Things to do in Des Moines in December 2022


It’s a magical time of year for kids and adults alike. Relish it with seasonal events. There are so many things to do in Des Moines this December

With six games scheduled in Wells Fargo Arena, December is also a great month to take the crew to an Iowa Wolves game. The month kicks off with the Wolves’ Disability Empowerment Night on Friday, December 9, recognizing neighbors and friends overcoming disabilities with specially-designed jerseys for the night that will be auctioned off in support of Can Play. The month ends strong with the Iowa Wolves’ annual Winter Hat Giveaway on New Year’s Eve.

Go to for more information and to join in the fun. Iowa Wolves Des MoinesDecember Events Iowa Wolves




Other Great Local Holiday Guides

Christmas Tree Farms
Where to See Holiday Lights
Shop Local Gift Ideas
Shop Local Experience Gifts
Where to Buy Hot Cocoa Bombs
Where to see Santa in Des Moines

Things to do in December 2022

Dec. 1-Jan. 1 | Jolly Holiday Lights, Adventureland
5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: $25 per car ($20 when you buy online in advance)
This has been a central Iowa favorite for more than 20 years. Support the Make-a-Wish foundation and treat your family to a night of lights and holiday fun. Tickets will also be available at Des Moines area Hy-Vee, Casey’s, at the front gate, and the Make-A-Wish Iowa office.

Dec.1-Jan. 1 | Winter Wonderlights, Ankeny Uptown
Walk, bike, or drive through Uptown Ankeny after sundown to see 30 animated light displays. See more holiday light displays.

Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31 | Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show, Reiman Gardens in Ames
5 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
This outdoor walk-through holiday light show features a variety of immersive light displays throughout the entire 17-acre site. Walk through brightly lit tunnels, meander through fantasy lights falling like stars, view massive disco balls twirling to laser lights, and enjoy a twenty-foot-wide fountain of lights and a wide array of other sparkling wonders. Admission is $13 for adults and $7 for kids 2-12.

Dec. 1-4 | Christkindlmarket, Principal Park
Kick off the month with the ultimate holiday experience. You’ll enjoy the aroma of roasted chestnuts mixed with sizzling Austrian sausages. Sip warm mulled wine or a seasonal brew as you walk through an open-air market to complete your holiday shopping.

Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 | Caterpillar Club, Reiman Gardens in Ames
Get outside and have some fun with a weekly storytime at Reiman Gardens. This program is designed for kids ages 2-5 with an adult. The program is included with general admission to Reiman Gardens.

Dec. 1- 31 | Holiday Hullabaloo, Horizon Events Center, Clive
The 2022 Holiday Hullabaloo is an immersive, family-friendly holiday experience that will surprise and delight guests this holiday season. Enjoy a variety of activities, entertainment, and festivities that will allow you to create some fun holiday hullabaloo and memories.

Dec. 1 – 23 | Wine and Cookie Pairing, Jasper Winery
Celebrate the Holidays at Jasper Winery with their annual Wine and Holiday Cookie Pairing. For $25 per person, you get four-holiday cookies paired with four of their most popular wines.

Dec. 2 | Holiday Zoo Brew, Blank Park Zoo
5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Need a grownup night out? Head to the zoo for reindeer, beer, and holiday cheer. Enjoy seasonal drinks, a silent disco, and indoor animal viewing. Admission is $10 and free for members. Or opt for the VIP package ($20 and $10 for members) and get to sample drinks from five local breweries and wineries.

Dec. 2-18 | Cinderella, Des Moines Playhouse
Updated for contemporary audiences, this Cinderella not only falls in love but also inspires the Prince to care for every corner of the kingdom. This is a hilarious take on the classic romantic fairy tale. Tickets start at $29.

Dec. 2, 9, 16 | Holiday Promenade, Historic East Village
This festive celebration is full of holiday-themed activities, entertainment, shopping, and family-friendly fun. Historic East Village retailers, restaurants, and attractions are encouraged to remain open until 9 p.m. each Friday.

Dec. 2, 3, 10, 16, 17 | Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, Pella
Experience the Christmas magic of a horse-drawn carriage ride through the charming streets of Pella. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for kids 12 and under.

Dec. 3 | Buddy the Elf Story Time + Holiday Craft, Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library
Stop in the Children’s Program Room at 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:30 pm, or 5:30 pm, to hear a story from Buddy the Elf, take a photo with him, and enjoy a craft in the large meeting room from 2 pm-6 pm.

Dec. 3 | Dazzling in the District, Ankeny
2 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Bundle up the family for holiday fun in Ankeny featuring shopping specials, crafts, mini photo sessions, and a scavenger hunt. Stay for the tree lighting and fireworks at 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 6, 13, 20 | Imagination Station, Valley Community Center
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Get crafty with your kids (without any mess in your house). Each week you’ll make a different winter craft. It’s a great activity to keep little ones and preschoolers busy this winter. 

Dec. 10 | Peppermint Trail, The Avenues, Roosevelt districts
Along the Peppermint Trail, you will find discounts on holiday goods, drinks, and sweet treats for shoppers, service projects, giveaways, photo opportunities, pop-up shops, and more surprises. Carolers from Roosevelt High School and Plymouth United Church of Christ will be traveling through the district during the daytime hours.

Dec. 10 | Waukee Winter Wonderland, People’s Bank 1185 SE University Ave Waukee
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. 
This free event features Santa, LIVE reindeer, hot chocolate and cookies, and more!

Dec. 12 | Storytime with Ruby the Reading Red Panda, Blank Park Zoo
11 a.m.
Join Ruby’s storytime in person at the Zoo. You will read a story and meet a particular live ambassador animal from the Zoo’s education department. Free for members or with paid Zoo admission.

Dec. 15 | Home Free Warmest Winter Tour, Des Moines Civic Center
7:30 p.m.
This show is guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit. Enjoy the all-vocal country group Home Free as they showcase festive songs and some of their own original music. With tickets starting at $19.50, this would make a great date.

Dec. 16 | Light the Night, Jester Park
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Celebrate winter’s official arrival and one of the longest nights of the year. Take a short hike along the Discovery Trail lit with luminaries, enjoy a fire under the stars, and share a cup of cocoa.

Dec. 17-18 | Tonic Sol-fa, Hoyt Sherman Place
Music invigorates the season. Enjoy this vocal performance in one of Des Moines’ most beautiful theaters. Tickets start at $37.50.

Dec. 18 | Central Iowa Wind Ensemble Holiday Spectacular, Franklin Jr High
3 p.m.
Experience the sights and sounds of the season with this free concert in partnership with the Knock and Drop food pantry. Donations will be accepted. 

Dec. 21 | Winter Solstice Hike, Jester Park
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Celebrate winter’s official arrival on the shortest day of the year on a hike with a naturalist. 
Dec. 22 | Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Des Moines Civic Center
7 p.m.
See all your favorite characters from the beloved TV classic on stage this holiday season. 

Dec. 27-30 | Life-Size Candyland, Waukee Public Library
Make winter break extra fun with giant candy fun. The library’s front room will be transformed into a life-sized Candyland game board, and you may even meet some of your favorite game characters. Registration is required for a 30-minute time slot to attend.

Dec. 27-28 | Bluey’s Big Play, Des Moines Civic Center
Bluey’s Big Play is a brand-new theatrical adaptation of the Emmy® award-winning children’s television series, with an original story by Bluey creator Joe Brumm, and new music by Bluey composer, Joff Bush. Join the Heelers in their first live theatre show made just for you, featuring brilliantly created puppets, this is Bluey as you’ve never seen it before, brought to real life.

 Send us an email if we missed anything, and we’ll add your event to the list.

We work hard to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, locations, and other information before heading to an event or activity, since it may change.


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