One of the best holiday traditions has to be exploring light displays. One of our Hendricks County insiders already covered the top light displays in Hendricks County, so I felt it was time to take it one step further by compiling the best holiday light displays in and within an hour of Hendricks County, Indiana, including a couple he mentioned in his previous post.
I tried to cover just the big ones here. I realize there are many amazing neighborhood displays throughout Central Indiana.
Many of the displays I cover below do charge an admission fee. The ones that don't I've marked below as free. I've also included the mileage from Danville, the center of our county, for each listing. I have not included hours or the cost. Click on the Learn More button for those details.
So, get out there and enjoy the magic of the season while you still can.
Winterland Holiday Light Show
The Winterland Holiday Light Show continues to grow every year and has become an amazing holiday tradition.
Located in Ellis Park in Danville, Winterland features more than a million lights, a 30-foot-tall lit Christmas tree synchronized to music that you can listen to on your car radio and a fun photo opportunity.
Santa Claus is also at the Train Station in Ellis Park on the weekends.
Distance from Danville: 0 miles
Log Run Lights
Located within a private residence in Marion County at 9209 Log Run Drive South in Clermont, this residential display is definitely worth adding to your list.
Despite it being in a residential neighborhood, you probably won't be able to drive through. Expect to park and stroll by foot through the neighborhood. Log Run includes more than 250,000 lights, more than 300 displays, a giant Nutcracker with candy canes in his mouth and much more.
Distance from Danville: 15 Miles
Christmas at the Zoo
This is one of my family’s favorite holiday traditions. We love visiting the Indianapolis Zoo in December arriving around 4:30 or 5 p.m. to witness the transformation as dusk arrives and the twinkling lights take over.
There is just something magical about taking in the zoo at night with all the lights glowing. We love to bundle up, grab a warm drink and get plenty of pictures of course.
Distance from Danville: 19 miles
Monument Circle in Downtown Indy
My family tries to make it an annual ritual to at least drive to the circle in downtown Indy in December to see this spectacle.
It truly is special to drive around the circle a couple of times to take in the scenery, but if you have the time and desire, parking and walking around the circle takes this experience to the next level.
Distance from Danville: 20 miles
Winterlights at Newfields
Full disclosure here, I have not yet experienced this walk-through light display, but it is on my family’s bucket list. I have heard nothing but good things about this holiday experience.
Set outdoors on their magnificent property with mature trees and beautiful gardens in the shadow of the Lilly House, I’ve been told walking through this property with the lights glowing all around is truly breathtaking. Tickets are selling out fast. However, the lights will remain until Jan. 2 with plenty of tickets still available after Christmas day.
Distance from Danville: 23 miles
Christmas Night of Lights
Dubbed Indy’s largest synchronized light show, this annual event returns to the Indiana State Fairgrounds. This drive-through display open through Jan. 2 allows participants to meander through the property in the comfort of your vehicle while the lights dance to the music being played on your radio. Carloads cost anywhere from $30 to $75 depending upon how many people are inside. Online reservations are required.
Distance from Danville: 26 miles
Mooresville Christmas Lights Tour
I’m told this tour boasts so many stops, more than 50 this year, that you may want to plan to go more than one night if you want to see it all. By participating, you can also help raise funds for local non-profits. Participants have the option to vote for their favorite displays by providing a donation.
There are a couple of stops on this tour that have FM radio stations to accompany the lights, so watch for yard signs with that information.
Distance from Danville: 16 miles
Free (Donations accepted)
Festival of Lights
The Festival of Lights at Jimmy Nash City Park, 360 N. Home Ave. in Martinsville, has become a holiday tradition in Morgan County and is free though donations are welcomed. Look for Santa as you leave to find the donation box.
The display is located throughout the lower half of the park. You can drive through the display, or park and explore on foot. Santa's sleigh is always on hand for family photo opportunities and the display does change from year to year.
I would also highly recommend heading up to the square and checking out the shops there particularly the Martinsville Candy Kitchen, 46. N. Main St., where they do make candy canes onsite but you should call to find out when.
Distance from Danville: 30 miles
Free (Donations appreciated)
Cuppa’s Christmas Challenge
Jimmy Nash Park isn’t the only game in town when it comes to light displays in Martinsville. The city also hosts the Cuppa Jejo Christmas Challenge holiday light tour. A map is available online and the sites have hidden "Secret Jejos" (the little guy from a local coffee bar's logo). If you can find them all, and snap a photo of each, you can redeem them for a prize at the coffee bar located inside The Main Connection.
A highlight of this trail is Christmas at Timberlake Woods, an animated light display in a neighborhood off Egbert Road. Visitors can tune in to 91.7 FM for the accompanying music.
Distance from Danville: 30 miles