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Christmas Lights in Des Moines

Christmas Lights in Des Moines, Iowa 2021

I do not know about you, but driving around looking at lights is one of my favorite holiday activities. I love to get the kids dressed in their PJs, make some hot cocoa, pack some fun snacks, 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 our favorite 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? Feel free to contact us here.

Launch the Lights

Adventureland

November 20; 4 to 9 p.m.

New for 2021, Launch The Lights is the official kickoff to the Jolly Holiday Lights season and is the only opportunity for the public to walk, run or bike through the route of light displays. There will be a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy, from holiday crafts and visits with Santa at the Wish Wonderland Pre-Party to holiday food and drink sampling stations along the route.

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!

705 NE Canterbury Dr. Ankeny, Iowa

An impressive light show consisting of almost 7,000 lights synchronized to music played on 89.5 FM. The display is created by a local 17-year-old who was previously recognized by KCCI, The Des Moines Register, and the Ankeny Living Magazine. The teen built all the electronic parts and sequenced four songs to music. The show runs from 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday nights and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

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.

Beaverdale

Ashby and Wallace Avenue just East and West of Beaver Avenue

A bunch of homes competes 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.

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.

Fellowship Community Church

225 North Avenue in Norwalk 

December 11 & 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

FREE drive-thru event with 70,000+ LED lights synchronized to Christmas music on their property! Live Nativity with animals and FREE bakery cookies & cocoa brought to your car. Cocoa & cookies were made & distributed with all food safety & COVID precautions observed.

First Church of the Open Bible

2200 Beaver Avenue in Des Moines

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

The First Church of the Open Bible will have an impressive outdoor light display synchronized to music, which you can listen to by tuning in on your radio. Signs are displayed with the station.

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. Exciting details coming soon, presented by Veridian Credit Union. Valley Junction wears masks for safety this holiday season.

Jolly Holiday Lights

Adventureland 

November 26 – January 2, 2022. Closed December 24, 25, and 31.

5:30 to 10 p.m. 

Jolly Holiday Lights is back at Adventureland. Bundle up the family and enjoy a 2.5-mile ride through more than 100 magical light displays. Admission fees go directly to Make-A-Wish® Iowa! Jolly Holiday Lights is a drive-through holiday light display that is set up annually by Make-A-Wish Iowa. $20 per car.

Light Up Urbandale

Lion’s Park in Urbandale

December 5

5:15 to 6:45 p.m.

Join for a Holiday Drive-Thru Celebration! This event is designed to celebrate Light Up Urbandale in a safe and socially distant way. All attendees will remain in cars and drive around Lions Park to see our beautiful Holiday Tree, special light/decoration displays, dancing reindeer, and more with the ULTIMATE stop being Santa and an opportunity to drop off your little one’s letter to him! Lots of their friends will be there handing out holiday treats and surprises!

Journey to the Light: A Christmas Candlelight Drive-Thru Experience

Lutheran Church of Hope; West Des Moines Location

December 13 – 17

5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Come to Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines for an unforgettable JOURNEY to the LIGHT — a can’t-miss, one-of-a-kind Christmas drive-thru experience! As you embark on this spectacular journey through Hope’s parking lot, you’ll be invited to roll down your windows, turn up the heat, and enjoy the journey! From your car, you’ll experience the Christmas story in brand-new ways — dazzling light shows, beautiful Christmas music, a cast of hundreds of volunteers living out the story of the Messiah’s birth, and lots of fun surprises along the way. The entire event is FREE and all are welcome!

Magical Nights of Lights

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

Come celebrate the holiday season every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., starting November 26 through December 31st with a drive-through light display Free will donation for each time you drive through with proceeds to go to the Helping Hand and the Heal House.

Prairie Ridge Church

825 NW 36th St., Ankeny, Iowa

Check out this synchronized light show beginning December 5 through January 2.

Santa’s Rock N Lights

Living History Farms

Most nights November 27 – January 2, 2022

5:10 to 9:30 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 dinosaur world, over 700 feet of tunnels, and a longer 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 6 to 10 p.m. every night through January 8th, 2022. 

Venzke Animated Christmas Display

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

A new and different them each year, you will not want to miss this fun Christmas display!

Waterbury Luminaries

Waterbury Road in Des Moines

December 24

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.

Winter Wonderlights

Uptown Ankeny

November 5 – December 26; 5 to 10 p.m.

Walk, ride or drive through Uptown after sundown to enjoy over 30 animated holiday displays sponsored by local businesses. In addition, you’ll find decked-out storefronts, several photo ops, and our new 25 ft tall show tree which will perform every 30 minutes. Experience this new hometown tradition over and over this holiday season!

Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show

Reiman Gardens

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings

December 2, 3, 4; 9, 10, 11; 16, 17, 18; 23, 24; 30, 31, January 1. Tickets go on sale November 2nd!

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, 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.

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!

One thought on “Christmas Lights in Des Moines

  1. 705 canterbury is super lame. avoid it

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