Christmastime in Indy is one of my favorite times of the year! There are so many events that happen in the time span between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that you could book one on your schedule every single day. With so many options to choose from, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 holiday experiences that I’ve had in the Indianapolis area:
The Yuletide Celebration is a fun-filled event that’s great for the entire family! Upon walking in before the performance, you can expect to be welcomed by popular characters from holiday movies like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frozen.
There are plenty of opportunities for photo-ops and also some treats offered. The performance itself features popular Indy icons, like Sandi Patty, as well as entertainment like aerialists, drummers, dancers and a variety of other performers.
The location at Hilbert Circle is ideal as well, making it easy to grab dinner downtown before the show. For a full recap of the event, check out my blog post on the 2017 Yuletide Celebration.
If you’re a fan of the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that premiered sometime in the 1960s, this is a great show in which to indulge in some nostalgia. You’ll see familiar characters like Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Hermey, Rudolph & Clarice and Santa & Mrs. Claus.
This performance is held in Butler’s Clowes Hall, which is one of my favorite performance venues in the city for the comfort of the seats and great views from anywhere in the venue.
The Nutcracker is one of those events that is a must-do at least once. Before attending this performance, I’d been bored by trying to watch more than a few minutes of it on tv, but in-person, the energy from the dancers really brings the production to life and will leave you riveted by the story, the costumes, and the scenery. This is another performance that is in Clowes Hall
Held on Thanksgiving Day, as the name suggests, the Drumstick Dash is a yearly event that benefits Wheeler Mission. The morning “dash” offers participants the option to walk or run, and also offers both a 4.6-mile option and a 2.75-mile option.
The Drumstick Dash is a fun, no-pressure activity to start off Thanksgiving day while helping out a great local organization. For a full recap of the 2017 dash, check out my blog post.
Winterlights is a spectacular event at Newfields that debuted in 2017. It’s an event that I thought was amazing last year, and am excited to visit again this year to see what else they add to the original experience!
The hardest decision for this event was what time to attend. Attending right at 5:00 pm when the event starts means it’s still light outside and you’ll have to wait an hour and a half to really experience the lights. On the other hand, waiting till 6:30 pm -7 pm means a lot of difficulty parking That being said, I went at 5:00 pm last time and will do so again to avoid the later crowds and parking situation.
The event features trees, sculptures, and other features on the grounds that are very artistically lit. My favorite feature of the event is the “Landscape of Light” on the lawn in front of the Lilly House. The sheer amount of time it must have taken, not only to physically place all of the lights but also to get the timing right to correspond to elements of the different songs played was impressive!
For a full recap of my visit to Newfields last year, check out my blog post.
Like Newfields Winterlights, the Christkindlmarkt also made its debut in 2017. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon in a festive way. Last year’s event featured lots of fun German foods, wine, performers and ice-skating, and the 2018 event is even bigger and better!
For a full recap of my visits to the Carmel Christkindlmarkt, check out my 2017 blog post and 2018 blog post.
Held on the first Saturday in December and located near Fishers, the Winterfest in Fortville isn’t too far of a drive for Indy residents and is the perfect way to spend a day kicking off the holiday season with family or friends.
Some entertainment options from last year’s Winterfest included a petting zoo, ice skating rink (albeit an extremely small one), as well as the parade and the tree lighting ceremony. The parade route is on a street that’s lined with stores and restaurants, which makes it easy to duck in between the entertainment portions and shop for local goodies or grab a bite to eat.
For a full recap of my visit to the Fortville Winterfest, check out my blog post.
This is a drive-through light show that’s totally free and is really pretty impressive. As long as I’ve lived in Fishers, I didn’t go through it until a couple years ago and it is worth revisiting each year. There’s also a food pantry on-site some nights to collect food or monetary donations.
The Cake Bake Shop’s Broad Ripple location knows just how to do Christmas decorating right. It’s already a beautiful spot on an average day, but during the holidays with all of the fun decor and Christmas tree, it becomes a magical place. This is one place I make a point to stop in every year around Christmastime. Read more in my blog post about The Cake Bake Shop.
Oh, the cuteness! If you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy spot to hang out, this is it. Located in Broad Ripple, Petite Chou decorates their (enclosed) patio by hanging wispy, feathery decorations from the ceiling and it is absolutely gorgeous! The food there is awesome as well, so win-win. Read more about Petite Chou in my blog post.
Every year, there seem to be more and more fun holiday events and attractions popping up around the city! In addition to several of the above experiences, I intend to check out a few new events this year. What are your favorite things to do in Indy over the holidays?