With the rapidly approaching holiday season and the dropping temperatures in the Midwest, winter break blues ultimately set in. Although the weather outside may be frightful, there are still plenty of local activities to partake in around central Indiana to combat boredom during the season. With various activities just a short drive away from the east side, there are many perfect destinations to visit during winter break.
Carmel Ice Skadium 1040 3rd Avenue SW, Carmel, Indiana
This Carmel location is home to two NHL-sized rinks, along with a party rooms and a pro shop. If ice skating outdoors is not a desirable experience due to the cold, this inside option offers an alternative to the traditional skating experience. Along with public ice skating, this locations also offers figure skating lessons, hockey leagues and lessons and parties. For guests over 10, public skating costs $8, and cosmic skating costs is $10 not including a $4 skate rental fee. The other popular option cosmic skating, available every Friday and Saturday night, occurs with the typical lights off and theatrical lighting, special effects and awesome music on. Public skating is open to all ages, and Carmel Ice Skadium is known for their friendly atmosphere with music and socializing. This local, indoor attraction attracts thousands of local Indianapolis and Carmel residents alike who wish to partake in winter activities without the harsh winter weather.
Carmel Christkindlmarkt 10 Center Green, Carmel, Indiana
This popular Germany-themed Carmel attraction opened on Nov. 16 and will run through Christmas Eve. The goal of Christkindlmarkt is to bring the old world charm of Christmas in Germany to Carmel, and the various markets set up in Christkindlmarkt feature holiday food, drinks, gifts and decorations as well as hand-crafted wood-working, artwork or textiles. The attraction is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 4-9 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12-9 p.m.There is no entrance fee for the Christkindlmarkt, but if visitors wish to purchase items at vendor huts, they can. Because parking in the city of Carmel is free, guests do not have to worry about paying to park inside of the nearby parking garage or on the street. Inside of the Christkindlmarkt, there is an ice skating rink called the Ice at Center Green and, depending on the time of day, skate sessions last for either 75 or 90 minutes. Tickets are available for $10 per session for youth and adults and skate rental costs $4 for all ages. Patrons are allowed to bring their own skates, but it is recommended for tickets to be purchased in advance to guarantee a ticket.
Monument Circle 1 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana
Monument Circle, located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, is home to many activities throughout the year. For 57 years, thousands of spectators have gathered Downtown in the Circle to see the large display of holiday lights featuring 4,784 lights and 52 garland strands that are used to create the 242-foot display. Toy soldiers and peppermint sticks encircle the monument to continue the attraction, and this year, there will be 26 giant toy soldiers and sailors and 26 peppermint sticks. The annual ceremony occurred on Nov. 29 and attracted a large crowd of Indy residents who wished to view this long standing tradition. These lights will be on display for weeks after their initial lighting and will light the holiday season for spectators who wish to visit the Circle. Beyond the lights, there are many stores and small shops inside of Monument Circle that locals enjoy visiting throughout the year; however, during this holiday season here are a few family and weather family locations.
The South Bend Chocolate Company originated from the University of Notre Dame and soon opened shops across Indiana. With a location in Monument Circle, locals are able to visit the chocolate shop to purchase popular treats and drinks for themselves, friends or their family. Known for their rich hot chocolate and chocolates by the pound, this small cafe offers indoor seating for a family friendly experience. Seasonal specialties make gift giving easy with customizable boxes or baskets of tasty treats from a selection of 500 different items. This shop is open until 10 p.m. through the week and until midnight on the weekends.
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is a popular orchestra located in downtown Indianapolis. Throughout December, the Orchestra will be playing their IPL Yuletide Celebration every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and various days throughout the week. Even if the musical performances are not a typical desire, the Indianapolis Symphony’s production of the IPL Yuletide Celebration is a performance that spectators should not miss and tickets to see the orchestra range from $25 to $101.
Sledding at Ft. Harrison state park 6000 N. Post Road, Lawrence, Indiana
Fort Harrison State Park is an Indiana state park located in Lawrence, Indiana. While this park features a former Citizens Military Training Camp, Civilian Conservation Corps Camp and a World War II prisoner of war camp, this park also features family friendly activities and attractions that draw hundreds to the site each year. Although the weather outside is chilly, the park features one of the largest sledding hills in the city. The entrance fee is only $7, and the park is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Rock Climbing 8750 Corporation Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana | 9850 Mayflower Park Drive, Carmel, Indiana.
Climb Time Indy is an indoor rock climbing venue open to the public year round. Climb Time offers a wide range of difficulty levels from very easy to moderate to extremely difficult. Routes are changed weekly to ensure there is always something to challenge visitors with. Climb Time offers private lessons, a high school club, as well as open climbing. Prices begin at $10 for a Boulder Day Pass and $12 for a Roped Day Pass, with harness and shoe rental costing an addition $6. Hoosier Heights is another indoor rock climbing venue located in Carmel, Indiana. Similar to Climb Time, Hoosier Heights offers bouldering and top rope climbing, however in addition they also offer lead climbing which is the most advanced. Along with rock climbing, Hoosier Heights also offers an area called “The Dojo” that includes obstacles similar to those seen in American Ninja Warrior as well as a fitness area. For first time visitors there is a special day pass that costs $25 including all harness and gear rentals and a personal instructor that will show visitors the basics. After that, there are standard day passes priced at $18 that also includes gear rental.
Sky Zone/Defy 4150 Kildeer Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana | 8356 Masters Road, Indianapolis, Indiana
With multiple locations across the country, Sky Zone is a popular indoor trampoline park that attracts thousands of people varying from young children to older adults. Sky Zone offers Freestyle Jump, Skyslam, Ultimate Dodgeball, Foam Zone, Ninja Warrior Course and Warped Wall along with many others depending on the location. Two hour jump times are priced at $25 and is more than enough time for jumpers to enjoy all of the attractions and snacks offered at the concession stand. Defy Indy is a popular alternative to jumpers who do not wish to drive to Southport or Fishers as it is located down the street from Castleton Square Mall. These two sites offer similar experiences to their visitors, but as a newer alternative to the popular Sky Zone chain, Defy is a franchise that has recently opened their doors in Indianapolis. With a zip line, free jump, ninja obstacle course, extreme dodgeball, aerial silks and more, Defy offers a range of activities and attractions. For a two hour flight ticket, Defy matches the price of Sky Zone at $25.
Sporting events Around Indianapolis
Indianapolis is home to many indoor sporting teams that play during the winter season including basketball, football and hockey. The Indianapolis Pacers kicked off their 2019-20 season in October and have many home games during this winter season as it continues through April. Tickets to go watch the Pacers start around $18 and often feature entertainment during the game such as the Pacemates and Pacers Hype Crew. The Indianapolis Pacers play inside of Bankers Life Fieldhouse downtown and is just a short walk away from many downtown dining experiences as well as Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts kicked off their season in September and will continue regular season play until December. Although tickets to go watch the Colts are not as inexpensive as basketball tickets, with tickets starting around $61, many Hoosiers will make the purchase to go support their home team. One of the newest additions to the Indianapolis sporting world is the Indy Fuel, a minor league hockey team that began play in the 2014-15 season. The Fuel’s current home is at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on the Indiana State Fairgrounds and attract families who do not want to make the drive to Chicago to watch a major league team. With multiple themed nights like Batman Night, Nickelodeon Day and Pucks N Paws, the Indy Fuel have a strong promotional schedule that are family friendly as they are fun and at times give out free or discounted food. The Fuel will continue their season through April and tickets start at just $12.