It’s a beautiful time of year to spend an evening on Monument Circle with kids. There’s so much to do and see! Start with a meal at a restaurant nearby, stroll around the Circle to see the lights and projection shows, drop into the candy shop, deliver a letter to Santa, and sip on some hot cocoa to warm up! Introduce your kids to the magic of Monument Circle during the holidays and see their eyes light up alongside the magical lights and shows you’ll see on the Circle. Make your way to Monument Circle this season!
10 Things to Do at Monument Circle with Kids During the Holidays
See the Circle of Lights Christmas Tree
The Circle of Lights is a sight to see during the holidays in Indianapolis. Nearly 5,000 lights stand over 240 feet tall, draped top to bottom with seasonal greenery. Stroll around Monument Circle during the Circle of Lights to see the Soldiers and Sailors Monument transformed into a giant Christmas tree.
Watch a Projection Light Show
Every night at 6:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m., enjoy a free projection light show called, Shining A Light. This five-minute program will bask the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument in beautiful lights synchronized to an origin score by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Video and light projections will unfold across the surrounding building facades as well. The special holiday presentation is not to be missed.
Beautiful Trees on the Circle
There’s more than one beautiful tree on the Circle. Check out the side windows of the AES building – you’ll see a giant tree created with colorfully illuminated windows. Check out the front window and you’ll find our absolute favorite tree in the whole city. AES Indiana’s 10-story building has 267 individually controlled windows, each equipped with 36 high-efficiency bulbs that can generate 16 million different color combinations. Can you spot all of the other Christmas trees on the Circle?
Enjoy Hot Cocoa
Cold winter nights call for a warm, steamy cup of hot cocoa. Right there on the circle, the South Bend Chocolate Company has the perfect spot for you to grab a chocolaty treat and take it along with you as you cruise the circle and take in the sights of the season.
Deliver a Letter to Santa
The Santa mailbox is a super fun tradition for many local girls and boys and the post box on the Circle is probably the most famous. Drop a letter in for Santa and he’ll write back. Be sure to include your return address on your envelope so Santa knows where to send you a reply! Find the festive mailbox on the east side of the Circle facing E Market Street until December 18th.
The famous Yuletide Celebration at the Hilbert Circle Theater welcomes Broadway star Ben Crawford as host this year, along with performances by the singing trio MOIPEI, local dance troupe Expressenz, Nick Hodge on the Cyr wheel, the beloved Toy Shop, the Dollies, the story of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” the famous tap-dancing Santas, and a wonderful cast of singers and dancers. The holiday show is a hit with adults and children alike.
Take a Carriage Ride
Those horse-drawn carriages that prance through the city streets are so magical. I always imagined that winter would be the best time, bundled up with my family under blankets, the clop, clop of the horse’s feet as we looked up and around at the beautiful holiday decorations. With tours ranging from 25 minutes ($70) to one hour ($130), there’s an option for kids of any age and attention span. There is even a Royal Cinderella Carriage ride that resembles Cinderella’s carriage! Fees are based on two to four passengers, and children under 3 are free. Carriages will fit six medium-sized adults, but that’s a pretty snug ride. Carriage rides start at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Monument Circle. Visit www.indycarriage.com or www.blueribboncarriages.com for more information.
View at the Nativity Scene
The little church on Monument Circle has a beautiful nativity scene set up. Stop by and check out the scene at Christ Church Cathedral. The whole scene has undergone a major revamp this year. Tell stories with your kiddos, and point out animals and people. It’s beautiful!
Visit with an Array of Characters
Expect the unexpected. You never know who or what you’ll run into on the Circle. We’ve pet reindeer outside of the Hilbert Theatre and posed for a photo with a motorcycle riding Santa. We’ve kissed puppies with Santa hats and listened to carolers. Downtown Indy is so beautiful and at Christmastime, it sparkles!
Candy Shop at Rocket Fizz
Our favorite candy store is on Monument Circle. Visiting Rocket Fizz to select a piece of candy is a tradition for our family when we spend the evening on Monument Circle. They have EVERYTHING! Pick out toys, special drinks, candy, posters, geodes, music, and gift items! It’s such a unique store and kids love spending time looking at all of the cool items.
What is your favorite thing to do on Monument Circle during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below. For more holiday events and activities, check out our holiday guide. And our list of 100 things to do this holiday break. For an activity at home, start the You’ve Been Jingled tradition in your neighborhood and teach generosity to your children.