HomeEntertainment11 things to do this Thanksgiving weekend in Des Moines, from Disney...

11 things to do this Thanksgiving weekend in Des Moines, from Disney on Ice to Christmas lights


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If you want to stay on top of all the fun things to do in Des Moines, sign up for Off Hours, your free weekly newsletter from the Des Moines Register that showcases all things fun you can do in central Iowa. Recently, we’ve written about pizza farmskaraoke barswhere to go thriftingBlack-owned businessesvegan restaurantsgluten-free options, the Amana Colonies and where to buy plants. If you sign up for our newsletter, you get a whole list of fun places to go, things to do, what to eat, and more early Thursday morning in your inbox.

Your Thanksgiving weekend game plan is here. Thanksgiving morning, get your body moving — and appetite growing — with the Des Moines Turkey Trot, a 5K and five mile complete with a tot trot for children. In the evening, the entire family can experience the magic of Disney on Ice, which comes to Wells Fargo Arena for the weekend. Continue having fun with the entire family all weekend thanks to holiday light shows at Living History Farms, as well as Winterset’s free celebration, the Festival of Lights. To help you ease back into the work week, see the Bob Dylan musical, “Girl from the North Country,” at the Des Moines Civic Center.

Disney on Ice

The magic of Disney comes to Des Moines on Thanksgiving with Disney on Ice’s Magic in the Stars. See sisters Elsa and Anna from “Frozen;” Mirabel, the member of the magical family the Madrigals from “Encanto;” Woody and Buzz from “Toy Story;” and many more beloved Disney characters as they take audiences on one incredible journey. Expect acrobatics, special effects, figure skating and the debut of Raya from “Raya and the Last Dragon” on the ice.

When: Nov. 23-26

Location: Wells Fargo Arena, 730 Third St., Des Moines

Tickets: Start at $18 at hyveetix.evenue.net

More: Where to eat at a restaurant for Thanksgiving in the Des Moines metro

Des Moines Turkey Trot

See the beauty of Des Moines on foot by racing across the Des Moines River, through the Historic East Village and around the State Capitol Complex, and completing at the World Food Prize building. The Des Moines Turkey Trot 5K and five mile has a tot trot for children 8 and under.

When: Nov. 23 at 9 a.m.

Location: 208 Court Ave., Des Moines

Tickets: Start at $12

More: Looking for Santa? Here’s where to find him around Des Moines for a picture this season

Holiday Hullabaloo

Take the family and immerse yourself in a holiday experience with Holiday Hullabaloo. Experience live reindeer on the opening day, plus ongoing experiences like a sock ice skating rink, mini golf, a life-sized gingerbread house, Santa’s workshop and more.

When: Nov. 24-Dec. 30

Location: 10320 Hickman Road, Clive

Tickets: Start at $15

Festival of Trees & Lights

The 40th annual Festival of Trees & Lights returns with decorated trees, live entertainment, visits with Santa Claus and activities perfect for families. The event is the largest fundraiser for Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, according to UnityPoint Health.

When: Nov. 24-26

Location: Iowa Events Center, Community Choice Convention Center, 833 Fifth Ave., Des Moines

Tickets: $5

More: Holiday shopping events to visit across Des Moines this fall include Jingle in the Junction

Santa’s Rock n Lights

See a dazzling display of Christmas lights with the drive-thru light show at Living History Farms. Experience over one mile of lights synchronized to music.

When: Nov. 24-Dec. 31

Location: Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale

Tickets: Start at $29.99

More: Ready to find the perfect tree? Here are 6 Christmas tree farms near Des Moines

Winterset Festival of Lights

The annual Winterset Festival of Lights is a family-friendly holiday experience complete with live entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa Claus and spirited window displays. Stick around for the parade at 7:15 p.m. and a holiday movie at 8 p.m. at the Iowa Theater.

When: Nov. 24

Location: Winterset Courthouse Square, 73 Jefferson St., Winterset

Tickets: Free

Winter Wonderland

Center Grove Orchard is transforming into a Winter Wonderland, complete with horse-drawn carriage rides, a hot chocolate stand and a winter wonderland walkthrough, where visitors can see a stunning display of lights and seasonal scenes.

When: Nov. 25-Dec. 23

Location: Center Grove Orchard, 32835 610th Ave., Cambridge

Tickets: Start at $7.95

More: Where to see home holiday lights in Des Moines and across Iowa? Share your favorites here.

Candlelight: Featuring Vivaldi’s Four Seasons & More

Hear the virtuoso Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s music brought to life under the glow of candlelight. For one hour, attendees will be treated to this candlelit concert that includes Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and works by other composers performed by the Listeso String Quartet.

When: Nov. 25

Location: World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, 100 Locust St., Des Moines

Tickets: $50

5th Annual post-Turkey Day Dipsos Blowout

Rock the Thanksgiving carbs off at xBk Live with live music. Dipsos, the Des Moines-based rock band from the early 1990s, is throwing the fifth annual post-Turkey Day Dipsos Blowout, featuring the Des Moines rock trio The Other Brothers and newer act 10 Watt Robot, whose members were part of various Midwest acts including Iowa’s alt-rockers The Hollowmen.

When: Nov. 25

Location: xBk Live, 1159 24th St., Des Moines

Tickets: $15 at the door

Taylor Swift Drag Brunch

Tapped out on cooking? Get brunch, and do it with “Style.” Swifties will get to hear all of Taylor Swift’s hits, see incredible drag performances, and enjoy brunch and drinks.

When: Nov. 26

Location: Decades Event Center, 1208 Grand Ave., West Des Moines

Tickets: $35

‘Girl from the North Country’

Hear Bob Dylan’s songs reimagined in playwright Conor McPherson’s “Girl from the North Country.” The Tony Award-winning show is set in 1934 during the Great Depression in Duluth, Minnesota, as family and strangers’ lives intersect in one guesthouse. What follows is a tale of life and hope.

When: Nov. 28-Dec. 3

Location: Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines

Tickets: Start at $40

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and arts at the Des Moines Register. Reach her at PBarraza@registermedia.com or follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.

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