Think Ames logo

A Magical Season Begins in Ames


As the temperatures get cooler and the days get shorter, a magical season begins in Ames and on the campus of Iowa State University. With all that’s planned from now through New Year’s, a weekend in Cyclone Country is the perfect addition to your holiday traditions.

Season on Stage:

Both old and new classics play in Ames this season, including Elf the Musical, JR (11/9 – 11/18), Noel (11/30) and A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage (12/23). Or relax with sounds of the season in concerts from Kenny G – The Miracles Holiday & Hits Tour, or check out Home Free’s “A Country Christmas” Tour (12/16).

Santa-worthy Shopping:

Snow Magic kicks off in Downtown Ames on Thursday, November 8, filling the season with retail promotions, holiday treats and festive activities. North Grand Mall invites you to Santabration (11/17) where you’ll see Santa’s arrival on an Ames Fire Truck! And holiday treats make the shopping sweeter at the Iowa Arboretum’s Holiday Sale (11/17).

Holiday Happenings:

Head to Campus for WinterFest (11/30 – 12/1) to enjoy themed events that bring together ISU students and the Ames community. Make reservations for Breakfast with Santa at Reiman Gardens (12/8) and check out the (miniature) RG Express Holiday Train in the Conservatory while you’re there. Warm up with hot chocolate at the ISU Farm House Museum (12/8-9) while delighting in a turn-of-the-century Christmas.

Homemade with Heart:

What means more than a gift made with your own hands? A fine silver origami pendant or silver earrings can be made through classes at the Octagon Center for the Arts. Create a holiday wreath at Reiman Gardens. Tantalize your guests with sweet and savory recipes you learn from Cooks’ Emporium (Downtown Ames) cooking demonstrations.

For a full list of things to DO, EAT, STAY, and SHOP in Ames and the surrounding community this holiday season, please check out the event calendar at