The Holidays At Brucemore

October 29th, 2021

Celebrate the majesty of the holiday season with a visit to Brucemore. Recognized as one of the top historic home holiday tours by USA Today in 2019, a visit to Brucemore is a signature Iowa tradition you don’t want to miss.  The splendor of the 1886 Queen Anne mansion mixed with the beauty of modern décor offers guests a festive experience to spend time with friends and family members.

This year, Brucemore will be offering several scheduled programs created with guest safety and comfort in mind. Masks will be required for everyone over the age of two inside buildings and each program has limited capacity to provide a personal experience while maintaining physical distancing. Tickets go on sale November 1 for the following programs: 

Donor Holiday Preview, offered Friday, November 19 through Sunday, November 21 with timed entry every 30 minutes beginning at noon. The last entry time will be at 3:00 p.m. Donors to Brucemore are invited to enjoy special access during the Donor Holiday Preview, a sneak-peek of the holiday season at Brucemore. This is our way of saying thank you for giving to help us preserve this irreplaceable community treasure!

A Brucemore Christmas: Self-Guided Mansion Tours, offered Thursdays through Sundays between November 26 and December 31 with timed entry every 30 minutes beginning at noon. The last entry time will be at 3:00 p.m. This self-guided tour of the first three floors provides a unique opportunity to experience the holidays at Brucemore while exploring on your own. This tour does not include the basement Tahitian Room and Grizzly Bar.

Holiday Nights: Extended Self-Guided Mansion Tour, offered Thursday and Sunday evenings in December with timed entry every 30 minutes beginning at 5:00 p.m. The last entry time will be at 7:00 p.m. This self-guided tour of the mansion features holiday décor on four floors of the mansion, including  the unique Tahiti Room and Grizzly Bar in the basement of the mansion, plus festive music on the 1920s player pipe organ.

Art at Brucemore: Glass Tree Workshop will be offered on Sunday, December 5 at multiple times. Make a glass holiday tree during this workshop with the iowa Ceramics Center and Glass Studio. Pick up your creation from their studio after it has been fired to add to your home décor or gift it to a friend.

Art at Brucemore: Clay Holiday Tree Workshop will be offered Saturday, December 18 at 1:00 p.m. Make a clay holiday tree during this workshop with the iowa Ceramics Center and Glass Studio. Pick up your creation from their studio after it has been fired to add to your home décor or gift it to a friend.

What is the difference between “A Brucemore Christmas” and “Holiday Nights?”

“Holiday Nights” is offered in the evening and includes the chance to hear music on the 1920s player pipe organ and to see more of the mansion. The basement Tahitian Room and Grizzly Bar will be open during as part of this tour!

When is Santa, Snacks, and Stories?

Santa will be stopping by prior to the kick-off of Brucemore’s holiday season this year as he will be unable to join us on special dates. He will be leaving behind special activities throughout the mansion and dropping off special gift bags for kids to enjoy and take home if they attend any date of either “A Brucemore Christmas” or “Holiday Nights.” Brucemore elves will deliver any wish-lists written to Santa at Brucemore. Don’t forget to tag Brucemore on social media to share your annual photo in front of your favorite Brucemore tree with Santa!

Photos from Holidays Past


Do I need to pay to enter the estate and walk on the grounds?

No. Visiting the Brucemore estate during grounds hours is free. Tickets are only required for scheduled tours and events, and they can be purchased in advance online.

Is a reservation needed to visit Brucemore?

You do not need a reservation to visit the grounds on your own. You do need a ticket to go inside the mansion. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance online or by calling 319-362-7375 for any of our mansion tours or other scheduled special themed tours due to limited capacity. Please visit our calendar to see upcoming opportunities and to purchase your tickets.

Touring the Mansion

Can I take pictures inside the mansion?

Yes. Photography is allowed during tours for personal, non-professional use. Tripods, selfie-sticks, or other photography equipment will not be permitted. Photographs should not distract from others’ enjoyment.

How large is the mansion?

Brucemore is approximately 15,000 square feet.

How many fireplaces, rooms, and floors does Brucemore have?

There are 21 “main” rooms, 14 fireplaces and four floors plus an attic.

Is all of the furniture original to the house and families?

Much of the furniture you will see on display belonged to the second or third families to live at Brucemore; however, some pieces had to be replaced with replicas or similar antiques.

Is the mansion handicap accessible?

The Brucemore mansion includes multiple floors and several staircases. Because of the historic architecture, some spaces are not accessible. Due to preservation work, the wheelchair lift that offers accessibility to the first floor is not available at this time. An elevator is not available from the first floor to the other floors at any time. Learn more about accessibility at Brucemore.

Group and School Tours

Is there an age requirement for students visiting Brucemore?

You do not have to be a certain age to visit or attend a program at Brucemore. Different programs are best suited for different ages. Tours of the mansion are recommended for 4th grade students and older.

Where do we park?

Parking is available on site a short walk from the mansion or carriage house. Buses must follow special instructions. Large events may not be able to accommodate on-site parking; please see the event calendar information for exceptions.

Is bus parking available?

Yes. Bus parking is available near the carriage house. Buses must arrive via special directions as they are unable to fit in our historic gates.

Is there a lunch area at Brucemore?

There are a couple of small picnic tables in the orchard and Adirondack chairs in pairs across the property to utilize during the warmer months. You are also welcome to bring your own blanket or chair to picnic on the grounds. Please carry out any trash to help our small staff keep the grounds beautiful.

Does my group have to arrive together?

Your group does not have to arrive together, however, parking on site is limited.

What is your payment policy?

Brucemore admission for group tours is often requested to be paid prior to the visit and a deposit may be required. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card and should be paid in one sum.

Do I need to make an appointment to tour the mansion?

You must have a ticket to a tour or program inside the mansion. Many tours do sell out in advance; purchase online or by calling 319-362-7375 in advance of your visit to guarantee your spot. See the schedule here.

Is the mansion wheelchair accessible?

The mansion is not currently accessible to wheelchairs due to preservation work. The mansion includes multiple flights of stairs. Most of the outdoor areas of the site are accessible. See our full accessibility information and contact us with additional questions regarding your visit.

Can I walk on the property?

Yes, the grounds and gardens are open daily most of the year. Several self-guided interpretive panels are available. See hours here.

What is Brucemore’s ticket policy?

Tickets are non-refundable, but may be rescheduled for comparable programs as space allows. Learn more.

I’m attending a large event at Brucemore. Where do I park?

Large events may require you to park offsite. Please read the event details on the calendar for specific information for each event.

Are weapons allowed at Brucemore?

We prohibit weapons on the property and at programs to ensure the safety and security of all employees and people visiting Brucemore.