Top 5 Summer Activates in Des Moines

Des Moines Summer Farmers Market

Des Moines is a great place to spend the summer! Located in the heart of Iowa and the Midwest, Des Moines boasts all the benefits of a big city, with the charm of a small farming town. From entertainment to food to outdoor activities, Des Moines has everything for families, young adults, and everywhere in between in the summer. With typically tolerable weather, the summer sun provides the perfect backdrop for these exciting summer activities in Des Moines.

2024 Des Moines Summer Activities

1. Des Moines Farmer’s Market


Returning for the season May 4th, the Des Moines Farmer’s Market is a favorite of local families, college students, and everyone in between. From coffee stands to fresh produce to handmade jewelry, the Des Moines Farmer’s Market sells everything you could want. Check out the nation’s second biggest farmer’s market this summer!

2. Hike at Gray’s Lake Park


This open green space right near Downtown is a unique feature of Des Moines. The park boasts a two-mile trail around the lake, playground, and open picnic space. Enjoy stunning views of Downtown while getting some fresh air and enjoying the sun with this free Des Moines summer activity!

3. Hinterland


This end-of-the-summer music festival is an Iowa staple! Technically located in Saint Charles, Iowa, this music festival is a must-see if you’re in Des Moines for the summer. Headliners in 2024 include Hozier, Noah Kahan, Vampire Weekend, and Ethel Cain. Tickets can be pricey, but it is so worth it if you are a music fan! Just make sure to buy tickets ahead of time and book a hotel well in advance. The Des Moines area can get crazy during this time, so plan accordingly even if you aren’t going to the festival yourself! Get a dose of music with this Iowa summer activity.

4. Adventureland


Amusement parks are a summer staple. With fun for families, young adults, and teenagers, Adventureland is an adventure for everyone! Hop on a rollercoaster, win a prize at a carnival game, or enjoy a classic amusement park snack. Tickets for Adventureland are reasonably priced, so bring a group and have fun in the summer sun!

5. Iowa State Fair


Held in August, the Iowa State Fair is another great family-friendly option. With attractions relating to livestock, agriculture, entertainment, rides, food, and so much more, the Iowa State Fair is a must-see for an Iowan. Go for just a day or enjoy a whole weekend depending on time and budget. Enjoy this summer activity near Des Moines!

Top 5 Restaurants in East Village

In Des Moines, Iowa’s East Village, five standout restaurants promise diverse and exceptional dining experiences. From local favorites to global cuisines, these spots encapsulate the area’s rich culinary scene. Let’s explore these top eateries defining the East Village dining landscape

1. The Iowa Taproom

The Iowa Taproom in Des Moines is a bustling spot that proudly serves an extensive selection of craft beers from local Iowa breweries. It’s a welcoming environment where beer enthusiasts can explore a diverse array of flavors while supporting the state’s brewing community.

2. Barrel House

The Barrel House in Des Moines, Iowa, is a popular gathering place known for its fusion of delectable food and a wide selection of craft beers. With a cozy atmosphere and a menu highlighting comfort food with creative twists, it’s a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. The establishment’s emphasis on quality brews and delicious dishes makes it a go-to destination for those seeking a relaxed yet vibrant dining experience in Des Moines.

3. Lucca


Lucca in Des Moines, IA, is a chic and inviting restaurant celebrated for its contemporary take on Italian cuisine. Known for its elegant ambiance and a menu featuring creative Italian-inspired dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, Lucca offers a refined yet approachable dining experience. With a focus on culinary innovation and impeccable service, it’s a beloved spot where patrons can savor modern Italian flavors in a sophisticated setting.

4. Café Baratta’s

Café Baratta’s in Des Moines, IA, is a beloved eatery nestled in the historic State Historical Building. Known for its charming ambiance and diverse menu featuring American and international dishes, it’s a go-to spot for locals and tourists alike. With a focus on quality and a welcoming atmosphere, Café Baratta’s offers a delightful dining experience perfect for casual meals or a quick bite amidst the city’s cultural hub.

5. Liberty’s – An Iowa Grill


Liberty’s – An Iowa Grill in Des Moines embodies Iowa’s culinary essence with locally sourced ingredients and a menu blending traditional Iowa flavors with modern twists. Its inviting atmosphere and commitment to showcasing the region’s food culture make it a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike seeking an authentic taste of Iowa’s vibrant culinary scene.

Des Moines’ Top 4 Pizza Spots

Looking for a quick slice or bite to kick off your week (or weekend)? Here’s our top 5 places in Des Moines for a good pizza fix!

Fong’s Pizza

A Des Moines classic, this is a must for anyone new to the city or coming again for a quick visit. Some fan favorites include the Crab Rangoon pizza, General Tso’s chicken pizza, and the Street Taco pizza. This Asian-Italian fusion has proven to be a success amongst Des Moines natives and visitors alike!

Eatery A

This Mediterranean-inspired spot has become known and beloved for their selection of wood-fired pizzas. Customers strongly recommend trying their non traditional flavors such as the savory-sweet #14, which features smoky bits of chorizo and tart pineapple with a hint of heat from jalapeño jam. 

Blaze Pizza

If your dream pizza is one that happens to be light, fresh, and quick, Blaze is your pizza soulmate. This popular pizza chain has 800 degree ovens guarantee a perfectly blazing hot pie just about any time you order from them. Flavors that won customers over include the Green Stripe and the traditional mozzarella and red pepper.

Franka Pizzeria 

Another wood-fired find, this restaurant is owned by the same company behind St. Kilda Cafe and Bakery. Their feel and atmosphere are great, but what sold their customers was their simple, yet excellent quality pizza. Fan favorites here are the grilled corn, margherita, and pancetta pizzas! Their sweet inclusion of hot honey is what makes the place stand out from the rest here.

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