Christmas Lights in Des Moines

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Christmas Lights in Des Moines, Iowa 2023

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I do not know about you, but driving around and looking at lights is one of my favorite holiday activities. I love to get the kids dressed in their PJs, make some hot chocolate, pack some fun snacks, listen to holiday music, and set out to look for the best Christmas light displays we can find. This is our favorite activity of the holiday season! We have gathered some of the best places to see Christmas lights in Des Moines, including some new spots. We will keep updating this list as we discover new places. 

Do you have an amazing display you would like to share? Please fill out this form here. See a correction that needs to be made? Email us directly here to help us keep this list as up-to-date as possible this Christmas season. 

Bookmark these other fun holiday guides to plan this season:

Scroll to the bottom for a FREE Holiday Light Hunt printable!
Christmas Lights in Des Moines, Christmas Light Displays, Jolly Holiday Lights, Christmas, Holidays in Des Moines

1801 N.W. Morningside Drive in Grimes 

It is one of our family’s favorite holiday displays! You will not want to miss a light show with flashing lights set to music played over your radio. 

4118 SW Snyder Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa

Do not miss this synchronized light show at an Ankeny neighborhood home that has been around since 2014! 

Argo Christmas Lights 

Opening December 1 through January 2

Monday – Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday – Sunday; 5 to 11 p.m. 

Come out and see this Christmas light show! Tune in to 94.7 and listen to a variety of songs all synced to our Christmas lights. 


Ashby and Wallace Avenue just East and West of Beaver Avenue

A bunch of homes compete to put on the biggest and best display of lights every year. This year, the Beaverdale Neighborhood is going out with a bang by having a light contest! Take a look at all the details here on the Beaverdale Neighborhood Association Facebook page. 

Brook Run Village

Brook Run Drive, Des Moines

Brook Run Village has more than 50 homes decorated. With many featuring a themed tree. Three entrances to this development will take you on a holiday light-filled journey. A synchronized light show on Springwood Lane, a tribute to Candy Land, and Santa’s Seaside Crossing are just a few.

Buxton Family Lights

1832 SE Hillside Drive, Ankeny

Nightly 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. 

Come see the Buxton Family holiday light shows! Tune to FM 95.5 to enjoy a variety of family-friendly songs sequenced with their lights. Free! Please be considerate of neighbors: don’t block driveways, and turn off your headlights. 

Carols & Lights

Prairie Ridge Church in Ankeny

December 3 from 6 to 7:50 p.m.

Get in the Christmas spirit with a night of Christmas music led by our Ridge Worship Team. We’ll blend Christmas classics with contemporary favorites and follow it up with the debut of our synchronized light display! Come early for cookies and cocoa!

  • Cookies & Cocoa: 6–6:30
  • Music: 6:30–7:20
  • Light Show: 7:20–7:50

Deck the Halls House for a Good Cause

3608 Ashworth Road in West Des Moines

More than 50,000 lights are hung up at this house and the display took about 120 hours to construct. On the side of the house, you’ll find a box where non-perishable foods, toiletries, and baby items can be dropped off to be donated to DMARC. Kids are also encouraged to drop off their letters to Santa.

Dogtown Lights

Drake Neighborhood; University Avenue between 23rd and 25th Street 

Kicks off Saturday, November 11 at 6 p.m.  

Families will love all the artistic light displays of lights throughout the Drake Neighborhood. There is usually an event held that offers s’mores, drinks, and more. We will update you as we learn more details! 

Elven Cache Creations

1121 62nd St, West Des Moines, 50266

Every night in December, weeknights 6 to 11 p.m. and weekends 6 p.m. to Midnight. 

Listen to the music with your radio on 89.5 FM, and watch 1000’s lights perform a bright and magical light show. Have no doubt, that there is a high-energy Trans-Siberian Orchestra song included. Learn more about Elven Cache Creations

Fellowship Community Church 

225 North Avenue in Norwalk 

December 9 & 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

FREE drive-thru event with 60,000+ LED lights synchronized to Christmas music on their property! Live Nativity with animals and FREE bakery cookies & cocoa brought to your car. 

First Church of the Open Bible 

2200 Beaver Avenue in Des Moines

December 1 – January 1; Dusk until 10 p.m. 

This is a fun one in the Beaverdale Neighborhood! Enjoy a synchronized music and light display which you can listen to on your car radio. The radio station is shared on signs around the light display. New for 2023! There will be a living nativity on December 9 and 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.  

Frosty Lane 

Directly across the street from Gingerbread Lane (listed below)

Gingerbread Lane, Ankeny 

SE Richland Ct 50021, just off of SE 8th- accessible by SE Delaware or Hwy 69

Gingerbread Lane is a long tradition on Richland Ct. Santa & Mrs. Claus will be out on the weekends collecting canned goods for the Food Bank of Iowa. Watch their FB page for schedule updates and reminders. 

Historic Valley Junction

The holiday tradition you love is back and better than ever. 150+ local businesses will shine under the warm glow of 125,000-holiday lights, and you’ll enjoy a shopping and dining experience unlike any other in our metro. You can enjoy the lights all season long, but save the date for Jingle in the Junction held November 16 and 30, and December 7 and 14. 

Ice Horns

Address: Water Works Park near Des Moines Biergarten and the Lauridsen Amphitheater

Stop by Water Works Park and check out the new “Ice Thorns” installation! This is a great spot for a chilly selfie this winter! Wright Outdoor Solutions placed this beautiful, artistic display near the Des Moines Biergarten and the Lauridsen Amphitheater.

Jolly Holiday Lights

Outlets of Des Moines

November 17 – January 7 

Jolly Holiday Lights is an all-new format this year! Wander through Outlets of Des Moines this holiday season to catch all the light displays. Check out all of their fun events to help raise money for Make-A-Wish® Iowa to help grant a wish of every eligible critically ill child including the kick-off event, Breakfast with Santa, and more. 

Lights of Hope 

Lutheran Church of Hope; Jordan Creek 

Experience the joy of Advent with a FREE, self-guided drive through Hope’s parking lot filled with dazzling lights and Christmas displays. All are welcome!

Help them fill the shelves of local food pantries by bringing nonperishable food items, like canned meat, peanut butter, canned fruit, cereal, and rice! A special drop-off location will be located in Hope’s Circle Drive, where items can be placed in the designated boxes each night. 

Magical Nights of Lights

Pickard Park; 2205 E 2nd Ave. Indianola, IA 50125

Friday/Saturday nights at Pickard Park from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. starting Thanksgiving through Christmas. 

Free-will donations from cars will be split among Kiya Koda Humane Society, Heal House & Helping Hand Food Pantry. 

Miracle on 86th Street

Charles Gabus Memorial Tree Park in Urbandale 

November 21 – January 8 

More than 50,000 lights are located at the Charles Gabus Tree Memorial Park next to the Urbandale Public Library. They have walking paths throughout the area. Bring your smiles for fun photo opportunities and the kids will have fun climbing and playing all over the fun wooden train⁣. Families will enjoy ice skating in the community skating rink and other events happening all season long⁣. Take a look and learn more about this magical light display in Urbandale, Iowa!

Northwest Beaver Drive and Lower Beaver Road 

Right before you head over the interstate bridge you will see an entire yard filled with gigantic inflatables, light installations, and Christmas decorations. 

Prairie Ridge Church

825 NW 36th St., Ankeny, Iowa

Check out this synchronized light show. Dates have not been announced yet.

Santa’s Rock N Lights

Living History Farms

Most nights November 24 – December 31; 5:10 to 8:30 p.m. 

Santa’s Rock N Lights is an animated drive-thru light show. You’re invited to experience the reimagined layout with themed worlds of light including the dinosaur world, over 700 feet of tunnels, and about a mile loop route. Purchase tickets here

Snider’s Animated and Musical Holiday Lights Display

Madrid, Iowa at 611 South Market Street

This holiday lights display is put on by brother and sister team Nick Snider and Sarah Carr. This light show is from 7 to 10 p.m.

Venzke Animated Christmas Display 

1335 N.E. Milan Ave in Ankeny, just off 36th Street

With a new and different theme each year, you will not want to miss this fun Christmas display! 

Waterbury Luminaries

Waterbury Road in Des Moines

​Christmas Eve

Jump in the car and drive down the street in the Waterbury neighborhood. It truly is a magical experience!

Windsor Heights

South of Hickman Road, Franklin Avenue, Marylynn Drive, and 72nd Street

About 120 homes participate in Windsor Heights Foundation’s annual holiday lighting contest each year. You will not want to miss this neighborhood all lit up for the Holiday season. 

Winterset Festival Lights

Winterset’s courthouse retail district

November 24 at 5 p.m. 

At 5:00 p.m., the whole family will enjoy food, live and lighted window displays, free horse-drawn carriage rides, extended shopping hours, roaming carolers, and interactions with Santa, all around the Madison County courthouse. A lighted parade featuring the theme “A Storybook Christmas” gets underway at 7:15 pm, followed by a showing of Elf at the Iowa Theater at 8:00 pm (free with a non-perishable food item). 

Winter Wonderland 

Center Grove Orchard

Friday’s and Saturday, November 25 – December 23

One of the most captivating attractions at Center Grove Orchard is its Winter Wonderland. Imagine stepping into a scene straight out of a holiday fairy tale. The Corn Pool is transformed into a breathtaking walking Winter Wonderland adorned with glistening snow, majestic twinkling trees, radiant lights, and the iconic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. As you stroll through, you’ll encounter scenes that beautifully capture the essence of the season, from cozy family gatherings to Santa’s very own workshop.

This year, Winter Wonderland at Center Grove Orchard has a brand-new and heartwarming addition: U-Build Bears. Learn more here

Winter Wonderlights 

Uptown Ankeny

Early November (no set date announced) – December 31

Shop and wander your way through Uptown Ankeny and enjoy all the twinkly lights! You can enjoy 50 animated light displays in and around 6 blocks of SW 3rd Street. Walk, drive, or bike! 

Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show 

Reiman Gardens

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in December from 5 to 8 p.m.  

Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show is back for its second year and better than ever with our outdoor walk-through holiday light show featuring a variety of immersive light displays throughout the entire 17-acre site. Don’t miss our new and improved features and elements including motion and music. Walk through brightly lit tunnels, meander through fantasy lights falling like stars, view massive disco balls twirling to laser lights, and enjoy a twenty-foot-wide fountain of lights and a wide array of other sparkling wonders. The kids will enjoy lighted sculptural forms including Peter Rabbit, the metamorphosis of the luna moth, penguins cavorting on skis, sleds, and ice skates, and a giant lighted snowflake.

On your way out through the main building, don’t miss the RG Express Holiday Train display in the Hughes Conservatory! Visitors young and old will be enchanted by this custom-built garden-scale train, which was created by Applied Imagination, an internationally recognized company whose train displays meld botanical design and architecture. Purchase tickets here

Winter Wonderscape, Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show, Des Moines, Iowa, Ames, Reiman Gardens, holiday lights, Des Moines events

FREE Holiday Light Hunt Printable

Spice up your drive around town looking at Christmas lights! We have created a FREE Holiday Light Hunt printable. Print one out for each member of the family and see who can spot all the items first. Good luck!

Click here to download the FREE Holiday Light Hunt Printable here!

BONUS! Ankeny, Iowa Christmas Light Displays Map

Many of the Des Moines area Christmas light displays are located in Ankeny, Iowa. I have created an interactive map just for YOU! Take a night and drive through Ankeny, Iowa, and take in all the twinkling lights.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

5 thoughts on “Christmas Lights in Des Moines

  1. 705 canterbury is super lame. avoid it

  2. Avatar Elizabeth Buxton says:

    Check us out at Buxton Family Lights on Facebook – we have a fully synchronized light show in Ankeny. 3rd year running!

  3. Santa Rock N Lights at
    Living History Farms is a great, fun for all ages drive through display. Over 700 tunnels that dance to the beat of the music. You order ticket online. Then you don’t wait 2 hrs or more in line. On a Friday night we weren’t in line no more than 45 mins.

  4. Avatar Leah Davenport says:

    705 Canterbury Drive was stopped 2 years ago, please remove the address. It was an amazing show but the son who put it on left for college.

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