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 Indianapolis’ most beloved holiday traditions, the Downtown Indy, Inc. Circle of Lights presented by IBEW 481 will be a little different this year. To ensure everyone’s safety, the Circle of Lights event will be a special made-for-TV only event. Instead of congregating Downtown, the show will be seen exclusively on WTHR Channel 13 on Friday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. Musical acts chosen from the Tom Wood Talent Search for the television event will still create a festive holiday spirit and Santa will help flip the switch to illuminate Monument Circle, marking the kick-off to the holiday season. Additionally, beginning Saturday, Nov. 28, a special nightly Shining A Light holiday presentation at 6:30, 8 and 10 p.m. will complement the lights on Monument Circle. The lights remain lit Downtown for all to enjoy until early January 2021. FREE! Visit www.downtownindy.org or call 317.237.2222.

Indiana State Fairgrounds

Head out to the Indiana State Fairgrounds’ Christmas Nights of Lights for a 2-mile car ride through more than 1 million lights synchronized to traditional and newer Christmas music played through your car stereo. The show will feature new music, an extended route and additional light displays including a spectacular 240-foot wall of lights, making it the largest synchronized show in central Indiana. This dazzling light display will be open daily from dusk until 10 p.m., with extended hours on the weekends, Nov. 13 through Jan. 3. Sing along to all of your holiday favorites and get yourself in the spirit. Go to www.indianastatefair.com/ for more information.

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 Nov. 21 through Jan. 18. Enjoy all of your favorite miniature recreations including Monument Circle, Lucas Oil Stadium as well as the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Las Vegas and more. Two local backdrops return: The Indiana State Fair and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These amazing structures are uniquely built out of all-natural materials and decorated with holiday lighting. Jingle Rails tickets are timed with limited capacity and visitors must reserve them online at www.Eiteljorg.org/Jingle Rails

Newfields

The magic returns to Newfields for Winterlights from Nov. 21 through Jan. 3. Experience the wonder of more than a million and a half lights glittering on 100-year-old trees in the garden. Favorites return, including Landscape of Light dancing to the Nutcracker with the historic Lilly House as the backdrop. New this year, Huckleberry Funk's cover of Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas" will be added to the Landscape of Light. Merriment abounds with the re-imagined Whimsical Terrace. The wooded backdrop along the main path will become a tapestry of color. Savory snacks will be available for purchase, served alongside Sun King Brewing Co.'s exclusive brew Electric Reindeer, West Fork Whiskey's cider and Newfields' hot cocoa. This outdoor experience offers a safe and socially-distanced moment of togetherness. 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. 21 through Jan. 3. Enjoy holiday family favorites including socially-distanced sock skating, an ice castle and the fun of watching holiday movies together. A new socially-distanced Santa visit experience will allow families to continue the tradition of an annual in-person visit with Santa in a magical, but safe way Nov. 27 –Dec. 24. See if you’re on Santa’s naughty or nice list at Santa’s Workshop Dec. 5, 6 & 12 or fill your belly at the Jolly Days Breakfast Dec. 13 & 19 (both additional fees). Build your own Gingerbread House in-person or at home Nov. 21. Finally, ring in the New Year 12 hours early with Countdown to Noon Dec. 31 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. For more information, visit www.childrensmuseum.org or call 317.334.3322.

Indianapolis Zoo

Surround yourself with the beauty of the holiday season as the Indianapolis Zoo returns with the 51st year of Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union. This year’s celebration continues daily Nov. 21 through Dec. 30, closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day. Stop by 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. Check out Santa’s sleigh and a few of his reindeer. Then stay late to watch as the Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland covered in lights. For more details, visit www.IndianapolisZoo.com or call 317.630.2001.




Indiana Historical Society

If you’re seeking a way to brighten your mood this season, look no further than Indiana Historical Society’s Festival of Trees Nov. 13 through Jan. 4 featuring 50 elaboratively-decorated trees. Select Friday evenings will offer extended hours to see the trees by night. Take part in scavenger hunts for The Elf on the Shelf or the 10 pickle ornaments hidden in trees. Stop in the Cole Porter Room for a holiday singalong and enjoy virtual story time with Santa. All exhibits will be open, including You Are There 1920: Celebrate Indianapolis! For those who would rather view from home, a free new virtual experience will allow you to enjoy the festivities on any mobile device. Check out www.FestivalofTreesIndy.org or call 317.232.1882.

Indiana State Museum

Experience the joy of the holidays at the Indiana State Museum with glistening lights, the 92 County Tree and festive décor in the Great Hall. Celebration Crossing comes alive with holiday merriment Nov. 27 through Jan. 5. Ride the Santa Claus Express train through a winter wonderland plus much more. Explore the NEW Reindeer Barn where you can learn fun reindeer facts with help from Santa’s team. Build a snowman before taking a photo with friends and visit with Santa as he gets ready for the holidays.  Visit www.indianamuseum.org or call 317-232-1637.

Holiday Market on the Circle

Mark your calendar for a free Downtown Holiday Market on the Circle, tentatively set for Saturday, Dec. 12 from 4 – 7 p.m.  Local artists and vendors will be selling unique gifts to complete your holiday list. Listen to festive music, sip hot chocolate/coffee and take in the Shining A Light Holiday presentation at 6:30 p.m.

It's a Wonderful Life

Witness the timeless holiday classic as Downtown Indy, Inc. partners with the Athenaeum Foundation and Indy Film Fest for Festive Films. Enjoy It's a Wonderful Life Dec. 19 at the Athenaeum's Basile Theater at 6 p.m.

Masks will be mandatory when not eating and drinking. Grab a table for two or four. Tickets are $5 and proceeds benefit Downtown holiday décor and the Athenaeum Foundation.

IMAX Theater

The Polar Express: IMAX 3D Holiday Experience returns to Downtown’s IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum on select dates through Dec. 24. Bring your family to safely enjoy this holiday classic on the Largest Screen in the State, with reduced capacity and enhanced cleaning.  Visit www.imaxindy.com to purchase tickets.

Indianapolis City Market

Indianapolis City Market is celebrating the holidays this year by having small businesses pop-up throughout the season. Pop-up vendors include artists, holiday ornaments and small businesses in the market throughout November and December.  Visit www.indycm.com or call 317.634.9266.

 

Give the Gift of a Getaway

Visit Indy has pulled together the best hotel rates this holiday season offering up to 50 percent off of hotel stays for Indiana residents. The deeply-discounted rates are available through Dec. 31. Gift a gift of a getaway or just treat yourself to some rest and relaxation at participating hotels including Le Meridien, Conrad Indianapolis, Crowne Plaza Hotel at Union Station and more. To book a hotel stay, check out www.VisitIndy.com/Holidays.  

VIRTUAL

Yelp's Totally Bazaar

This annual holiday soirée is decking the halls in a different way this year. Join your favorite local businesses all of November and December through virtual events that are bound to spice up your at-home festivities. RSVP for free cozy cocktail classes, twinkle-light yoga, sugar-cookie showdowns and more. Then, gather around the fire and join @YelpIndy in shopping local this season as you browse the official Yelp Bazaar gift guide, featuring your favorite businesses from last year's event. Attendees must RSVP to specific events here: www.yelp.com/events/indianapolis-yelps-totally-virtual-bazaar-2020-presented-by-the-yelp-elite-squad 

This Wonderful Life

Celebrate the season with a holiday story from the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT) and enjoy this virtual experience in the comfort of your own home. Frank Capra’s iconic holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life provides the springboard for a spirited and heartwarming performance as a man in love with the film enacts and reacts to its classic characters and content. Available in early December, Steve Murray’s This Wonderful Life will kick off IRT’s six-play virtual season. To learn more, visit www.irtlive.com or call 317.635.5252. 

Baroque Christmas

Enjoy a beautiful Christmas performance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra’s presentation of A Baroque Christmas Dec. 19.  The virtual performance is free to stream on your computer or TV. Don’t miss holiday classics by Bach, Vivaldi, Charpentier and more. Visit www.icomusic.org.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker

Stream a holiday classic this season. Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker will be brought to you virtually Dec. 19. In addition to the show, take a trip backstage with the cameras for a look at how the magic is made and hear first-hand from world-class artists, designers and the creators about this cherished production. See the full performance as captured on stage plus the behind-the-scenes action. For more information, visit www.oldnationalcentre.com or call 317.231.0000.

Festival of Carols

Help the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir celebrate 30 years of the Festival of Carols featuring Indiana native Angela Brown. The event will be Dec. 21 broadcast on MyINDY-TV-23 for everyone to enjoy. Visit indychoir.org/foc/.