Events

10 Things You Must Do in Indianapolis This Winter

Published On 11/30/2016 Published On 11/30/2016
Naptown Roller Girls
Naptown Roller Girls | Tom Klubens
December
Ugly Sweater
Ugly Sweater Contest | Flickr/Henry Jose

December

Thursday - Saturday
Dec 1-31
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Fans of racing, or Christmas, or both, can take their cars onto the 2 ½-mile oval and look at some 2 million lights arranged in more than 400 displays -- everything from a cartwheeling gingerbread man to, inevitably, race cars and the logos of well-known race-related companies. Try not to get dizzy when you’re walking in circles, taking in 1.7 miles of light display.  
Saturday
Dec 3
Broad Ripple
Indy’s only nighttime parade forms the quirky centerpiece of Broad Ripple Lights Up!, the Broad Ripple neighborhood’s annual yuletide festival. The parade kicks off at 5:30 pm and includes everything from weird floats and precision lawn chair drill squads, to a women’s roller derby team (only in this case throwing candy instead of elbows). Then follow Santa Claus all the way to the Broad Ripple Fire Station, which is decked out in holiday lights.
Saturday
Dec 10
Downtown Indianapolis
Indianapolis has always had a thing about hoops, and that “thing” will take over the town in a 13-hour extravaganza on Georgia Street. Beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing until the last shot is sunk, Indy will host three marquee high school games, a match between Butler University and the University of Cincinnati at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and a barnburner at Bankers Life Fieldhouse between the NBA Indiana Pacers and the Portland Trailblazers.
Saturday
Dec 17
The Toby
This Bruce Willis epic about terrorists lead by Professor Snape taking over a Los Angeles skyscraper has become a 21st-century holiday “classic.” Come remember a simpler time, when women wore the very biggest-shouldered jackets and Bruce Willis still had hair, because it isn’t Christmas until Hans Gruber plunges to his death from the top of Nakatomi Plaza.
Thursday
Dec 22
Tappers Arcade Bar
Stop in to this famous pinball/video game/trivia bar while wearing your most unsightly holiday sweater and enter to win Tappers’ ugly sweater contest for bragging rights and probably a few pitiful looks.  There will be dancing, though you might not want to work up too much of a sweat in that wool monstrosity grandma gave you.
Saturday
Dec 31
The Vogue Theater
Nothing says New Year’s Eve like a bunch of boy band songs. Or at least that’s the concept behind the Chicago-based Boy Band Review, which thrills fans with all the air grabs, tight choreography, and even tighter pants they can handle. Even the band members’ names—Bender on guitar, Nick-Lightning on bass, Danger-Russ on drums— could make some hypothetical 15-year-old girl scream.
January
Naptown Roller Girls
Naptown Roller Girls | Tom Klubens

January

Thursday - Sunday
Jan 26-29
Mass Ave
Not your usual rabbit-out-of-a-hat shtick, this magic festival definitely leans toward the more David Blaine-y side of things, so be prepared to feel like you’re sitting on the fringe of reality. This year’s lineup isn’t nailed down yet, but past performers have been world-class illusionists, mentalists and tricksters. It’s a rare opportunity for Indianapolis prestidigitation fans to see Vegas-quality acts up close, but get tickets early, because this will sell out.
Saturday
Jan 28
Indiana State Fairgrounds
The Roller Girls’ first home bout of the season takes place at the Elements Financial Blue Ribbon Pavilion on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Be advised that the Roller Girls (along with their affiliated teams, the “junior varsity” Warning Belles and “legends squad” Tornado Sirens) assume no liability for spectators who inadvertently get run over by skaters bumped off the track. You can also join the team at Bent Rail Brewery for an all-ages after party.
February
Indianapolis Cultural Trail
Indianapolis' Cultural Trail Winter Warm Up | Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc.

February

Saturday
Feb 4
Indiana State Fairgrounds
Your beer nerd buddies and thousands of others can sample everything from barrel-aged lagers to flavored IPAs. It all comes courtesy of approximately 100 breweries (almost all of them from Indiana) on hand to demonstrate their wares. Admission gets you sample pours and ticket prices help support the non-profit Brewers of Indiana Guild.
Saturday
Feb 25
The Cultural
The folks responsible for Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail—eight miles of immaculately maintained bike and pedestrian paths connecting the city’s urban neighborhoods and cultural venues—are really proud of their achievement. The Winter Warm Up celebrates the trail with an eight-mile run/walk along its length. Registration fees help defray the trail’s winter maintenance costs -- or you could just pay $25 for a race t-shirt and pretend you did the hard legwork.