There is no better place to experience the holiday season, than Downtown Iowa City! Enjoy the warm comfortable atmosphere and shop local while the Iowa City Downtown District celebrates Small Business Saturday on November 25th. Each year, Downtown Iowa City uses Small Business Saturday as the kick-off for all of the downtown holiday activities.  Downtown Iowa City is a regional center of locally owned businesses and will once again increase the celebration the national holiday campaign, Small Business Saturday, and the importance behind shopping local.

Entire List of Holiday Happenings that Begin with Small Business Saturday: 

  • November 25-January 1st: Downtown Hunt for the Elves 
  • November 25-26, November 30-2nd, December 7-9, December 14-16, December 21-23  : Holiday Pop-Up Shops 
  • November 25th: Small Business Saturday/Welcoming Info Booth 10am-7pm 
  • November 25th, December 2nd, December 9th, December 16th: Horse Drawn Trolley rides at Hills Bank and Trust & Santa Saturdays at FilmScene 11:30-2:30pm 
  • November 27-29th, December 4-6th: Downtown Teddy Bear Room 12pm-8pm
  • December 2nd: Retail Open House 10am-5pm
  • December 10th: Downtown Gingerbread House Competition 1pm-8pm
  • December 11-13th, 18-20th: Mystery Giving Shop with proceeds going to United Way 11am-7pm

This year, November 25th, Small Business Saturday in Downtown Iowa City will include many exciting and new features:

  • Free Parking: The City of Iowa City has provided free parking in all Downtown Ramps and Street Meters on Small Business Saturday, November 25th. See more… 
  • Santa Saturdays: Santa will leave his busy workshop for five special trips downtown to meet the area’s good girls and boys. Families can enjoy peppermint treats and FREE photos with the jolly ol’ fella at FilmScene (118 E. College St.) from 11:30am-2:30pm. See more… 
  • Free Horse Drawn Carriage Rides: There is no better way to take in the sights and sounds for the holiday season than a horse drawn carriage ride around Downtown Iowa City. Enjoy a whimsical ride while singing carols to the tune of antique sleigh bells, nestled in the enclosed comfort provided by Country Gentleman’s Horse and Carriage. Sponsored by Hills Bank and Trust Company from 11:30-2:30pm at their downtown location, the carriage rides are FREE, but the line starts early! “Tickets” begin being handed out at 11am.  See more… 
  • Downtown Hunt for the Elves: There will be dozens elves hiding all over Downtown Iowa City businesses waiting to be found. The community is invited to find at least 15 of the elves in downtown businesses to win prizes. See more…
  • *NEW: Holiday Market Pop-Up Shops: Come experience the holiday season with our first ever, Holiday Pop-Up Shops for 5 weeks, sponsored by UICCU! A brand new concept for Downtown Iowa City, this will not be your usual one-day market, locally designed by AKAR ARchiTecture, the three shops will transform Black Hawk Mini Park into a festive holiday destination. For 5 weeks November 25-December 23 on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays, the three fully heated, beautifully designed Pop-Up shops will feature new shops! See more…