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Holiday events to enjoy with the family in central Indiana this year

From light displays, to festive markets and classic Christmas shows, there are many events to get in the holiday spirit in the Central Indiana area.
Posted at 2:48 PM, Dec 02, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS— Whether you are hoping to view the beauty of Christmas lights, enjoy the festivities of a holiday market, or catch a classic Christmas show, there are plenty of events happening this holiday season to take advantage of in the Central Indiana area.

Winterlights returns to Newfields for a sixth year from November 20, 2022, through January 8, 2023.

Light Shows

Christmas Nights of Lights

Christmas Nights of Lights is back at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. This special holiday light experience will feature more than one million lights. This is a drive through light experience, with the lights synced to music that will play through car radios. You can experience the beauty of this light display from November 11 – January 1.

Dasher's Light Show is new to Indianapolis for 2022. Around one million lights are illuminating the display, which is set up in the Castleton Square Mall parking lot. Dasher’s Lightshow is open dailyfrom 5:30-10:30 p.m. through Dec. 31.

Christmas Markets

Carmel Christkindlmarkt

A holiday classic for the Indy area is the Carmel Christkindlmarkt. It is an outdoor Christmas market full of vendors with lots of food to try, gifts to buy and even an ice-skating rink.
The market is open Thursday through Sunday through Dec. 30.

Christkindlmarkt at The Athenaeum

For the first time, The Athenaeum is hosting a Christkindlmarkt. There will be more than a dozen vendors to shop with for things such as holiday gifts, and tasty food. The market will be open on Thursdays through Sundays through Dec. 18.

Gift Shopping

While Small Business Saturday has passed, locally owned shops across Central Indiana are open for business all year round. Check out our Inside Indy Profiles:

Irvington's Black Sheep Gifts inspires the black sheep in all of us | Greenwood's carefully curated Brick & Mortar | Revealing a hidden gem in Tuggle's Gifts & Goods | Twisted Sisters has something for everyone on your holiday shopping list | Indy CBD Plus aims to make lives better with balanced options

Clay Terrace Holiday Events

Clay Terrace in Carmel will feature a variety of holiday events to get you and your family in the spirit. Santa's big arrival at Clay Terrace will be on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. There will also be sleigh rides, crafts, photo opportunities with a giant snow globe, and a chance to meet reindeer. Santa will be available for photos from Dec. 1 through Dec. 24. A special chance for pets to get their Christmas pics with Santa will happen on Dec. 5 and Dec. 12. Special holiday treats for your furry friends will be available as well.

Outdoor activities

A Merry Prairie Holiday

If you're looking for a holiday festival to get into the holiday spirit, head over to A Merry Prairie Holiday at Conner Prairie. This festival features holiday light displays, tubing down a 150-foot hill, sock- ice skating, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more!
A Merry Prairie Holiday is open Fridays through Sundays from Nov. 25 through Dec. 18 from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The festival will additionally be open on Wednesday, Dec. 21 and Thursday, December 22.

Christmas at the Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo is holding Christmas at the Zoo for its 54th year. This event transforms the Zoo into a holiday wonderland, complete with lights and decorations, special events, holiday treats, and even visits with Santa!
The event runs from Nov. 19 through Dec. 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Christmas on the Farm

The holiday spirit will be abundant at Traders Point Creamery as they host the 14th year of Christmas on the Farm. Many holiday activities for the whole family will be happening including winter hayrides, holiday light displays, visits with Santa, festive treats to eat, music and more. This event is taking place on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Holidays at the Hill, Noblesville

For the 3rd year, Federal Hill Commons in Noblesville will feature events to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Ice skating, carriage rides, and a walkable light display are among some of the activities featured at Holidays at the Hill. This event will run from Nov. 19 through Jan. 9.

Newfields Winterlights

Winterlights is back for the 6th year at Newfields. This light display event features more than a million and a half lights to create dazzling displays through The Garden at Newfields. Festive drinks and treats are also available for purchase. Winterlights runs from Nov. 20 through Jan. 8.

Indoor events and performances

The Garage Food Hall is hosting different holiday activities for the 12 Days of Christmas.Attendees can enjoy performances, giveaways and more from Dec. 11-22.

Festival of Carols

If you're looking to get in the spirit with some holiday performances, check out the Festival of Carols by the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. There will be a performance at Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m., as well as performances at The Palladium at The Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 16, 17 and 18. Ticket prices vary.

The Nutcracker from Butler Ballet

The Nutcracker is a Christmas tradition that showcases amazing dancing, beautiful costumes and enchanting music. Check out Butler Ballet's performance of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker at Clowes Memorial Hall. Performances will run from Dec. 1 through Dec. 4.

Merry Movie Nights

Merry Movie Nights will bring eight holiday films to the Athenaeum in Downtown Indianapolis and the Arts for Lawrence's Theater at the Fort. Each ticket also includes free hot chocolate. The events are taking place throughout December.

Yuletide Celebration

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is performing the Yuletide Celebration at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. There are 27 performances from Dec. 2 - 23. Single tickets and group discounts are available.

Holiday Events at the Children's Museum

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis has all sorts of holiday events to check out this year. Jolly Days Winter Wonderland is open Nov. 25 through Jan. 1. This will be the final year for this event, that features many activities, including the Yule Slide, snowy fun in the giant snow globe, ice skating in your socks, meetings with Jolly Day characters, and adventuring in the Ice Castle.

Other events at The Children's Museum this holiday season include visits with Santa, building gingerbread houses, and a North Pole Pj Party. For more details, check out The Children's Museum website.

Rowdie’s Home Plate Holiday

On Dec. 17, Indianapolis Indians mascot Rowdie is hosting the Home Plate Holiday event from 8 a.m. - noon.

Attendees can enjoy a pancake breakfast with a variety of toppings, photo opportunity with Rowdie dressed as Santa Claus and ornament decorating.

More information is available here.

Winter Wonderland Workshop

The Indiana State Museum is hosting the Winter Wonderland Workshop. In this hands-on activity kids design and construct their own cardboard gingerbread houses. This event is recommended for kids ages 4 through 6. The workshop will be on Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Do you have an event you'd like added to our list? Email the information and any links to!