The holiday season is nearly upon us – a time when expenses can add up quickly. We are here to help with a list of 35 Free Things to Do this Holiday Season. From pictures with Santa to tree lighting ceremonies, free museum admission days to holiday workshops, you’ll find something for everyone.
1. Get in the holiday spirit with a classic Christmas tale on Nov. 11 when the Central Library hosts The Nutcracker: Short & Suite. Children of all ages are invited to join in a mini-ballet lesson after the performance by members of the Indianapolis School of Ballet.
2. Kick off the holiday season during Holiday at Center Green on Nov. 18 at Center Green in Carmel. Visit with Santa, see live reindeer and watch the annual holiday lighting ceremony.
3. Experience the Old World charm of Christmas in Germany during Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt, Nov. 18-Dec. 24
4. Drive through the always-impressive Reynolds Farm Equipment Light Display in Fishers beginning Nov. 21
5. Gather on Monument Circle on Nov. 24 to celebrate the lighting of 4,784 lights strung from the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument during the Circle of Lights.
6. Drop a letter to Santa in the mailbox at Fishers City Hall daily, Nov. 13-Dec. 11
7. Or head downtown and drop your letter off at the Santa’s Mailbox on the Circle.
8. Earn a free ticket to select performances of IRT’s “A Christmas Carol” with a toy or food donation on Nov. 17.
9. Learn the art of creating a holiday table at a free Holiday Tablescape Design & Entertaining workshop on Nov. 21 at the Indiana Design Center. Get details and find out how to RSVP here.
10. Take a break from the holiday hustle with a night of Minecraft or your favorite board game during Family Game Night at Fountain Square, Nov. 21 and Dec.
11. Take part in Noblesville’s annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Nov. 24. Families will enjoy special holiday music, a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” by Mayor John Ditslear, and of course, the lighting of the beautiful downtown lights and Christmas tree. No need to bundle up too tightly – the ceremony will take place inside the Hamilton County Judicial Center, with the tree lighting on the courthouse square.
12. Return to Noblesvilleon Nov. 25 to view Holiday Ice Sculptures along Noblesville’s Main Street.
13. Enjoy free performances by community choirs, bands, ensembles and soloists in the Grand Hall of the Indiana State Museum from Nov. 27 – Dec. 17
14. Celebrate the magic of the season during Fishers’ Winter Wonderland on Nov. 30 on the Central Green in Fishers. Enjoy live music, free kids’ activities, a petting zoo and be sure to stay for the annual tree lighting.
15. Enjoy free admission to the Indiana Historical Society Festival of Trees during their annual Author Fair on Dec. 2.
16. Ride the festive Carmel Holiday Trolley as you shop unique, local boutiques and galleries in our Arts & Design District, select days beginning Dec. 2.
17. While you are there, enjoy Holiday in the Arts District complete with elves, reindeer, carolers from local choirs and a Santa’s arrival by fire truck!
18. Head to BROAD RIPPLE Lights Up! on Dec. 3 to enjoy kids activities, live entertainment and Indianapolis’ only twilight parade.
19. Enjoy activities for the whole family include, including Pictures with Santa and Frosty the Snowman, gingerbread house display, live reindeer petting and show, live musical entertainment and the annual tree lighting during Westfield in Lights, Dec. 2 from 3-7 pm.
20. Get your picture taken with Santa for Free on Dec. 6 and 7 at Fishers City Hall.
22. Gather some holiday gift ideas and browse unique exhibits in each of the Carmel Arts and Design District galleries while you enjoy live entertainment, culture and shopping during the Second Saturday Gallery Walk on Dec. 9
23. Volunteer as a family for a local organization.
24. Create a Holiday Card Craft at Eagle Branch library on Dec. 19
25. Take a short day trip to Metamora, IN for the Metamora Christmas Walk. Take a horse and carriage ride through town. Shop in the many unique shops. Warm up next to fire barrels located around town. The Metamora Christmas Walk takes place each weekend between Nov. 25 and Dec. 17.
26. Enjoy the Mistletoe Music Festival- November 28-30, December 5-7, December 12-14 at the Artsgarden in downtown Indy, featuring performing arts groups from local schools.
27. Take part in Special Family Holiday STEM Exploration at the Carmel Clay Public Library on Dec. 4.
28. Head downtown to Georgia Street on Dec. 15 for the 6th annual Christkindl Village. The festival includes a canopy of lights, live animal Nativity, kids’ and teen activities, photos with St. Nick, and much more!
29. Take in several free concerts at the Artsgarden on Dec. 16, including: Noteworthy (11:30 am-12:30 pm); Tinsel Trumpets (1-2 pm); and Athenaeum Pops Orchestra (2:30 pm-3:30 pm)
30. Be amazed by the Festival of Trees in Historic Madison! One of the nation’s largest and most stunning holiday display is open 11am to 5pm throughout the holiday season in Madison Indiana. Enjoy free admission to this magic forest of shimmer and shine, glimmer and gold.
31. Browse one of the area Winter Farmers Markets and get inspiration for your holiday table.
32. Or take a peek at new and like-new books, ornaments, toys and seasonal décor at the annual Holiday Shoppe fundraiser located at the Brownsburg Public Library Shop book store.
33. Tromp through the snow (fingers crossed) at Flat Fork Creek Park in Fishers and then climb the treehouses to see if you can get a better view of Santa!
34. Celebrate Christmas Eve at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for free admission.
35. Ring in the New Year on Georgia Street during an all ages New Years Eve Party. And while you’re there don’t forget to take a ride down the Downtown INDY NYE Alpine Slide.