5 Things to do in Des Moines for the Holidays


If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to holiday events and activities happening in Des Moines, let us help you narrow it down. Here are 5 of our favorite things to do in Des Moines for the holidays. 

5 Holiday Events in Des Moines

1. Stroll the Holiday Promenade

Head to the East Village on a Friday night in December and enjoy shopping, drinks, food, and other holiday festivities. Enjoy hot cocoa, carolers, and horse-drawn carriage rides beneath the twinkling lights and glow of the Capitol dome. 

2. See holiday lights

Whether you stick to neighborhood displays are head to one of the ticketed holiday lights displays in the area (we recommend Jolly Holiday Lights in Altoona or Winter Wonderscape at Reiman Gardens) there’s something magical about driving around looking at holiday lights. 

3. Check out Jingle in the Junction

Head to Valley Junction on Thursday nights in December for shopping, caroling, food, and more. Many businesses have extended hours and are open until 9 p.m. Enjoy free entertainment along 5th Street and admire more than 125,000 lights. 

4. Try Ice Skating at Brenton Skating Plaza

Embrace the cold and go ice skating downtown! The outdoor rink is next to the Des Moines River along the Principal Riverwalk. Online registration is recommended. 

5. Go to the Nutcracker

Start a holiday tradition and go see Ballet Des Moines’ performance of The Nutcracker at Hoyt Sherman Place. Performances are December 8 – 11. 

Looking for more festive fun? Check out these holiday guides.

Where to See Santa

Where to See Christmas Lights

Christmas Tree Farms

Shop Local Holiday Gift Ideas

Experience Gift Ideas

Holiday Treats 


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