Home in Indy for the Holidays

Published December 1, 2017

A hand-knit snowman with orange and yellow striped hat and scarf sits on a wooden table with blurry colored twinkle lights in the background

Fun Wintertime Activities Your Kids Will Love

December is here, and winter break is just around the corner. While the chilly weather and time off work might have you wanting to kick back and relax, we all know—with kids running around for two weeks—that just won’t happen. Are you already dreading the “I’m bored”s and “There’s nothing to do”s? Fret not, Indy has all sorts of fun, inexpensive activities for families to do around the holidays.

Light Displays

  • Circle of Lights
    While the spectacular initial lighting of the “World’s Largest Christmas Tree” this year has come and gone, the 55th annual Circle of Lights is still a sight to see! Bundle the kids up and take them downtown to see Monument Circle in all its holiday glory—after dark, our cherished Soldiers and Sailors Monument is transformed into a Christmas tree with over 4,000 lights! The toy soldiers and giant candy canes surrounding the monument are also always a hit, and Santa’s mailbox is there for your kids to send that jolly old elf their Christmas wish lists. Click here to learn more about the history of this beloved tradition!
    Dates: November 28, 2017 – January 7, 2018
    More Info: https://www.visitindy.com/indianapolis-events-circle-of-lights
  • Lights at the Brickyard
    The holidays at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway truly turn our world famous racetrack into a winter wonderland. Lights at the Brickyard allows your family to drive along 2+ miles of the track to see over 2.5 million lights illuminating 40 scenes and 500 displays. Tune into 100.1 FM for some classic holiday tunes as you mosey through the sights.
    Dates: November 17 – December 30, 2017
    More Info: http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/events/lights
  • Christmas at the Zoo
    See a holiday lights display with a “wild” twist as the sun sets over the Indianapolis Zoo! This year’s Christmas at the Zoo is even bigger and better than ever, with thousands more lights and the new Santa’s Village under the Bicentennial Pavilion. Even better—several of the zoo’s animals stay up late to enjoy the cooler weather, so you’ll still be able to delight in our furry (and scaled and feathered) friends!
    Dates: Various dates from November 24 – December 30, 2017
    More Info: http://www.indianapoliszoo.com/events-and-groups/zoo-events/christmas-at-the-zoo
  • Winterlights at Newfields
    The grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (now known as Newfields) light up all winter long in displays that will dazzle the whole family. Stroll through the gardens, fields, and forest for an unforgettable holiday experience!
    Dates: November 19, 2017 – January 7, 2018
    More Info: https://discovernewfields.org/calendar/winterlights

Indoor Activities

  • Festival of Trees
    Head to the Indiana Historical Society this season to gaze at 80 beautiful, themed trees, including a huge 30 foot behemoth! Vote for your favorites, and enjoy all sorts of fun, family-friendly programming all winter long.
    Dates: November 17, 2017 – January 6, 2018
    More Info: http://www.indianahistory.org/feature-details/festival-of-trees
  • Jolly Days Winter Wonderland
    Don’t miss this holiday staple at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Take pictures with Santa, ride down the Yule Slide, meet your favorite holiday characters, explore the Ice Castle, and much more at this fun, family-friendly event!
    Dates: November 24, 2017 – January 7, 2018
    More Info: https://www.childrensmuseum.org/exhibits/jolly-days

Outdoor Activities

  • Holiday Train Rides
    Pretend you’re on the Polar Express, and take a fun holiday train ride through the wintery Indiana landscape. With a variety of different trains—many of which include appearances by Santa—there’s a perfect holiday experience for everyone!
    Dates: Various
    More Info: https://indywithkids.com/holiday-train-indianapolis-indiana/
  • Christkindlmarkt and The Ice at Center Green
    Center Green, nestled between the Palladium and the Tarkington Theater in Carmel, has really outdone itself this year. Take the kids to skate on one of the largest outdoor rinks in the midwest while you do a bit of shopping for handmade, German-inspired goods at the Christkindlmarkt. Don’t forget to treat the little ones to hot chocolate afterward—several food and beverage vendors will be on hand, as well!
    Dates for Christkindlmarkt: November 18 – December 24, 2017
    Dates for The Ice at Center Green: November 18, 2017 – March 11, 2018
    More Info: https://www.carmelchristkindlmarkt.com/ and http://www.theiceatcentergreen.com/

Holiday Performances

  • The Nutcracker
    Get into the holiday spirit with this seasonal classic. With a variety of dates, companies, and venues to choose from, it’s easier than ever to experience the magic of this ballet—sure to delight children of all ages!
    Dates: Various
    More Info: http://www.theiceatcentergreen.com/
  • Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
    This play is a favorite holiday tradition for many families, and it’s easy to see why. Join Ebenezer Scrooge on his path to rediscover hope and joy—this version, brought to you by the Indiana Repertory Theatre, is sure to banish even the most stubborn of “bah humbugs!”
    Dates: November 18 – December 24, 2017
    More Info: http://www.irtlive.com/plays-and-events/2017-2018-season/a-christmas-carol-2017
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage
    No doubt you’re familiar with the beloved animated television special…now’s your chance to see it brought to new life on stage at Clowes Memorial Hall!
    Dates: December 10, 2017 at 1:00pm and 4:00pm
    More Info: https://butlerartscenter.org/event/charlie-brown-christmas-live-stage
  • IPL Yuletide Celebration with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
    The holidays have never sounded so good…. Join Jack Everly, Sandi Patty, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra downtown at the Hilbert Circle Theatre to hear all your favorite classic holiday tunes!
    Dates: Various dates from December 1 – 23, 2017
    More Info: https://www.indianapolissymphony.org/yuletide

What are you favorite Indy holiday events and traditions? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter!


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