Experience the joy of the holiday season at the History Center! Eighty elaborately decorated trees are packed into our grand building to delight people of all ages. In past years, we’ve had upside-down trees, trees made from unconventional materials and even a virtual reality tree. You can vote for your favorites, but it will be a tough choice. This year, we’re decking out our 30-foot showstopper in an Indiana theme.
There’s something magical happening every day, and you’ll want to check out our special programs, too. Bring the kids and grandkids to the Sugarplum Breakfast to meet characters from The Nutcracker, imbibe in craft brews at Good Beers and Ugly Sweaters and channel Ralphie at A Christmas Story Day.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday through Saturday
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday
Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day
Elf on a Shelf
Where is Hoosier Buddy, the History Center’s Elf on the Shelf, today? Check our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages for a clue. Then visit us to see what mischief he’s gotten into and tell our Welcome Center staff you found him for a prize. Hoosier Buddy goes back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
Where’s the Weihnachtsgurke?
Legend has it that German parents hide pickle ornaments in their decorated trees. The tradition has been popular among German-American families since the 1880s. See if you can spot the 10 pickle ornaments we have hiding in different trees all over the building. Be the first in your group to find the pickles and win luck for the upcoming year.
Jump into the holiday spirit in the Cole Porter Room and sing along with traditional carols.
Enjoy the beauty of the trees at night while local talent presents the music of the season. This year, we have three returning acts and two new ones to entertain you. Performances are at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Nov. 20| Indianapolis Children’s Choir
Nov. 27 | The Chancel Bells from Meridian Street United Methodist Church
Dec. 4 | Circle City Chamber Choir
Dec. 11 | Circle City Sound
Dec. 18 | Castlewood Singers
Our lineup of special programming has something for everyone! Whether you have small children or like beer – or both – we have some things you’ll love. Check us out on Saturdays when Santa’s in the house and we offer different activities each week.
Storytime with Santa
Every Saturday from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, Santa strolls through the History Center from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. to hand out special treats to children of all ages. He stops for breaks at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. to read holiday stories to the little ones in Eli Lilly Hall. (We hear The Night Before Christmas is his favorite!)
Holiday Author Fair
Saturday, Dec. 1 | Free admission | Noon to 4 p.m.
There’s something for everyone on your list – and for you, too – at the Holiday Author Fair. More than 70 authors will be here with their newest titles just in time for holiday shopping. Starting at 10 a.m. try your hand at some children’s book and holiday-themed crafts while you wander through the trees.
Holidays on the Homestead*
Saturday, Dec. 8 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What did Hoosier pioneers do during the holiday season? See for yourself! Play games, make decorations, and learn how to craft simple, homemade gifts.
Seasons of Sharing*
Saturday, Dec. 15 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Not all Hoosiers celebrate their holiday season in December. Discover what Hoosiers from around the globe celebrate throughout the year with multicultural flare.
A Christmas Story Day*
Saturday, Dec. 22 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Time to celebrate the iconic film A Christmas Story, set in Indiana. Visit for an afternoon full of themed trivia, photo ops and Chinese take-out crafts. Don’t forget to drink your Ovaltine in preparation for our decoding challenge!
*All Saturday programs and activities are free with admission.
Sunday, Dec. 2 | 10 a.m. to noon
Eli Lilly Hall, History Center
It’s a Nutcracker family affair!
Spend your morning at the History Center with breakfast treats and sweets, photographs with your favorite characters from The Nutcracker, and special holiday crafts. After breakfast, get into Festival of Trees early to beat the crowds.
Adults (13 and up) – $30; $25 member
Youth (4 to 12) – $22; $17 member
Kids (3 and under) – Free
Support from The Dance Refinery, Brickhouse Coffee and Mod Pizza
Sunday, Dec. 2 | 12:30 and 2 p.m.
Frank and Katrina Basile Theater, History Center
The Dance Refinery performs their unique interpretation of selections from The Nutcracker. It’s a great way to take in the traditional Christmas ballet!
Free with admission.
Good Beers and Ugly Sweaters
Thursday, Dec. 13 | 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Eli Lilly Hall, History Center
Don your gay apparel and join us for a special holiday hoppy hour!
Wear your ugliest Christmas garb while sipping complimentary seasonal beers from local craft brewers. Stroll through the winter wonderland of Festival of Trees, win prizes for the best holiday sweater and soak up the sounds of live music.
$15; $12 members; $20 at the door. Ticket price includes craft beer tastings and hearty appetizers. 21 and over only.
Presented by Payless Liquors
With support from Donatos Pizza