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We’re Thankful for These 6 Can’t-Miss Events Coming Up This Week in Downtown DSM

Six Things to Do

November 17, 2023

We’re thankful for these six can’t-miss events taking place in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday:

Winter Market

Friday, Nov. 17 – Sunday, Nov. 19 | Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center
Your favorite Downtown Farmers’ Market will continue with a pop-up Winter Market for three days only, taking place over one weekend in November. Shop late-season produce, farm fresh meat, cheese and eggs, Iowa wine, jams and jellies, holiday décor, local handcrafted gifts and many more goodies. Snag a warm drink, stroll the cozy indoor booths in Hy-Vee Hall and get your fill of your favorite vendor items while you enjoy local musicians and other live entertainment.

Winter Market in Downtown DSM

Holiday Promenade

Fridays, Nov. 17 – Dec. 15 | Historic East Village
The beloved and free holiday event in the Historic East Village is back for its 22nd year. Find holiday cheer in Downtown DSM with free seasonal activities, holiday entertainment and family-friendly fun! This Friday, enjoy the tree lighting a Santa Visit at Brenton Skating Plaza and storytime with Mrs. Claus at Storyhouse Bookpub! Be sure to pop into the shops and restaurants in the Village to support local businesses, too.

Holiday Promenade with Santa

Des Moines’ Whiskey Festival

Saturday, Nov. 18 – Sunday, Nov. 19 | The River Center
Back for its 6th year, the Des Moines Whiskey Festival includes a weekend of global whiskey, featuring 200 types for tasting. Indulge in tasty bites from local food vendors plus entertainment by local musicians all day long. Don’t miss fun activities like axe throwing, outdoor games, cigar trucks, contests and lots more on Saturday and the Bourbon N Brunch event on Sunday, too!

Whiskey Festival 

Opening Night of Ice Skating

Wednesday, Nov. 22 | Brenton Skating Plaza
Downtown DSM’s outdoor ice-skating rink will officially open for the season! This frosty fun-filled night will include holiday cheer featuring songs of the season and a visit from the Jolly old man himself: Santa Claus! Check the website for details on the rink’s hours, admission, skate rental and weather alerts.

Photo Credit: Alan Jacobs

Turkey Trot

Thursday, Nov. 23 | Downtown DSM
Before you get too stuffed with your Thanksgiving feast, join in this holiday tradition in Downtown DSM! Race options include 5k, 5-mile and Tot Trot runs. Not a runner? No sweat! You’ll have a blast cheering for the participants from the sidelines (and spotting some fun holiday costumes, too!).

Turkey Trot Start

Disney on Ice Presents Magic in the Stars

Thursday, Nov. 23 – Sunday, Nov. 26 | Wells Fargo Arena
Load up your crew and settle in for a family-friendly, memory-making night in Downtown DSM! The cast of Disney’s Encanto, Frozen and more will bring magic to the ice at Wells Fargo Arena with music, ice skating, dancing, acrobatics and more special thrills. Kids and adults alike are sure to have a wonderful experience!

Disney on Ice

Friendly reminder: Small Business Saturday takes place on Saturday, Nov. 25! Mark your calendar to visit the local and unique shops around Downtown DSM for your holiday purchases.

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.