Mention Indianapolis, Indiana, and most people tend to think of racing, but the Circle City also shines brightly during the holidays with the ceremonial lighting of the self-proclaimed “world’s largest Christmas tree” at Downtown’s Monument Circle. The Circle of Lights begins the Friday night after Thanksgiving, and the tree stays lit through early January, showcasing 4,784 lights and 52 garland strands. Be sure to cozy up to the oversized toy soldiers and peppermint sticks for a festive photo op.

SLEEP

Conrad Indianapolis

The Conrad pampers its guests with luxurious accommodations decked out in marble and wood finishes, along with a salon and spa and art gallery plus skywalk access to Circle Centre mall. Enjoy wine by the bottle, glass or 2-ounce samples from nifty self-serve dispensers at Tastings, then head across the lobby to The Capital Grille. Request a room with a view of Monument Circle for a Circle of Lights view. 50 W. Washington St., 317.713.5000, conradhotels3.hilton.com

Le Méridien

Last year, Le Méridien refreshed Indy’s historic Canterbury Hotel in the heart of Downtown with a modern look, splashy colors and updated features. Spoke & Steele, the hotel’s elegant restaurant, makes a premier perch for cleverly named signature cocktails and newfangled spins on classic American cuisine. 123 S. Illinois St., 317.737.1600, lemeridienindianapolis.com

Road Trip:  Indianapolis, Indiana - The Conrad

The Conrad pampers its guests with luxurious accommodations decked out in marble and wood finishes, along with a salon and spa and art gallery plus skywalk access to Circle Centre mall.

The Alexander

The Alexander brims with clever details and curated art installations that flow throughout the hotel, including a wall-mounted flock of birds made from repurposed vinyl records. Hanging glass lanterns provide a gorgeous backdrop for craft cocktails at Plat 99: Mixology Lounge, and Market Table serves farm-to-table fare in a contemporary setting. 333 S. Delaware St., 317.624.8200, thealexander.com

EAT

Milktooth

Housed in a former garage, this retro Fletcher Place hotspot holds rank as the current darling of Indy’s brunch scene, earning national recognition for its frequently changing, but always forward-thinking, menu and artsy take on espresso drinks. Think sweet-tea fried chicken, quinoa grits, housemade Pop Rocks-topped Pop-Tarts and sweet and savory Dutch Baby pancakes. 534 Virginia Ave., 317.986.5131, milktoothindy.com

Pizzology

Chef-owner Neal Brown reinvents the standard Italian pie with outstanding results, from the classic Margherita to creatively dressed variations laden with the likes of housemade ricotta, mortadella, eggplant, duck eggs and Peppadew peppers. Salads, pastas, wood-roasted mushroom risotto, a weekly gnocchi special and gelato round out menu options. We especially love the Baby Cheesus pizza, oozing with mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and locally sourced Tulip Tree Creamery Foxglove, a double cream, washed-rind cheese. multiple locations, pizzologyindy.com

Road Trip:  Indianapolis, Indiana - St. Elmo

No trip to Indianapolis is complete without a stop at the century-old St. Elmo Steak House.

Recess

Recess revels in the notion of playing with your food through a decadent four-course, prix-fixe menu from chef Greg Hardesty that changes nightly but always highlights ingredients from local farms and producers. Whatever Hardesty dreams up proves a happy surprise, and rest assured, whatever it is will be a delicious dining adventure. The tiny connecting Room Four next door serves hearty and casual burgers and tacos. 4907 N. College Ave., 317.925.7529, recessindy.com

St. Elmo Steak House

No trip to Indianapolis is complete without a stop at the century-old St. Elmo Steak House, a Downtown dining institution since 1902. Not much has changed through the years – and that’s a good thing. Service from the tuxedoed waitstaff is still exemplary, the steaks are stellar, the shrimp cocktail is spicy enough to blow out your sinuses and you never know who you might spy sitting at the next table. 127 S. Illinois St., 317.635.0636, stelmos.com

Shapiro’s Delicatessen

Since 1905, customers have been lining up for Shapiro’s comforting kosher delights such as meatloaf, stuffed cabbage rolls, matzo ball soup, liver and onions, and sandwiches piled high with fresh corned beef, pastrami, brisket, tongue or turkey. Save a little room for rugelach, cheesecake or a slice of pie. multiple locations, shapiros.com

LOCAL GEMS

Sun King Brewing

Sun King kicked off Indy’s craft beer renaissance when it opened six years ago. Now, you’ll find the award-winning operation’s products on menus and at liquor stores across Indiana. Sample Sunlight Cream Ale, Wee Mac Scottish-style ale and whimsical seasonal pours at the original Downtown warehouse location or in the new Fishers tasting room, as well as at many bars, restaurants and retail shops throughout central Indiana. multiple locations, 317.602.3702, sunkingbrewing.com

Indianapolis City Market

Historic Indianapolis City Market has remained a beloved community gathering place for shoppers and diners since 1886. A popular stop for lunch, the market houses more than two dozen food-and-drink vendors spanning American and ethnic cuisines, as well as a weekly indoor farmers’ market held on Saturday mornings throughout the winter. 222 E. Market St., 317.634.9266, indycm.com

Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery

The brainchild of a local former Marine, this intimate Fletcher Place neighborhood cocktail joint shakes up potent drinks made with housemade Victor Vodka, Romeo Rum and Golf Gin, often served in Mason jars and perfect for sipping at the bar or in front of the distillery’s rustic stone fireplace. 702 Virginia Ave., 317.653.1806, hoteltangowhiskey.com