3 of the Best Places To Experience the Spirit of Christmas in Iowa

Lori Erickson
| October 30, 2023 | 1 Minute Read
Groups of people eating together at large dining tables


1. Communal Kitchen Museum & Cooper Shop, Middle Amana

Tour the only intact communal kitchen remaining in the Amana Colonies to learn how the community celebrated Christmas in years past. Built in1863, the kitchen was last used for communal meals in 1932, and its current appearance reflects the way it looked at that time, including its large brick hearth and a dry sink with wooden tubs.

The kitchen typically served 40 to 50 people when it was in use. It now hosts a traditional Christmas communal supper on the first weekend in December.

2. Historic General Dodge House, Council Bluffs

The onetime home of military leader and railroad builder Grenville M. Dodge has more than two dozen decorated trees on display amid the Victorian splendor of the 14-room mansion.The exterior of the house is also decorated with lights, garlands and bows.

The three-story residence is notable for its architectural details, such as its parquet floors, and its modern amenities, including central heating and indoor plumbing, which were rare in the area when the house was built in 1869. The mansion also overlooks the Missouri River Valley.

3. Terrace Hill, Des Moines

Built in 1869 as a private residence, this mansion became the home of Iowa governors in 1976. A National Historic Landmark, the building is considered an excellent example of Victorian Second Empire architecture and is recognized for its stained glass and beautiful woodwork.

Terrace Hill is the current home of Governor Kim Reynolds and First Gentleman Kevin Reynolds. While the residence is open March–December for guided tours, the building is at its most beautiful during the holiday season, thanks to its Christmas decorations. Guided tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday.

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