Make it the best holiday season ever with our holiday activity guide filled with fun and frugal fetes. Whether you’re looking to spend time with your friends or family, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. From ice-skating to the ballet, here are five must-do holiday activities in Des Moines.
Brenton Ice Skating Plaza
Brenton Ice Skating Plaza is the perfect spot for family time, date night or a day with friends. Located on the Des Moines River waterfront, the open-air venue offers locals of all ages the chance to skate amidst the holiday lights and even an occasional snowfall. Don’t forget to bundle up!
When: November 20 - March
Where: 520 Robert D. Ray Drive
Cost: Monday – Thursday $5.50 adults, $3.50 children and seniors, $4 skate rental. Friday-Sunday plus holidays $7 adults, $5 children and seniors, $4 skate rental
East Village Holiday Promenade
Kickoff the holiday season with one of the most popular events in the Historic East Village: the annual Holiday Promenade! Grab your friends or family and spread holiday cheer with major sales, festively decorated windows, a tree lighting by Santa, skating at Brenton Plaza and complimentary horse drawn trolley rides. Grab a hot chocolate or apple cider at The Village Bean before it starts.
When: Friday, November 20 at 5-9 p.m.
Where: East Village
Jolly Holiday Lights
What better way to enjoy the holiday season than a 3.5 mile drive through the magical Jolly Holiday Lights display? Plus, 100 percent of admission fees go directly to Make-A-Wish Iowa. In the last 20 years of the event, Make-A-Wish Iowa has been able to grant about 638 wishes to Iowa children! Be sure to stop by the gift shop at the end of the route for snacks, Santa and gift items. All proceeds benefit Make-A-Wish Iowa.
When: Nov. 24 - Jan. 1, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
Where: Water Works Park, 2201 George Flagg Parkway
This Black Friday, shop handmade for the holidays! Market Day is a curated handmade and vintage pop-up market that started seven years ago with the intent of showcasing Des Moines’s talented locals. This year you can join over 60 creative business owners at the Capitol Square atrium. Here you’ll find holiday gifts from clothing, art, toys and much more.
When: Friday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Where: Capital Square, 400 Locust St.
Des Moines Performing Art: The Nut Cracker
There’s nothing more festive than going to see a historical holiday ballet. The Iowa Dance Theatre has produced the Nut Cracker at the Des Moines Civic Center since 1997. This year will be bigger and better than ever over 250 dancers from approximately 30 dance studios throughout central Iowa. Note: There will be a Sugar Plum Tea on Saturday, Dec.12th at 12:30 p.m. Tickets to the tea are $15 and can be purchased at the Des Moines Civic Center Ticket Office.
When: Dec. 12-13
Where: Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St.