Christmas – it’s the most wonderful time of the year! No matter where you go in Iowa this holiday season, each town is sure to have its own special celebration or festival. And while this list just scratches the surface, here are 11 towns that are a truly wonderful place to be during Christmastime.
During the holiday season, Keokuk is famous for its City of Christmas at Rand Park. The tradition began in 1989 when Toyland, Santa's barn complete with reindeer and elves, Santa's Workshop, a Nativity scene, and the International Christmas display all appeared in Rand Park. There are nearly 100 displays and approximately one million lights, with around 20,000 cars passing through each year. This year, the event is open from November 27 through
December 27, Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the City of Christmas will be open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Iowa's very own Christmas City, Wyoming, is known for its beautiful canopy of Christmas lights that spans four blocks along the town's Main Street. Plus there are at least 40 lighted Christmas trees tied to light poles that line the streets. If you love Christmas, don't miss out on Wyoming this year.
Fairfield is another small town that offers lots of Christmas fun. Visit Santa in his Kandy Kane House on December 14-18 and December 21-23 from 6 to 8 p.m.
The charming little town of Anamosa is a great place to be during Christmastime, and the area offers plenty of holiday fun. On December 11, 12, 13 - 26th is the Annual Christmas Tree Walk & Craft Show, on December 16 is supper with Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus. (Serving from 5:30 -6:30 p.m.), and on December 20 is the Community Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. at St. Patrick's Church.
Aside from checking out the beautiful bridges of Madison County during the holidays, Winterset has many more Christmas activities for visitors to do. Every year, the town does a Christmas Tour of Homes, a Children's Old Fashioned Christmas Party, and a community Christmas concert.
6. The Villages of Van Buren
There is nothing quite as magical as Christmas in the Villages of Van Buren. From their Festival of Trees, to "Light Up First Street," the villages are a great place to make those holiday memories. And don't miss the Lighted Christmas Parade and Soup Supper in Cantril from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on December 19!
7. Le Mars
The Pioneer Village Christmas Wonderland in Le Mars is just about as perfect as it gets. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride on a beautiful winter night, or check out the live nativity scene and musical performances. When you're done with that, roast marshmallows and sip hot chocolate around a campfire in the snow.
8. Storm Lake
When he's not in the North Pole, Santa can be found at Santa's Castle in Storm Lake! Located in the historic Carnegie Library, Santa's Castle is the perfect place to bring the kids this weekend. With Santa Claus himself there to take orders for Christmas gifts, and a plethora of antique Christmas toys and gifts, there is plenty of magic to be experienced here.
9. Orange City
Every year, the Dutch Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) visits Orange City to bring Christmas tidings to the townsfolk. He's already made his visit this year, but it's definitely worth putting on the calendar for next year.
10. The Amana Colonies
The Amana Colonies are amazing to visit any time of the year, but especially so during the Christmas season. The Tannenbaum Forest is one of the special holiday events going on in Amana from November 27 to December 20. At the event, you can check out the beautiful trees, grab a bite to eat at St. Nick's cafe, listen to music, and see Santa and his real-live reindeer.
The Boone & Scenic Valley Railway's Santa Express is an absolute must for those with young children or grandchildren. Let the kiddos put their PJ's on and head over to Boone for your own "Polar Express" experience. The ride lasts about an hour, and during that hour you will be treated to cookies and cocoa, story time, Christmas carols, and a visit from Santa Claus - complete with your own gift. Don't miss out on this truly magical experience this holiday season.
We know this list is far from extensive, so we want to hear what you think! What are some more Christmas towns in Iowa everyone should visit?