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This December, Discover 25 Holiday Events + Festivities in Downtown DSM

Holiday Festivities

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is the place to be this holiday season! There are so many fun, festive, cheer-filled holiday events to experience and enjoy. You won’t want to miss out on all the holly, jolly entertainment in Downtown DSM this month.   

Holiday Shopping Events in Downtown Des Moines  


Thursday, Dec. 1 – Sunday, Dec. 4 | Principal Park 
This European-style market includes old-world, artisanal and handcrafted products, German foods and an eclectic mix of entertainment. 

Holiday Promenade 

Every Friday now – Friday, Dec. 16 | Historic East Village 
Attendees will feel the spirit of the season as carolers stroll the streets Downtown DSM and Santa makes an appearance or two. Shop fa-la-la-la-local in at local shops! 

Downtown Winter Farmers’ Market presented by UnityPoint Health – Des Moines

Saturday, Dec. 3 | Historic Court District 
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., shop holiday vendors for this year’s gifts, meals and more: late season produce, meat, cheese, eggs, baked goods, art, jewelry and apparel, wreaths and more! 

Holiday Pop-Up Market 

Thursday Dec. 8 | Ruan Center 
Support local small businesses at this festive market on the first floor of the Ruan Center! 

The Ritual Holiday Market 

Saturday, Dec. 10 | The Firehouse 
Shop knits, art, soaps, coffee, crochet and yarn, handcrafted herbal goods and many more products — keep your holiday dollars local with this fun Downtown DSM shopping event. 

Makers, Bakers & Brews Holiday Market 

Saturday, Dec. 17 | Peace Tree 
Vendors will include Domestic Bones Hand Pies, Prairie Rose Desserts, Red Dragon Herbs & Teas, Sift + Sprinkle bakery and several more! 

Downtown DSM Holiday Classics  

Ballet Des Moines Presents The Nutcracker 

Thursday, Dec. 8 – Sunday, Dec. 11 | Hoyt Sherman Place 
Come enjoy the dreamlike story of little Clara as she meets the Nutcracker and other famed characters from this classic production. 

Pentatonix: A Christmas Spectacular 

Thursday, Dec. 8 | Wells Fargo Arena 
Hear incredible a cappella holiday music from this world-famous singing troupe. 

A Christmas Carol 

Friday, Dec. 9 – Sunday, Dec. 18   | Des Moines Stoner Theater 
The Iowa Stage Theater brings the holiday tradition of Scrooge, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come (and Tiny Tim, too!) to the stage in Downtown DSM. 

Tonic Sol-fa: The Misfit Tour 

Saturday, Dec. 17 | Hoyt Sherman Place 
The Emmy award-winning a cappella quartet will take to the stage with this brand-new holiday show! 

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas 

Friday, Dec. 23 | Des Moines Civic Center 
Experience the magic of the spirit of the season, as Mannheim Steamroller celebrates 35 years since their first Christmas album! 

Holiday Events for Adults Only in Downtown DSM  

Shrek the Halls Rave 

Thursday, Dec. 1 | Wooly’s 
As the poster says, “It’s dumb, just come have fun!” The show starts at 9 p.m. for ages 21+. 

Mixology: Make Your Holidays 

Friday, Dec. 2 | Science Center of Iowa 
Adults ages 21+ can snag a drink and explore the exhibits throughout the Science Center, and try their hand creating DIY holiday gifts, too! 

Downtown DSM Family-Friendly Holiday Events

Hide & Seek Ornaments You Keep 

Friday, Dec. 2 – Sunday, Dec. 11 | Downtown Des Moines 
Local artists will place handmade ornaments near retailers, restaurants and attractions around Downtown DSM neighborhoods in a fun scavenger hunt. Featured artists include: Autumn Rozario, Tone The Movemaker, Jami Milne, Megan Hammer, Jennifer Leatherby, Marion Nehmer, Sabrina Carper, Hanna Piepel, Rose Bell, Nciole James, Emily MacFarland, Tim Schmitt, Sara Carlson and Jess Quinn. 

Jingle Bell Stroll 

Saturday, Dec. 3 | Gray’s Lake 
Stroll the holiday-themed loop (including games and crafts along the way!) then meet a reindeer and get your photo taken with Santa! 

Holiday Open House at the World Food Prize  

Saturday, Dec. 17 | World Food Prize Hall of Laureates 
Beautiful holiday décor, caroling, holiday treats, hot cocoa and Jolly Old Saint Nick! What more could you want? 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical 

Thursday, Dec. 22 | Des Moines Civic Center 
Fave characters will come to life onstage including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and — of course — Rudolph! 

Holiday Food + Drink in Downtown DSM 

Queen of Christmas Drag Brunch 

Saturday, Dec. 17 | The Garden 
It’s a battle for the title of Queen of Christmas at this Whitney vs. Mariah brunch! All ages are welcome. 

Snowglobe Des Moines 

Now – Dec. 31 | Exile Brewing Co. 
This Christmas-themed pop-up dining opportunity is jam-packed with holiday cheer and photo ops! 

Downtown DSM: Holiday + Outdoor Recreation

Learn to Skate 

Saturday, Dec. 3 | Brenton Skating Plaza 
Join in a free skating clinic led by professional skating coach Darlene Lewis. Space is limited, and pre-registration is encouraged. 

Winter Beer Run 

Sunday, Dec. 4 | Confluence Brewing Co. 
This 3k-ish fun run ends with a free craft beer from Confluence, swag, games, goodies and giveaways! 

Santa Run Fun Run 5k 

Saturday, Dec. 10 | Fleet Feet Des Moines 
You’re in for a jolly time at this fun run! All participants get a Santa suit and a gift card to spend at Fleet Feet following the race AND $15 of your registration goes towards the charity of your choice! 

More Downtown DSM Holiday Concerts + Live Events  

Nada Silent Night 

Friday, Dec. 2 | Hoyt Sherman Place 
Des Moines’ own, The Nadas, and special guest Emma Butterworth will take to the stage crooning holiday tunes for their 20th anniversary holiday show benefiting Toys for Tots. 

‘Tis the Season with the Beach Boys 

Thursday, Dec. 15 | Des Moines Civic Center 
The Grammy® Award-winning and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band will bring their iconic Southern Californian sound to Downtown DSM as part of their “'Tis The Season” tour. 

Max Wellman’s Home for the Holidays 

Friday, Dec. 16 | Noce Jazz Club 
For the 13th year, Max Wellman will create vocal magic on stage including favorite songs like “It's the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year,” “The Christmas Song,” “Sleigh Ride” and more. 

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. 

Header image is from desmoinesperformingarts.org.

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.