2017 Holiday Event Guide 4 Kids + Families in Des Moines - dsm4kids.com

2017 Holiday Event Guide 4 Kids + Families in Des Moines

The Christmas season is just around the corner and Des Moines is coming alive with the holiday spirit. Festive events in Des Moines are fantastic ways for families to make memories. Whether you’re seeking a community celebration or looking for a jolly holiday concert or stage performance, we’ve got you covered with our 2017 Holiday Event Guide. Check out all these incredible seasonal celebrations and have a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Also be sure to check out our Holiday Fun Guide, Where to Visit Santa in Des Moines, our Calendar, and more articles to come!

Note: We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always verify dates, times, location and other information, especially with the possibility of weather impacts. Please submit corrections and additions to this guide to nicole@dsm4kids.com.

A Little House Christmas

Des Moines Playhouse • 831 42nd Street • Des Moines, IA 50312 • (515) 277-6261

Ma, Pa, Mary, and Laura Ingalls gather the whole family together at their home to celebrate the holidays. When a natural disaster strikes, it seems like Santa won’t be able to make it! But Christmas is a time for miracles, and Laura and Mary are determined to help ensure Ma and Pa don’t have a gift-less holiday. Based on the Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, A Little House Christmas is a perfect way for families to kick off the holiday season.

When: November 3-26, 2017; 7:00 pm Fridays; 1:00 pm & 5:00 pm Saturdays & Sundays

Cost: Tickets start at $19

Champagne & Mistletoe

Uptown Ankeny • Ankeny, IA 50021 • (515) 963-1897

Kick off the Holiday Season in Uptown Ankeny! Come and enjoy holiday open houses, roasted nuts, kettle corn, carolers, carriage rides, bonfire with s’mores, Christmas karaoke, ugly sweater contest, and a kissing both.

When: Friday, November 10 at 5:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Jingle Bell Drop & Jingle in the Junction

Valley Junction 5th Street • West Des Moines, IA 5026

Join the Valley Junction community for their “Jingle Bell Drop” and “Jingle in the Junction” holiday events. The businesses in Historic Valley Junction and the streets will be lined with over 150,000 twinkling lights. In addition, enjoy FREE horse and trolley rides, live reindeer, Santa, carolers and more.

When: Thursday, November 16, 30, December 7 and 14 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Holiday Promenade

Historic East Village • E. 6th Street • Des Moines, IA • (515) 244-4211

One of the most popular events in the Historic East Village, the Holiday Promenade is the kickoff to the holiday season in Downtown Des Moines! Shop and peruse the festive windows, enjoy a trolley ride, grab a bite to eat, listen to carolers, go ice skating and visit Santa at the Brenton Skating Plaza.

When: Friday, November 17 at 5:00 to 9:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Christmas Tree Lighting

Outlets of Des Moines • 801 Bass Pro Drive • Altoona, Iowa 50009 • (515) 380-7400

Join the Outlets of Des Moines for their first annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. In addition to the lighting ceremony they will have other entertainment & fun for  the whole family.

When: Saturday, November 18 at 6:00 to 7:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Disney on Ice Presents Dream Big

Wells Fargo Arena • 833 5th Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50309 • 515-564-8000 •

Enter a world where adventure is waiting at Disney On Ice presents Dream Big. Join the Disney Princesses as they learn that courage leads the way. Then watch Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Disney’s Frozen discover that true love is the greatest magic of all. Believing is just the beginning when Disney On Ice presents Dream Big skates into Wells Fargo Arena.

When: November 22-26, 2017; Multiple times offered.

Cost: Tickets start at $18

Festival of Trees and Lights

Veteran’s Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center • 833 5th Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50309

Festival of Trees & Lights is a five-day public event that is the main fundraiser for Blank Children’s Hospital. The event features beautifully decorated trees, entertainment, children’s activities, food, shopping and more.

When: November 22-26, 2017; Starts at 11:00 am daily and at 1:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day.

Cost: $5

Jolly Holiday Lights

Adventureland • 3300 Adventureland Drive • Altoona, IA 50009 • (515) 334-2636

Light Up a Child’s Life at Jolly Holiday Lights, a great holiday tradition! Drive-through this holiday light spectacular and see more than 100 magical light displays. 100% of admission fees go directly to Make-A-Wish Iowa!

When: November 24 – December 30, 2017; 5:30 – 10:00 pm. (Closed December 24th and 25th)

Cost: $20 per car.

Hits & Christmas with Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers

Civic Center • 221 Walnut Street • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 246-2300

Ring in the holidays with the close family harmonies of Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers at the Des Moines Civic Center. After 62 years of music, the brothers continue to perform nearly 100 live concert dates each year.

When: Friday, November 24, 2017

Cost: Tickets are $35-$55

Santa Express

Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad • 225 10th Street • Boone, IA 50036 • 1-800-626-0319

Bring the family and enjoy a ride from the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s depot to the “North Pole” (and return). En route, you will hear the story of Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride, sing holiday songs, and take part in other fun, family activities. Also on board, you will be served hot chocolate and a cookie, and you will get to meet (and receive a special gift from) Santa himself. Be sure to arrive in your pajamas, and experience what has become a tradition for families from across Iowa, and beyond.

When: November 24, 25, 26, December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17.  Multiple times offered.

Cost: Tickets start at $16 (ages 2 and up)

Jim McDonough and His Orchestra & Singers: “Holiday Grande 2017”

Hoyt Sherman Place • 1501 Woodland Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50314 • (515) 244-0507

Celebrate the holiday season in style by attending “Holiday Grande 2017.” This elegant, all-new stage production features International Steinway Artist, Jim McDonough, joined by his 14-piece professional orchestra and a cast of sensational singers and dancers performing your favorite Christmas music and other all-time favorites. This dazzling event is a grand combination of beautiful music, spectacular sets and costumes, and the true spirit of the season. Proceeds benefit Camp Courageous of Iowa, a year-round recreational and respite care facility for individuals with disabilities.

When: Sunday, November 26 at 2:30 pm

Cost: Tickets start at $29.

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! 

Civic Center • 221 Walnut Street • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 246-2300

Your beloved Shoppies make their theatrical debut in an original new live show featuring musical performances by Jessicake, Bubbleisha, Peppa-Mint, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, Polli Polish and more! The fun and fashionista Shoppies are joined by the Shopkins – the grocery store-themed mini collectable toys – Apple Blossom, Strawberry Kiss, Lippy Lips, Kooky Cookie, Poppy Corn, Slick Breadstick and Shady Diva. An ensemble cast of multi-talented performers brings the show to life on stage through urban style music, song and dance.

When: Thursday, November 30 at 6:30 pm

Cost: Tickets start at $28.

Lorie Line & Her Pop Chamber Orchestra: King of Kings

Hoyt Sherman Place • 1501 Woodland Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50314 • (515) 244-0507

Lorie Line returns and brings her traditional Christmas show, which is perfect for the family! King of Kings, will celebrate the magnificent story and the birth of our Savior. Lorie will be bringing her world-class Pop Chamber Orchestra and a featured guest vocalist. And Santa always shows up at a Lorie Line show, so bring the kids (ages 4 and up) as they will all be invited to the stage to be in The Twelve Days Of Christmas.

When: Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Cost: $54

Holly & Ivy Holiday Home Tour

Salisbury House & Gardens • 4025 Tonawanda Drive • Des Moines, IA 50312 • (515) 274-1777

Salisbury House welcomes you to join them for the holidays during their annual Holly & Ivy home tour. Experience this grand 1920s estate along with two privately-owned unique and historic homes within the surrounding neighborhood at their holiday best. Each room of Salisbury House will be decorated by the finest local interior designers, florists, and home furnishing stores. Enjoy live holiday music in the Common Room at Salisbury House throughout the event. This is a self-guided home tour that is sure to inspire holiday cheer!

When: Friday December 1 – Sunday, December 3, 2017.  Multiple tour times offered.

Cost: $20; Student $5

Holiday Extravaganza

The Indianola Town Square • Indianola, IA 50125 • (515) 961-6269

This event is Indianola’s kick-off to the holiday season and features lots of FREE entertainment for young and old alike. Event highlights include: Lighting of the Trees on the Square at approximately 6:00 p.m., photos with Santa in the Santa House, Holiday Children’s Store, horse drawn wagon rides, your favorite cartoon characters, children’s crafts, live musical groups, photo booth, holiday shopping, Lighted Parade, and much more! The Lighted Parade will begin at approximately 7:45 p.m. and will travel around The Square.

When: Friday, December 1 at 5:00 to 8:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Mayor’s Tree Lighting

Ankeny Market & Pavilion (AMP) • 715 W. First Street • Ankeny, IA 50021 • (515) 963-3570

Join Ankeny Mayor Gary Lorenz for the third annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting. Kick off the holidays at this event that is fun for the whole family. New for 2017! Ice Sculpture Demonstration. Kids can make a holiday craft and meet holiday costumed characters. Hot chocolate will be provided.

When: Friday, December 1 at 6:00 to 7:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Waukee Winterfest

Waukee Triangle • Waukee, IA 50263 • (5150 978-0007

Bring on the holiday cheer with Waukee’s annual WinterFest! Bring the kids and visit Santa, watch an artist create holiday ice sculptures, enjoy cookies, and warm up with hot cocoa and delicious soup. Experience Waukee’s historic Downtown Triangle and its unique businesses, and meet members of the Waukee Area Arts Council as they host crafting, stories and more.

When: Friday, December 1 at 6:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Des Moines Playhouse • 831 42nd Street • Des Moines, IA 50312 • (515) 277-6261

In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.”

When: December 1-23, 2017; 7:00 pm Fridays; 1:00 PM & 5:00 pm Saturdays & Sundays

Cost: Tickets start at $29

Holiday Open House

Terrace Hill • 2300 Grand Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50312 • (515) 281-7205 •

Celebrate the spirit of the season, as the doors of Terrace Hill open to the public.  Join them in the glow of glamorous holiday decorations, learn about the history of Terrace Hill and enjoy complimentary refreshments in Victorian splendor! No need to check in at the Carriage House…you can go straight to the North Door of Terrace Hill!

When: December 2 at 10:30 am to 1:30 pm

Cost: FREE

Christmas in Uptown

Uptown Ankeny • Ankeny, IA 50021 • (515) 963-1897

See Santa and Mrs Claus at the Historical Society Barn, take your own pictures and get your token for the treasure hunt. Then stop into the Uptown businesses with a Santa Stop Sign for your treasure bag. Treats, specials, shopping, gift wrapping and horse drawn wagon rides.

When: Saturday, December 2 at 12:00 to 4:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Holidays in Johnston

Johnston Public Library • 6700 Merle Hay Road • Johnston, IA 50131 • (515) 278-5233 •

Join the City of Johnston for a town celebration at the Johnston Public Library.  Holidays in Johnston will feature crafts, cookie decorating, a gingerbread house contest, an appearance by Santa, entertainment, food and fun.

When: Saturday, December 2 from 2:30-4:30 pm

Cost: FREE

Living History Farms Family Christmas 

Living History Farms • 11121 Hickman Road • Urbandale, IA 50322 • (515) 278-5286 •

Bundle up for a horse-drawn wagon ride to visit the festive Flynn Mansion. Enjoy an old fashioned holiday social with dance music in the Church of the Land. Kids will enjoy printing their own holiday greeting cards, decorating cookies, making crafts, and visiting Santa Claus! Adults can shop for unique gifts in the MarketPlace Museum Store (open noon-7pm).

When: Saturday, December 2 at 2:00 to 6:00 pm

Cost: $6.50/Adult; $5.25 LHF member; $6.00/Child; $4.50 member

Light Up Urbandale

Olmsted Urban House • 4010 70th Street • Urbandale, Iowa 50322 • (515) 278-3936

The tradition continues! Join Urbandale Community Action Network at the Olmsted Urban House for a special visit from one of Santa’s reindeer and tree lighting ceremony.

When: Sunday, December 3 at 2:30 to 5:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Grimes Holiday Celebration

Grimes Community Complex • 410 SE Main Street • Grimes, IA 50111 • (515) 986-5770

Bring the whole family to Grimes Chamber’s Holiday Celebration Event. Bring the kiddos to see Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy activities including face painting, balloon artistry, crafts, cookies and hot chocolate.  This annual event is fun for the whole family.

When: Sunday, December 3 at 4:00 to 6:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Winifred M. Kelley Music Series: Holiday Concert

Salisbury House & Gardens • 4025 Tonawanda Drive • Des Moines, IA 50312 • (515) 274-1777

Join the Salisbury House for their festive Holiday Concert. Your favorite sounds of the season will be performed by Kristin Maahs, Harp; Jennifer Wohlenhaus-Bloomburg, Oboe; Clarence Padilla, Clarinet; Kim Helton, Flute; and Timothy Gale, bassoon.

When: Wednesday, December 6 at 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Cost: $25; Student $5.00

Jingle Bell Party

Fourmile Community Recreation Center •  3711 Easton Boulevard • Des Moines, IA • (515) 248-6315

Join Des Moines Parks and Recreation for: Santa, treats from Hy-Vee and Target, the Miniature Train Club, bounce house, toys from the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, handmade knit hats, make bird feeders with their environmental education team, and visit with members of the Des Moines Police and Fire Departments Preregistration starts November 1, ends November 28. Please call to sign up.

When: Thursday, December 7 and 14 at 6:00 pm

Cost: FREE (Registration required to attend)

Special Needs Holiday Dance

Buxton Room • 2204 W. 2nd Avenue • Indianola, IA 50125 • (515) 961-9420 •

Tons of holiday fun to be had! Join Indianola Parks and Recreation for dancing, singing and holiday cheer at this annual event for the special needs population. Everyone invited! All individuals with special needs and their families, chaperones, respite providers or SCL workers are invited to attend!

When: Friday, December 8 at 6:30 pm.

Cost: $3.00/person at the door

A Christmas Chaos

Ankeny Community Theatre • 1932 SW 3rd Street • Ankeny, IA 50023 • (515) 964-5007

​The Royal Shakespeare Company hasn’t arrived as promised to perform their stirring rendition of “A Christmas Carol.” An intrepid band of hapless actors and technicians must put together their own production in only seven hours! The play is a hilarious backstage comedy that pokes fun at the classic novel and everything that can go wrong with a theatrical production. Written by Michael Wehrli.

When: December 8-17, 2017; 7:30 pm Fridays & Saturdays & 2:00 pm on Sundays

Cost: Adult $15, Senior (60+) $12, Child (grades K-12) $10

Candy Cane Hike

Annett Nature Center •  15565 118th Avenue •  Indianola, IA 50125 • (515) 961-6169

Join a Warren County Conservation naturalist for a wintery hike on the Annett Nature Center trails in search of hidden candy canes.  This will be a guided hike to explore nature and wildlife in the winter and find hidden candy canes. There will be light refreshments and hot cocoa after the hike.  Please dress warm as the hike will be 45 minutes in length.  Please register on their website.

When: Saturday , December 9 at 1:00 to 2:00 pm

Cost: FREE

Hall of Laureates Holiday Open House

The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates • 100 Locust Street • Des Moines, IA 50309

Each December, the community is invited to visit the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates for their Holiday Open House. Hear holiday music and experience the spectacular acoustics in this historic building, and explore our world through photos.  This is a wonderful opportunity to experience this beautiful building during this special time of year.

When:  Saturday December 9 & 16 at 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Cost: FREE

Winter Song Concert

Sheslow Auditorium • 2507 University Avenue • Des Moines, Iowa 50311 • (515) 221-3922

Winter Songs is the annual holiday concert for Heartland Youth Choir. All five of their performance ensembles will sing, with all choir members on stage for the finale. The concert is open to the public; tickets will be available for purchase at the door. All seats are general admission.

When:  Sunday, December 10 at 4:30 to 6:00 pm

Cost: $15 adults; $7 for children, students and seniors 65+

Jewel’s Handmade Holiday Tour

Hoyt Sherman Place • 1501 Woodland Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50314 • (515) 244-0507

Grammy-nominated songwriter and New York Times’ bestselling author and poet Jewel will return to the road this Holiday season for a one of a kind tour, performing holiday classics, holiday originals and classic Jewel songs alongside Special Guests, her father and brothers, Atz, Atz Lee and Nikos Kilcher (Alaska: The Last Frontier). A true family affair, the tour marks the first annual ‘Handmade Holiday Tour’ and Jewel’s first tour with her family members. Pre Show the tour will feature a unique and interactive gifting experience offering guests the chance to make handmade one of a kind holiday gifts.

When: Monday, December 11 at 7:30 pm

Cost: Tickets start at $49

Holiday Crafts and Cocoa

Lakeside Center • 400 NW Lakeshore Drive • Ankeny, IA 50023 • (515) 963-3570

Join Ankeny Parks and Recreation for a night jam packed with crafts, cocoa and fun! Kids will be able to complete a variety of holiday-themed crafts at their own pace to celebrate the holiday. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited.

When: Tuesday, December 12 at 5:30 to 6:30 for K-2nd graders and 7:00 to 8:00 pm for 3rd-5th graders.

Cost: Resident – $15 Non-Resident – $18

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Civic Center • 221 Walnut Street • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 246-2300

Everyone’s favorite holiday classic comes to life in the all-­‐new touring production A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage!  Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the whole Peanuts gang as they put on their own Christmas play and ultimately discover the true meaning of the season. A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage! is a present the whole family can enjoy!

When: Tuesday, December 12 at 6:30 pm

Cost: Tickets start at $25

Sara Evans – A Christmas Tour

Hoyt Sherman Place • 1501 Woodland Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50314 • (515) 244-0507

Multi-platinum entertainer SARA EVANS is at the top of her game. With five No. 1 Country singles including “No Place That Far,” “Suds In The Bucket, “A Real Fine Place To Start,” “Born to Fly,” and “A Little Bit Stronger,” which spent 2 weeks in the top spot and was certified platinum by the R.I.A.A., Sara thrills audiences across the U.S. playing more than 50 shows each year.

When: Thursday, December 14 at 8:00 pm

Cost: Tickets start at $35

A Christmas Carol

Kum & Go Theater • 901 Cherry Street • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 244-2771

Presented by Iowa Stage Theatre Co. at the Kum & Go Theater in the Des Moines Social Club. The holiday tradition returns! Bring the entire family for this timeless adventure and follow Scrooge on a night he will never forget when four ghosts take him on a whirlwind journey to teach him about the true meaning of Christmas and change his humbug life forever.

When:  December 14-23, 2017; Friday and Saturday at 7: 30 pm; Sunday at 2:00 pm

Cost:  $35 for Adults, $30 for seniors, and $20 for Students

Tonic Sol-fa Holiday Show

Hoyt Sherman Place • 1501 Woodland Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50314 • (515) 244-0507

Tonic Sol-fa is a ground-breaking a cappella ensemble from Minnesota, in constant development since their formation two decades ago. Celebrate the holiday season at this popular show. Greg, Jared, and Shaun have arranged a fantastic a cappella show, fun for any age!

When: Friday, December 15 at 7:30 pm and Saturday December 16 at 7:30 pm

Cost: Adults: $34.50-$39.50; Children (12 and under): $22.00-$27.00

Hy-Vee Classic

Wells Fargo Arena • 833 5th Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50309 • 515-564-8000 •

The Hy-Vee Classic returns to Wells Fargo Arena for the sixth year in a row. Previously known as the Big Four Classic, this college basketball event brings together the four Division I Men’s Basketball programs in the State of Iowa.

When: Saturday, December 16 1:00 pm – Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Drake Bulldogs and 3:30 pm – Iowa State Cyclones vs. Northern Iowa Panthers

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Natalie Grant & Danny Gokey: Celebrate Christmas Tour

Hoyt Sherman Place • 1501 Woodland Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50314 • (515) 244-0507

Award-winning artists Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey will ring in the holiday season together again this year on the Celebrate Christmas Tour, presented by Medi-Share, a national healthcare-sharing organization. Following a successful run of Christmas dates in 2016 where they performed for multiple sell-out crowds, Natalie and Danny will co-bill their popular Christmas tour again this season, sharing the stage each night in a fully integrated set.

When: Sunday, December 17 at 6:00 pm

Cost: Tickets start at $24

Terrace Hill Holiday Tea

Terrace Hill • 2300 Grand Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50312 • (515) 281-7205

Experience tea sandwiches, delicious holiday desserts, and festive entertainment while the mansion is decked from top to bottom in holiday grandeur! Proceeds benefit Terrace Hill with the mission to provide for, protect, and preserve the property and programs of Terrace Hill.

When: Monday, December 18, 2017 – 10:30am to 12:15pm and 2:00 to 3:45 pm

Cost: $40

A Christmas Concert with Simon Estes & Friends

Civic Center • 221 Walnut Street • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 246-2300

The Simon Estes Foundation is sponsoring a first-of-its kind concert featuring Christmas favorites sung by Dr. Simon Estes, the DMACC Chamber Ensemble and choirs from Ankeny High School and Ankeny Centennial High School. All of the proceeds from “The Simon Estes Foundation Presents, A Christmas Concert with Simon Estes & Friends” will support the DMACC Foundation’s new Music Scholarship Fund dedicated in the singer’s name.

When: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Cost: $25

DM Symphony – Pops: The Classic Hits of Motown

Civic Center • 221 Walnut Street • Des Moines, IA 50309 • (515) 246-2300

The hottest ticket in town is the Des Moines Symphony’s annual New Year’s Eve Pops! This year, ring in the New Year with the classic sounds of Motown featuring award-winning vocal group Spectrum. You’ll hear all your favorite Motown hits – from “Under the Boardwalk” to “Soul Man” and more – backed by the full orchestral power of your Des Moines Symphony. Don’t miss Central Iowa’s premiere New Year’s Eve Event!

When: Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 8:00

Cost: $25



What’s your favorite holiday event to attend with your kids and family in Des Moines? Tell us in the comments below!

Be the first to start the conversation.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select .

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>