Sugarplum fairies. Trains. Yule slides. Penguins. And of course, Santa. Downtown Indianapolis is alive this holiday season with festive activities and a virtual winter wonderland full of cheer and good tidings. So if you’re looking for family-friendly holiday fun, you need look no further than downtown. Here are some of the highlights and joyful events to help you and your loved ones celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
Circle of Lights
People from all over central Indiana flock to Indianapolis to see Downtown Indy, Inc.’s Circle of Lights. Presented by IBEW #481, this is the 55th year that the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument will be illuminated with 4,784 colored LED lights on 52 garland strands. The initial lighting is Friday, Nov. 24 around 7:55 p.m. and concludes with a fireworks finale presented by Salesforce. The monument keeps its holiday décor throughout the season and makes for a cheery backdrop for family photos.
Nov. 24 through early January | FREE | DowntownIndy.org
Eiteljorg Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art creates a locomotive wonderland where model trains take a journey through the American West. Onlookers will pass by some of Indy’s iconic sites such as Monument Circle and Lucas Oil Stadium before continuing to the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Las Vegas strip and many more. And if you go Dec. 2, you can shop for unique holiday gifts at one of the best regional art markets around.
Now through Jan. 15 | $7-13; 4 and under FREE | Eiteljorg.org
The Children’s Museum Jolly Days
Take a ride down the yule slide, chat with Jingles the Jolly Bear, have breakfast with Santa, watch a musical rendition of The Night Before Christmas … you can do it all, and ring in the New Year with an early countdown-to-noon, at this year’s Jolly Days.
Nov. 24 – Jan. 7 | $13-16 when purchased online; 2 and under FREE | ChildrensMuseum.org
More from Downtown Indy, Inc.: Circle of Lights presented by IBEW #481For IBEW Local 481, Circle of Lights a family affair2017 Carson’s Coloring Contest
Christmas at the Zoo
Decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, chat with Santa in his study all while enjoying the beauty of the Indianapolis Zoo and the spectacular light display. Plus, you get to see the animals in all their glory.
Nov. 24 – Dec. 30 | $7.70-13.95; children under 2 FREE | IndianapolisZoo.com
Indiana State Museum Celebration Crossing
Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in their home, ride the Santa Claus Express, make crafts and gaze into holidays past from a recreated L.S. Ayers store window. Younger kids will also enjoy Santa’s Playground.
Nov. 24 – Jan. 7 | $9.95-14.95; children under 3 FREE | IndianaMuseum.org
Broadway’s A Christmas Story
Murat Theatre at Old National Centre brings Broadway to Indianapolis this holiday season. A Christmas Story, The Musical, is based on the 80s classic holiday film of the same name, and is sure to delight audiences of all ages.
Nov. 28 – Dec. 3 | Tickets start at $28 | Indianapolis.Broadway.com
The Christkindl Village
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church on Georgia Street hosts a traditional Christmas market with a live animal nativity, activities for kids and teens, photos with St. Nick, German foods, beer and wine garden and musical performances as well as arts and crafts to purchase.
Dec. 15 – 17 | FREE | StJohnsIndy.org
Lights at the Brickyard
Enjoy a 1.7-mile driving experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with over 40 festive holiday scenes it’s a bright and cheery way to experience the IMS from inside your own car.
Nov. 17 – Dec. 30 | $25-30 per car | IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com
Downtown Indy Inc.’s New Year’s Eve Celebration
Sponsored by The Indiana Union Construction Industry, the evening features EDM music, lights, lasers, and plenty of dancing on Georgia Street—and you get to watch a suspended IndyCar descend for the “ball drop.”
Dec. 31 | FREE | DowntownIndy.org
IPL Yuletide Celebration
Listen to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as they toast Sandi Patty for the 32nd annual IPL Yuletide Celebration at Hilbert Circle Theatre.
Dec. 1 – 23 | Tickets start at $25 for youth and $45 for adults | IndianapolisSymphony.com
A Christmas Carol
A favorite holiday tradition returns to the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Sponsored by Eli Lilly & Company, Charles Dickens’ classic tale is a hit with audiences of all ages.
Nov. 18 – Dec. 22 | Tickets start at $25 | IRTLive.com
Holidays at the Scottish Rite
Listen to beautiful holiday music at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Annual Winter Concert.
Dec. 10, 3 p.m. | FREE | aasr-indy.org
The Indianapolis School of Ballet performs Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet.
Dec. 21 – 23 | Tickets start at $15 | OldNationalCentre.com
Music of the Holidays
Local school, community choirs, bands, ensembles and soloists perform holiday music in the Indiana State Museum’s Governor Frank and Judy O’Bannon and Great Hall.
Nov. 27 – Dec. 17 | FREE | IndianaMuseum.org
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