Nov 22, 2023 - Things to Do

Your guide to holiday events in Indianapolis

Fake snow falls on a german Christmas market

Fake snow at the Athenaeum's Christkindlmarkt is the cherry on top of the picturesque market. Photo: Arika Herron/Axios

The weekend after Thanksgiving is the unofficial start of the Christmas holiday season, which means holiday-themed events and markets are in full swing.

Here are all the best ways to get in the spirit, starting this long weekend:

πŸŽ„ Wander through a winter wonderland at Newfields' Winterlights, where walking paths take guests past thousands of twinkling lights making a delightful stroll through the gardens β€” now through Jan. 7.

πŸš— Rather drive through the lights? Head to the Indiana State Fairgrounds Christmas Nights of Lights to see more than 1 million lights synchronized to music through your car stereo β€” now through Dec. 31.

  • $30 per car.

🐧 Get wild and do Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo. See the lights, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, chill with the penguins β€” now through Dec. 30.

  • Included with zoo admission, price varies.

πŸŽ…πŸ» Put a twinkle in your eye at the Circle of Lights, the annual lighting of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Monument Circle.

  • Festivities start at 5pm Friday, with the lighting at 6:50pm.

⛸️ Get transported to another time at Carmel's Christkindlmarkt, during which part of City Center turns into a traditional German market with food, drink, ice skating and shopping.

  • Open 4-9pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 9pm Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 8pm Sundays.

🎁 Take in the Christkindlmarkt, but make it downtown. The Athenaeum Foundation is bringing back its Christkindlmarkt at the Rathskeller Biergarten with music, food, handicrafts and more starting noon Friday and then every weekend through Dec. 17.

  • Regular hours: 4-8pm Fridays, noon to 8pm Saturdays and noon to 5pm Sundays.

❄️ Hop on the Snowfall Express at the Indiana State Museum's Celebration Crossing, then get your photo with Santa and visit his reindeer.

  • Opens 11am Friday and runs through Dec. 31. Included with museum admission, $19 for adults/$13 for children.

πŸšƒ Bring your own drinks aboard the Holiday Lights Trolley for a tour of Christmas spirit around Indianapolis. See light displays, visit a holiday market or stop at a Christmas-themed bar on one of two tour options.

  • Tickets are $79. Various dates and times Saturday through Dec. 23.
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