December Guide to Family Events in and around Indianapolis


The holiday season is in full effect! Here is our December round up of our favorite family events right here in Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

December 1 – December 24

A Christmas Carol – Indianapolis – Indiana Repertory Theatre – 1 p.m. 

Join Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and three lively ghosts on a dark, snowy journey that leads to a bright new day of joy, hope and renewal. Banish your bah humbugs, and celebrate the holiday season with Indy’s favorite family tradition.

Cost: $25 and up

December 1 – January 15

Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure – Indianapolis – Eiteljorg Museum – 10 a.m.

One of Indianapolis’ most popular family holiday traditions returns. Be one of the first to experience the Eiteljorg’s magical holiday model train exhibit Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure. Journey through a locomotive wonderland as trains wind past icons of Indianapolis and the American West.

Cost: Museum admission

December 1 – January 7

Chinese Lantern Festival  – Indiana State Fairgrounds – 5:30 p.m.

Produced by Tianyu Arts and Culture, Inc., the Lantern Festival will illuminate the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center with 33 sets of larger-than-life lantern displays and more than 1000 LED light components. Each display is handmade and custom built by dozens of Chinese artisans who travel the world to keep this centuries-old tradition alive. Visitors will explore both the ancient culture of China while learning about the Chinese traditions of today by taking a walking interactive tour of breathtaking displays, including a 100 ft. long Chinese dragon and a 30 ft. tall traditional Chinese arch. The festival also features nightly performances by Chinese acrobats, traditional Chinese handicraft demonstrations, and the flavors of traditional Chinese cuisine.

Cost: $15, adult; $12, seniors 65+ and military; $10, child; free, children four and under. Parking is $5.

All of December

Reynolds Christmas Lights Display – Fishers – Reynolds Farm Equipment

Check out the FREE annual Christmas lights display held at the Fishers store location! An annual treat of amazing light displays for kids and adults alike.

Cost: Free admission

December 1 – 10

A Kaleidoscope of Christmas – Indiana Repertory Theatre 

Come get merry with us! This year, we’re offering festive Christmas performances that are a great alternative to the more traditional holiday shows out there. Ceremony of Carols is a beautiful piece that features dancers in angelic white costumes by Cheryl Sparks, dancing to the glorious music of Benjamin Britten. Act two (World Christmas Kaleidoscope) will be a smorgasbord of music and styles from all over the globe

Cost: Various prices

All of December

Christmas at the Zoo – Indianapolis Zoo – 5 p.m.

It will be an exciting year at Christmas at the Zoo presented by and Donatos and Teachers Cre​dit Union with an all-new, enchanted Santa’s Village under the Bicentennial Pavilion. Magical scenes of wonder and light will fill Santa’s Village where you can decorate delectable cookies in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, visit with Santa in his charming study and see Santa’s reindeer in his barn.

Cost: Zoo admission

All of December

Circle of Lights – Indianapolis – Monument Circle

Come see the annual spectacular, highly acclaimed Circle of Lights in downtown Indianapolis.

Cost: Free

December 1 – January 7

Celebration Crossing – Indiana State Museum – 10 a.m. 

This year’s Celebration Crossing comes alive with holiday merriment from the sounds of bands, bell and vocal choirs and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will entertain visitors in their cozy home through Dec. 24. Early risers may join Mrs. Claus, Raggedy Ann and Santa’s Elves for breakfast and late sleepers may join Santa for supper. Children of all ages may ride on the Santa Claus Express, make crafts to take home and take advantage of a playscape for pre-school and primary elementary aged children in Santa’s Playground.

Cost: Museum admission

December 1 – 23

A Beef & Boards Christmas – Indianapolis – 9301 Michigan Road

Beef & Boards celebrates in style with its annual crowd pleaser. A glittering array of music and dance numbers, presented in a variety show format, create the perfect holiday tradition.

Cost: Various

December 1 – 24

Christkindlmarkt – 10 Center Green – Carmel, IN, Between The Palladium and The Tarkington Theater – 1 p.m.

The Carmel Christkindlmarkt is bringing the charm of a long standing European tradition to the heart of Carmel, Indiana. One of the earliest of these markets was the 16th century Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany and the wonderful tradition has now spread worldwide. Guests will experience one of a kind, high quality, handmade gifts, Germanic inspired food, drink and ice skating.

Cost: Free admission

December 1 – January 6

Festival of Trees – Indiana Historical Society – 10 a.m.

The Indiana Historical Society’s (IHS’s) popular Festival of Trees holiday exhibit now includes 80 beautifully themed trees, plus a special 30-foot show-stopper tree that guests will have to see to believe.

Cost: $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children, ages 5-17   

December 1 – 10

A World of Christmas – Indiana Repertory Theatre – 2:30 p.m.

Get merry with DK! This year, Dance Kaleidoscope is offering festive Christmas performances to celebrate the elegance and merriment of the season. Experience holiday joy through dance.

Cost: $10-$27

December 1 and 2

Candlelight Christmas Concert – St. Luke’s United Methodist Church – 7:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church will treat the Indianapolis community to a top-notch Christmas concert, with free performances. It’s a gift that is designed to keep on giving. This year’s theme, “Welcome Christmas! Sing a Song of Hope,” includes the holiday classics as well as a special guest appearance from two-time Grammy award-winning vocalist, Sylvia McNair. Additionally, the 140-voice St. Luke’s Chancel Choir will be joined by St. Luke’s “New Song” ensemble, Chorale, Wesleyan Ringers, and the St. Luke’s Orchestra.

Cost: Various

December 1 and 2

Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre’s The Nutcracker – Pike Performing Arts Center – 7 p.m.

A full-­length, contemporary version of T​he Nutcracker ​will be presented by local dance students and the dancers of G2, the talented pre­professional company of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre.

Cost: $15, students/seniors; $25, adults

December 2

Cereal Cinema: The Polar Express – Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields – 10 a.m.

Cereal Cinemas combine two of the best things about Saturday mornings, cereal and a classic movie. Get in the Halloween spirit with the 1993 flick Hocus Pocus. Cereal buffet included with tickets. Coffee for tired parents available for $1. For ages 6 and over.

Cost: $6   

December 2 – 24

Christmas at the Puppet Studio – Peewinkle’s Puppet Studio at Indiana State Museum

Bring the whole family to the Christmas marionette variety show that is hosted by the two crazy mice that live in the piano. Uplifting music and audience participation will put everyone into the holiday spirit. Free popcorn!

Cost: $12; free for children under two  

December 3

Butler Ballet: The Nutracker – Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University – 12 p.m.

The grand holiday tradition continues as Butler Ballet proudly presents the only fully staged production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in central Indiana. Be dazzled and delighted by spectacular dancing, beautiful costumes, glorious scenery, and pyrotechnical magic as the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s music is brought to life by the Butler Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir under the direction of Richard Auldon Clark.

Cost: Various

December 6

Holiday Cheer at Delaware – Indianapolis Propylaeum – 4:30 p.m.

Kick off the holiday season with a fun and festive Open House. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Bring your friends and enjoy our beautiful building decorated with holiday cheer.

Cost: Free admission

December 7

A Candlelit Evening on Delaware Street – Indianapolis – The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Suite, 1230 North Delaware Street – 5:30 p.m. 

Join us for A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street fundraising event of historic house tours and elegant dining. This event is a lovely way to celebrate the winter holidays with family or friends! Each building’s history will be shared, and guests will be able to walk through and explore each location. This is a walking tour that includes the use of stairs to fully view each location.
Cost: $75-$80

December 7  – 10

Completely Christmas – Memories, Mistletoe, and Manger Included – The Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel – 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Favorites return to the Studio Theater stage with new songs to tickle your funny bone and warm your hearts as we celebrate the 2017 Christmas season!

Cost: $20-$40            

December 8 – 23

Dinner with Santa – Conner Prairie – 6 p.m.

Enjoy a delicious dinner, decorate cookies, and visit Santa in person. Sit in awe and wonder as Santa recites his beloved rendition of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Join Santa in song, and after filling your bellies with a delectable dinner, sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas. After your meal, get creative and decorate your own Christmas cookie!

Cost: $23.95-$25.95, adults; $11.95-$13.95, youth 2-12 

December 8 – 23

Conner Prairie by Candlelight – Conner Prairie – 6 p.m.

This family friendly, 90-minute walking tour takes you back in time to 1836 Prairietown where it’s the night before Christmas.

Cost: $14-$16, adults; $11-$13 , youth (2-12). Group pricing ($15, adults; $12, youth) available for groups of 15 or more.

December 9 and 10

Breakfast with Santa – Conner Prairie – 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Have breakfast, share some laughs, and visit Santa. Sit in awe and wonder as Santa recites his beloved rendition of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Join Santa in song, and after filling your bellies with a scrumptious breakfast, sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas. After your meal, get creative and decorate your own Christmas cookie!

Cost: $18.95-$21.95, adults; $9.95-$12.95, youth (ages 2-12)

December 9

Christmas at Garfield – Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens – 10 a.m.

Visit the Conservatory to meet Santa and see Conservatory Crossing, the holiday train and poinsettia show. You can also visit the Arts Center to make toys with Santa’s elves and head to the Burrello Family Center where Mrs. Claus will have some tasty treats. All activities are free. Bring your own camera to take photos with Santa.

Cost: Free admission   Website 

December 9

Annual Candlelight Tour – Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections, 111 E. Main St., Carmel, IN 46032 – 4 p.m.

Rare opportunity to see the Museum of Miniature Houses at night. Enjoy our collection of fine scale miniatures, holiday decorations, and special holiday exhibits. Carolers will visit throughout the evening.

Cost: Museum admission    

December 10

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage – Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University – 1 p.m.

The classic animated television special comes to life on stage! This faithful adaptation features all your favorite characters and classic Vince Guaraldi score. Join, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they mount a play, save a tree and uncover the true meaning of Christmas.

Cost: Various

December 10

Greenwood Community Band Christmas Concert – Greenwood High School –  2 p.m.

Join us for the most festive concert of the year! With our live concert band playing your Christmas favorites under the spotlights, this will get you into the spirit of the season with live music and a special visit from jolly man in the red suit. Kids from ONE to NINETY TWO will enjoy this special live event.

Cost: Free, but please bring a canned good item 

December 12

99.5 Jingle Jam – Bankers Life Fieldhouse – 7:30 p.m.

Big concert event featuring The Chainsmokers, Backstreet Boys, Zedd, Hey Violet, and Why Won’t We.

Cost: Various

December 12 – 15

‘Twas the Night Before – Benjamin Harrison Presidential Suite – Various Times

Gather your family close and join the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in creating new holiday memories at a special Candlelight Theatre event! “Twas the Night Before…”, written by James Trofatter, offers a heartwarming interactive theatre experience for all ages in the historic Harrison mansion. Sip on hot cider, enjoy complimentary treats, and be delighted by holiday figures from tradition and folklore, as well as new jolly friends.

Cost: Various

December 14

Celtic Thunder Holiday Symphony Tour – The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts – 7:30 p.m.

On its second tour with a full symphony, Celtic Thunder will perform highlights from its most popular productions as well as songs from the chart-topping albums Celtic Thunder Christmas and The Classic Christmas Album, with solo and ensemble numbers featuring the five male vocalists – Damian McGinty, Ryan Kelly, Emmet Cahill, Neil Byrne and Michael O’Dwyer. Named Billboard’s Top World Music Album Artist three times, Celtic Thunder has performed at the White House, on the Today show and for multiple PBS specials.

Cost: Various

December 16

A Christmas Story Day – Indiana Historical Society – 12 p.m.

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” It’s time to celebrate the iconic film A Christmas Story, which is set in Hoosier-land. Visit the History Center for an afternoon full of themed trivia, photo ops and Chinese take-out crafts. Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine in preparation for a decoding challenge. Festival of Trees is included with admission.

Cost: $9 adults; $8 seniors; $5 children ages 5-17

December 17

Conductor Cody’s Christmas Express – Indy Fringe, 719 E. St. Clair St., Indy Eleven Theatre, Indianapolis – 2 p.m.

All aboard! In the vein of classic holiday movies such as The Polar Express, Cody will take your family on a train trip to the North Pole, with each stop featuring fun Christmas and railroading themed magic routines. Using magic, audience participation, and creative storytelling, Conductor Cody’s Christmas Express will give your family some great holiday memories!

Cost: $15, adults; $12, kids under 12    

December 21 – 23

Christmas Through the Ages, Indy Fringe, 719 E. St. Clair St., Indy Eleven Theatre, Indianapolis, 7 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The hysterically historical holiday musical is a fun-filled family journey through the history of the holiday season and all of its music and traditions. Julie Lyn Barber stars alongside Dave Ruark and Sage Murrell in this fast-paced collection of humorous and endearing stories and music ranging from early chants to medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, Victorian and contemporary. A warm and light-hearted show for the whole family!

Cost: $15-$20            

December 23

Canadian Brass Christmas – The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts – 8 p.m.

Since forming in the 1970s, this distinctive chamber quintet has toured the world and released over 100 albums as the leading standard bearer for the role of brass in classical music. Comprising tuba, trombone, horn and trumpets, Canadian Brass was the first Western brass ensemble to perform in the People’s Republic of China and the first to take the main stage at Carnegie Hall. In this special holiday performance, the group will perform a broad range of classical, traditional and pop tunes reflecting the spirit of the season.

Cost: Various

December 24

Free Admission Day – Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – 10 a.m.

The museum is free for all families on Christmas Eve. This is your last chance to visit Santa before he heads off for his busy night delivering toys!

Cost: Free admission

December 30 – 31

Paw Patrol Live – The Great Pirate Adventure – Old National Centre

A full-­length, contemporary version of T​he Nutcracker ​will be presented by local dance students and the dancers of G2, the talented pre­professional company of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre.

Cost: $22 and up                       

December 31

Downtown Indy Inc.’s New Year’s Eve on Georgia Street – 8 p.m.

Georgia Street is the place to be this New Year’s Eve! Come for an exciting entertainment line-up, stimulating sights, plenty of food and drink and a unique midnight extravaganza. Downtown Indy, Inc.’s 4th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration brought to you by The Indiana Union Construction Industry promises to be the best party in the city.

Cost: Free admission