As days get shorter and darker in Indiana, there's just one way to brighten them up. Spectacular light displays attract lots of families during the holidays, as it's a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit and create some great memories. Some displays can be watched from the comfort of your car, while others require a short walk.
Marion, Indiana, Christmas Lights (November 20– December 31, 2021)
The city of Marion, located by the picturesque Mississinewa River, is famous for having one of the biggest Christmas displays in the Midwest. Christmas City Walkway of Lights is a fantastic drive-through or walk-through extravaganza, stretching for over two miles along the Mississinewa Riverwalk in Matter Park. Walkway of Lights features over 2.5 million lights and 120 displays. It draws over 200,000 people annually. The display runs from late November through December, from 6 to 10 pm. Admission is $5 per car. Hot beverages and apple cider, as well as Christmas gifts, are available for purchase. Marion is also known for its downtown Christmas City Parade in late November.
Charlestown Christmas Lights (November 26–January 1, 2022)
Charlestown in Southern Indiana attracts a lot of visitors thanks to its dazzling Christmas lights. An animated light show is launched right after Thanksgiving on the city square. More spectacular lights can be viewed in Greenway Park and at other locations around the city, from dusk to 11 pm. Walk, drive-through or enjoy lights during a carriage ride, whatever you choose, Christmas-time Charleston is simply gorgeous! Visits with Santa, and the Winterwald Holiday Market, ice skating and other fun activities are available at Charlestown.
Christmas Tyme in Lowell (November 26–December 30, 2021)
Harvest Tyme Farm in Lowell, Indiana, is an excellent destination for a family day trip. Stroll or drive through a half-mile trail adorned with thousands of lights and glowing garlands. The main highlight of the park is a spectacularly illuminated tunnel. Tasty treats and visits with Santa are also available. The display runs from 5 to 9 pm, from late November to late December.
Winterlights at Newfields, Indianapolis (late November–early January)
Newfields Winterlights is one of the most impressive Christmas displays in Central Indiana. The historical garden is illuminated by over 1.5 million lights. Its main highlight is the Landscape of Light display synchronized to the Nutcracker Suite, Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas,” and other tunes. The choreographed light show will entertain you during your evening stroll through the garden with a cup of hot cocoa. Or you can just sit back and relax at Whimsical Terrace, inspired by Northern Lights.
Christmas at the Zoo, Indianapolis (November 20–December 30, 2021)
Christmas at the Zoo is the annual holiday event, which runs from late November to late December. Santa's Village, located under the Bicentennial Pavilion, is one of the kids' favorite spots. Children can visit the village and meet the Jolly Old Elf in Santa’s Study from 5 to 9 pm on Sundays through Thursdays and from 5 to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen is another special place that is open for visits through December 23rd. Santa’s Barn features a sleigh and a few of Santa's reindeer. The highlights in the Zoo also include the Tunnel of Lights, one of the most photographed spots in Indianapolis, as well as the Penguin Pavilion where kids can meet adorable penguins. All the attractions are included in the general admission ticket. Located in White River State Park, Indianapolis Zoo is a perfect place to take a stroll during the holiday season.
The Blue Jacket Fantasy of Lights, Fort Wayne (mid-November–late December)
The Blue Jacket Fantasy of Lights is an annual festival taking place in Franke Park, in downtown Fort Wayne, a city in Northeastern Indiana. In addition to entertainment, there are free popcorn and cocoa. Santa & Mrs. Claus make appearances, plus there is a candy cane quiz and tons of holiday lights. Carriage rides are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Local groups present performances and art events.