The Ultimate Guide to Cooler Sizes for Indianapolis Motor Speedway

If you’re planning to attend the Indianapolis 500, you already know that bringing a cooler is a must. But, do you know what size cooler you can bring to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Understanding IMS cooler size restrictions is essential to ensure you don’t get turned away at the gate.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about cooler sizes for Indianapolis Motor Speedway. From small coolers that are perfect for solo visitors or couples to large coolers that are ideal for groups, we’ve got you covered. Plus, we’ll share some tips for packing your cooler and staying cool during the race.

So, before you head to the Indy 500, read on to learn more about the ultimate guide to cooler sizes for Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ready to make sure you have the perfect cooler for your Indy 500 experience? Let’s get started.

Why bringing a cooler is a must for your Indy 500 experience

Attending the Indianapolis 500 is an incredible experience that you’ll never forget. From the roar of the engines to the excitement of the crowd, there’s nothing quite like race day. And while there’s plenty of food and drink available at the track, bringing a cooler is a must for a few reasons.

First and foremost, bringing your own cooler allows you to have control over what you eat and drink. You can pack your favorite snacks and drinks, ensuring that you’ll have everything you need to stay fueled throughout the day. Plus, bringing your own cooler can save you money in the long run, as prices for food and drink at the track can be steep.

Stay hydrated with your own drinks

With the sun beating down and temperatures soaring, staying hydrated is essential at the Indy 500. By bringing your own drinks, you can ensure that you have access to plenty of fluids throughout the day. Be sure to pack plenty of water, sports drinks, and other beverages that will keep you cool and refreshed. And if you plan on drinking alcohol, be sure to pack responsibly and always drink in moderation.

Pack your favorite snacks

  • When it comes to packing snacks for the Indy 500, it’s all about portability and ease of eating. Some great options include:
    • Jerky – a great source of protein that’s easy to eat on the go.
    • Trail mix – a tasty and filling snack that won’t take up too much space in your cooler.
    • Fruit cups – a refreshing and healthy option that’s easy to pack.
  • Be sure to also pack plenty of napkins, utensils, and plates so that you’re prepared for any snack or meal.

Keep your cooler cool

While it’s essential to pack your cooler with all your favorite food and drinks, it’s also important to keep it cool throughout the day. Make sure you have plenty of ice to keep your food and drinks at a safe temperature. And if you’re concerned about your cooler staying cold, consider investing in a high-quality cooler that’s designed to keep ice for hours or even days.

By bringing a cooler to the Indy 500, you can ensure that you have everything you need to have an unforgettable experience. From your favorite snacks and drinks to keeping your cooler cool throughout the day, you’ll be prepared for whatever race day brings. So pack your cooler, grab your tickets, and get ready for the ultimate Indy 500 experience!

Understanding IMS Cooler Size Restrictions

If you’re planning to attend the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s important to understand the cooler size restrictions in place. Cooler sizes are restricted to ensure everyone has enough space to move around comfortably and safely.

IMS enforces cooler size restrictions in order to avoid overcrowding, reduce the risk of accidents, and ensure that all attendees have a great experience. Understanding these restrictions before arriving at the event can help you avoid any potential issues with your cooler.

What are the Cooler Size Restrictions at IMS?

The cooler size restrictions at IMS depend on where you plan to sit. For general admission areas, coolers must be 18 inches or smaller in any dimension. For reserved seating areas, coolers must be 14 inches or smaller in any dimension.

What Can You Bring in Your Cooler?

  • Food items – sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, etc.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles or cans (maximum size of 20 oz)
  • One cooler per person
  • Small bags of ice to keep your items cool

What Can’t You Bring in Your Cooler?

  • Glass containers
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Cooking equipment (such as grills)
  • Illegal substances

Now that you understand IMS cooler size restrictions, you can plan accordingly and make the most of your Indy 500 experience. Remember to bring a cooler that meets the requirements and fill it with your favorite snacks and drinks.

Small coolers: perfect for solo visitors or couples

If you’re planning to attend the Indy 500 by yourself or with a partner, a small cooler might be the perfect choice for you. Small coolers are more compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry around the venue. They can also be more affordable and easier to store when not in use.

However, it’s important to note that smaller coolers come with size restrictions. Understanding these restrictions can help you avoid any issues at the entrance gates.

Size restrictions for small coolers

  • Small coolers must be no larger than 14 inches in any dimension.
  • They must be able to fit under your seat or in front of you without obstructing any walkways.

Benefits of small coolers

  • Easy to carry around, even for long periods of time
  • Less expensive than larger coolers
  • Easier to store when not in use

What to pack in a small cooler

If you’re packing for a solo trip or a couple’s outing, you’ll want to pack accordingly. Here are some ideas:

  • Water bottles: Stay hydrated during the race with a few bottles of water.
  • Snacks: Bring some small snacks like granola bars or trail mix to keep your energy levels up.
  • Sandwiches or wraps: A couple of pre-made sandwiches or wraps are a great option for a quick and easy meal.

Overall, if you’re planning to attend the Indy 500 alone or with one other person, a small cooler can be the perfect choice for your needs. Just be sure to understand the size restrictions and pack accordingly to make the most of your experience.

Medium coolers: the ideal size for small groups

If you’re planning a camping trip with a few friends or family members, a medium cooler is the perfect size to store all of your food and drinks. With a capacity of 30-60 quarts, medium coolers are designed to hold enough food and drinks for a small group, but not so much that it becomes unwieldy to transport.

When selecting a medium cooler, consider factors like durability, insulation, and portability. Look for models that are made with high-quality materials, have thick insulation, and are easy to carry. Additionally, some medium coolers come with features like wheels or built-in bottle openers, which can make your camping experience more convenient and enjoyable.

Insulation is key

The key to keeping your food and drinks fresh for days is proper insulation. When shopping for a medium cooler, look for models with at least two inches of thick insulation to keep your food and drinks cold for longer. Consider purchasing a model with additional features like locking mechanisms, reinforced corners, and airtight gaskets to ensure optimal insulation.

Portability is essential

When selecting a medium cooler, portability should be a top consideration. Choose a model that has comfortable handles or straps for easy transport, as well as a size that can easily fit in your vehicle. Some models even come with wheels or backpack straps, which can make it easier to carry your cooler over longer distances.

Features to look for

  • Wheels: If you plan on transporting your cooler over longer distances, look for a model with built-in wheels for added convenience.
  • Built-in bottle opener: A built-in bottle opener can be a useful feature, especially if you plan on bringing bottled drinks.
  • Locking mechanism: A locking mechanism can help keep your food and drinks secure and prevent animals from accessing your cooler.

Overall, medium coolers are the perfect size for small groups and offer a balance of storage capacity and portability. By selecting a model with proper insulation, comfortable handles, and additional features like wheels or a built-in bottle opener, you can ensure that your camping trip is a success.

Large coolers: for those who want to bring everything and the kitchen sink

If you’re planning a camping trip, a long weekend at the beach, or a tailgating party, a large cooler is essential. These coolers are designed to hold a large quantity of food and drinks, making them perfect for those who want to bring everything and the kitchen sink. However, it’s important to keep in mind that large coolers can be heavy and cumbersome, so they’re not ideal for those who want to travel light.

When choosing a large cooler, consider the size and weight of the cooler, as well as its capacity and durability. Look for features like reinforced handles, sturdy construction, and extra insulation to ensure that your cooler can stand up to the rigors of outdoor adventures.


The capacity of a large cooler is one of the most important factors to consider when making your purchase. The size of the cooler you need will depend on how many people you’re traveling with and how long you’ll be gone. Look for coolers with a capacity of at least 50 quarts or more to ensure that you have enough space for all your food and drinks.


A large cooler needs to be built to withstand the wear and tear of outdoor adventures. Look for coolers made from high-quality materials, such as rotomolded plastic, which can withstand impacts and extreme temperatures. Reinforced handles, hinges, and latches are also essential for ensuring that your cooler can withstand the rigors of outdoor use.


While large coolers are designed to hold a lot of food and drinks, they can also be heavy and cumbersome. Look for coolers with features like built-in wheels and telescoping handles to make it easier to transport your cooler from place to place. If you’re planning to hike or camp, consider a cooler with backpack straps or a removable shoulder strap for hands-free carrying.

Cooler alternatives: what to do if your cooler is too big

So you have a big cooler but only need to bring a few items for your trip. Don’t worry, there are plenty of alternatives to carrying around a bulky cooler that takes up unnecessary space. Here are a few options to consider:

Soft-sided coolers: These are lightweight and easy to store, making them a great option for short trips or picnics. They come in a variety of sizes and are typically less expensive than hard-sided coolers. Plus, they can be collapsed and stored in a small space when not in use.

Cooler bags: These are similar to soft-sided coolers but are designed to look like a tote bag or backpack. They’re perfect for carrying a small amount of items and can be easily transported on foot or bike. Cooler bags often have additional pockets for storing other essentials like utensils or napkins.

When to use alternative coolers:

  • For short trips
  • When you only need to bring a few items
  • When space is limited

What to consider when choosing an alternative cooler:

  • The size of the cooler
  • The type of trip you’ll be taking
  • The amount of items you need to bring
  • The mode of transportation you’ll be using

Overall, it’s important to choose a cooler that fits your specific needs. If you’re only bringing a few items, it might be best to opt for a smaller cooler or alternative option. Consider the length of your trip, how much space you have available, and how you’ll be transporting your items. With these factors in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect cooler or cooler alternative for your needs.

Tips for packing your cooler and staying cool at the race

When you’re headed to the racetrack, packing a cooler with refreshing drinks, snacks, and meals is a must. But, packing your cooler properly is equally important. Follow these tips to make sure your cooler is packed efficiently and keeps your food and drinks cool throughout the day.

Firstly, make sure your cooler is pre-chilled before you pack it. Next, use ice packs instead of ice cubes to avoid melting and soggy food. Additionally, pack your items in the right order: start with the heaviest items at the bottom and build upwards. Finally, keep your cooler in a shaded area and out of direct sunlight to maintain a cool temperature.

What to Pack

  • Plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Sports drinks to replenish electrolytes
  • Healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, and protein bars

What to Avoid

Avoid packing items that require a lot of space, like large watermelons, and items that can easily spoil, like mayonnaise-based salads. Also, avoid packing glass containers, which can break and cause a mess.

Staying Cool at the Race

  • Dress appropriately for the weather, wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun
  • Bring a portable fan or a misting bottle to keep yourself cool

Following these tips will ensure that you have a well-packed cooler and stay cool and comfortable during your race day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What size coolers can I take to Indianapolis Motor Speedway?

You are allowed to bring a cooler that is no larger than 18x14x14 inches in size.

Q: Can I bring a soft-sided cooler to the track?

Yes, you can bring a soft-sided cooler as long as it fits within the size limit of 18x14x14 inches.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the type of cooler I can bring to the track?

The only restriction is on the size of the cooler. Otherwise, you can bring any type of cooler, including hard-sided and soft-sided coolers.

Q: Can I bring alcohol in my cooler to the track?

No, outside alcohol is not permitted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Any coolers containing alcohol will not be allowed into the track.

Q: Are there any items that are not allowed in coolers at the track?

Yes, glass containers and grills are not allowed in coolers at the track. Additionally, any illegal substances are strictly prohibited.

Q: Can I rent a locker to store my cooler at the track?

No, lockers are not available for rental at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, there are several locations outside the track where you can store your cooler for a fee.

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