Iowa’s Holiday Light Shows & Family Fun, 2021 Edition

Photo by Chris Ainsworth

Towns across Iowa are decked out for the holidays with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Gather your friends and family members together to enjoy spectacular light displays, decorated trees, house tours, and family activities.

ALTOONA. Jolly Holiday Lights. Enjoy a 2.5-mile car ride through over 100 magical displays at Adventureland. All admission fees go to Make-A-Wish Iowa. Adventureland Park, 3200 Adventureland Dr. Open nightly through Jan. 2. (Closed Dec. 24–25, Jan. 1)

AMANA COLONIES. Tannenbaum Forest. This multi-weekend event features over 40 decorated Christmas trees, a 17-foot German-style pyramid, gingerbread houses, and weekly special events in Festhalle Barn, 4707 220th Trail. (319) 330-9686. Through Dec. 19.

BOONE. Santa Express. Enjoy hot cocoa and meet Santa on this holiday train ride with songs and stories. RSVP. Fri.–Sun., Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad. (800) 626-0319 or Through Dec. 19.

CEDAR RAPIDS. Brucemore Christmas & Holiday Nights. On these self-guided tours, enjoy the Queen Anne mansion decked out Victorian-style for Christmas. On various evenings, enjoy live organ music. RSVP. Through Dec. 19.

IOWA CITY. ’Tis the Season. This month-long celebration includes Downtown Holiday Pop-Up Market in Black Hawk Mini Park with rotating vendors through Dec. 23; free Tractor Wagon Rides sponsored by Hills Bank & Trust Company; a Downtown Hunt for the Elves, a free kid-friendly scavenger hunt; free photo ops on Santa Saturdays at FilmScene, a Teddy Bear Room at Hilton Garden Inn.

KEOKUK. City of Christmas Lights Display. Enjoy a sparkling Christmas wonderland in Rand Park. N. 17th & Park Lane. (319) 524-1127. 5 p.m., through Jan. 2.

MOUNT PLEASANT. Festival of Lights Christmas Display. Drive through over a mile of lighted displays at Midwest Old Threshers, including a huge animated toy factory. With horse-drawn wagon rides on Dec. 9 & 12. Through Dec. 31. North Pole Express. Hop the train with Midwest Central Railroad, with visits from the Snow Princess and Santa, and hot cocoa and cookies in the caboose. Weekends through Dec. 19.

OTTUMWA. Holiday Nights ’n’ Lights. Greater Ottumwa Park’s spectacular light display. Proceeds go to local nonprofits. 5:30 p.m. nightly, through Dec. 31.

PELLA. Carriage Rides, Santa Visits & Hot Cocoa Bar. Various Fridays and Saturdays, downtown Pella. Through Dec. 18.

QUAD CITIES. Kall Christmas Lights. Tune your radio to 107.1 FM and watch a synchronized lights display every half hour, 1852 Westminster Circle, Davenport. @KallChristmasLights. Through Dec. 31. Holiday Lights at Fejervary Park. A musical, interactive light display. (563) 328-7275. 5–9:30 p.m. nightly, through Jan. 2. Christkindlmarkt Pop-Up & Giant Advent Calendar at GAHC. Rotating Christkindlmarkt vendors offer handmade goods, crafts, treats, and more each weekend through Dec. 19. Count down to Christmas with the largest advent calendar in the midwest, designed by 7th graders at the Creative Arts Academy. Dec. 1–25. German American Heritage Center, 712 W 2nd St., Davenport, Winter Nights Winter Lights. Open Wed.–Sun. through Dec. 12; open daily Dec. 15–Jan. 1. 5–9 p.m., Quad City Botanical Center, 2525 4th Ave., Rock Island, IL.

VILLAGES OF VAN BUREN COUNTY. Christmas in the Villages. Ongoing events include a Festival of Trees, live nativity scene, folk arts demonstrations, visits from Santa & Mrs. Claus, dinner theater, candy & cookie walk, artist studio tours, a New Year’s Eve Gospel Sing, and more. Through Dec. 31. Light Up the Park. Stone Lodge, Indian Lake Park, 28163 Willow Ave., Farmington. Through Jan. 1.

WASHINGTON. Washington Wonderland: Holiday Light & Decorating Contest. View displays by businesses and homeowners across town, and vote for your favorite. Pick up a map from Washington Chamber of Commerce, 205 W. Main St., or download at Through Jan. 1.

WEST DES MOINES & URBANDALE. Santa’s Rock N Lights. Drive through lighted displays benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Rd., Urbandale. Through Jan. 4. Jingle in the Junction. Thursdays 5–9 p.m., enjoy over 150,000 twinkling lights, free horse-drawn carriage rides, Santa visits, ice sculptures, Letters to Santa, the Selfie Spot, musicians, carolers, and more. Through Dec. 16.