The holiday season is nearly upon us – a time when expenses can add up quickly. But don’t worry! We’re here to help with our list of free things to do in Indy this holiday season. From pictures with Santa to tree lighting ceremonies, free museum admission days to holiday workshops, we’ve got something for everyone.
Free Things to Do in Indy this Holiday Season:
November 10 | Central Library’s Clowes Auditorium
Families and individuals of all ages are invited get in the holiday spirit with a free community preview of popular scenes from “The Nutcracker,” performed by the Indianapolis School of Ballet. Children are invited to come ready to dance and take part in a mini-ballet lesson after the performance.
November 23 | On the Lawn of the Palladium
Holiday at Center Green (formally known as Holiday on the Square) is the perfect kickoff to the season, with the holiday lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, live reindeer and other animals to pet, holiday entertainment and children’s activities.
November 16 – December 24 | 10 Center Green, Carmel, IN
The Carmel Christkindlmarkt features a delightful blend of holiday food, drinks, gifts, decorations and special performances. With exciting additions such as the lifesize Gluhwein Pyramid and almost double the vendors, this year promises to bring new holiday for your entire family. Entrance is free!
November 29 | Monument Circle
For 57 years, thousands of spectators have gathered Downtown at Monument Circle to see the most spectacular holiday display illuminate. Central Indiana’s most beloved tradition is here again and even better. The Downtown Indy, Inc. Circle of Lights® presented by IBEW 481 will take place the day after Thanksgiving, on November 29. And Monument Circle will look much different this year thanks to the $7.6 million Shining a Light on Indianapolis initiative made possible by the Lilly Endowment. Don’t miss it!
Send a letter to Santa!
All over Indy, you can find mailboxes that deliver letters straight to the North Pole. You might even get a reply back from Santa himself! *More location information coming soon.
November 30 | Main Street Zionsville
This family friendly parade begins at 5:00 pm featuring the Zionsville High School Marching Band, reindeer, and of course, Santa. Join us as Santa arrives to Zionsville in style! This years parade theme is Jingle Bells. The parade begins at Eagle Elementary, and ends at Old National Bank at approximately 5:30 pm. The parade will feature a variety of groups, including characters like Elsa and Anna from Frozen. Santa will then light the tree for the Christmas season on the corner of Pine and Main Streets in Zionsville! Stay on Main Street for horse-drawn wagon rides, live entertainers on stage, S’mores, photos with Santa. Get your Christmas shopping started on the right foot by visiting our wonderful Zionsville merchants. See you there!
December 7 | Nickel Plate District AMP
Kick off the most wonderful time of the year with Winter Wonderland! Don’t miss this free event including ice carving demonstrations, carriage rides around the Municipal Complex, the annual tree lighting and holiday light display, a visit from Santa, kids’ activities, and more holly jolly fun.
December 7 | Downtown Westfield
Join us for a fun holiday celebration downtown! FREE activities for the whole family include pictures with Santa, train rides, pictures with Frosty the Snowman, a gingerbread house display, live reindeer petting and show, live musical entertainment, food & retail vendors, and the Annual Tree Lighting Celebration! Don’t miss all the fun!
December 7 | Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections Inc.
Take this rare opportunity to see the Museum of Miniature Houses at night, with their displays lighted by candlelight. Enjoy our collection of fine-scale miniatures, holiday decorations, and special holiday exhibits. Carolers will perform throughout the evening and light refreshments will be served.
December 7 | Indiana Historical Society
More than 70 authors are joining us in the William H. Smith Memorial Library at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center for a fun-filled day of mixing, mingling and book signing. Join in the Festival of Trees festivities, including photos and storytime with Santa and book-themed crafts for kids and kids at heart. Be sure to enter to win an Author Fair gift basket, too! Educators are invited to attend the Teachers Lounge during Author Fair where they’ll find resources for their classroom. Free admission includes exhibits and Festival of Trees.
November 29 – December 21 | Carmel Arts & Design District
Enjoy a spin around our city entertainment districts or brave the elements with a brisk stroll along the Monon Greenway. The free Holiday Trolley will stop in the Arts & Design District, Carmel City Center, the Indiana Design Center and Center Green for the Christkindlmarkt and Ice at Center Green. Fridays, 5:00 – 9:00pm; Saturdays, 2:00 – 9:00pm.
December 6 | Historic Irvington
Please join us in Historic Irvington on Friday, December 6 from 5:00 – 10:00pm for the annual Holiday Open House. Sponsored by the Irvington Business Association & Discover Irvington. Gather the family and get ready to share holiday cheer with fun family friendly events with your local Irvington shops and restaurants. Loads of fun including photos with 🎅 at George Thomas Florist, Meet the Grinch at Black Sheep Gifts, reindeer makeovers at Hampton Designs Studio, a Circle City Ringers Concert at the Irvington Branch library, and much more!
November 29 | Clay Terrace
Join Clay Terrace as we welcome Santa for the holidays on Friday, November 29 from 11:00am – 2:00pm! Come celebrate the holiday season with the whole family. Make your own snow flake to welcome Santa home to a white Christmas parade! Create crafts, work on your wish list for Santa, and much more!
December 7 | Central Library
Yelp’s annual Totally Bazaar is a free pop-up holiday shopping party! Come for food, drink, shopping, and entertainment! In addition to local businesses selling everything from wooden stamps to homemade crayons alongside mulled wine, beer, a gift wrapping station, live wreaths, and so much more. Attendees must RSVP online.
December 14 | Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens
Visit the Conservatory to meet Santa and see Conservatory Crossing, the holiday train and poinsettia show. You can also visit the Arts Center to make holiday-themed crafts and head to the Burrello Family Center where Mrs. Claus will have some tasty treats. All activities are free. Bring your own camera to take photos with Santa.
December 8 | Biltwell Event Center
The Indy VegFest Winter Market is Sunday, December 8, 2019, noon to 4:00pm. The event is FREE and open to ALL. Merchants will sell vegan and cruelty-free products such as apparel, body care, home decor, household items, and prepackaged vegan food — perfect for gifting! Food vendors will be serving up some of the best vegan eats in the Midwest!
December 12-15 | West Block of Georgia, Pan Am Ice Rink, St. John’s Parking Lot
The Christkindl Village (“Christ Child” Village) is a celebration of the holiday with a traditional German Christmas Experience hosted by St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. This event is designed to be a lasting tradition for the people of Indianapolis and visitors to the city, including a Live Animal Nativity, kids activities, alpine slide, German foods, beer and gluhwein garden, musical performances including caroling, and the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. This year we will continue the Christmas Artisan Market– providing gifts, produce, goods, arts or crafts for our patrons to purchase. Join us to experience Christmas traditions with your friends and family! *There are both indoor and outdoor (heated) activities so don’t let the cold keep you away!
Holiday Events at the Library
Your local library is a great place to find free entertainment. Here are just a few of our favorite FREE activities coming up this holiday season.
|12 Days of Winter||Central Library||11/29, 12/2, 12/4, 12/6, 12/7, 12/9, 12/11, 12/13, 12/14, 12/16, 12/18, 12/21, 12/28|
|Teen Art Club – Marbled Paper for Holiday Tags/Cards||Pike Branch||12/9, 3:00 – 4:00pm|
|Holiday Card Drop-In Craft||Eagle Branch||12/23, 1:00 – 4:00pm|
|Winter Dance Party||Garfield Park Branch||12/21, 11:00am – 12:00pm|
|Nailed It! for Teens: Winter Dessert Decorating Competition||Carmel Clay Public Library||12/1, 2:30 – 4:00pm|
|Family Movie Night: Grinch Holiday Special||Fishers Library: Fishers Center||12/13, 5:30 – 6:30pm|
|Jingle Bell Rock Dance Party||Franklin Road Branch||12/17, 12/18, 12/18|
December 24 | The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Celebrate Christmas Eve at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis with free admission! Please note the limited hours, 10:00am – 2:00pm.