From enchanted walks through frosted, glowing forests to sensory-sensitive meetings with Santa Claus, Iowa is bursting with ways to help you and your loved ones get in the holiday spirit.
Cedar Rapids Holiday Light Tour: Select days through Dec. 30
Hidden in a quiet Cedar Rapids neighborhood is an enchanting holiday light tour by a carriage-style bike ride. Kick back and cozy up in the carriage that comes equipped with soft blankets, pillows, hot cocoa and sweet treats. You can amp up your tour with a date night package that will provide your loved ones with flowers, photos and a box of chocolates to enjoy during the light show. The event will begin Dec. 1 and run until Dec. 30 on select days.
To learn more about the Cedar Rapids Holiday Light Tour and to purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com.
The Holiday Market: Dec. 4
The Central Presbyterian Church’s holiday market is back for its 11th year, where locals can get their holiday shopping complete while supporting a fundraiser. The market will include 44 vendors selling vintage items, jewelry, local shops, bakeries and more. Guests will also be invited to attend the annual tree lighting with complimentary hot cocoa. The market takes place Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To learn more about the Holiday Market, visit dmcpc.org.
Sensitive Santa: Dec. 5
Understanding that some little ones may need a more customized experience, the Lindale Mall is offering sensory-sensitive Santa meetings for kids on Sunday, Dec. 5. Your family’s meeting with Santa will be in a quiet and comfortable environment in the mall, and each photo taken with Santa purchased will support Autism Speaks.
To learn more about Sensitive Santa, visit eventbrite.com.
Christmas by the Lake: Dec. 4 to Dec. 5
Christmas by the Lake kicks off Dec. 4 to Dec. 5 and has a massive lineup of festive fun to get you in the holiday spirit. The weekend will include fireworks over the frozen lake, horse-drawn carriage rides, a smores and chili cook-off, live theater performances of A Christmas Story, food vendors, Christmas karaoke and so much fun for everyone in the family.
To learn more about Christmas by the Lake, visit clearlakeiowa.com.
Christmas at the Carousel: Dec. 5
The Heritage Carousel is getting a holiday makeover and is inviting guests to attend Christmas at the Carousel, where the carousel lighting and rides will take place. In addition to the beautiful light display, guests will be given complimentary hot cocoa, candy canes, a visit from St. Nick and free ornaments. The event is free and will take place Dec. 5 in Des Moines.
To learn more about Christmas as the Carousel, visit facebook.com.
Christmas with the Symphony: Select days through December
Courtesy of Sioux City Orchestra, Christmas with the Symphony has returned for its annual show where the orchestra will perform classic Christmas carols and holiday songs to help guests welcome the holiday season in a charming, musical fashion. The first show is slated for Dec. 12 and will run on select dates through December.
To learn more about Christmas with the Symphony, visit siouxcitysymphony.org.
The Nutcracker Ballet Performance: Dec. 18
Grab the family for an adventure into the land of sweets as the Iowa Orchestra and Ballet Quad Cities bring you The Nutcracker. The performance will take place Saturday, Dec. 18, and will feature story-telling, graceful dance numbers, live music and more.
To learn more about The Nutcracker Ballet Performance, visit artsiowa.com.
Tannenbaum Forest: Select days through Dec. 19
The Tannenbaum Forest has returned for 2021 and is inviting locals to visit the Amana Colonies for a night to remember. The Christmas tree forest has been decorated from head to toe in Christmas lights and ornaments and is a must-see sight. The old barn will house a German-style Christmas pyramid and Santa waiting to meet your little ones. This festive event will take place on select days until Dec. 19 and all of the proceeds made from the light tour will go to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
To learn more about Tannenbaum Forest, visit amanacolonies.com.