Holiday Spirit - Group Travel

Want to see what the holidays are like in the Midwest? Bright lights, fluffy snow, delicious hot chocolate? Explore the classics of Greater Des Moines for your next holiday-themed trip!


DAY 1  

The holidays feature plenty of time to give gifts to loved ones, right? Start out your day with a visit to Historic Valley Junction! From antiques to local finds, the Historic Valley Junction district is a perfect spot to browse for treats and treasures. Get a personal on-coach welcome before shopping or select a private demonstration or class from a shop owner. Shop local at Jingle in the Junction the first two weekends in December. The district twinkles with more than 150,000 lights and ice sculptures. Catch a free horse and trolley ride, listen to carolers and visit Santa too! (515) 222-3642  

Looking to escape the cold of an Iowa Winter? You can head over to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens to get warm and see an array of beautiful plants to remind you of the warm summer days. (515) 323-6290

If gardens aren’t your thing, stay warm by heading inside and taking in the view at the Des Moines Art Center. This permanent collection of major 19th, 20th, and 21st century recognized masterpieces is housed in a striking contemporary building designed by three internationally recognized architects. The Des Moines Art Center boasts outstanding exhibitions, educational programs, museum gift shop, and a restaurant that makes for a great lunch stop! 

Want to spice up your trip? Continue your day with a visit to AllSpice Culinarium in the Historic East Village. They offer private tours and a personalized welcome from the owners. Enjoy sampling over 350 culinary herbs, spices, oils, and balsamic vinegars. (515) 822-4134

Contact Catch Des Moines to help you find the perfect entertainment for the evening. Numerous venues such as the Hoyt Sherman PlaceDes Moines Performing ArtsDes Moines Playhouse or Wells Fargo Arena may have holiday shows while you’re in town. 

To close out the evening, enjoy one of the most beautiful light displays in the Midwest by walking through Jolly Holiday Lights at Outlets of Des Moines. Plus, this is a fundraiser for the Make a Wish Foundation, so while you enjoy the lights, you are also helping with a wonderful cause!

DAY 2  

If you love holiday decorations, then the Holly & Ivy Holiday Home Tour is the perfect event to find inspiration! The Salisbury House and other unique locations across the metro decorate in holiday flowers, décor, and furnishings. You can also enjoy live music at The Salisbury House and catch Santa strolling the property.  

If you’re in town the first weekend of December, take your group to Christkindlmarket, a German-inspired Christmas market held at Principal Park. The market showcases European foods, products, and activities that will educate and entertain attendees! Shop vendors from across the region and enjoy live music, and a beer tent serving up European-style beverages.

Continue your day by visiting Terrace Hill. Beautifully decorated for the holidays, this is the home to the Governor of Iowa. Guided tours of the first two floors and historic gardens take visitors back to the Victorian lifestyle of the late 1880s. Tours last approximately one hour and begin in the Carriage House, which once contained horse stalls and carriages, and now has been renovated into a visitor’s center, museum, and gift shop.  (515) 281-7205  

As you make your way north, visit The District at Prairie Trail. This new area in Ankeny is home to boutiques, restaurants and entertainment. It’s a great stop for a lunch!  

All aboard! Feel like a kid again and ride the Boone & Scenic Railroad’s historic train for the Santa Express or regularly scheduled train rides any time of year. (515) 432-4249

As you make your way back to Downtown Des Moines, make a stop in Altoona to finish up your last-minute shopping. Stop by the Outlets of Des Moines, a shopping center featuring more than 70 outlet stores with more coming soon. Groups of 15 or more will receive complimentary coupon books and a preferred parking area. (515) 380-7216 

To finish out your evening, catch the lights and sounds of the holidays at Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack & Hotel. (515) 967-1224

Don’t feel like dealing with the hustle and bustle of the holidays? You can put your worry aside and contact a local, step-on guide and tour planner Inbound Iowa, LLC to help customize your trip. (515) 975-5534 

For more information, contact:
Chris Baker
Director of Event Experience
(515) 699-3456