When it comes to celebrating the holidays, Indianapolis knows how to do it right. From drive-thru light displays and performances of The Nutcracker, to ice skating and train rides, there are SO many fun things for families to experience this holiday season.
Here’s a look at some of the activities and events available this holiday season in and around Indy!
The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Fun around Indianapolis
- Find the best Christmas light display in Indy.
- Lace-up those ice skates and hit the ice rink.
- Watch as Santa “flips the switch” during Downtown Indy, Inc.’s 59th annual Circle of Lights on Nov. 26.
- Celebrate the holidays all season long with one at one of these many local holiday fun events near Indianapolis.
- Pick out the perfect Christmas tree as a family. Bonus points if you visit a local Christmas tree farm to chop it down yourself!
- Enjoy dinner and a show at A Beef & Boards Christmas.
- All Aboard! Head to the train station for a holiday train ride.
- Or if you prefer train displays, visit the Eiteljorg Museum for Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure.
- Catch a showing of The Polar Express: IMAX 3D Experience at the Indiana State Museum.
- Catch a performance of The Nutcracker, a holiday classic.
- Enjoy a holiday breakfast with Santa Claus.
- Or switch it up and have breakfast with the Grinch this year.
- Take a stroll through a winter wonderland during Winterlights at Newfields.
- Greet Santa as he arrives by helicopter at the Indiana State Museum on Nov. 26. Then head over to Celebration Crossing which will stay open until Jan. 2.
- Hop in your car and visit a drive-through Christmas light show. Christmas Nights of Lights and Magic of Lights are two nearby options.
- Mail a letter to Santa.
- Shop, ice skate, eat and explore Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt.
- Find out how St. Nick became Santa during The Christmas Quest at The Children’s Museum.
- Bundle up for dinner outside in an igloo.
- Get into the holiday spirit at Zionsville’s inaugural Winterfest celebration.
- Catch a ride on the FREE Holiday Trolley while shopping in Carmel on select weekends in November and December.
- Head to the Indiana Repertory Theatre for an uplifting performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
- Bundle up for a FREE outdoor movie at Carmel Midtown Plaza. Movies play on Saturdays in November and December.
- Volunteer together as a family.
- Enjoy ice skating as a family at the City of Lawrence’s Winterfest. Kids 12 and under skate for free on Nov. 27.
- Browse a local toy store for the perfect gift for your child.
- Sled down Koteewi Run, central Indiana’s only groomed snow tubing hill. Season opens Dec. 18.
- Experience a calm, sensory-friendly visit to Celebration Crossing at the Indiana State Museum. Magical Mornings happen on Friday mornings from 9-10 a.m.
- Take the whole family out for a meal at one of these fun Indianapolis restaurants.
- Need to burn some energy? These indoor playgrounds around Indianapolis are perfect for a chilly weekend or during winter break.
- Play a round of Duckpin Bowling at Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowling in Fountain Square.
- Ride the Sullivan Express to the North Pole.
- Enjoy a winter wonderland of poinsettias, model trains and villages, and thousands of twinkling lights during Conservatory Crossing.
- Try out a Make It, Take It, art class, at the Indianapolis Art Center. Make It, Take It family classes are offered along with kids or adults only.
- Host a holiday tea party.
Can’t-Miss Holiday Celebrations and Events around Indianapolis:
Location: The Indianapolis Zoo
Dates: November 20–December 30
Dating back to 1967, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the nation to hold a holiday lights event. Year after year, Christmas at the Zoo continues to grow. For our 53rd year, we’re adding beautiful new décor to enhance your holiday experience. And the best part is it’s all included with regular admission!
Location: Indiana State Museum
Dates: November 26–January 2, 2021
Celebration Crossing begins Nov. 26 when Santa arrives by helicopter at 11 a.m. to light the 92 County Tree and kick-off the holiday season. This year, Santa will be back in his house and available for either up-close or socially distanced visits. Click here for schedule.
Location: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Dates: November 27–December 24
Celebrate family traditions and holidays with Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis! From November 27–December 24, enjoy visits with Santa, “ice skate” in your socks, explore the Ice Castle and much more.
Location: The Eiteljorg Museum
Dates: November 20-January 17, 2022
Train lovers: This one’s for you! Jingle Rails at The Eiteljorg will get you into the holiday spirit as you view nine working model trains that wind through a stunning miniature landscape. New this year: a miniature version of San Francisco! Jingle Rails will be making tracks from November 20-January 17, 2022.
Location: Indiana State Fairgrounds
Dates: November 12-January 2, 2022
Indy’s largest synchronized light show is happening at Indiana State Fairgrounds from November 12-January 2, 2022. See over 1 million lights synchronized to traditional and newer, rocking Christmas music played through your car stereo. Pack your vehicle full of friends and family to enjoy the show!
Location: Clowes Memorial Hall
Dates: December 2-5
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Yuletide Celebration returns this December 3-23 at Hilbert Circle Theatre! Your favorite holiday music will be brought to life with Broadway-style showstoppers, the famous tap-dancing Santas, and more.
Location: Conner Prairie
Dates: November 26-December 19
Sparkling lights, breathtaking rides, and enchanting performances. They’re all part of A Merry Prairie Holiday Festival at Conner Prairie, and they’re sure to be among your cherished winter memories for years to come. Enjoy the Conner Prairie holiday family fun you already love and a host of new features you won’t want to miss.
Location: Monument Circle
Date: Nov. 27 at 7 pm.
Downtown Indy Inc.’s Circle of Lights® presented by IBEW 481 is Indy’s most time-honored holiday tradition. This year, the Circle of Lights event will take place on Monument Circle as well as a special made-for-TV event seen exclusively on WTHR Channel 13.