Downtown Indy, Inc. Circle of Lights presented by IBEW 481

One of Central Indiana’s favorite annual holiday traditions, the Downtown Indy, Inc. Circle of Lights® presented by IBEW 481 returns for its 57th 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. 29 from 6 – 8 p.m. The lighting of the Monument with Santa occurs around 7:55 p.m. and concludes with a spectacular fireworks finale. FREE! Visit or call 317.237.2222.

Helicopter arrival

Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick’s sleigh got a major upgrade. Head to the front lawn of the Indiana State Museum Nov. 29 to see Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by helicopter to kick off the annual Celebration Crossing. Be the first to ride the Santa Claus Express train and pose for a picture with Santa before he heads back to the North Pole Jan. 5. Visit or call 317.232.1637.

Santa’s IndyCar entrance

Start your engines! Elves will rappel down the museum as a special police escort leads the way for Santa to zoom to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in a two-seat Indy Racing Experience car driven by Tony Kanaan, driver of the #14 Foyt Racing IndyCar on Friday, Nov. 29 at 8:45 a.m. Santa will also make daily appearances throughout the season, including Breakfast with Santa Dec. 1, 7, 8 & 15 (additional fee). Check out or call 317.334.3322.

Christmas at the Zoo

Don’t miss holiday fun at the Indianapolis Zoo’s annual Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union Nov. 23 through Dec. 30. The Zoo opens daily at noon so you can visit with wintertime animals before enjoying holiday activities from 5 – 9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Stop by Santa’s Village under the Bicentennial Pavilion, where you can decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, visit with Santa in his study and see Santa’s reindeer in his barn. Visit or phone 317.630.2001.

Dine with Santa

Start off your morning with Santa’s Holiday Breakfast, Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22. Seating will commence on Saturdays at 8:30 or 9 a.m. and on Sundays at 9, 9:30 or 10 a.m. in the Indiana State Museum L.S. Ayers Team Room™ and Farmers Market Café. Reservations are required for either event and can be made by visiting or calling (317) 232.1637.

Tap Dancing Santas

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jack Everly will be joined by Frankie Moreno for the 34th annual IPL Yuletide Celebration Nov. 30 – Dec. 23. Frankie will host a performance of holiday songs and contemporary favorites, along with tap dancing Santas and other surprises on the Hilbert Circle Theatre stage! Call the Box Office at (317) 639.4300 or visit

Send a letter to Santa

Trying to reach Jolly Saint Nicholas? Send him a letter through Santa’s Mailbox on Monument Circle! Children of all ages can drop off letters addressed to Santa Nov. 21 through Wednesday, Dec. 25. Mr. Claus will then personally answer each letter with a return address. It’s very important each letter has a return address so Santa can send his reply. You can find the festively-decorated mailbox on the east side of Monument Circle, facing Market Street.