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A Christmas Staycation in Pella

Pella Christmas

December 14, 2023

Header image from visitpella.com.

From your last chance to check out the Historical Village until spring to shopping on the square and taking in the seasonal light displays, a holiday visit to Pella, Iowa will not disappoint. Plan to celebrate the season with a staycation at the Royal Amsterdam Hotel, and don’t forget to stop by Jaarsma Bakery to pick up some Dutch Letters and stocking stuffers by other local businesses. There’s a reason HGTV just named Pella, Iowa one of the best small towns to visit this Christmas. So, take a few days to explore some of our favorite Pella places listed below:

Stay at the Royal Amsterdam Hotel

Stay at the luxurious Royal Amsterdam Hotel, located in the heart of Pella on the Molengracht. The hotel even offers a Visit Pella Package that includes tickets to the Pella Historical Village, Vermeer Windmill and $50 to Liberty Street Kitchen, a fine dining restaurant offering entrees like grilled ribeye, seared scallops, vegetable masala pasta or sandwiches like the bison shortrib grilled cheese. The hotel is currently running a 12 days of Christmas giveaway on Instagram so follow the page for a chance to win a gift card, too! Learn more about Royal Amsterdam Hotel at royalamsterdam.com.

Stop by the Jaarsma Bakery

Not only can you find delectable Dutch Letters at Jaarsma Bakery, but this is one Pella business that loves to support other entrepreneurs. Stop in to find unique stocking stuffers or white elephant gifts from candles to tulip wallets. As for bakery items this holiday season, you’ll find fruit cakes, almond wreaths and St. Nick cookies! Learn more about Jaarsma Bakery at jaarsmabakery.com.

Meet with Santa at the Windmill

If you’re bringing the kids, don’t forget to visit Santa at the Information Windmill on the corner of Franklin & Main St. on the following dates:

  • Friday, Dec. 15 from 6 – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. – Noon
  • Friday, Dec. 22 from 6 – 8 p.m.

It’s free and all children receive a free candy cane, too! Learn more at pella.org.

Experience a Carriage Ride Through Downtown Pella

There’s nothing more cheerful than a horse-drawn carriage ride — especially if you’re lucky enough for a snowy one! See the sights around Pella’s Main Street by purchasing tickets on the following dates:

  • Friday, Dec. 15 from 5 – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 16 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 22 from 5 – 8 p.m.

Learn more at pella.org.

See a Christmas Show at the Pella Opera House

On Thursday, Dec. 21, the Pella Opera House will show “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 and there’s free popcorn for all. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for this final Opera House Christmas event. Learn more about the Pella Opera House at pellaoperahouse.org.

Visit the Pella Historical Village Christmas

Through Saturday, Dec. 30, the Pella Historical Museums are decked out for the holidays. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. or Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Learn more about the Pella Historical Village at pellahistorical.org.

Take a Photo in the Tunnel of Lights

While there are many holiday lights around Pella, a must-stop is the Tunnel of Lights and other holiday lights in Central Park thanks to Spirit of Pella. Learn more about holiday lights in Pella at facebook.com/spiritofpella.

Shop for Gifts at Small Businesses Around Pella

There are some great holiday gifts just waiting to be found at local shops in Pella. Check out the Pella Paperie to grab a Pella Tulips Embroidery Kit, an Images of America: Pella book from The Curiosity Shop or a Coffee Time in Pella mug from Simple Treasures. Learn more about shopping local in Pella at visitpella.com.

Consider spending your Christmas or holiday season in Pella this year, and we’re sure you’ll find plenty of festive fun to keep you busy. While Tulip Time each May is Pella’s most well-known event, it’s not the only time to visit this Dutch community. December is bursting with events and attractions you won’t want to miss, so book your hotel stay and we’ll see you soon!

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. Don’t miss the Holiday Promenade each year, when you can skate at Brenton Skating Plaza, shop local businesses, see Santa and attend a downtown tree lighting!

Jenae Sikkink

Jenae Sikkink is the Senior Vice President of Talent Development and Inclusive Strategies at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.