Make fond memories of driving slowly through different neighborhoods or going to Jolly Holiday Lights with the following options in Des Moines. Everyone in your family will leave the trip feeling a little more in the Christmas spirit or at least maybe a few of them will nod off and give everyone else a few moments of quiet.
- Jolly Holiday Lights– November 24- December 30- This year will be the first held at Adventureland and organizers say the displays will be extra special this year. Make a point of stopping at the Santa’s Workshop to get a picture taken with Santa for $10 and to get some hot cocoa and cookies to enjoy the 2.5 mile ride through specially themed light displays. It costs $10/per car and $20 for limos/minisbus. All proceeds go towards Make A Wish and they have helped over 700 wishes come true for local children.
- Beaverdale Holiday Lights-Starting December 11- The Beaverdale neighborhood truly makes a grand effort to make their homes sparkle every year for Christmas. This is a slightly on the shorter side of how long the route is but it’s well worth the shorter trek. Most of the houses try to outdo their neighbors through even those who stick to traditional displays are just as noteworthy. The traffic is pretty tricky during peak times so be prepared for a lot of stop and go driving.
- Valley Junction Neighborhood– November 30-January 1- Though the shopping area of Valley Junction will be the main attraction, the neighboring houses will also participate in lighting up their homes for the holiday season. Valley Junction uses 100,000 lights for their shopping district and each shop will decorate for the season as well. Try and walk this route if the weather isn’t too cold since it’ll give the experience a little more authentic feel to it.
- East Village Neighborhood– November 17-Janaury 1- This neighborhood is best enjoyed while walking since there’s a lot of traffic usually and parking can be a bit difficult if you go on a Friday or Saturday night. This is an awesome way to get your holiday shopping since the crowds will be thinned out by evening and you’ll get the beautiful lights to make the experience of buying gifts a little less stressful.
- Windsor Heights Neighborhood– December 1- January 1- Over 120 homes participate in this yearly event. The city recommends driving at a slow speed to fully enjoy the experience and I’d personally recommend getting everyone a hot chocolate or one of the fancy coffee drinks from Grounds for Celebration – a coffee shop I recommended in the Top Coffee places in Des Moines– and have the Christmas music as loud as everyone can handle as you drive through the neighborhood.
For the best Christmas activities in Des Moines, click here.