Christmas in the Midwest has its own special charm, amidst the snow and cold. Indianapolis has no shortage of great reasons to visit during the holiday season. Here are 11 reasons why Indy should be on your “to do” list for holiday travel with your family this season:
- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the world’s largest Christmas tree. At the epicenter of downtown Indy stands the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which on November 23, will be lit with nearly 5,000 lights forming a 242-foot tall Christmas tree. Affectionately known as the Circle of Lights, this tree has been named by Travelocity as one of the top 5 must see Christmas trees in the nation.
- According to Forbes, Indy has been named one of the nation’s top ten best shopping cities. I have to agree. Broad Ripple Avenue has some fun shops and I particularly enjoyed shopping at Pitaya when I was there earlier this year!
- Dancing Santas and larger-than-life puppetry make up one of Indy’s beloved holiday traditions at the annual Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s, Yuletide Celebration. This year’s month-long show stars Broadway’s best, Ben Crawford and the sounds of Indy’s symphony.
- Indy is home to some of the best hot chocolate in the Midwest: Trader’s Point Creamery. This urban organic dairy farm serves up 100 percent organic hot chocolate sourced right from their backyard.
- As racing capital of the world, Santa arrives in Indy in a rather special way. IndyCars, of course! On November 23rd, Santa will race into the world’s largest children’s museum in a real IndyCar, slide down the one-story Yule Slide, join families on the “pond” with sock ice skating, climb in the Snow Castle, and “ice” fish. Join Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for a month of Jolly Days!
- Over 1,200 feet of railroad take over the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian & Western Art for a popular Indy tradition called Jingle Rails. Trains pass through large scale local treasures of Indy and then out through the Great West passing legendary sites, including grand railway lodges, Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Falls and more.
- If it’s the perfect gag gift you’re looking for, try A Christmas Story’s famed leg lamp. With one of the most popular Christmas movies being set in Indiana, this city has an abundance of leg lamps for sale. Check out Indiana Historical Society’s gift shop.
- The Indianapolis Zoo was the first US zoo to have an annual holiday lights display, which still exists today with Christmas at the Zoo. Visitors enjoy a night jaunt through the zoo blanketed with tons of sparkling Christmas lights.
- Holiday shoppers flee to Indy each year, many walking under and never knowing of the deepest Indy holiday tradition, the cherub. After World War II ended, now famous commercial artist Virginia Holmes moved to Indy to work in advertising at the L.S. Ayres department store (now Macy’s Department Store). With merchandise supply short and a catalog to fill, she created the whimsical cherub figure. Customer response to the cherub was so great the store created a bronze structure to sit atop their outdoor landmark clock. When the store’s headquarters moved to St. Louis, there was a public outcry to get the cherub back – which Indy did. The Cherub still mysteriously appears atop the clock on Thanksgiving Eve (since 1947) to keep a watchful eye on holiday shoppers.
- From an Indiana artisan, 240sweet makes marshmallows that are hand-crafted in small batches using local and sustainable ingredients and are the perfect stocking stuffer. Just ask Oprah how much she loves them. December’s Marshmallow Flavor of the Month: Coal.
- Kids can enjoy an old world charm puppet show in a 50 seat puppet theater. Peewinkles Puppet Studio features a 45 minute Christmas at the Puppet Studio show filled with music and lots of audience participation.
What’s your favorite city to visit during the holiday and get you and your family into the holiday spirit?