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December plan ahead: Indy’s can’t-miss winter events

Check out winter and holiday-themed events happening in and around Indy in this seasonal guide.

INDYtoday: INDY_Eiteljorg Jingle Rails Christmas Train_NOV23

The landscape of Jingle Rails is made up of miniature buildings built with natural materials such as twigs, sycamore leaves, pinecone scales, walnut shells, and cinnamon sticks.

Table of Contents

All we want for Christmas is winter in the Circle City.

Make your wish come true with this guide to December’s jolliest events, as told by the bridge of the Christmas bop to rule them all.

All the lights are shining so brightly everywhere

  • Circle of Lights | Now-Friday, Jan. 12 | 6-8 p.m. | Monument Circle | Free | See Indy’s most honored holiday tradition on the Circle with 4,784 colored lights strung on the monument to create a tree.
  • Christmas Nights of Lights | Now-Sunday, Dec. 31 | 6-10 p.m. | Indiana State Fairgrounds | $30 per car | Drive through this light display set to the holiday classics you know and love.
  • Winterlights at Newfields | Now-Sunday, Jan. 7 | 5-9 p.m. | Newfields, 4000 Michigan St. | $24+ | See more than a million and a half lights aglow for the seventh season of this walking holiday experience.
  • A Merry Prairie Holiday | Now-Friday, Dec. 22 | 5:30-9:30 p.m. | Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers | $22 | Explore acres of holiday lights and take part in festive activities like tubing and caroling.
INDYtoday: INDY_Newfields Winterlights Christmas ornament_NOV23

Take a stroll through beautifully lit holiday scenes at Winterlights, including this giant ornament.

Photo by INDYtoday team

    And the sound of children’s laughter fills the air

    • Christmas at the Zoo | Now-Saturday, Dec. 30 | 5-9 p.m. | Indianapolis Zoo | $16.25+ | Check out this holiday tradition at the zoo dating back to 1967 with lights, penguin encounters, and a visit to Mrs. Claus’ kitchen and Santa’s barn.
    • WinterFaire | Now-Sunday, Feb. 11 | Times vary | Children’s Museum of Indianapolis | Included with admission | Explore this magical indoor world featuring a festive, carnival-like atmosphere, fun-filled games, lovable critters, and hands-on activities.
    • Jingle Rails | Now-Monday, Jan. 15 | Times vary | Eiteljorg Museum | Included with admission |Watch nine G-Scale trains winding through a winter wonderland comprised of stunning landscapes and past iconic landmarks of Indianapolis and the west.
    • Broad Ripple Lights Up Festival | Sunday, Dec. 3 | 3-6 p.m. | Broad Ripple Village | Free | Kick off the holidays with this annual festival featuring children’s activities, live musical performances, and a parade.
    Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra 1 .jpeg

    Who doesn’t want to see dancing Santas?

    Photo provided by Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

    And everyone is singin’

    • AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration | Friday, Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 23 | Times vary | Hilbert Circle Theatre, 45 Monument Circle | $40+ | Broadway star Ben Crawford is coming back to light up the stage with his amazing vocal talent.
    • Rejoice! | Friday, Dec. 8-Saturday, Dec. 9 | 7:30 p.m. | Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University, 4602 Sunset Ave. | Free | Enjoy this annual holiday tradition with 150+ singers, readers, and instrumentalists decked out in festive regalia.
    • The Ghosts of Christmas Eve: The Best of TSO and More | Tuesday, Dec. 26 | Times vary | Gainbridge Fieldhouse | $49+ | Listen to this legendary rock band sleigh the holiday classics.

    I hear those sleigh bells ringin’

    • Festival of Trees | Now-Saturday, Jan. 6 | Times vary | Indiana Historical Society | $15 | Enjoy a winter wonderland with more than 75 elaborately decorated trees.
    • Carmel Christkindlmarkt | Now-Sunday, Dec. 24 | Times vary | 10 Carter Green, Carmel | Cost of purchase | Check out this traditional German holiday market that’s been voted the best in America by USA Today’s 10 Best.
    • Athenaeum Christkindlmarkt | Now-Sunday, Dec. 17 | Times vary | 401 E. Michigan St. | Cost of purchase | A traditional German holiday market comes to downtown Indy in this festival featuring food, drinks, local vendors, and live entertainment.
    • Conservatory Crossing | Now-Sunday, Dec. 31 | Times vary | Garfield Park Conservatory | $5 | See the conservatory decked out in its holiday best with a brilliant display of poinsettias, model trains, and a village among thousands of twinkling lights.