Christmas Road Trips for Siouxland Families

in background, a snowy winter scene surrounds a highway as seen from inside the front seat of a car. foreground reads "Christmas Road Trips Less than 4 Hours From Sioux City"

There are tons of great holiday events happening in the coming weeks in some of our nearby communities. Here are some of my top picks for Christmas events within about 4 hours or so of Sioux City that could make a really fun day trip or weekend trip for families in the Siouxland area!

Sioux Falls

Winter Wonderland at Falls Park in Sioux Falls South Dakota
Sioux Falls Winter Wonderland at Falls Park, photo courtesy of Sioux Falls CVB

  • Winter Wonderland at Falls Park features over 300,000 lights on hundreds of trees and poles, and will be lit every night from 11/16 to 1/6/2019
  • 27th Annual Parade of Lights 11/23 at 7:30pm, on Phillips Ave from 13th to 5th
  • Tis The Season: Christmas with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, 12/8 & 12/9
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: the Musical at Washington Pavilion, 12/16 at 1 & 6pm
  • For more info on these events and the other great Sioux Falls holiday events, check out the Visit Sioux Falls website

More Christmas fun in South Dakota


Standstill Lighted Parade in Vermillion South Dakota

  • Standstill Lighted Parade Thurs 11/29
  • Free screenings of A Christmas Carol 11/26 and It's a Wonderful Life 12/17 at the Coyote Twin Theaters
  • For more info, visit the Vermillion tourism page


Flyer with information about the Holiday Festival of Lights in Yankton South Dakota

  • Holiday Festival of Lights 11/26
  • Cowboy Christmas at WJ ranch 11/24 & 11/25
  • Vespers at Mounty Marty with Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Music, 3 performances on 12/1 & 12/2, free but limited seating, so get tickets early (available beginning 11/14)
  • For more info, check out Visit Yankton 


Santa Claus and Else entertain a crowd of children and parents at the Omaha Children's Museum Santa's Magic exhibit
Santa's Magic at the Omaha Children's Museum, photo used with permission of OCM

  • Supper with Santa at the Omaha Zoo: 12/14, 12/15, 12/21, and 12/22, 6-8pm, $23 per person for zoo members and $28 for non-members (babies and toddlers under 2 free), more info here.
  • Omaha Children's Museum's Santa's Magic exhibit opens 11/23, and on 12/7 from 5-8pm, join Santa for milk and cookies (included with museum admission!)
  • For more festive fun in Omaha, check out the Ultimate Omaha Holiday Events List post from the Oh My Omaha! blog

More Christmas fun in Nebraska

Nebraska city

  • The official U.S. Capitol Tree is stopping by Nebraska City on its way to Washington D.C.! It will be in Nebraska City from 6-7pm on 11/19, and there will be cookies, warm drinks, and lots of fun as well
  • Lied Lodge has tons of Christmas fun including a Trolley Tour of Lights, crafts for kids, Brunch with Santa, and more.
  • Find more info on the Nebraska City website

Kansas City

70 foot tall Christmas tree decorated with colorful lights at Winterfest at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City Missouri
70 foot tree at Winterfest in KC, photo by Sage Scott of Everyday Wanderer

  • The Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting at Crown Center features a 100 foot tall tree! 11/23
  • Winterfest at Worlds of Fun features more than 5 million festive lights, music and performances, costume characters, and more! For 12 Reasons to check out World's of Fun's Winterfest, check out this post from KC based travel blogger, Everyday Wanderer.
  • Find more KC Christmas fun on the KC Parents website.

More Christmas fun in Missouri

Saint Joe

two dark brown horses pulling a carriage lit with blue Christmas lights in Saint Joseph Missouri
Downtown Holidays in St. Joseph, photo used with permission of St. Joseph Visitors Bureau

  • Downtown Holidays with free carriage rides, free cocoa, live music, and more, 12/1
  • Making Spirits Bright: A Holiday Show on Ice at the Bode Arena, 12/7 & 12/8
  • Robidoux Resident Theater presents A Christmas Carol: the Musical at the Missouri Theater, 12-7-12/9
  • For more info on holiday fun in  Saint Joseph, visit the St. Joseph tourism site

Des Moines

Winter in historic East Village, photo courtesy of Catch Des Moines

  • Drive through Adventureland's spectacular Jolly Holiday Lights, 11/23-12/29 (closed 12/24 and 12/25) from 5:30 to 10pm each night provides tons of holiday cheer and proceeds go to Make-a-Wish Iowa!
  • Ride the Santa Express on the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad, 11/23-12/16
  • Santa at the Blank Park Zoo, 12/8 & 12/15
  • Ballet Des Moines presents The Nutcracker at the Hoyt Sherman Place, 5 performances from 12/7 to 12/9
  • For more Des Moines Holiday fun, check out this post from Catch Des Moines, or visit the Des Moines Parents website, especially their lists of Holiday Shows in Des Moines 2018, Santa in Des Moines 2018, and Holiday Events in Des Moines 2018

More Christmas fun in Iowa


  • Christmas Acres, "country Christmas" drive or walk-through lighted extravaganza, with over 100,000 lights, tons of inflatables, 100's of light up molded plastic characters, and other decorations, along with festive music and other fun. Free admittance, with donations requested for a local charity for those who are able to contribute.  You can find the most up-to-date info about Christmas Acres on their Facebook page
  • Pioneer Village Christmas Wonderland features Christmas lights and decorations, visits with Santa, and rides in lit and decorated horse drawn wagons! December 7th & 8th, and 14th & 15th. Find more info on the Pioneer Village Christmas Wonderland Facebook Page


on both sides, the edges of snow covered pine trees. in center, on white, the words "Santa's Village, Downtown Spirit Lake, December 8, 2018"

  • Santa's Village in Downtown Spirit Lake on December 8th includes carriages rides, crafts, shopping, Santa, cocoa, and much more! You can find the full details here.
  • On December 15th you can enjoy a Big Band Christmas at Arnold's Park
  • Catch It's a Wonderful Life for free at 10am on Christmas Eve (donations to food pantry requested) at the GreatLakes 7 Cinema
  • For more info on these and more holiday events in the Okoboji area, visit the Vacation Okoboji website.

What's your favorite Midwest holiday destination?