2337). Cobblestone Bar and Nightclub (130 S. Park Ave., Buffalo; 716-848-1930). Bada Bing Bar & Grill (115 W. Chippewa St., Buffalo; 716-853-2464).
• Restaurants: D'Arcy McGee's (257 Franklin St., Buffalo; 716-853-3600) -- traditional Irish pub that, according to its Web site, has a bar that "represents authentic Irish craftsmanship and was shipped directly from old world cabinet makers in Co. Wexford Ireland." Anchor Bar (1047 Main St., Buffalo; 716-884-4083) -- claiming to be the original home of the chicken wing, started in 1964 by Teressa Belissimo, Anchor Bar is a nostalgic establishment that proclaims it makes the "best wings in the world." Laughlin's (333 Franklin St., Buffalo; 716-842-6700) -- this little pub serves good-size portions and has signs on the outside that say "Welcome Canadian Friends." Chef's (291 Seneca St., Buffalo; 716-856-9187) -- opened in 1923, Chef's serves hearty Italian food and is famous for its spaghetti sauce. City Grill (268 Main St., Buffalo; 716-856-2651) -- within walking distance of HSBC Arena, City Grill is a comfortable spot that is a staple for the business lunch crowd.
• Cheap eats: Prima Pizza & Pasta (38 W. Chippewa St., Buffalo; 716-852-5555)
• Attractions: New Era headquarters and flagship store; Walden Galleria Mall; Buffalo Zoo; Buffalo Tours.

More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Buffalo


JACKSONVILLE
• Arena: Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
• Host: Jacksonville University
• Address: 300 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32202
• Phone: 904-630-3900
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• Nightlife areas: Bay Street Corridor (300 block of East Bay Street) -- located downtown, this area offers several bars within walking distance of one another. Check out The Dive Bar, The Ivy Ultra Bar, Mark's Downtown and Club TSI. Just a few blocks away are Lit and Dos Gatos, two new additions to the downtown bar scene, offering lounge atmospheres. The Jacksonville Landing (Two Independent Drive) -- also situated downtown, The Landing boasts a number of dining and nightlife options along the St. Johns River. Drink, dance and dine at the Twisted Martini, with upscale ambiance. Maverick's Rockin' Honky Tonk is a country western/crossover/Southern rock-theme bar, concert hall and dance venue. Jacksonville beaches -- Those interested in some history to go along with their drinks will appreciate Pete's Bar and Freebird Live, located at Jacksonville's beaches. Pete's Bar (117 First St., Neptune Beach; 904-249-9158) has the oldest liquor license in Duval County after Prohibition ended in 1933 and is decorated with historical photos and World War II memorabilia. Freebird Live (200 First St. North, Jacksonville Beach; 904-246-2473) pays homage to the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, which was formed in Jacksonville in 1964. The prominent live music venue features local, regional and national touring artists. The Comedy Zone (3130 Hartley Road, Jacksonville; 904-292-4242) in the Mandarin neighborhood, this club brings top comedic performers to Jacksonville.
• Sports bars: City Hall Pub (234 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville; 904-356-6750) -- located next to Veterans Memorial Arena, features 16 HDTVs and a 125-inch projection screen. The full-service bar is well-stocked with a wide variety of drafts, domestic and imported bottled brews and fine liquors. The kitchen is open until 2 a.m. and features shrimp, tilapia and more. Sneakers Sports Grille (111 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville; 904-482-1000) -- sports fans will enjoy this festive atmosphere, where waitresses dress as cheerleaders and the waiters don referee attire. Guests can enjoy burgers, chicken wings and more. Memorabilia is displayed everywhere. Don't miss the No. 4 Kodak race car mounted on the wall and an outside patio with TVs and an ocean view.
• Restaurants: River City Brewing Company (835 Museum Circle, Jacksonville; 904-398-2299) -- enjoy riverfront dining, hand-crafted beers and a spectacular view of the downtown Jacksonville skyline. The menu offers multiple dishes specializing in seafood, steaks, pasta and daily chef's creations. The facility's Brewhouse Lounge features live weekend entertainment and a view of the on-site microbrewery. Culhane's Irish Pub & Restaurant (967 Atlantic Blvd., Jacksonville; 904-249-9595) -- owned and operated by four sisters from County Limerick, Ireland, Culhane's emphasizes an authentic Irish experience, with Irish dancers making periodic appearances. Clark's Fish Camp Seafood Restaurant (12903 Hood Landing Road, Jacksonville; 904- 268-3474) -- a must-see, Clark's Fish Camp provides not only great cuisine, but a lot of entertainment. Located on a floating dock on Julington Creek, Clark's has one of the largest menus in town, with more than 160 appetizers and entrees, including the usual -- shrimp, catfish and oysters -- and the unusual -- ostrich, rattlesnake and kangaroo. There are hundreds of stuffed animals lining the walls, including lions and tigers and bears, oh my.
• Cheap eats: Cruisers Grill (319 23rd Ave. South, Jacksonville Beach; 904-270-0356) -- renowned for cheeseburgers, french fries, quesadillas, marinated chicken and thick milkshakes, this is the locals' spot for food and atmosphere. O'Brothers Irish Pub (1521 Margaret St., Jacksonville; 904-854-9300) -- located in the historic Five Points area just outside downtown, patrons take in traditional pub-style food and a pint of European or craft beer. Enjoy live music on the deck and the laid-back atmosphere.
• Attractions: Anheuser-Busch Brewery; Great Atlantic Seafood and Music Festival (Sea Walk Pavilion, Jacksonville Beach); World Golf Hall of Fame (St. Augustine); kayak tour at Kayak Amelia; Jacksonville Beach.

More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Jacksonville


MILWAUKEE
• Arena: Bradley Center
• Host: Marquette
• Address: 1001 N. Fourth St., Milwaukee, WI 53203
• Phone: 414-227-0400
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• Nightlife areas: North Avenue and Brady Street on the trendy East Side; Bay View; Water Street near downtown; and Historic Third Ward.
• Sports bars: Major Goolsby's (340 W. Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee; 414-271-3414) was a best of Milwaukee winner. Fanatics Sports Central (185 N. Jefferson St., Milwaukee; 414-220-8338) -- located in the Third Ward, Fanatics has 42 high-definition TVs and a huge 180-inch video wall with stadium-like seating. Hooligans (2017 E. North Ave., Milwaukee; 414-273-5230) -- this longtime Milwaukee staple attracts a variety of people and is a popular spot on the East Side. Big on chicken, seafood and burgers, including an ostrich burger. Hooligan's also serves a New Orleans muffuletta. Also, near Bradley Center, try Centercourt Pub & Grille; Buck Bradley's Saloon & Eatery and Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery.
• Restaurants: Carnevor (724 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee; 414-223-2200) -- partial to traditional steaks, this is the place you may be most likely to see Milwaukee's pro athletes dine. Butch's Old Casino Steak House (555 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee; 414-271-8111) -- yes, there are a few antique slot machines in this place, which is considered by many the best steakhouse in Milwaukee. Elsa's on the Park (833 N. Jefferson St. Milwaukee; 414-765-0615) -- pork chop sandwiches and big sirloin burgers are winning items at Elsa's, located near Cathedral Park.
• Cheap eats: The trick is finding The Safe House (779 N. Front St., Milwaukee; 414-271-2007). This establishment is in a building marked "International Exports Ltd." and a password is required to get in. Don't worry, though; you can ask someone for the password or perform a goofy trick until they let you in. There is more fun once you enter, including some secrets in the bathrooms.
• Attractions: The Harley-Davidson Museum; Milwaukee Public Museum; Milwaukee Art Museum; Kopp's Frozen Custard (several locations); Potawatomi Bingo Casino.

More in the ESPN SportsTravel City Guide: Milwaukee


SPOKANE
• Arena: Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena
• Host: Washington State
• Address: 720 W. Mallon Ave., Spokane, WA 99201
• Phone: 509-279-7000
• Web site | Seating chart | Buy tickets
• Nightlife areas: Downtown Spokane, with many spots on Sprague Avenue and Post Street. The other main spot for entertainment is the Northern Quest Resort & Casino, 10 miles west of Spokane off U.S. 2 and minutes north of Spokane International Airport. The Q at Northern Quest offers a TV in every booth and is the broadcast center for a local TV affiliate. Also check out Legends of Fire cigar lounge above the Q.
• Sports bars: Jack & Dan's Bar & Grill (1226 N. Hamilton St., Spokane; 509-487-6546) -- this bar once was owned by John Stockton's father. It is just across the street from Gonzaga University. Bistango Martini Lounge (108 N. Post St., Spokane; (509) 624-8464) -- martinis it is, as Bistango features just about every variety, including a special house mix of 100-year-old Grand Marnier liqueur and Hennessy cognac for $30. Steam Plant Grill (159 S. Lincoln St., Spokane; 509-777-3900) -- yes, this place is located in a renovated 1914 steam plant and has won national awards for its preservation. Wines and hand-crafted beers are made on the premises.
• Restaurants: Clinkerdagger (621 W. Mallon Ave.; 509-328-5965) -- a Spokane institution located near Veterans Memorial Arena and next to Spokane Falls, serves fine seafood and prime rib. Anthony's at Spokane Falls (510 N. Lincoln St., Spokane; 509-328-9009) -- offers waterfront views and some of the best fresh seafood in Spokane. Anthony's also serves local farmers' produce. Catacombs Pub (110 S. Monroe St., Spokane; 509-838-4610) -- this place is in the basement of the Montvale Hotel and offers Central European cuisine.
• Cheap eats: Dick's Hamburgers (10 E. Third Ave., Spokane; 509-747-2481) -- Spokane's first fast-food restaurant opened in downtown in 1964. The motto "Buy 'em by the bagful" still holds today, as do the Whammy and Double Whammy, which were on the original menu. Satellite Diner (425 W. Sprague Ave., Spokane; 509-624-3952) -- the best dive in town.
• Attractions: Davenport Hotel and Tower; Dry Fly Distilling; Knitting Factory concert house; Northern Quest Resort & Casino; Fast Kart Indoor Speedway.

Tony Guadagnoli is a freelance writer in western Washington.

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