Discover Ames

Celebrate the season in Ames

December 2, 2022

Now that the big “Merry and Bright Holiday Weekend” has passed, what do we do now? Turns out, there’s so much more to do in Ames and the surrounding area! Here are a few ideas:

Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show

With a wide variety of dazzling light installations throughout 17 acres of outdoor gardens, this walk-through light show includes old favorites as well as new surprises. Experience captivating tunnels, massive laser-lit disco balls, dynamic lights dancing across a frozen lake, a whimsical mushroom forest, and so much more.

Reiman Gardens

Thursday/Friday/Saturday evenings in December



Santa Express

All aboard the Santa Express! Bring the family, and enjoy a ride from the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad’s depot to the North Pole (and return). En route, you will hear the story of Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride, and take part in other fun, family activities. Experience what has become a tradition for families from across Iowa, and beyond.

Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad

Friday/Saturday/Sunday through Dec. 18


The Nutcracker

Stephens Auditorium’s Nutcracker Ballet production dates back decades as one of Ames’ proudest and best-known artistic traditions. The production puts area youth and adults on stage alongside world-class performers, resulting in a spectacular holiday celebration!

Stephens Auditorium

Three performances: Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Dec. 11 at 1 p.m.


Home Free Family Christmas Tour

All-vocal country music group Home Free will bring their Home Free Family Christmas Tour to Ames. Enjoy an uplifting evening of Nashville-dipped holiday music, incredible harmonies, and quick-witted humor.

Stephens Auditorium

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 8 p.m.


Shop local!

The race is on to find the perfect gift and throw the perfect party. Be sure to dash through downtown Ames (stores are open late on Thursday nights), find unique gifts in Campustown, and head to the shops at North Grand and along South Duff Avenue. Here’s a holiday gift guide for Cyclone fans!




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