The Christmas light shows not to be missed this year in the Des Moines metro


Only a cranky man could frown after seeing those Christmas lights across the Des Moines metro.

  • We’ve compiled a list of free finds and postings that are worth the extra penny.
Free neighborhood driving

Gingerbread Street: Along the southeastern courtyard of Richland at Ankeny.

Details: 31 houses help tell an “original gingerbread story”. Visitors are encouraged to bring canned goods or money to donate. Donations will go to the Iowa Food Bank.

  • Santa and his helpers collect donations Friday through Sunday, but food donations can be left in the Gingerbread House at any time.

Premium: Frosty Circle, (aka SE Rio Circle), which connects to Gingerbread Lane.

  • ⏰ Every day until December 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Another stop on “Gingerbread Lane” in Ankeny. Photo: Jason Clayworth / Axios

Beaverdale: All over the neighborhood, but Ashby Avenue and Wallace Avenue are best known for their holiday lighting extravaganza.

Details: Dozens of homes take part in an annual lighting competition. People’s Choice Voting begins today.

  • Lights up until December 31 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
A photo of a house along Ashby Avenue in Beaverdale.
A house along Ashby Avenue in Beaverdale. Photo: Jason Clayworth / Axios
Pay admission to these

Jolly Holiday Lights: 3300 Adventureland Drive, Altoona.

Details: This is the 25th year of this 2.5-mile-long Make-A-Wish fundraiser with over 100 screens, the largest in Iowa.

  • The wishes of 80 children with serious illnesses are, on average, granted by the income of the event each year.
  • ⏰ 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. until January 2. (Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Years.)

Cost: $ 25 per car or $ 20 online.

A photo of Jolly Holiday Lights in Altoona.
A tunnel of light that is part of Jolly Holiday Lights in Altoona. Photo: Jason Clayworth / Axios

Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show: Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Blvd, Ames.

Details: This is the second year of the 17-acre outdoor show featuring movement, music and huge disco balls spinning under laser lights.

  • ⏰ Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until January 1, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: $ 5- $ 10. Free for children under 2 years old.

A photo from Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show at Reiman Gardens in Ames.
Light cubes at the Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show at Reiman Gardens. Photo courtesy of Reiman Gardens – Iowa State University

?? A Remark– home display capable: 705 NE Canterbury Dr., in Ankeny.

Details: Teenager Josiah Davenport created a light show synchronized with the music via tuning on 89.5 FM.

  • Part of the donations will be used to modernize the auditorium of the Ankeny Christian Academy, where he is senior.
  • ⏰ 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
A photo of a synchronized music and light show in Ankeny.
A synchronized music and light show at 705 NE Canterbury Drive in Ankeny. Photo: Jason Clayworth / Axios



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