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Feast on These Five Can't Miss Events Coming Up in Downtown DSM

Five Things to Do

November 24, 2023

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is serving up a feast of can’t-miss events and things to do taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend and following week. Feast on these fun events, before they’re all gone!

Greater Des Moines Exhibited

Now – Wednesday, Jan. 3 | Polk County Heritage Gallery
The latest juried show at the gallery is here! This annual show features artists from around the area, providing an opportunity for local talent to have their works displayed in a unique space in Downtown DSM. Learn more about the show, including the 44 artists selected for this year’s exhibition, on the Polk County Heritage Gallery website.

Polk County Heritage Gallery

Hey! Need somewhere to eat on Thanksgiving Day? Peep the Proper Midwest Thanksgiving Dinner happening at Proudfoot & Bird, and Mulberry Street Tavern is serving up a family-style prix fixe dinner.

East Village Holiday Promenade

Fridays, Now – Dec. 15 | Historic East Village
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without the Historic East Village Holiday Promenade! This free holiday event includes seasonal activities, holiday entertainment and family-friendly fun! As you enjoy the festive ambiance, stop into the shops and restaurants in the Village to support local businesses, too. This Friday, enjoy a window judging contest, winter games and a free skate at Brenton Skating Plaza. 

Photo Credit: Alan Jacobs

Festival of Trees & Lights

Friday, Nov. 24 – Sunday, Nov. 26 | Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center
In its 40th year, Blank Children’s Hospital hosts its largest annual fundraiser to kick off the holiday season. Wander through rows and rows of beautifully decorated holiday trees, enjoy special performances by local music and dance groups, visit with Santa, try your hand at fun crafts and activities and a scavenger hunt, too! You’ll also have the chance to hear inspiring stories of children cared for at Blank Children’s Hospital. This festive event is a great opportunity to get into the holiday spirit while supporting a meaningful cause!

Jurassic Park Holiday Tree

Small Business Saturday

Saturday, Nov. 25 | Various Downtown DSM Shopping Districts
As if you needed an excuse to shop local! Pop on down to Downtown DSM and shop ‘til you drop throughout the area. Visit the local and unique shops around the Historic East Village, Western Gateway, Sherman Hill, Market District and Historic Court District for your holiday purchases.

Christkindlmarket Des Moines

Thursday, Nov. 30 – Sunday, Dec. 3 | Principal Park
Don't miss the chance to take in the bites, sights and sounds of this German-inspired Christmas marketplace. Christkindlmarket features European-style foods, goods and gifts and hands-on activities. Snag a warm mug of Glühwein and browse the various vendors with handcrafted wares from traditional wooden stalls. Enjoy entertainment in the Yuletide Hall ranging from polka bands to singing choirs, plus bell ringers and traditional dancers, too. Don't leave without visiting the children’s area where you’ll find cultural activities for all ages! Admission is free.

Photo Credit: Marie Bowen

Need somewhere to eat? Check out A Proper Midwest Thanksgiving Dinner at Proudfoot & Bird or the Family-Style Prixe Fixe at Mulberry Street Tavern.

Looking for more Downtown DSM events and happenings? Here’s a look at 5 free things to do downtown during November!

For additional ideas, take a peep at the Downtown DSM buying guides ahead of the holiday season! The North + Central, South, West and East Buying Guides are a curated list of shops, restaurants and services around the region and downtown, too! And as the weather changes, you’ll want to be prepared for what’s to come. Here are some helpful tips on how to remain safe during the coldest months of the year.

For these upcoming events and more, find tips on Downtown Des Moines (DSM) parking and navigation. For additional upcoming events, visit the Downtown DSM events calendar. Plus, follow @downtownDSMUSA on Instagram for more epic, things-you-just-can’t-miss happening around 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.