Spend One Epic Winter in Downtown Des Moines

This guide is sponsored by the Greater Des Moines Partnership

Epic Winter PromenadeDecember kicks off the winter season here in Iowa and Downtown Des Moines (DSM), and the Greater Des Moines Partnership wants you to have One Epic Winter in Downtown DSM with family and friends. Explore, experience, and enjoy Downtown during the region’s coldest — but unexpectedly thrilling — season.

Winter Attractions in Downtown Des Moines

From ice skating to science discoveries, enjoy all the things to do this season in Downtown Des Moines. The following are just a few of the fun attractions that await you this winter:

  • Brenton Skating Plaza: Ice skate in the open air where you can enjoy festive music, a lighted tree, and the Des Moines skyline in the background. 
  • Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden: Visit the conservatory to see tropical plants and seasonal displays.
  • Iowa State Capitol: Tour the Capitol building, including the staircase to the top of the golden dome. (Tip: There are some great sledding hills near here, too!)
  • Gray’s Lake: Grab your cross-country skis or snowshoes and make your way through Gray’s Lake once snow is on the ground.
  • Science Center of Iowa: Young scientists (K-8th grade) can sign up for SCI Winter Camps during winter break with topics ranging from engineering to exploring the history of dinosaurs.
  • State Historical Museum: Explore the past through exhibits and artifacts on display at the museum. And for those extra snow days, check out the Iowa Culture app, created by the state’s Department of Cultural Affairs to visit 3,500 sites across 99 counties without leaving the comfort of your home.

Epic WinterWinter Events in Downtown Des Moines

There are plenty of events to attend this month in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Check out the following shopping, holiday, family-friendly, and food and drink events:

  • Ballet Des Moines Presents The Nutcracker: What better way to celebrate the season than with a performance of a holiday favorite? See the show Thursday, Dec. 8 through Sunday, Dec. 11 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Sherman Hill.
  • Hide and Seek Ornaments You Keep: Search for handmade ornaments during this holiday season scavenger hunt—new artists each day through Sunday, Dec. 11 in downtown neighborhoods.
  • Holiday Promenade: Shop local in the Historic East Village and take part in weekly events on Fridays through Dec. 16
  • Santa Fun Run: Run a 5k in a Santa suit with Fleet Feet Des Moines on Saturday, Dec. 10. Part of your entry fee goes to the charity of your choice, too!
  • Mannheim Steamroller Christmas: It’s been 35 years since Mannheim Steamroller launched their first Christmas album. See the show Friday, Dec. 23 at Des Moines Civic Center.
  • Snowglobe Des Moines: This pop-up dining complete with plenty of holiday photo ops takes place all month at Exile Brewing Co.

Make a Plan

Find more Downtown DSM events and things to do at downtownDSMUSA.com, including restaurants and nightlife options. Worried about parking? Don’t be — whether you’re navigating your way through Sherman Hill or ready to shop in the Historic East Village, it’s easy to find parking options across all of downtown’s neighborhoods. And if you’re not sure where to spend your money this holiday season, check out our local buying guides for retail and restaurant options as well as services offered across the region: East Buying Guide, North and Central Buying Guide, South Buying Guide, West Buying Guide.

Connect with the Greater Des Moines Partnership





Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here