Worth the Drive: Holidays in Indianapolis

At just two hours outside of Cincinnati, Indianapolis really knows how to do the holidays. From light displays and holiday performances to Santa himself arriving in a helicopter, there are SO many fun things for families to experience. So pack up the kids, because we rounded up some of our favorite holiday happenings in Indy that are sure to be worth the drive!

Top 9 Things to do in Indianapolis this Holiday Season:

See the tree at Monument Circle

Head to the heart of the city and see the largest Christmas tree in the world! Standing at 242 feet tall, Indy’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument gets decked out for the holidays. BONUS — you can find an official North Pole mailbox here to mail your letters to Santa! 

Monkey around at Christmas at the Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the nation to hold a holiday lights event and it still continues to grow! Stop by Santa’s Barn and visit with his reindeers, travel under the Polar Pathway, get up close and personal with penguins and of course stop by the award winning Orangutan center!

Play the day away at the worlds largest children’s museum

Jolly Days at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is sure create happy holiday memories! Make it snow in a giant snow globe, meet an extraordinary array of characters from Scrooge to Ms. Claus, “ice skate’ in socks, explore an “ice castle” and of course, share their wish list with Jolly Old St. Nicolas.

Experience the magic of the holidays at Celebration Crossing

Stop by the Indiana State Museum and hop on the Snowfall Express. This must-ride experience of the holiday season allows you to discover a forest populated by charming, whimsical characters celebrating the coming winter and the first snowfall. Other favorites including visits with Santa, activities in Santa’s Front Yard, the 92 County Tree, Santa’s Holiday Breakfasts, Winter Wonderland Workshops, the Reindeer Barn and more.

Experience the wonder of Winterlights 

Newfields knows how to do holiday lights! Featuring 1.5 million lights decorating the campus, a jaw-dropping light show on the famed Lilly House Lawn and snacks and beverages for all to enjoy, this is a must-see holiday experience.

All Aboard! Calling all train lovers to Jingle Rails

This G-scale model train at the Eiteljorg Museum is a wonderland containing nine working model trains. Watch as the trains venture through local Indianapolis treasures then head through the national parks of the American West. Jingle Rails is the perfect stop for all your train enthusiasts!

Have yourself a A Merry Prairie Holiday

Take a step back in time at Conner Prairie and celebrate the season! Step into historic Prairietown to visit the Christmas Eve traditions of the 1800s, then head up to the North Pole Workshop to experience Santa and his elves getting ready for the big night. Get your heart racing by taking a spin on Kringle’s Carousel or zooming down our 150-foot Polar Bear Plunge sledding hill! Wander through expansive light displays, tap your toe to music by local musicians, and indulge in tasty holiday treats.

Experience joy at the Festival of Trees

Head over to the Indiana Historical Society for The Festival of Trees! This holiday extravaganza features a winter wonderland of 75 elaborately decorated trees representing individuals, families and organizations from around Indiana.

Experience the tradition of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt

Smells of Glühwein, sausages, sweets, and much more will greet you as you browse unique German handmade and quality gifts at this outdoor market. Even better — admission is free!

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