Indiana boasts Midwestern charm, friendly locals, and plenty of festive holiday attractions. Whether you’re visiting one of the state’s numerous rural farms, exploring the dune shores of picturesque Lake Michigan, or attending a NASCAR race at the world-renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there’s always something to do in The Hoosier State. From quaint townhouses to luxury lofts to rustic cabins, the many vacation rentals in Indiana are situated only a quick drive away from breathtaking holiday light displays. Here are five of the best places to see Christmas lights while you’re in Indiana.

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1. Charlestown

Lovingly nicknamed “The Christmas City,” Charlestown is one of the jolliest Indiana cities. When the holiday season rolls around, the city square along Main Street turns into a magical Christmas village. Besides the gorgeous animated light show, the annual celebration includes a wide range of things to do such as ice skating, mini golf, and other family-friendly activities. Enjoy a variety of refreshments, including hot chocolate and hot apple cider, and then take an enchanting ride on the brightly lit Charlestown Express holiday train. If you want to get a picture with Santa Claus, be sure to check the event calendar to see when he’s planning on dropping by. If you still have more holiday spirit left after you’re done exploring Charlestown City Square, take a walk across the street to Greenway Park’s Winter Wonderland light display to keep the celebration going.

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2. Santa Claus

You can be sure a town called Santa Claus knows how to celebrate the holidays right. Because of its name, the town’s post office receives thousands of postcards from children every year, and local volunteers make sure that they each get a reply from Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick. As you might expect, this holly jolly town offers a variety of Christmas events for you to enjoy. First, make sure you visit Lake Rudolph’s 12-mile drive-through light display, Santa Claus Land of Lights. The dazzling light show tells you the classic story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Next, you have to visit Santa’s Candy Castle. It’s a beautiful castle that sells a wide variety of candies, cocoa, and other festive treats. On certain days throughout the Christmas season, the castle hosts a lovely event called Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire. At this heart (and hand) warming event, locals and visitors gather around a roaring fire to roast chestnuts and learn all about the history of this classic American Christmastime tradition.

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3. Sharpsville

If you’re seeking small-town Midwestern charm, Sharpsville is a fantastic place to look for vacation rentals. The tiny town boasts a big holiday spirit, and every year the locals throw a fantastic Christmas celebration called Sharpsville Lights. It’s a stunning computerized light display that features more than 120,000 lights spread out over two acres of country land. The lights are synchronized to ten different holiday songs that you can listen to on your car or handheld radio. It takes 352 computer circuits to control all the lights, so count on seeing a truly dazzling show. On certain days throughout the annual festival, Santa Claus even stops by in his sleigh to meet the good boys and girls of all ages.

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4. Kokomo

Located in the heart of Indiana, Kokomo is a thriving city with an eclectic downtown area, a variety of historic sites, and plenty of Christmas cheer. Visit We Care Park for a beautiful light display consisting of over one million lights that you can explore by foot or from the warmth of your vehicle. Highland Park also hosts an annual light show called “City of Lights” that features more than 50 unique holiday light displays. Christmas at the Seiberling is another must-experience attraction. The Seiberling is a historic mansion that’s truly a sight to behold, especially decked to the nines with holiday lights, Christmas trees, wreaths, and other traditional, ornate decorations. While you’re in Kokomo, take a ride on the beloved Polar Bear Express train. Enjoy views of the beautiful Indiana countryside decorated as the North Pole, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and their helpers, and enjoys treats such as candy canes, hot cocoa, and cookies. The children even get to bring home a special gift from Kris Kringle himself.

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5. Marion

Nicknamed “Christmas City USA,” Marion is an Indiana city with plenty of Christmas spirit to spare. The Walkway of Lights is the most popular Christmas attraction in the area, featuring more than two and a half million lights spanning three miles along the scenic Mississinewa Riverwalk. Take a waterfront stroll, or enjoy the lights from your car. The lights are truly breathtaking, covering local houses and trees, as well as a variety of less-traditional structures, including a large riverboat, an even larger bridge, and even some massive animated dinosaurs. If you get cold, head inside to the Gift Shoppe and warm up by the cozy fireplace. While you’re there, be sure to browse the festive gift items for sale — they’re handcrafted by skilled local artisans.

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