Plunge into icy waters or go to a German-style Christmas market this weekend in Des Moines

Photo by Zach Boyden-Holmes / The Register

By Paris Barraza, Des Moines Register


The final month of the year is finally here and yet there’s still so much for people of all ages to do across the Des Moines metro. Kick off the end of the week by taking the family to the Brenton Skating Plaza for ice skating Thursday night. Then, take everyone to a German-style holiday market Friday for polka music, food and a tree lighting. On Saturday, dare yourself — or your loved ones — to take a plunge in icy waters to benefit Special Olympics Iowa, or watch the chaos unfold. Fans of pop-punk will want to see band Pierce the Veil at Vibrant Music Hall in Waukee that evening. On Sunday, Heritage Carousel in Union Park will be giving free rides as part of a holiday event. Take the little ones to see Santa Claus and take a spin on the beloved ride.

Practice your ice-skating skills

Photo by Byron Houlgrave / The Register

Thursday night: Go ice skating at the Brenton Skating Plaza, 520 Robert D. Ray Drive in Des Moines. People can stop by from 5 to 9 p.m. and rent a pair of skates. Tickets start at $6 and children 5 and under are free.

Dare to see a Krampus parade

Photo by Zach Boyden-Holmes / The Register

Friday afternoon: Visit the German-style Christmas market, Christkindlmarket, at Principal Park, 1 Line Drive in Des Moines. Experience live entertainment from polka bands to bagpipes, dig into European sweets and bites, see a large Christmas tree lit, and experience a parade dedicated to Krampus, who joins Santa Claus and punishes misbehaving children in folklore. The market is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free to attend.

Experience Bob Dylan’s discography in a new light

Photo by Evan Zimmerman / Provided

Friday night: Hear Bob Dylan’s songs reimagined in playwright Conor McPherson’s “Girl From the North Country” at the Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St. 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. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and runs through Sunday. Tickets start at $40.

Take a photo with Santa Claus

Saturday afternoon: Take a walk around a holiday-themed loop and see Santa Claus at Jingle Bell Stroll at Gray’s Lake Park, 2101 Fleur Drive, Des Moines. Take a photo with Santa, listen to holiday music, and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate on your stroll. Little ones can also drop off a letter for Santa to read before he takes off to the North Pole. The event is from 2 to 4 p.m. Be sure to register online for the free event.

Do a craft in a winter wonderland

Photo by Lily Smith / The Register

Saturday afternoon: Visit the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive in Des Moines, to create a seasonal decoration. The crafting activity, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will take place during Dome for the Holidays, which transforms the botanical garden into a festive, seasonal theme. The event costs $5 and does not include admission to the botanical garden.

Take an icy plunge

Photo by Michael Rolands / Record-Herald

Saturday afternoon: Support Special Olympics Iowa by taking the Polar Plunge, a dip into freezing waters at Raccoon River Park, 2500 Grand Ave., West Des Moines. Already, 200 individuals will take the plunge to support Special Olympics Iowa athletes. Participants will enjoy breakfast and an award ceremony before the event. See the Polar Plunge at noon, or register a team online.

See the Peanuts gang discover the true meaning of Christmas

Photo by Steve Gibbons / Special to The Register

Saturday afternoon: The Peanuts gang discovers the true meaning of Christmas with the television special turned play at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, 831 42nd St., Des Moines. Charlie Brown is doubting whether his pals understand what Christmas is all about. As he puts on a holiday play, his friends prove they do, in part thanks to one small, sparse Christmas tree. The first show starts at 11 a.m. Tickets start at $14.

See a popular pop-punk band come to Waukee

Photo by Jeff Faughender / Courier Journal and USA Today Network.

Saturday night: “King for a Day” pop-punk and rock band Pierce the Veil comes to Vibrant Music Hall, 2938 Grand Prairie Pkwy. in Waukee, supporting their album “The Jaws of Life” that came out earlier this year. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $116.

Have yourself a jazzy little Christmas

Photo by Noce / Special to The Register

Saturday night: This new holiday variety show at downtown Des Moines’ jazz and cabaret club Noce, 1326 Walnut St., will feature samples from the venue’s most popular seasonal productions. Vocalist and Noce co-owner Max Wellman hosts the show with a six-piece band led by composer and pianist Nate Sparks, joined by vocalists Gina Gedler, Napoleon Douglass and Tina Haase Findlay. Shows start at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets start at $22.

Light the season at Hoyt Sherman Place

Photo by Margaret Kispert / The Register

Saturday night: The Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus presents their winter show, “Light of the Season.” The nonprofit founded in 2001 will perform holiday classics all evening at Hoyt Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

Be delighted by a miserable show

Saturday night: Experience the Miserable Holiday Cabaret at Tallgrass Theatre Co., 2019 Grand Ave., Suite 100 in West Des Moines. Expect appearances by famous holiday villains, such as the Grinch and Jack Frost, during a show where good and evil blur. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30.

Go on a carousel ride with Mr. and Mrs. Claus

Photo by Nixson Benítez / The Register

Sunday night: Visit the Heritage Carousel of Des Moines in Union Park, 1801 Pennsylvania Ave., for Light Up the Carousel for the Holidays event. See Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, take home a carousel ornament and of course, take a spin on the carousel. The free event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Experience a psychedelic comedy show

Photo by Bruce Smith / Special to The Register

Sunday night: Comedian and podcaster Shane Mauss brings “A Better Trip” to Teehee’s Comedy Club, 1433 Walnut St. in Des Moines. The show highlights Mauss’ personal experiences with psychedelics and examines the history, science and culture of it, paired with stunning visuals and animations throughout. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25.

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