Family Winter Staycation Ideas 

Looking for family winter getaway ideas? You don’t need to leave Indianapolis (or travel too far from it) to find lots of family fun. Although hopping on a plane and setting off to a far-away destination for the holidays is exciting, it’s often less expensive and more relaxing to stay close to home. A winter staycation might be the perfect idea to spend quality time with your family and explore your hometown.  

Related Article: 50 Things To Do This Winter in Indianapolis

Spend the Night in a Hotel 

Just because you’re spending the holidays at home doesn’t mean you need to spend them at home! There are lots of really cool hotels around Indianapolis that are perfect for a quick overnight stay.  

Stay in a real train at The Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station, which has unique Pullman Train Car rooms. These hotel rooms let you experience a night in one of the original train cars that used to steam in and out of Union Station in the 1920s. 

For a hotel experience that really caters to the littlest guests, check out the Omni Severin Hotel, also located in downtown Indy. Upon check-in, kids receive a backpack filled with fun items, such as an activity book with stickers, crayons, 2-in-1 card games, binoculars and a small tabletop game. Children also receive milk and cookies delivered to their room on the first night, and a full kids menu is available in the restaurant downstairs.  

If you’re looking for a place where you can stay, play and dine all in one spot, you need to check out Bottleworks Hotel, located in the Bottleworks District on Mass Ave. What used to be a Coca-Cola bottling plant is now a walkable hub to grab gourmet grub at The Garage food hall, play duckpin bowling at Pins Mechanical, or catch the latest flick at Living Room Theatres. 

Explore a Museum  

Indianapolis is the home to some of the best museums in the Midwest, and winter break is the perfect time to experience them. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis kicks off the holidays with Jolly Days, where you can play among a winter wonderland scene. Then, catch a showing of The Christmas Quest at the Lilly Theatre, located inside The Children’s Museum and free with paid admission.  

If you’re in the mood for a drive, check out the Muncie Children’s Museum, which is a short 70-minute trip from central Indy. Head west to visit the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, which is three floors and 26,000 square feet of science and technology fun for kids. South of Indy is where you will find kidscommons in Columbus, Indiana, a fun play space for kids that features a giant toilet bowl that you can climb into. 

Get Outside 

Bundle up and take a walk around the Canal downtown, and you’ll rediscover just how cool the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument is. From the monument’s Observatory, you can experience panoramic views of the city skyline; it’s free to experience and can be reached via elevator or a kid-friendly, 330-step climb. While you’re in the area, walk around White River State Park to check out the dozens of public art sculptures located throughout the park. And speaking of art, you should definitely visit Newfield’s Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, which is free to explore. It’s the place to see the famous Funky Bones sculpture, and a great spot to take a family selfie.  

This winter break, make plans to rest, relax and rediscover Indy with a staycation. You’ll be surprised by how many fun experiences there are hiding in plain sight that are not too far from home! 

Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe is the editor of Indy's Child and Southwest Ohio Parent magazines. She has a BA in Journalism from California State University Northridge, and has been involved in the print and digital publishing world for most of her life. Born and raised in Southern California, Nicole traded the city and sun for corn and creeks, and now lives in central Indiana with her husband, two sons and Collie. Her latest book for children, “All About Me! Art Journal” was published in 2022 by Walter Foster Jr. In her spare time, she likes traveling with her family, enjoying good food and drink, volunteering at her children’s schools and around her community, and practicing yoga.

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