Merry Christmas! It’s December. I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. Does anyone feel like the last few months went by fast? Honestly, this is my favorite time of the year and my favorite holiday! The decorations, the music and all the holiday events in Indianapolis. If you are in or around the city this time of year here are 5 must do things in Indianapolis in December with your family.
Indianapolis Family Events
Festival of Trees
Experience the joy of the holiday season at the History Center! From classic decor to the downright creative, 80 elaborately decorated trees will be displayed at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center to delight people of all ages.
There’s something magical happening every day, and you’ll want to check out our special programs, too. Bring the kids and grandkids to the Sugarplum Breakfast to meet characters from The Nutcracker, imbibe in craft brews at Good Beers and Ugly Sweaters and channel Ralphie at A Christmas Story Day.
Take part in scavenger hunts for The Elf on the Shelf or the Weihnachtzgurke, 10 pickle ornaments hidden in trees throughout the building. When legs get weary, guests are invited to take a break in the Cole Porter Room, where a singer leads guests through holiday-themed songs, as well as popular Porter standards.
Festival of Trees is presented by The Salvation Army, with support from The Mothershead Foundation, OneAmerica and MacAllister machinery.
The trees are so pretty in the twilight! Experience the holiday enchantment Dec. 16-23 when the History Center stays open until 8 pm.
Admission: $13, adults; $12, seniors (60 and over); $5, youth (5-11); free for children under 5.
Grab your Festival of Tree tickets here.
Jolly Days at the Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum rings in the holidays with cheer. There are so many things to do with with the family that the kids will enjoy as well. There’s the Yule Slide to enjoy. The warmest skating pond in the city. It may not be real but kids enjoy it all the same. There’s a reindeer barn and chance to see Santa in addition to all the other activities at the museum. Find out all the activities at Jolly Days Winter Wonderland at the Children’s Museum.
Lights at the Brickyard
Starting on November 17th the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens to celebrate the their annual inaugural holiday event. Lights at the Brickyard is usually a 1.7 mile drive-through holiday display with 2.5 million bright lights illuminating an expanded lineup of colorful displays, but last year they expanded this and now travels through the IMS infield and along the front stretch of the historic oval—will cross the world-famous Yard of Bricks start-finish line.
In addition to more lights than ever before, this year marks the addition of limited out-of-car experiences for the first time.
- “Santa Nights at the IMS Museum” – Dec. 2 and Dec. 9
- River West Coffee Truck for purchase of hot chocolate, coffee, and other sweet holiday treats. Check IMS social media
- Special photo opportunities near the IMS Museum fountain.
Purchase tickets from November 16 – December 30, 2019. Purchase tickets Monday-Wednesday: $25 per car, Thursday-Sunday: $30 per car or get speedy tickets for $50. Get tickets here.
What is a Christkindlmarkt? Christkindlmarkts are holiday markets traditionally found in Europe, dating back to the Middle Ages in Saxony, Germany. The markets are a winter tradition with holiday food, drink, gifts and decorations. Here you’ll find hand-crafted wooden toys, artwork and more.
Inside the perimeter of the Carmel Christkindlmarkt is an outdoor ice skating rink, the Ice at Center Green. Bring your own skates or rent on-site and glide through a winter wonderland. The ice rink will be open past the holiday season to enjoy all winter long. Reservations can be made online. Skate sessions last 75 to 90 minutes.
The hours for both the Christkindlmarkt and The Ice at Center Green during the 2019 market season are as follows:
November 16 – December 24
Wednesday & Thursday, 4 – 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 12 – 9 p.m.
Sunday, 12 – 9 p.m.
Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo
The Indianapolis Zoo with celebrate its 50th annual holiday event with Santa workshop, carolers, holiday photos and more at the zoo. Christmas at the Zoo has been voted in the top five of USA Today’s 10 Best Zoo Lights for three years in a row!
Enjoy lights and see animals exhibits that will be open later just for you staring November 23. This year they are offering more opportunities to visit, with Mondays and Tuesdays added in as well as extended hours until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.. Find out more details at Indianapolis Zoo.