Street Savvy: Downtown Westfield

Explore Hamilton County’s hidden gem during its most spirited season.
Big Hoffa

1. Decorate
Union Street Flowers and Gifts found itself in a big spotlight when it was chosen to provide the centerpieces and floral arrangements for Governor Pence’s inaugural ball. But the petal pros here also know a thing or two about pines. The floral shop will host a series of tree-designing classes ($10 per person) through Dec. 3. If you miss it, you can still stop by for tips on choosing tree-toppers and themes. 101 S. Union St., 317-867-2525,

2. Treat
Union Baking Company borrows some French flair from its sister patisserie, Zionsville’s Le Dolce Vita. The case inside the historic former bank building is stocked with French pastries, including the same macarons that are used to
construct a four-foot-tall macaron tree at the holidays in the Zionsville store. Want one of the 75-cookie creations? You can place an order here for $150. For instant gratification, go for a traditional cream puff. 100 N. Union St., 317-804-8200.

3. Celebrate
Don’t miss downtown Westfield dressed in its holiday best. The quaint Main Street area, near the intersection with Union Street, takes on all the sentiments of the season during Westfield in Lights on Dec. 7. Hadley Park transforms into a live nativity scene, Westfield Playhouse per-forms snippets of A Christmas Carol at City Hall, a Gingerbread House Competition brings out the imaginations of local Girl Scout troops, and carriages roll along the streets. The holiday splendor starts at 4:30, with the grand-finale tree-lighting at 7 p.m.

4. Browse
A brush and a little brainpower go a long way at The Painted Cottage. The locally owned home-decor destination is filled with funky finds, such as a 1930s vintage Art Deco chandelier ($40) or a coffee table crafted from an old window. But the real artistry is in the hand that paints old furniture into conversation-starters. Owner Leanne Harris chooses every piece and brushes it back to relevancy with chalk paint. Harris also hosts a furniture-painting class; BYO chair or choose something from the store’s stock. 120 E. Main St., 317-292-1318,

“Westfield is still pretty homey and keeps its heritage. In the summer, we perform vignettes in the cemeteries about prominent figures interred there.”

Actor John Sampson, who plays Scrooge during Westfield in Lights

5. Craft
At its office, the Westfield Parks and Recreation Department offers card-making and painting classes during the holiday season. If you’re simply interested in staying warm, try out the $30 knitting course and walk away with a new scarf. 300 E. Main St., 317-804-3183,

6. Nosh
The massive smoker in front of Big Hoffa’s BBQ may send out smell signals to passersby as it cooks meat for hours at a time, but that’s just the beginning of the experience. The pirate-themed digs are decorated by the restaurant’s regulars: Each flag hanging from the ceiling and every knickknack stowed away in a corner was given to owner Adam Hoffman by a customer. Hoffman keeps his crew happy with 15 different sauces, some of which take up to nine months to fine-tune. Proof of perfection lies in the numbers: Hoffman goes through 600 to 800 gallons of barbecue sauce a day. 800 E. Main St., 317-867-0077,

7. Shop
The two-story Main Street Shoppes, formerly Westfield Antique Mall, fulfills an antiquary’s wish list with 17,000 square feet and 100-plus vendors mixing and matching authentic antiques from all the right eras. It’s a great place to dig, especially if you like flipping through crates of vinyl records in plastic. Two vendors specialize in rock albums and together offer thousands to choose from. Snap up finds for less Dec. 14–23 during the mall’s holiday sale. 800 E. Main St., 317-867-3327,

This article appeared in the December 2013 issue.