November and December in the north Indy area are festive, joyous, and nothing short of magical! We are blessed to live in an incredible community filled with holiday activities that will become traditions for you and your family.
With so many holiday activities happening weekly over the next two months, which will you prioritize? Insert The 2023 Keeping Up In Carmel Holiday Hot List —a annually curated list of the top holiday activities recommended by me and the KUIC community.
1 Carter Green, Carmel, IN 46033
Nationally ranked as one of the best German Christmas Markets in the country, our very own Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt is a must visit for the whole family, as a date night, or a night out with friends.
If you’re bringing the kids, you’ll want to stop at Kinerecke and Spielhaus. You’ll find hands-on activities, crafts to take home, and special guests throughout the season. Be sure to grab a Kinder Club passport! Take your passport to 5 different participating huts to be stamped and turn it in at guest services for a special prize!
Check out the schedule to see which bands are performing, special guests are attending, and food options will be on the menu the day you are visiting.
There are three outdoor ice skating rinks in and around Carmel–each with different scenes and perks.
Westfield Ice Ribbon: Grand Junction Plaza
The Indy area’s only ice loop! I am so excited for this. Skate around the loop while experiencing different views of the park. Skate aids available for beginner skaters. Tickets must be purchased in advance for a session time/date. Skate sessions:
4 – 5:30 p.m.
6 – 7:30 p.m.
4 – 5:30 p.m.
6 – 7:30 p.m
8 – 9:30 p.m.
12 – 1:30 p.m.
2 – 3:30 p.m.
4 – 5:30 p.m.
6 – 7:30 p.m
8 – 9:30 p.m
Ice at Carter Green: 10 Carter Green, Carmel, IN.
This rink is in the center of the Christkindlmkt! It’s the largest rink of the three. You can book times to skate in advance (highly recommend). There is skate rental available or you can bring your own. FYI–-this is the only rink that does not allow skate “trainers” for younger kids to hold onto on the ice. If you have little ones wanting to skate, they will likely need to hold onto the sides or your hands while on the ice!
Winterlights at Newfields
4000 Michigan Rd. Indianapolis, IN
Walk through the grounds at Newfields while setting your gaze on over 1,000,000 artistically displayed Christmas lights. This is an evening-only event and can be chilly–so bundle up and bring the stroller/wagon for the kids. Dates and times can sell out quickly, so buy your tickets early if you can!
Christmas Nights of Lights: Drive-through Light Show
Indiana State Fairgrounds: 1202 E. 38th St. Indianapolis, IN
Put on your Christmas jammies, pack the fam in the car, and drive through a magical light show synced to music. Online ticket reservations required, no tickets are sold at the gate.
*Ruoff Music Center will not host a drive through light show in 2023.
A Merry Prairie Holiday at Conner Prairie
A Hamilton County staple, A Merry Prairie Holiday at Conner Prairie is a holiday tradition with hands-on fun for the whole family. Visit Santa, take a ride down the tubing hill, or skate on the sock-only skating rink.
WinterFaire at the Children’s Museum
3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN
Your trips to the Children’s Museum will be a little more festive during the holiday seasons with the *new* WinterFaire exhibit. Take a trip down the two story yule slide, make it snow in the supersize snow globe, explore the ice castle, and check out the rest of the museum during your visit!
Indiana State Museum - 650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN.
Celebration Crossing offers a variety of fun activities for kids of all ages. Book a breakfast with Santa, listen to a holiday concert, have Tea with St. Nick, or even partake in hands-on STEAM holiday activities. Friday mornings 9-10am are reserved for families with littles to experience the holiday magic. Hop on the snowfall express to visit Santa–Celebration Crossing is open every day 11/24 - 12/31 (except on Christmas of course ;). Tickets required!
Westfield In Lights
Grand Junction Plaza, Westfield IN
December 2, 2023 - One day only event! One of our favorite holiday events of the year. Free event with activities for everyone in the family, including our favorite, Llama walking! Pictures with Santa available by registration only. Don't miss this one!
Christmas Golf at Birdies
632 E. IN 32 Westfield, IN
Mini golf isn’t just for the summer time! Birdies has transformed their course into a golf-through lights display complete with light shows timed to music! There is a stroller friendly course making this outing the whole family can attend. For more info about what it looks like to visit Christmas golf, check out this reel on the @keepingupincarmel instagram account.
Sullivan Hardware, 6955 N Keystone Ave, Indianapolis, IN
One of the most sought after holiday traditions is hopping aboard the Sullivan express to visit Santa! Your train car will take you on a journey to the North Pole while seeing lots of cute, animatronic visitors along the way. Once you arrive at Santa’s workshop, you deboard the train for a quick visit and photos with one of the most realistic Santa’s around. Tickets for prime weekend dates sell out in hours, but less popular week dates can usually still be found.