Christmas at the Zoo

One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit in Indianapolis is with a visit to the Indianapolis Zoo for Christmas at the Zoo. This beloved light display began in 1967 with just a few lightbulbs and has now grown into a spectacular 40-acre walkthrough exhibit with over one million twinkling lights. Christmas at the Zoo takes visitors through a winter wonderland of larger-than-life animal-themed light displays, animated light shows choreographed to holiday music, a magical twisting tunnel of lights, a 43-foot tree, and more. You’ll see favorite zoo animals like penguins, giraffes, and lions transformed into glittering light sculptures. Kids and adults alike will delight in the magical glow. The event runs select nights from mid-November through December 30th, so you have plenty of time to experience the magic. Ticket prices vary by date for Christmas at the Zoo. Make sure to bundle up, as the event takes place outdoors.

Address: Christmas at the Zoo 1200 West Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46222

Phone: (317) 630-2001

Carols and Cocoa

For a more low-key indoor holiday event, head to the Indiana State Museum for their annual Carols and Cocoa event. This family-friendly celebration includes live musical performances from school choirs and musical groups from around the state. As you listen to the carols, sip on free hot cocoa or apple cider and nibble on holiday cookies. Carols and Cocoa is a chance to bask in the holiday spirit with festive music and delicious seasonal treats. The event takes place in the museum’s Grand Hall, which will be decked out with twinkling lights, garlands, wreaths, and poinsettias to set the festive mood. Don’t miss the 19-foot holiday tree! Throughout the evening, kids can write letters to Santa at the North Pole Post Office while adults browse the holiday pop-up shop. This old-fashioned, budget-friendly event makes for a special family night or group outing during the busy holiday season. Carols and Cocoa is held on select evenings in early December at the Indiana State Museum.

Address: Indiana State Museum – 650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: (317) 232-1637

Circle of Lights Celebration

On the day after Thanksgiving, downtown Indianapolis lights up with the annual Circle of Lights Celebration. This free evening event marks the official start of the holiday season in Indy. Gather with friends or family in downtown’s Monument Circle for live entertainment, music, special guest appearances, and the lighting ceremony for the towering Soldiers and Sailors Monument Christmas tree. At over 250 feet tall when lit, it’s the nation’s tallest permanent outdoor Christmas tree! Before the tree lighting, you can enjoy free hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn, and more. Local school choirs and bands entertain the crowd with beloved holiday tunes as everyone eagerly awaits the countdown to the lighting ceremony. Once the switch is flipped, the towering Monument tree glows brightly with 4,784 multicolored LED lights strung from top to bottom. The surrounding downtown buildings also illuminate in celebratory lights to complete the spectacular scene. After the dazzling lighting ceremony, stick around downtown to check out the Medallion of Lights on the Circle, the arrival of the Santa Claus parade, and other holiday festivities. With free admission and entertainment, Circle of Lights is one of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit with your Indianapolis Party Bus party bus or charter bus group.

Address: Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Pan Am Plaza

If you’re looking for festive winter fun with your group, lace up your skates and hit the ice! From November through February, downtown Indianapolis transforms Pan Am Plaza into the Ice at Pan Am Plaza, a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink. Glide across the real ice on skates as holiday music plays. The open-air rink provides a unique urban skating experience, with the Indianapolis skyline as your backdrop. The Ice at Pan Am Plaza also offers fun programming like parent/child skate times, curling opportunities, Skate with Santa, and more. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends. Before your skating adventure, fuel up on hot chocolate, cider, and snacks from the Plaza Café.

Address: 201 S Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46225

Phone: (317) 237-3627

Winterlights at Newfields

Newfields, the expansive art, nature, and garden campus north of downtown Indy, dazzles each November and December with their indoor and outdoor holiday light display called Winterlights. Winterlights transforms Newfields’ campus into a twinkling winter dreamscape, with creative, interactive light displays throughout the gardens, grounds, and inside The Lume immersive digital art gallery. Delight in the spectacle of larger-than-life light installations like the Cathedral of Light, Reindeer Crossing, and the Poinsettia Canopy Walk. See floral designs, trees, and fountains illuminated in colorful lights with the Lilly House mansion as a stately backdrop. Enjoy a mug of hot cider or cocoa as you explore this Instagram-worthy wonderland along the peaceful winter garden pathways. Kids will love sending digital postcards in The Lume’s Enchanted Portal, meeting characters like the Winter Princess, and riding the carousel.

Address: 4000 Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Phone: (317) 920-2660

Sip Holiday Cheer on a Yuletide Hike and Brews Tour

For a 21+ holiday outing with a twist, book a special seasonal Hike and Brews Tour with Indy Brew Bus. These popular tours combine autumn or winter hikes through Indianapolis parks and brewery stops at local taprooms. The Yuletide Hike and Brews Tour takes you on a brisk hike through Holliday Park to see the park’s holiday lights display, Indiana’s only sculpture garden, and the White River. After your hike, you’ll embark on an exclusive guided brewery tour at hoppin’ Metazoa Brewing Co. The tour includes a flight of Metazoa’s beers plus a Christmas cookie pairing, brewery tours, and more. Indy Brew Bus – Yuletide Hike and Brews Tour

Phone: (317) 602-3707

Conner Prairie

Travel back in time to experience an 1836 Indiana Christmas at Conner Prairie Living History Museum’s annual Christmas at Conner Prairie festival. This interactive event brings Christmas traditions of the past to life. Throughout the museum’s grounds and historical buildings, costumed interpreters demonstrate 19th-century Christmas customs, decorations, food, music, and more. Help prepare a Victorian Christmas feast, create historically inspired crafts and decorations, and meet heritage breed farm animals like Ox Stanley who help with Christmas tasks. Kids can also share their wish lists with Father Christmas himself at the Children’s Area or go on a scavenger hunt around Conner Prairie’s early Indiana town to win a special prize. With candlelit dinners, model trains, visits with Santa, and pop-up musical performances, this trip to the past immerses guests in an old-fashioned Christmas from the 1800s. Christmas at Conner Prairie takes place on select dates in late November and December.

Address: 13400 Allisonville Rd, Fishers, IN 46038

Phone: (317) 776-6000

Toast the Season on a Holiday Lights Tour

One of the simplest and most festive ways to enjoy the holidays in Indianapolis is on a holiday lights tour aboard an Indianapolis Party Bus party bus or charter bus. Leave the driving to a professional as you cozy up with your group and cruise by the best residential light displays around the city. Choose from public tours or book a private holiday lights tour. Public Jingle Bus tours depart nightly from downtown Indy from mid-November through December. These 3-hour tours with Indy Holiday Tours hit neighborhoods with the best lights and holiday attractions around the city.

Rent with Indianapolis Party Bus to Hit Every Holiday Attraction

However you choose to celebrate the holidays in Indianapolis this season–from zoo lights to skating, historical events to residential displays-let Indianapolis Party Bus provide transportation for your group. Our party buses, charter buses, and group transportation rentals can conveniently shuttle you around the city to all of Indy’s best attractions at the holidays and year-round. Renting a charter bus or party bus takes the hassle out of holiday travel, parking, and coordination. Leave the driving to our professional team while you relax and create memories with your group. Our team handles all the logistics so that you can focus on celebrating. Choose from a variety of bus sizes and transportation options to meet your group’s needs. Contact Indianapolis Party Bus at (317) 678-9118 today to book your holiday lights tour, trip to Christmas at the Zoo, outing to Winterlights at Newfields, and more. Let us make planning your ideal Indy holiday celebration easy, festive, and fun. Happy holidays from your friends at Indianapolis Party Bus!