quad city area holiday happenings for kids and families

The holidays make me feel a little like Buddy the Elf –

“First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle .”

I want to pack all the fun Christmas events and festivals I can into the next few weeks. And I know many other parents feel the same way. And lucky for us, we live in the Quad Cities – where there are always awesome things to do to soak up the season.

Here are a few options and favorites. Links are provided for each – all events are subject to change and should be verified before attending. (And make sure to share your picks in the comments.)

Holiday happenings in the Quad Cities

Festival of Trees – through Nov. 30
If you haven’t been to Festival of Trees this year, there’s still time.  Beautiful trees, a gingerbread village, a kid-friendly area with Santa – there is tons to do for the entire family at the River Center in Davenport. (Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Adults: $10, Kids 2-10: $3)

Walnut Grove Christmas Walk – Nov. 30
Enjoy the historic buildings beautifully decorated at the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village in Davenport.  Visit with Santa Claus and enjoy make and take crafts, refreshments and more.  (12 to 4 p.m.; Free)

Julmarknad – Nov. 28 to 30 & Dec. 6 to 7
This annual Swedish Christmas Market takes place in the historic village of Bishop Hill, Ill., and is reminiscent of medieval Scandinavian markets.  Bishop Hill is located 60 minutes south of the Quad Cities in between Cambridge and Kewanee, Ill. (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Free)

Figge Family Holiday Workshop – Dec. 4
Enjoy cocoa and cookies while you create delicious gingerbread houses and design holiday cards and ornaments with hand stamping, glitter glue, markers and more! This is a fun family night at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport. Call Heather to register at 563-326-7804 x2045. (6 to 8 p.m.; $15/member family of four or $20/family of four; $3 per extra person)

Holiday Train –Dec. 4 and 5
The Holiday Train, from Canadian Pacific Railroad, is making its way across the United States and Canada – collecting food donations for local food pantries and spreading holiday cheer with lights and live musical performances. Don’t miss these stops in the Quad Cities area. (Free)

  • Muscatine (east end of River Side Park at Chestnut Street and Harbor Drive), Dec. 4, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Davenport (Modern Woodmen Park), Dec. 5, 1:45 to 2:45 p.m.

Disney on Ice Presents Worlds of Fantasy – Dec. 4 to 7
See your favorite Disney characters on ice at Moline’s iWireless Center- great entertainment for all ages. (Prices vary)

Christmas in the Village – Dec. 5 and 6
Enjoy carolers, children’s activities, Nativity scene with animals, trolley rides and Santa in the Village of East Davenport.  Check out the fireworks on Saturday at 9 p.m. (6 to 9 p.m.; Free)


Christmas in LeClaire – Dec. 5 to 7
The charming village of LeClaire is transformed into a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting with its delightful shopping, trolley rides, bazaar, old-time craft demonstrations and more. (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Free)

The Cat in the Hat – Dec. 6 and 7
Check out this fun Dr. Seuss book on stage with your kids at St. Ambrose University – fun for the whole family. (3 p.m.; $9: Adults, $3: Children)

WinterFest – Dec. 7
Lots of great music and fun activities for all ages at the Family Museum in Bettendorf!  Make ornaments, snowflakes, snowmen, and visit Santa’s workshop. A donation for the food pantry is all you need for admission. (12 to 5 p.m.)

Holiday Magic   Dec. 7th
This free family event includes free Santa photos, make-and-take crafts, and milk and cookies and more at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf! (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Free)

Christmas at John Deere Historic Mansions  Dec. 7th
Step back in time for the free 19th Century Christmas celebration in the John Deere family mansions in Moline. See living-history volunteers, listen to carolers, and participate in make-and-take activities. (10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Free)

Winter in Bloom – Dec. 7 
Watch the Hauberg Mansion in Rock Island come alive with color and music during the holiday season. This 47th annual event features decorated rooms and the grand poinsettia tree. There will also be refreshments, live music and the opportunity for children to meet Queen Elsa and Princess Anna in the “Frozen”-themed Tulip room. (12 to 4 p.m.; Free)

Frozen Sing-a-Long – Dec. 11
Stop by the Fairmount Street Branch Library in Davenport to see the movie on our big screen, and sing along with the song!  Belt out all of your favorite songs, have some wintery snacks, and let it go. (6 to 8 p.m.; Free)


Lucia Nights Festival of Lights – Dec. 12 to 13
Buildings in the historic village of Bishop Hill, Ill., will have a single candle in each window and sidewalks will be illuminated by luminaries. Each business and museum will be open late and have a Lucia girl serving cookies. Activities begin on Friday with the lighting of the park Christmas tree with poetry and holiday singing. (Free, 6-9 p.m.)

Geneseo Christmas Walk – Dec. 13
There are tons of family-friendly activities in Geneseo, Ill., for the Christmas Walk, beginning with a fun run. Kids can write letters to Santa, make crafts, take photos with the Grinch, listen to holiday performances, and even enjoy a Christmas Walk Lighted Parade. In the evening, store windows come alive and streets buzz with carols and food vendors. (Free, 2 to 8 p.m.)

Frozen Princess Party – Dec. 13
Young princesses are invited to the Hauberg Castle in Rock Island to enjoy stories, activities, and dancing with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Wear your princess or party dress. Each princess will also receive a goody bag. (2 to 3:30 p.m.; $30)

Frozen Festival – Dec. 13
Do you wanna build a snowman? Come to the Frozen Festival at the Eastern Avenue Branch Library in Davenport for all things Frozen. Get your picture taken as Olaf, have ice cube races, build 3D snowflakes, enjoy wintery treats, and more! There will be costume contests for store-bought and homemade costumes. (2 to 4 p.m., Registration required)

Adler Theatre – The Nutcracker Ballet, Dec. 13-14
This well-known Holiday Performance comes to life in Ballet Quad Cities’ own enchanting production. (Various shows; $10-$35)

Christmas Tea at Quarters One – Dec. 14
Enjoy an afternoon tea with savory and sweet delights at the historic Quarters One mansion on Arsenal Island beautifully decorated for the holidays. (3 p.m.; $25)

Putnam Museum Polar Express Pajama Party – Dec. 19
This event includes a viewing of Polar Express in 3D, hot chocolate, a lights-out visit to exhibits, face painting, and other holiday activities – all while wearing your pajamas. (5:30 to 9 p.m.)

 Noon Year’s Eve – Dec. 31
Countdown to 12:00 .. NOON, that is! It’s a special New Year’s party for the younger set at the Family Museum in Bettendorf. Why try to stay awake until midnight, when you can party all day? There will be music, noisemakers, hats, and confetti – lots and lots of confetti! (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; normal admission)

All month long:


What would you add to this list?

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