Top 8 Things To Do in Des Moines in December
The holidays are in full swing and so is Des Moines. Check out a Christmas Market, or Santa’s Express ride, or plan to watch the famous balloon drop at noon on New Year’s Eve at the Science Center. Enjoy these events coming up this month.
Christkindlmarket Des Moines 2022
Address: Principal Park, 1 Line Dr, Des Moines
- Thursday, December 1st, from 5 to 9 p.m.
- Friday, December 2nd, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Saturday, December 3rd, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Sunday, December 4th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free admission and free parking!
Start your December off at Christkindlmarket, a German-inspired Christmas Market with European-style foods, products, and activities. Head to the beverage tent and grab a drink such as a Glühwein (mulled wine). Then meander through the adorable wooden stalls shopping for handcrafted wares and European foods sold by regional vendors. Check out Yuletide Hall for entertainment including polka bands, bagpipers, a Bavarian dance group, and more. View a demonstration by a local vendor. Bring your children to KinderKorner, a kid’s area, where children can learn about European cultures, languages, and traditions.
Address: The Downtown Triangle, Ashworth Dr & 6th St, Waukee
When: Friday, December 2nd from 4 to 8 p.m.
Visit Waukee to celebrate WinterFest. Join Santa and Mayor Clarke for the Tree Lighting. Then support local businesses and enjoy their free goodies such as soup, hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn, and more. See the Ice Sculptor create a masterpiece and don’t forget to visit Santa. There will be arts and crafts, a s’mores station, mini golf, and the Snowball drop.
Please bring non-perishable food items, new, unwrapped toys, or monetary donations. These will be distributed to those in need by Waukee Area Christian Services. Drop them off at the community center during WinterFest or the week before WinterFest at the Waukee Public Works Building.
Jingle Bell Stroll
Address: Gray’s Lake Park, 2101 Fleur Dr, Des Moines (Southeast Picnic Area)
When: Saturday, December 3rd from 2 to 4 p.m.
Enjoy an afternoon at Jingle Bell Stroll, a Holiday-themed loop with games and craft stations hosted by Des Moines Parks and Recreation at Gray’s Lake Park. Your children will enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while listening to holiday tunes and visiting with live reindeer. Santa Claus will be available for a quick picture, there won’t be time to chat with him so bring a letter (with your address listed) and he will read it! Free but registration is required.
Address: Historic East Village
When: December 2, 9, 16
Check out the annual Holiday Promenade in the Historic East Village. The celebration continues for three more Fridays this month. Shop and enjoy the different entertainment each week. Activities include carolers, Santa, carriage rides, and even fireworks! Businesses are encouraged to remain open until 9:00 pm. The lights, the music, the shopping, if you need something to get you into the holiday spirit, this is it. Top off the evening with skating at Brenton Skating Plaza next to the lighted tree.
Address: Horizon Event Center, 2100 NW 100th St., Clive
When: November 25th-December 31st
- Thursday-Sunday General Admission: 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. – $20 per person (2 and under free)
- Thursday-Saturday Adults only: 7 to 11 p.m. – $25 per person
The Holiday Hullabaloo is a new family-friendly experience this holiday season. During the day you can decorate cookies in Mrs. Claus’s kitchen, build crafts at Santa’s Workshop, play mini golf, and get into a snowball fight indoors. The Ice Bar will be open for drinks/food at noon each day. At night, get a babysitter and enjoy a date during the adult-only hours. Indulge at the Ice Bar while enjoying live music or relax in one of the igloos. This is a cash-free event, only debit/credit cards are accepted. Buy your tickets online before going. Holiday Hullabaloo will be benefiting Dorothy’s House.
Grimes Drive-Thru Holiday Celebration
Address: Grimes South Sports Complex
When: Sunday, December 4 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to Grimes! Join the Grimes Chamber for their Drive-Thru event. Bring the kiddos to see Santa and enjoy activities including trivia, goodie bags, letters to Santa, and holiday lights and music. This annual event is fun for the whole family. Make sure to bring along your letters to Santa for his little helpers to pick up!
Address: 225 10th Street, Boone
When: December 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18
- Fridays: 6:00 PM
- Saturdays: 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:00 PM
- Sundays: 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:30 PM
Travel to Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad to enjoy the Santa Express ride. Enjoy the ride to the “North Pole” and back as Santa makes his way through the train to visit as you hear the story of Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride. The ride lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes. Dress in layers as the trains can get a little chilly.
Noon Year’s Party
Address: Des Moines Children’s Museum in Valley West Mall
When: Saturday, December 31; The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ring in the New Year a bit early at the Des Moines Children’s Museum with a fun countdown at Noon and other fun activities. More details to come!