Des Moines: A Midwest Summer Dream

While driving through the heart of the Midwest you’ll see just as many friendly faces as you do cornfields, dogs, and beautiful landscapes. Des Moines is a staple city in the Midwest region and you don’t have to go far to find fun attractions in the summer sun.

The best seasons to visit Des Moines are summer and fall. Start planning your trip in advance to put together a fun-filled itinerary. Now let’s get started with a few suggestions for a weekend getaway.

Grey sculpture with a building in the background

Catch an I-Cubs baseball game over at Principal Park. The Triple-A Affiliate team brings the heat during the summer games. Grab an ice-cold beer and a ballpark hotdog. Enjoy the postgame firework show for an exciting way to either end your night or keep the party going. If you choose the latter, make your way downtown to the many bars on Court Avenue! Visit The Exchange for a fun and interactive bar experience. Cocktail prices fluctuate just like the stock market. Prices will drop down to $2 for a certain period of time and then suddenly jump up to $8 while another drink price drops. The name of the game is to ‘get it while it’s cheap!’

Trees with a city skyline in the horizon

Wake up early and head Downtown to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market. This is the place to be on a Saturday morning. The market runs from the beginning of May from 7 am – 12 pm until the beginning of October 8 am – 12 pm. At this pet-friendly event, the dogs seem to outnumber the people. There is a wide variety of vendors including florists with fresh cut flowers that provide a sweet aroma. Be sure to stop and enjoy the delicious breakfast options throughout the market.

If you happen to visit during the month of August, you are in for a treat! The Iowa State Fair runs from August 8 – 18 and it is one of the country’s largest and most popular fairs. Eleven days of the best concerts and entertainment of the summer. The musical lineup is as hot as the August temperatures, the fried food is endless, the people watching unmatched, and the beer never stops flowing. There are talent contests, corn dogs, show pigs, The Big Slide, and thousands of other attractions that bring in people from coast to coast every year. The fair also features many family-friendly events, shows, and exhibits. Kids love the sea lion show, the train rides, and the splash pad as much as riding the ski lift which takes you from one end of the fairgrounds to the opposite, overlooking everything as you ride. Have you ever heard of the famous butter cow? You have to see it! It is exactly what it sounds like, a 600lb. cow crafted out of butter. Grab your camera and snap a selfie!

After you’ve had your fill of the fair, head back towards downtown for an evening cocktail. The 300 Rooftop overlooks the entire Des Moines skyline. Try the Peace Tree Blonde Fatale, a local beer with 8.5% alcohol content and a crisp, refreshing bite.

River with bridge and city skyline in the background

After a fun-filled weekend, be sure to relax and enjoy brunch with your family and friends at Mullets. Their relaxing atmosphere and unique river walk make Mullets a local favorite. They have the best breakfast and brunch menus, mimosas, and Bloody Mary’s for your Sunday morning recovery.

Summer in Des Moines is always bustling with special events, foodie finds, and local attractions. Plan ahead by visiting Catch Des Moines for an up-to-date schedule of events. From the Farmer’s Market to a day at the fair, you’re sure to enjoy the spirit of Des Moines!


This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Lauren F. Are you interested in traveling to Des Moines? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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