Make Downtown Indy a part of your holiday experience

During November and December, Downtown Indianapolis transforms into a joyous wonderland full of holiday activities, spectacles and fun for family and friends of all ages. Don’t forget your camera, as this season includes many opportunities to create memories with your loved ones!

Circle of Lights

One of Central Indiana’s favorite annual holiday traditions, Downtown Indy, Inc.’s Circle of Lights® presented by IBEW #481 returns for its 55th year. Generations of families will gather to share in the spirit of the season while watching 4,784 colored LED lights on 52 garland strands illuminate the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This free event starts with live holiday entertainment Friday, Nov. 24 from 6 – 8 p.m. The lighting of the Monument occurs around 7:55 p.m. and concludes with a spectacular fireworks finale presented by Salesforce. After the fireworks, head to Carson’s Department Store to take a “Selfie with Santa” from 8 – 10 p.m. FREE! Visit downtownindy.org or call (317) 237.2222.

Newfields

Experience a brand-new holiday celebration this season at Newfields with Winterlights, a multi-sensory, outdoor light spectacle featuring more than 1 million lights. Taking place in The Garden at Newfields through Jan. 7, the experience will include music, weekly visits from Santa, fire pits for roasting s’mores, drink stations and more. Winterlights will also continue the holiday tradition of Christmas at the Lilly House, with the lawn coming alive with beautiful floral displays and holiday decor. Looking to give a unique gift for the holidays? Visit the free Holiday Hullabaloo Dec. 7 starting at 11 a.m. and enjoy live music, shop for one-of-a-kind jewelry, hand-blown glass ornaments and receive complementary gift wrapping and discounts at the Museum & Garden Shop. On Dec. 10, more than 30 local artists will participate in Monster Drawing Rally, an art-making spectacle from 1 – 5:30 p.m. The event will be held at Sun King Brewing on College Ave. Completed artwork will be available for purchase for $35 each. For more information visit www.discovernewfields.org or call (317) 923.1331.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis as Jolly Days Winter Wonderland returns Nov. 24 – Jan. 7. Enjoy holiday family favorites including the Yule Slide and Jingles the Jolly Bear. See if you’re on Santa’s naughty or nice list at Breakfast with Santa Dec. 3, 10, 16 & 17 (additional fee). Visit the Lilly Theater for A Visit from St. Nicholas, an interactive musical based on the children’s classic tale The Night Before Christmas Nov. 24-26, Dec.2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23 and 26-31. Finally, ring in the New Year 12 hours early with Countdown to Noon Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information about merry museum events, visit www.childrensmuseum.org or call (317) 334.3322.

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art

All aboard! One of Indianapolis’ most popular family holiday traditions returns. Experience the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art’s magical holiday model train exhibit Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure.Take a journey through a locomotive wonderland as trains wind past icons of Indianapolis and the American West. Through Jan. 15, see Monument Circle, Lucas Oil Stadium, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, Golden Gate Bridge, the Las Vegas strip and many more. In addition, shop the season’s best regional art market at Winter Market Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Featuring works from more than 30 artists, you’re sure to find a unique holiday gift for anyone on your list. To learn more about merry museum happenings, visit www.eiteljorg.org or call (317) 636.9378.

Indiana Historical Society

Take a step back in time with the Indiana Historical Society and witness holiday trees decked out in ways you’ve never seen at the Festival of Trees through Jan. 6. The event features 80 trees representing unique themes like “Santa’s Library,” “Making Smiles Bright” and “A Picture-Perfect Christmas.” Enjoy the nighttime tree glow by visiting on Tuesdays until 9 p.m. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Weekend programming includes visits from a vintage Santa, crafts like snow-globe making, and more. Check out www.indianahistory.org or call (317) 232.1882.

Indianapolis Zoo

Surround yourself with the beauty of the holiday season as the Indianapolis Zoo returns with Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union Nov. 24 – 26, 29 & 30 and Dec. 1 – 3, 6 – 10, 13 – 23 and 26 – 30. The Zoo opens at noon with holiday activities from 5 – 9 p.m. and 5 – 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Stop by the all-new Santa’s Village under the Bicentennial Pavilion, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, visit with Santa in his study and get up close and personal with penguins. Ranked in the Top 5 for zoo light displays for 2015 and 2016 by USA Today’s 10 Best, this is one holiday event you don’t want to miss. For more details visit www.IndianapolisZoo.com or call (317) 630.2001.




Lights at the Brickyard

Take a trip to The Racing Capital of the World this holiday season for Lights at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Attendees will take part in a 1.7-mile driving experience that includes more than 40 scenes with more than 400 lights of festive holiday celebrations. The event is open through Dec. 30. Visit www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by call (317) 492.8500.

Indiana State Museum

Celebration Crossing at the Indiana State Museum comes alive with holiday merriment Nov. 24 – Jan. 7. Step into the cozy holiday home of Santa and Mrs. Claus on Level 1 of the museum through Dec. 24. Children of all ages can ride the Santa Claus Express, make crafts to take home and gaze into holidays past from a recreated L.S. Ayers store window. Pre-school and elementary-aged children can also take advantage of Santa’s Playground. Visit www.indianamuseum.org or call (317) 232.1637.

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Join President Benjamin Harrison, his family from Ohio and the household staff for LIVE: Family Christmas at the President’s Home Dec. 2. Enjoy a Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street Dec. 7, a fundraising event of historic house tours and elegant dining. Don’t miss “Twas the Night Before…” presented by Candlelight Theatre at Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site Dec. 15, 16 & 17.   Visit www.bhpsite.org  or call (317) 631.1888.

 

Yelp's Totally Bazaar

More than 150 local businesses will come together for Yelp’s Totally Bazaar holiday shopping party Thursday, Dec. 7 from 6:30 – 10 p.m. While shopping, enjoy some of your local favorite food and drink including Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery, Easley Winery and Upland Brewing Co. From Modern Handcraft to People for Urban Progress to Funky Artsy, this bazaar is one of Indy’s best! All attendees must RSVP. http://www.downtownindy.org/events/5608/yelps-totally-bazaar/

IMAX Theater

Experience two great films during the holiday season at Downtown’s IMAX Theater. The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience returns on select dates Nov. 24 – Dec 10. Relive this epic holiday adventure re-mastered in proprietary IMAX DMR technology and state-of-the-art surround sound. Plus, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Dece.10, the theater will host a “Polar Pajama Party” at 10:45 a.m. Young moviegoers are invited to come in their pajamas with their families to see a special screening of Polar Express.

Next, don’t miss the next chapter in the galaxy far, far away as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, presented in IMAX 70mm, opens Dec. 15. Visit www.imaxindy.com to purchase your tickets.

Witness a timeless holiday classic as Downtown Indy, Inc. partners with the IMAX Theater to show It’s a Wonderful Lifeon the biggest screen in the state Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. $1 from each ticket will support Downtown Indy’s Beautification Fund. Visit https://www.tickmarq.com/sites/indyimax/films/ST00000004 to purchase your tickets.

Indianapolis City Market

Indianapolis City Market is celebrating with the MRKT BALL Dec. 9, featuring a 1950s theme. This black-tie or costumed gala is a fun, pre-holiday event with an artisan craft market, carnival games and performances.  Visit www.indycm.com for tickets or call (317) 634-9266.

Christkindl Village

The Christkindl Village Dec. 15 - 17 is a celebration of the holiday with a traditional Christmas Market, presented by St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. The free festival includes a canopy of lights, live animal Nativity, kids and teen activities, photos with St. Nick, German foods, beer and wine garden and musical performances including caroling. The Christmas Market provides gifts as well as arts and crafts to purchase.  The festival will take place in the St. John parking lot and along the west block of Georgia Street. For more information, visit www.stjohnsindy.org/christkindl-village