With holidays just around the corner, shopping for the perfect gift is top of mind. These holiday markets across the state offer the ultimate collection of worldly goods, jewelry, décor and more to cross every name off your gift list. Add them to your calendar and enjoy a shopping spree!

Cultural Markets

Kerstmarkt-Christmas Market, Pella

Bundled up shoppers enjoy a cup of coffee in front of holiday craft huts.
Photo courtesy Kerstmarkt Pella Facebook

Head to Pella and help the community celebrate their Dutch heritage. Inspired by the outdoor markets of the Netherlands, their Kerstmarkt-Christmas Market occurs the first weekend of December alongside the community’s Christmas Tour of Homes event. Shoppers can discover artisan vendors, Dutch food and drinks and live music performances. Whether you’re shopping for the perfect gift or need a mini vacation to the Netherlands, this cozy market is a great way to celebrate the holidays.

Christkindlmarket, Des Moines

A small wooden hut hosting a craft vendor is illuminated by holiday lights.
Photo courtesy Christkindlmarket Des Moines Facebook

This 700-year-old holiday tradition invites you to ring in the holidays and enjoy German culture during the first weekend of December. Browse the dozens of vendors who gather at Principal Park in downtown Des Moines and sell old-world, artisanal, hand-crafted products representing various European cultures. Then, stop by the entertainment stage to catch a musical performance or hear stories and songs alongside cultural activities at the kid friendly KinderKorner. Finish the night with a deliciously authentic German meal, hot chocolate, mulled wine or German sweets.

Prelude to Christmas, Amana Colonies

A building with high wooden beams is filled with glowing Christmas trees.
Photo courtesy Amana RV Park & Event Center Facebook

This magical weekend in early December features a variety of special events paired with German-inspired gifts, delicious food and beverage samples, carolers and Christmas finery. Be sure to stop also by the High Amana General Store, which offers a magical world of scents, colors and light alongside an extensive array of ornaments, tree displays and unique home décor. Or find the perfect gift within their collection of world-imported items and handcrafted goods. After getting your fill of shopping, eating and sampling, check out Amana's Tannenbaum Forest to see over 60 uniquely decorated Christmas trees.

Norwegian Christmas, Decorah

A group of women and children interact with a goat at a holiday event.
Photo courtesy Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum Facebook

Kick off the holiday season in Norwegian fashion at the Vesterheim in early December. Browse the folk-art vendors located throughout the Main Building to find anything from jewelry, wheat ornaments, knitting, weaving and spinning products and woodworking. Or craft your decorations to gift or preserve the day’s memories. Bring the whole family along to enjoy the Decorah festivities such as gathering to sing around the Christmas tree alongside Scandinavia sweets, carols and performances.

Old World Christmas Market, Cedar Rapids

A crowd wanders a hallway filled with craft vendors and decorated with holiday wreaths.
Photo courtesy National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library Facebook

What happens when Midwest magic mixes with traditional European markets? The Old World Christmas Market holds the answers. This Cedar Rapids event is held every first weekend in December and invites locals and visitors alike to browse handcrafted items, enjoy delicious treats and participate in activities for all ages. The event is free all weekend and includes admission to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library galleries.

Regular Markets

Downtown Winter Farmers' Market, Des Moines

A produce vendor gives a thumbs up behind his stand filled with carrots, yams and onions.
Photo courtesy Des Moines' Downtown Farmers' Market Facebook

When the snow falls and the Des Moines farmers’ market comes to a close, it briefly transforms into an exciting winter market for one day in both November and December. This winter version also takes over the streets of the Historic Court District and features vendors selling everything from the last of their fresh produce to gifts, sweet treats, wine, coffee, candles, jewelry, home décor, beauty products, pet supplies and more. This is a great place to get all your holiday shopping done in one trip.

Holiday Thieves Market, Iowa City

A collection of paintings on display as shoppers browse art stands behind them.
Photo courtesy Summer of the Arts Facebook

This 50+ year tradition marks another year of ringing in the holidays in style. This fine art show is held in the Hyatt Regency Expo in Coralville in December and connects visitors with work from local artists. Its vendors sell everything from special handmade holiday gifts to ceramics, drawings, glass art, jewelry, metalwork, mixed media products, photography and paintings.

Winter Solstice Market, Winterset

A clothing rack and other sale displays sit among holiday decorations in front of a historic brick wall.
Photo courtesy Madison County Chamber of Commerce Facebook

Held inside the renovated Winterset Livery in December, this curated holiday gathering features the best of Winterset’s creators and food vendors. Free entry paired with the market’s collection of art, crafts and sweet treats makes it a charming addition to you holiday festivities.