Top 5 Summer Activities 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!