Downtown Iowa City kid’s market event returns

The second annual Kid's Market officially opens for 20 days in downtown Iowa City

The Downtown Holiday Kid's Market, first hosted in 2021, will officially open again next week in downtown Iowa City.
The Downtown Holiday Kid's Market, first hosted in 2021, will officially open again next week in downtown Iowa City. CREDIT IOWA CITY DOWNTOWN DISTRICT

The Downtown Holiday Kid’s Market, first hosted in 2021, will officially open again in downtown Iowa City, according to a news release sent by the Iowa City Downtown District.

Sponsored by GreenState Credit Union, the Kid’s Market is a chance for kids to independently shop for everyone on their holiday lists with the assistance of Santa’s helpers. Located in Black Hawk Mini Park in the Pedestrian Mall, the event will open a week earlier this year on Monday, Nov. 7, to expand capacity and participation. Kid’s shopping appointments will be open each day Nov. 7-23 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

“When I was a child, the local chamber hosted a kid’s secret Santa event, the event remains one of my fondest memories. The event allowed me as a kid to take money and go shopping for my parents and sister without them knowing what they were getting. It is such a cool experience for mom, dad, grandparents, whomever, to receive something special that was specifically chosen by the children in their lives”, said Director of Creative Services, Betsy Potter in the release. “The Downtown Kid’s Market is a chance for kids to gain independence shopping on their own, learn about budgeting while shopping, and widen the options kids have for gifts to give. ”

Kids will be able to shop from a collection of items from various downtown shops with gifts priced between $5 to $50.

According to the release, parents and guardians will help submit a list of all gifts that need to be purchased, the budgets for each person, and then wait while the kids have the opportunity to shop in secret. Once their shopping is complete, children will have the opportunity to have the gifts wrapped and bundled before returning to their parents with their holiday shopping complete.

Each child will have around 45 minutes to shop for everyone on their list. Santa’s helper will help kids stick to their budget, make sure they get something for everyone on the list and shop efficiently.

“Last year we filled our shopping appointments quickly and helped hundreds of kids with their shopping lists. The feedback we received from kids and parents was simply remarkable. This year, we have expanded the dates and times available for shopping to welcome even more families to participate in the market,” said Ms. Potter.

According to the release, customers are able to reserve their shopping time online at the Downtown Holiday Market. Drop-in appointments will only be open when they are available. See more details and the full calendar of holiday happenings downtown at

“GreenState is proud to bring this event back as a fun and engaging way for our children to learn budgeting and decision-making skills this holiday season. We thank the Downtown District for keeping their events creative for the whole family,” said the president of the GreenState Foundation, Tara Wachendorf, in the release.