Top 8 Things To Do in Des Moines in December

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Top 8 Things To Do in Des Moines in December

The most joyful time of the year is here. Des Moines has no shortage of events for the holiday season. Enjoy the aroma of roasted nuts at the German-inspired Christkindlmarket, jump into holiday magic at Holiday Hullabaloo, or catch a classic holiday play with A Charlie Brown Christmas. Get your planner out and plan your December in Des Moines.

Bookmark these other fun posts and guides to help you plan this holiday season:

Bookmark these other fun holiday guides to plan this season:

Christkindlmarket Des Moines

Address: Principal Park, 1 Line Dr, Des Moines

  • Thursday, November 30 from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Friday, December 1 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 2 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Free admission and free parking!

Kickstart your December at Christkindlmarket Des Moines, a German-inspired Christmas market. Bring the kids to Kinder Korner to learn about various European languages, color pictures, and hear traditional stories. Then head to Yuletide Hall to the heated entertainment area to listen to Polka, Irish Traditional and pub songs, bagpipes and so much more. The fresh-air market will give you all the feelings of the holidays with roasted nuts, gifts, treats, and lots of filling food. And of course don’t forget to enjoy Glühwein, a warm, mulled wine! Visit here for more reasons to attend Christkindlmarket.

Holiday Hullabaloo

Address: 10320 Hickman Rd., Clive, Iowa 50325


  • November 24th-December 23rd, Fridays & Saturdays 10:00 AM-9:00 PM, Sundays 10:00 AM-6:00 PM
  • December 24th, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM
  • December 26th-December 30th, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM 
  • December 31st, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM 

Cost: Buy tickets here

  • 3 and under free
  • Ages 4-12, $15 each
  • Ages 13-62, $25 each
  • Ages 63+, $15 each

Transport yourself to a winter wonderland at Holiday Hullabaloo. Step foot inside a life-size gingerbread house, work off some holiday stress at the snowball fight arena, slide around the sock skating rink, decorate cookies at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, and make a stop at Santa’s Workshop. There are also special events happening throughout the month including Breakfast with Santa, pictures with Santa, Noon Year’s Eve, and more. There is so much to see and do at Holiday Hullabaloo, you might want to get a season pass to experience it all!  Holiday Hullabaloo was created by InnovativEvents, Inc., as an annual fundraising opportunity for Dorothy’s House. A portion of opening weekend ticket sales will also benefit MercyOne Children’s HospitalVisit here to learn more about the festivities.  

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Teddy Bear Tea

Address: Willow on Grand, 6011 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312

When: Saturday, December 2nd, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM

Cost: $45 per person, Free for 18 and under 

Teddy Bear Tea is a community event hosted by the Polk County Medical Society Foundation. Experience holiday magic while also supporting a great cause. Ticket includes adult bar and child beverages, food, desserts, cookie and Christmas cookie decorating stations, photo booth, live music, and pictures with Santa! All proceeds will benefit toys for children, child/family charities, and the Volunteer Physician Network

Jingle Bell Stroll 

Address: Gray’s Lake Park, 2101 Fleur Dr, Des Moines (Southeast Picnic Area) 

When: Saturday, December 2nd from 2 to 4 p.m.

Swing on by Gray’s Lake Park for a Jingle Bell Stroll. Des Moines Parks and Recreation hosts this annual holiday event. Walk along the holiday loop filled with holiday games, crafts, and of course a visit with Santa! Enjoy the holiday tunes and pick up some hot chocolate to keep you warm. Bring your letter with your address listed for Santa. Parents and guardians, be sure to bring your phone to take a quick picture with Santa. Free but registration required.

SnowGlobe DSM 

Address: Exile Brewing Company, 1514 Walnut St, Des Moines, IA 50309

When: Tuesday, November 14th-Sunday, January 7th

Cost: Included with your meal. Make a reservation here.

Step into a life-size snow globe at SnowGlobe DSM. Exile Brewing Company is transformed with lights and decorations into a snow globe. Bring the whole family! They have a great kids’ menu and delicious beverages (and food) for the adults. Saturday, December 2nd, and Sunday, December 3rd will be a Princess Brunch from 9:00 AM-2:00 PM. Saturday, December 16th will be a Santa Brunch. Make your reservations soon!

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Holiday Promenade 

Address: Historic East Village 

When: Fridays on December 1st, 8th and 15th, 5:00 PM-9:00 PM

Cost: Free to attend

See the East Village light up in holiday spirit this season with the Holiday Promenade. Do some holiday shopping at the variety of shops, stop by a restaurant for a delicious meal, and enjoy the extra holiday fun around the village. Free trolley rides will take place from 5:00 PM-9:00 PM. Each Friday will include different events such as a model train display and crafts, the Des Moines Low Brass Quintet “Betruken Messing”, elf on the shelf scavenger hunt, grinch storytime at Storyhouse Bookpub, and a visit from Santa. Be sure to follow @downtownDSMUSA on social media to find out more.

A Charlie Brown Christmas 

Address: Des Moines Community Playhouse, 831 42nd St, Des Moines, IA 50312


  • Saturday, December 2nd at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM
  • Sunday, December 3rd at 5:00 PM
  • Saturday, December 9th at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM
  • Sunday, December 10th at 5:00 PM
  • Saturday, December 16th at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM
  • Sunday, December 17th at 5:00 PM

Cost: $14 per student (infant-college) and $19 for adults 

A Charlie Brown Christmas comes to life on stage with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang to find out the true meaning of Christmas. This play would be such a fun family event to add to your family traditions. It will be shown in the John Viars Theatre.

The Peppermint Trail

Address: The Avenues of Ingersoll & Grand, Des Moines, IA

When: Saturday, December 9th, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM 

Cost: Free to attend

Shop, eat, and enjoy holiday festivities at The Peppermint Trail on the Avenues of Ingersoll & Grand. Vote for your favorite Gingerbread house at Creme. From 12:00 PM-2:00 PM, Santa will be strolling along Ingersoll Avenue. Enjoy a holiday trolley ride from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM. There will be specials at the various restaurants and shops throughout the day.

Jackie Fioritto

Jackie Fioritto

Hi, I’m Jackie. I am a teacher who recently became a stay-at-home mother of two. My husband and I moved to Des Moines from Green Bay, Wisconsin a few years ago. Originally, I am from Chicago, Illinois. My family has loved exploring Des Moines and all that it has to offer!

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