16 Can't-Miss November Events in Des Moines
It’s hard to believe it’s already November! The beautiful weather we’ve had makes it feel as though it should still be early fall. But holiday gatherings will soon be knocking at your door and Santa will be spotted across the metro in just a few weeks. We have four weekends to make the most of what November has to offer. Here are a few must-do events happening each weekend this month:
If you happen to be in town this coming weekend get ready for music, crafts and setting a potential world record! On Saturday head to Ankeny for the North Pole Village Arts & Crafts Show. This event is just $5 to attend and takes you to three different locations to shop 250 exhibitors. Think everything from fine art and jewelry, to candles and décor. A shuttle is on site to take you to each location for only one dollar and all of the funds go to the Ankeny Art Center!
On Saturday night, the Des Moines Symphony will bring Bugs Bunny to life at the Des Moines Civic Center. Back by popular demand, this event is something the entire family can enjoy. Watch Looney Tunes animation above the stage while the symphony plays the original scores. Catch tickets for just $35 and the show at 7:30 p.m.
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Also happening Saturday is the Des Moines Music Coalition’s Little Big Fest. This music festival takes place at Wooly’s and Lefty’s. For $30 you can watch a dozen musical acts ranging from bluegrass to soul. Music starts at 2:30 p.m. and goes until after Midnight.
Then on Sunday it’s time to break bread with 1,200 of your closest friends and family at the first annual FriendsGiving Feast in Ankeny at Prairie Trail. Hoping to break a Guinness World Record, anyone (literally everyone is invited) is welcome to join in on the fun. Of course, attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable items, gently used clothing, or toys to donate. A $29 ticket gets you a meal prepared by Jethro’s BBQ n’ Lakehouse, a souvenir gift, 2 drink tickets to a participating establishment in the District and the chance to say you were a part of a world record attempt!
Check out Moberg Gallery & Framing on Friday the 11th for a night of opera, appetizers and art! This free event will give you a first look at the Des Moines Metro Opera’s upcoming season. After it’s over check out all the latest art and exhibits at the gallery. RSVP is required for this event but you can email email@example.com or call 515-961-6221 to let them know you are attending.
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Then eat and drink your way through the Iowa Events Center at Iowa’s Premier Beer, Wine & Food Expo Presented by Hy-Vee. Running Friday and Saturday, foodies can browse 120 exhibitors sampling everything from cheese and wine to beer and chocolate. Tickets start at $35.
I included Thursday in this week because there’s a really cool, new event happening in Historic Valley Junction called the Jingle Bell Drop. This event will kick off the first Jingle in the Junction this year. Santa will swing by to drop 500 jingle bells on Maple Street at 6 p.m. Each jingle bell equals one free retail value prize ranging from $5 to $1,000! Soak up the holiday lights and decorations while shopping local and if you’re lucky you can win big!
Then on Friday night hop over to another cool shopping district – The annual East Village Holiday Promenade kicks off at 5 p.m. It’s a local favorite for many reasons including the free horse-drawn trolley rides, carolers, ice skating, and, of course, shopping. Don’t miss the tree lighting at Brenton Skating Plaza at 6:05 p.m. Shops stay open late, so get your Christmas shopping done early!
On Friday or Saturday during the day you can shop the Downtown Winter Farmers’ Market in Capital Square and Kaleidoscope at the Hub. More than 130 Iowa vendors are selling everything from holiday treats, meals, produce, crafts, and décor. Snag holiday ornaments and decorations too!
It may be Thanksgiving weekend, but there is no shortage of things happening. You can start getting in the Christmas spirit by attending the annual Festival of Trees and Lights. For just $5 attendees can browse dozens of beautifully decorated trees! Admission proceeds go to supporting programs at Blank Children’s Hospital. Catch entertainment, children’s activities, and food too. This event starts Wednesday, November 23 and runs through Sunday, November 27.
Pack up the kids and head to Wells Fargo Arena to enjoy Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure! Tickets start at $15 and the show is filled with your favorite Disney characters such as Peter Pan, Simba, Elsa, and Ariel. They pack 8 performances in 4 days (Thursday – Sunday), so it’s easy to find a time that works for your holiday schedule.
Then that brings us to Black Friday and if you like to shop on this day, I encourage you to check out Market Day at Capital Square. 60 hand selected local vendors will be set up selling art, clothing, jewelry, kitchenware, toys, and more. It’s a great place to snag unique gifts that are sure to surprise.
Then celebrate Small Business Saturday by shopping districts such as Historic Valley Junction, Historic East Village, and West Glen Town Center. All of these hot spots are all packed with local boutiques and shops.
A few additional events happening Thanksgiving week that are worth noting: RENT is back at the Des Moines Civic Center and also runs Wednesday, November 23 through Sunday, November 27. This Broadway show is a fan favorite and tickets start at an affordable price of $30. The Polar Express also kicks off this week at the IMAX Theater at the Science Center of Iowa and runs through December 11. Snag a Catch Des Moines Fun Pass for buy one, get one free admission to an IMAX show!
The annual Jolly Holiday Lights kicks off this week too, running through January 1. This year it’s at a new location – Adventureland! Drive through 2.5 miles of more than 100 magical light displays. All proceeds (yes that means 100% of your admission) goes directly to Make-A-Wish which makes it even better.
Who’s ready to celebrate a fun and busy November? Whether you are visiting family, traveling to shop, or just want a weekend getaway, there’s plenty to catch this month in Greater Des Moines.