This Friday, more than 100,000 people will head to Monument Circle for the annual Circle of Lights celebration. The event starts at 6 pm, with the lighting of “the world’s largest Christmas tree” just before 8 pm. Plan on attending? Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your evening downtown.
This year, the performance stage will be located on the north spoke of Meridian Street, off the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The change maximizes available space, and allows individuals to have more – and better – viewing opportunities. In addition to the “viewing plaza” in front of the stage, individuals can find large viewing screens on the east, west, and south sides of the Monument. Due to the stage’s new location, the public will not be able to enter the Circle from the north. Instead, enter the event from East Market Street, West Market Street, or South Meridian Street.
Another big change? All the traditional incandescent bulbs have been replaced with LEDs. And with 92 bulbs on each of the 52 strands of lights, that makes for a lot of bulbs (4,784, to be exact).
Monument Circle and its spokes will be closed to vehicular traffic, so be prepared to walk a few blocks. Nearby meters go for $1.50/hour, but if you arrive early enough, head to the Circle Centre Mall. For the first three hours, a spot costs only $2. Don’t mind an evening stroll? Park for free in Fountain Square or Fletcher Place.
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Find facilities on both the east and west sides of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
In search of a sweet treat? Skip the lines at South Bend Chocolate Café and try Pearings Café and Frozen Yogurt instead. Or, stroll up to Mass Ave (a 10- to 15-minute walk) and get something from The Flying Cupcake. Traffic will have thinned out once you’ve satisfied your sweet tooth.
What’s the best view?
That depends. If you’re feelin’ fancy, book a room at the Columbia Club. Rooms overlook Monument Circle, offering you and your family and/or friends a bird’s eye view of the evening’s festivities. But if you don’t want to miss the fireworks, hang out on West Market Street, near Pennsylvania. It has the must unobstructed view.
Hang out downtown
From 8 to 10 pm, swing by Carson’s for free Selfies with Santa! The department store will also be selling ornaments made from bulbs once used to adorn the Monument. Proceeds from the ornaments – which cost $25 each – will be reinvested into the beautification of downtown Indianapolis.
Leave it at home
Safety first. The Circle of Lights is a pedestrian-friendly event, so leave your chairs, pop-up tents, coolers, and bicycles at home. Service animals are welcome, but other furry friends will need to stay home.