What to do in Des Moines in December 2024

Why you should visit Des Moines in December

Des Moines is a charming city with a lot to offer, even in December. The festive atmosphere, unique events, and beautiful attractions make it a great destination for winter travelers. Whether you’re a fan of holiday festivities, outdoor activities, or cultural experiences, Des Moines has something for everyone.

Des Moines Weather in December

Des Moines in December experiences chilly weather with an average high of 34°F (1°C) and an average low of 17°F (-8°C). It’s important to pack warm clothing and be prepared for potential snowfall during this time. However, the winter scenery can be enchanting, adding a magical touch to the city’s attractions and events.

Des Moines Events in December

Winter Farmers’ Market

The Winter Farmers’ Market is a popular event in Des Moines during December. Here, visitors can browse a wide selection of locally produced foods, handcrafted goods, and unique holiday gifts. It’s a fantastic opportunity to support local vendors and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant community.

Festival of Trees and Lights

One of the most beloved events in Des Moines is the Festival of Trees and Lights. This holiday tradition features beautifully decorated trees, festive entertainment, and activities for all ages. The enchanting display of lights and decorations creates a magical atmosphere that’s perfect for getting into the holiday spirit.

Jingle in the Junction

Jingle in the Junction is a festive celebration in Historic Valley Junction, where visitors can enjoy carolers, seasonal treats, and a cheerful holiday ambiance. The event often includes special shopping promotions, live music, and an appearance by Santa Claus, making it a delightful experience for families and friends.

Des Moines’s top places to visit in December

Downtown Farmers’ Market

The Downtown Farmers’ Market may be associated with warmer months, but it also holds a special Winter Market in December, showcasing local produce, artisanal goods, and holiday-themed treats. It’s a fantastic opportunity to sample regional flavors and support local businesses.

Botanical Garden and Arboretum

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden offers a peaceful escape from the winter chill. The conservatory features a diverse collection of plants, including tropical and desert species. The holiday season often brings special exhibitions and events, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for visitors.

Principal Park

While baseball season may be over, Principal Park, home to the Iowa Cubs, transforms in December with enchanting holiday lights and festive decorations. The dazzling display creates a magical setting for a leisurely stroll or a picturesque backdrop for memorable photos.

Greater Des Moines Art Center

The Greater Des Moines Art Center is a cultural gem that shouldn’t be missed, especially during December. The museum’s diverse collection, featuring both classic and contemporary artworks, offers a captivating experience for art enthusiasts. Additionally, the center often hosts special exhibitions and events during the holiday season, adding a touch of creativity to your visit.


Don’t forget to check the opening hours and any special holiday schedules for the attractions and events you plan to visit.

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