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Attend a December Event This Holiday Season in Downtown DSM

December Holiday Events

November 29, 2023

Festive events in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) are happening all month long. Spend December hitting up local venues for shopping, shows and more with your friends and family. It’s a great way to make the season memorable and support local businesses who help make Downtown DSM a place to keep coming back to again and again.

Holiday Shows in Downtown Des Moines

Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus: Light of the Season

Sunday, Dec. 2 | 7:30 p.m. | Hoyt Sherman Place
Light of the Season, the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus winter concert kicks off the holiday season with holiday tunes you’ll love.

Irish Christmas in America

Thursday, Dec. 7 – Friday, Dec. 8 | 7:30 p.m. | Temple Theater
See this family-friendly production of seasonal Irish song and dance in Downtown DSM.

Ballet Des Moines Presents the Nutcracker

Thursday, Dec. 7 – Sunday, Dec. 10 | Varies | Hoyt Sherman Place
DSM’s professional production of The Nutcracker features Ballet Des Moines dancers and local dancers in children’s roles this holiday season.

Iowa Dance Theatre: The Nutcracker

Friday, Dec. 8 – Saturday, Dec. 9 | 2 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. | Des Moines Civic Center
This version of The Nutcracker casts local students in a show choreographed and directed by dance professionals in DSM.

Iowa Stage Theatre Company: A Christmas Carol 2023

Friday, Dec. 8 – Sunday, Dec. 17 | Varies | Stoner Theater
Don’t miss the story of Scrooge brought to you by Iowa Stage Theatre Company.

Christmas with Lorie Line 2023

Thursday, Dec. 14 | 7 p.m. | Hoyt Sherman Place
Lorie Line will share music in an all-new solo piano Christmas show.

Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience: Holly Jolly Holiday Tour

Saturday, Dec. 16 | 7:30 p.m. | Hoyt Sherman Place
The lead singer of Tonic Sol-fa will perform a big band driven pop concert.

Michael W. Smith Christmas

Sunday, Dec. 17 | Varies. | Hoyt Sherman Place
Michael W. Smith Christmas is back on tour after 2022 cancellations. Hear Christmas hits and hear from guest Michael Tait.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Thursday, Dec. 21 | Varies. | Des Moines Civic Center
Bring the kids to see Rudolph and his friends as they follow the adventures of the TV classic.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Friday, Dec. 22 – Saturday, Dec. 23 | Varies | Des Moines Civic Center
See a show for all ages that highlights circus arts in a holiday spectacular perfect for the season.

DM Symphony – New Year’s Eve Pops: Cirque De La Symphonie

Sunday, Dec. 31 | 8 p.m. | Des Moines Civic Center
The Des Moines Symphony’s annual New Year’s Eve Pops welcomes Cirque performers to the Civic Center stage to ring in 2024.

Other Holiday Events in Downtown Des Moines

Dome for the Holidays

Varies | Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Dome for the Holidays is included with regular admission to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Experience a winter wonderland within the dome with events like Winter Botany for Birds, Cocoa and Crafts, Winter Candle Making, Air Plan Ornaments and more.

Christkindlmarket Des Moines

Friday, Dec. 1 – Sunday, Dec. 3 | Varies | Principal Park
With diverse entertainment, shopping with local vendors and authentic German foods and mulled wine, Christkindlmarket Des Moines is a not-to-miss experience of an outdoor market.

Holiday Promenade

Every Friday Now – Friday, Dec. 15 | Historic East Village
The last three Fridays of the Holiday Promenade will feature:

  • Dec. 1: a model train display and the Des Moines Low Brass Quintet
  • Dec. 8: Roosevelt Marching Band, an Elf on a Shelf scavenger Hunt, Grinch Story Time and caroling from Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus
  • Dec. 15: Santa!


The Ruan Center’s Holiday Market

Thursday, Dec. 7 | The Ruan Center
Enjoy free pancakes, local vendors and live music at The Ruan Center’s Holiday Market.

The Ritual Holiday Market

Sunday, Dec. 10 | Noon – 6 p.m. | The Firehouse
The second year of the annual Pollinate Ritual Holiday Market welcomes makers like Pollinate Apothecary, Green Mama Soaps and Sarah Backstrom Paintings.

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates Holiday Open House

Saturday, Dec. 16 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | World Food Prize Hall of Laureates
An event featuring caroling, holiday treats and the beauty of the Hall offer a one-of-a-kind experience in an incredible space.

Iowa Wild Vs. Manitoba Moose: Winter Wonderland Weekend

Friday, Dec. 22 – Saturday, Dec. 23 | Varies | Wells Fargo Arena
Check out the Iowa Wild hockey team in Downtown DSM for this weekend of December fun. A holiday scarf giveaway goes to the first 1,500 fans at the Saturday, Dec. 23 game!

Winter Break at the State Historical Museum of Iowa

Wednesday, Dec. 27 – Friday, Dec. 29 | Varies | State Historical Museum of Iowa

Iowa Wild Vs. Colorado Eagles: New Year’s Eve Bash

Saturday, Dec. 30 | 6 p.m. | Wells Fargo Arena
Post-game fireworks will round out this Iowa Wild hockey game.

Noon Year’s Eve

Sunday, Dec. 31 | 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Science Center of Iowa
The ball drops at Noon at this family-friendly New Year’s celebration at Science Center of Iowa.

The holiday season is the perfect time to shop local in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Support local businesses, creators and makers across the region. You can find ideas on where to shop using the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s #DSMlocal Guides and other regional business directories listed here.

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options. Find event information and follow @downtownDSMUSA on Facebook and Instagram for other news, tips and events happening downtown.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

DSM USA is the regional identifier for Greater Des Moines (DSM). DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research. The Partnership will champion the DSM USA message, and encourages its Investors, its more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and DSM USA Ambassadors to help share the region's story with One Voice.