How To Celebrate The Return Of Stranger Things

An arrangement of Macarons
“Stranger Things” Macarons by The Gallery Pastry Shop

Courtesy Visit Indy

In the town of Hawkins, Indiana, nothing eventful ever happened until the night in 1983 when Will Byers disappeared. That same night, Eleven, a young girl raised in an experimental lab, broke out of her prison and fled from her captors. Her escape opened a gate into a horrific world, the Upside Down, and unleashed an unknown evil onto this small town. Since then, a ragtag group of kids and adults have been battling alien-like creatures after school in a fight to find Will and save Eleven. With a new season premiering on July 4, will their efforts be enough to keep Hawkins safe?

Note: Minor spoilers ahead. If you have yet to see an episode of Stranger Things, proceed with caution.

The Players:

  • Eleven: Raised by scientists, Eleven was part of a human experimentation program that granted her extraordinary powers. When she escaped into the real world, she encountered several startling phenomena, such as “friends” and “Eggos.”
  • The Party: Group name of the main cast of characters, which includes Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Dustin Henderson, and Lucas Sinclair. The group can often be found frequenting the arcade or engaging in intense Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.
  • Steve: Typical high school hotshot, but he’s always ready to help those in need. After Mike’s sister, Nancy, dumps him in Season 2, Steve becomes the perennial guardian (read: babysitter) of the Hawkins Middle School gang, bonding with them through several dangerous, ’80s-hair-raising encounters.
  • Nancy and Barb: Nancy Wheeler and Barb Holland were best friends—Nancy being the sweet, book-smart girl who begins a fling with hotshot Steve, and Barb being the wise voice of reason. The two balanced each other out, until Nancy ignored Barb’s warning and left with Steve, leaving Barb alone to be taken by a Demogorgon. Nancy refused to give up her search for Barb, trying to find justice for her best friend, and in Season 2 she works with Jonathan Byers to expose Hawkins National Laboratory in Barb’s honor.
  • MadMax: Max Mayfield just moved to Hawkins at the beginning of Season 2. After initial reluctance, the Party eventually accepted Max into their fold, introducing her to the dangers lurking in Hawkins and using her help to defeat the evils creeping in from the Upside Down.
  • Chief Hopper: Jim Hopper, the local police chief of Hawkins, dedicates himself to finding and rooting out the creatures terrorizing his town, starting with the Demogorgon in Season 1 and ending with the Mind Flayer in Season 2. He develops a close bond with Eleven, eventually adopting her as his daughter.
  • Joyce: Joyce Byers is the mother of Will and Jonathan Byers. When Will goes missing in Season 1, she does everything in her power to get him back, no matter how crazy the rest of the town thinks she is.
A group of teenagers dressed in 80s garb.
Eleven and the Party

Eleven’s Eggos and Other Tasty Treats

Stranger Things Burger
Burger Study
(28 W. Georgia St., 317-777-7770)
If you ask Eleven, everything tastes better with Eggos. And Burger Study clearly agrees, as they slap two thinly-pressed beef patties between two waffles for their featured Stranger Things Burger. Slathered in peanut butter and specialty blueberry-jam glaze, this burger is bursting with sticky goodness. 11/10 would recommend.

Fried Chicken and Waffles
Conner’s Kitchen + Bar
(350 W. Maryland St., 317-405-6100)
Punch Bowl Social
(120 S. Meridian St., 317-249-8613)
Eleven would approve of Punch Bowl Social’s waffle special. Coated in butter and maple syrup, this traditional crispy waffle puts up a good fight against Eggo Waffles. If you’re looking for something a little more jazzed-up, check out Conner’s Kitchen + Bar. Ordering the fried chicken and waffles during their weekend brunch times will help you channel the Southern roots of the Stranger Things filming location.

Stranger Things Macarons
The Gallery Pastry Shop
(1101 E 54th St. Suite G., 317-820-5526)
Stranger Things may take place in Indiana, but that’s no reason not to enjoy it like the French. Gallery Pastry Shop has a variety of buttercream macarons decorated with 11s, waffles, and the title logo. When she’s not scarfing down Eggos, Eleven is sure to be savoring these divine delicacies from the comfort of her and Hopper’s cabin.

The Strangest Things Since Poutine and Upside Down Cocktail
Spoke & Steele
(123 S. Illinois St., 317-737-1616)
The only thing stranger than encountering a demogorgon is walking into Spoke & Steele and seeing their poutine. Heaped with waffle fries, cheese curds, meatloaf, and a sweet-and-spicy cola gravy, you’ll wonder why Eleven chose Eggo Waffles over waffle fries. If that’s not strange enough, journey into the Upside Down with Spoke & Steele’s color-changing cocktail. This crazy concoction shakes up Hotel Tango rum, cinnamon syrup, lime juice, pineapple juice, and coconut cream, while butterfly pea-flour ice floats to the top as it’s served. Every taste is a tempting reminder that Season 3 is right around the corner.

Downtown Indy Inc.’s Food Truck Fridays/Georgia Street Activation
(250 W. Georgia St.)
If you’re ready to put your Stranger Things knowledge to the test, grab lunch in downtown Indy at Food Truck Friday and answer trivia questions about Eleven and your other favorite characters. You can even listen to the show’s theme song as you chow down on these local favorites.

A group of teenagers dressed in 80s garb.
Eleven and the Party

Dungeons & Dragons with the Party

Downtown Comics
(11 E. Market St., 317-237-0397)
In the spirit of Stranger Things Season 3, join the Party in a competitive game of Dungeons & Dragons! Impress the boys by showing off your skills on a Stranger Things D&D set, or learn the game by purchasing the beginner version. Either way, you’ll be destroying the demogorgons in no time.

Collectors Paradise
(5618 E. Washington St., 317-357-2291)
Looking for more ways to immerse yourself into Hawkins, Indiana? Head over to Collectors Paradise for Stranger Things comics. These will help you relive the Upside Down just in time for the new season.

Hero House Comics
(1112 E. Prospect St., 317-636-7990)
Hero House Comics is a one-stop spot for all your Stranger Things party necessities. Decorate the room with Pop Funko characters and comic books (all Stranger Things!) and bring the fun with Monopoly Stranger Things. At this party, no one will be searching for demogorgons alone.

Gnarly Bars: Let Steve Watch the Kids for a While

Black Circle Brewing Co.
(2201 E. 46th St, 317-426-0143)
Get ready to party hardy at Black Circle Brewing Company’s Stranger Things Season 3 Pre-Party! Rewatch the entire second season on the big screen as you guzzle craft beers made in Black Circle’s own microbrewery. And if you have Steve watching your kids past 10 p.m., you’ll even get to see Dead Ed’s wicked DJ set (don’t worry, he’s not from the Upside Down… we think).

Friends Don’t Lie Cocktail
Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery
(702 Virginia Ave., 317-653-1806)
We promise that your friends won’t be lying after enjoying this delicious cocktail at Hotel Tango. You’ll be feeling more relaxed than Hopper with his coffee and contemplation (especially knowing that Steve is watching the kids), and the only concern you’ll have is that the Fruity Pebble trimming might start flickering like Joyce’s Christmas lights.

Leggo my Eggo Cocktail
Rye Bar
(350 W. Maryland St., 317-822-3500)
To keep the waffle theme going all the way into the evening, try the Leggo My Eggo Cocktail at Rye Bar. It features West Fork The Colonel bourbon, ancho reyes chili liqueur, maple syrup, angostura bitters, and orange swath. It’s a sophisticated twist on the classic breakfast food, but be sure to let Steve know that it’s not kid-friendly.

Two girls sit on a bus while eating ice cream cones.
Eleven and MadMax

Totally Tubular Arcade Bars with MadMax

Tappers Arcade Bar
(501 Virginia Ave, Suite 102, 317-602-6411)
Grab a craft beer or cocktail and challenge the reigning champ at Tappers Arcade Bar, the first retro arcade bar in the city. Featuring Stranger Things favorites like Dragon’s Lair II and PacMan, this blast from the past brings out the little kid inside you just begging to beat the high score—if MadMax doesn’t top it first.

16-Bit Arcade Bar
(110 E. New York St., 317-939-6916)
No need to raid your sister’s piggy bank for quarters (sorry, Nancy), because at 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, as long as you buy drinks, you play for free. Sample an old-school or New Wave cocktail as you battle aliens in Galaga or tunnel underground in Dig Dug. And when you surrender your high score to MadMax, feel free to drown your sorrows in the Game Over cocktail.

Fresh Threads with Nancy and Barb

Silver in the City
(434 Massachusetts Ave., 317-955-9925)
Check out the local hotspot Silver in the City if you want to rep Hawkins Middle School. Their Hawkins AV Club shirt will let you fit right in among the Hawkins crew. To step up your game, look for their Stranger Things poster. And don’t forget to snap a picture of your looks with their Stranger Things Polaroid film.

(869 Massachusetts Ave., 317-351-0280)
To match Nancy and Barb, be sure to check out Homespun’s selection of Stranger Things–themed patches and enamel pins. Eighties-inspired with a bit of fun, these additions will make Barb proud.  

Escape Hawkins Lab with Chief Hopper

The Escape Room Indianapolis
(200 S. Meridian St, 317-986-6542)
Channel your inner detective (or small-town police chief) as you race the clock in The Escape Room Indianapolis’s Contagion room. Set in a 1980s top-secret biological weapons lab, this escape room is reminiscent of the Stranger Things’ gang’s harrowing escape from Hawkins Lab at the end of Season 2. In preparation for Season 3, grab seven of your friends and hurry to find the exit—or the Demodogs might get you first.

Escape The Room Indianapolis
(525 Massachusetts Ave., 317-960-4801)
Escape The Room Indianapolis offers you the chance to go back in time to a classic ’80s-style Rec Room—but stay too long, and you’ll be stuck in the ’80s forever. While you soak in the nostalgia, take notes from Chief Hopper so you and your friends can find your way back to the present—just in time for the Season 3 premiere.

A Needed Vacation with Joyce

Upside Down Hotel Package
Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Hotel
(350 W. Maryland St, 317-822-3500)
Joyce wouldn’t want you to visit the Upside Down, but she definitely wouldn’t want you to miss the Upside Down Hotel Package at Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Hotel. Thanks to Visit Indy, the package includes Netflix to binge all of Season 3, the official Stranger Things card game by Hasbro, string lights, a bed throw, and a Stranger Things mug. We know we could all use a vacation (but Joyce more than anyone).

Work in Progress (w/ Gaten Matarazzo)
Hoosier Dome
(1627 Prospect St.)
Think Seroletto is the only band who can rock at Hoosier Dome? Think again. Gaten Matarazzo (AKA Dustin) and his band, Work in Progress, will be jamming out at the Hoosier Dome on August 12. Headbang along with the other fans as this seven-piece band makes a stop in Indianapolis for its two-month-long tour. Surely Joyce wouldn’t miss her son’s best friend’s concert for the world—not even for the end of it.