Top Indiana Annual Christmas Festivities & Events
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! At least, in my opinion. And according to one of the most popular Christmas songs written by songwriters Edward Pola and George Wyle in 1963. I love Christmas in Indiana and throughout the Midwest. This is why I’ve compiled a list of the best places to visit in Indiana over the holidays. These are personal and public favorites of Indiana’s most magical and spirited Christmas activities and events.
These “worth the drive” events and festivities are traditions held yearly. Make a special occasion out of holidays by taking family and friends out to visit these holiday activities, see lights, and make new traditions. Shop local for Christmas with event vendors, and enjoy fresh, homemade goodies from local artisans and chefs.
Conner Prairie lights up every evening from the end of November through December for A Merry Prairie Holiday. Step back in time as Prairietown celebrates historic holiday traditions with caroling, homemade Christmas decorations, and candlelit buildings. Lights, music, displays, and a ride on the Kringle Carousel accompany the Winter Wonderland Stroll. Reynold’s Christmas Lights is an enormous walk-through Christmas lights display, and don’t forget to take the Polar Bear Plunge and visit Santa’s Workshop while you are there! Conner Prairie is one of the 100 Things To Do In Indiana Before You Die.
Bridgeton is known for its mill, covered bridge, and participation in the famous Parke County Covered Bridge Festival every October, but they are also home to the Bridgeton County Christmas. It is held the last full weekend in November and the first weekend in December at The 1878 Barn, Collom’s General Store, and the Artisans Barn at the Mill.
It’s the top Christmas Market in the state and has been winning awards since it opened in 2017. It is a traditional European-themed Christmas market, generally opened mid-November through the end of December. The market features food and gift vendors, a Kid’s Club, and 10 Center Green ice skating. It’s free to visit, and there are daily activities, live music, and demonstrations. Santa visits on Sundays.
Open Thanksgiving weekend and the first weekend in December, the Christkindlmarkt LaPorte is a smaller Christmas market in NorthWest Indiana featuring vendors, food, ice skating, and entertainment. The market is open daily, and you can pre-order Christmas trees online to be picked up after the market ends.
Indianapolis’ most timed tradition is still holding strong. The Circle of Lights at Monument Circle in Downtown Indy features 52 garland strands with 4,784 colored lights strung from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to form a “tree.” It is festively lit from the end of November through mid-January and is commonly surrounded by live music and illumination of lights from surrounding local businesses. A Holiday Projection Show runs nightly for five minutes at 6:45 p.m., 7:05 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 8:45 p.m., 10:15 p.m., and 11:05 p.m. between November 26 and December 25. It’s a popular spot for iconic Indiana Christmas photos.
The Enchanted Luminara Walk at Minnetrista is a free holiday event on the first weekend of every December. Take a walk through enchanting lights and lantern-lit walkways, and enjoy sweet treats, a winter craft, and holiday shopping.
French Lick, Indiana
The 50 Days of Lights are held mid-November through early January at the French Lick Resort. Visitors can visit the resort without staying overnight (except West Baden’s opening night) to see the Christmas decorations, dine, see the Christmas Village and Santa, participate in the activities, and shop. The French Lick Springs Hotel Projection Light Show plays an 8-minute 3D animation on the exterior of the Spa Wing of the French Lick Springs Hotel every hour between 6 pm and 9 pm. The French Lick Resort is one of the 100 Things To Do In Indiana Before You Die, and it is especially spectacular at Christmas.
Starting the first weekend after Thanksgiving through December, the Metamora Old Fashion Christmas Walk is one of Indiana’s most popular and historic holiday events. It’s the most popular time of the year in Metamora, Indiana’s Canal Town, and home to the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site. The Metamora Village is decorated for Christmas; they have activities and live music. They have special late hours for shopping on Friday and Saturday nights, and lanterns are lit along the canal at dusk. The Historic Village of Metamora is one of the 100 Things To Do In Indiana Before You Die.
2022 marks forty years of celebrating the Nights Before Christmas Tour in Madison. On the last weekend in November and the first weekend in December, tour the Lanier Mansion, the Jefferson County History Center, Historic Madison, Inc.’s Schroeder Saddletree Factory, the Masonic Schofield House, private homes, and other locations that open up in the evening to ticketed guests. It’s a special candlelit event.
Santa Claus, Indiana
Where’s the best place to celebrate Christmas in Indiana? In America’s Christmas Hometown! Yes, there is a Santa Claus, Indiana. And they celebrate Christmas all year, but in December, they have three weekends of holiday activities and events for the whole family. Including a reindeer experience at Santa’s TOYS, chestnuts roasting at Santa’s Candy Castle, and a drive through the Santa Claus Land of Lights.
Every November and December, the Wellfield Botanical Gardens turns into the Winter Wonderland of Holiday Lights. The ½-mile Promenade Pathway glows with holiday lights, sounds, and displays during the light show. A catering tent is available for food, hot beverages, and shopping in the Visitors’ Cottage.
More than one and a half million lights are added and arranged in the Gardens at Newfields for Winterlights, an event from November through January. It’s an outdoor, self-guided walking tour through the gardens and is mesmerizing and magical to experience. The Lilly Allée will display Landscape of Light dancing to the Nutcracker across it.