We’re always waiting for the weekend, but when summer rolls around Thursday nights are just as exciting. From live music to farmers’ markets, there’s no excuse to go home and sit on the couch after work! Here are 4 reasons to love Thursday nights this summer in Greater Des Moines:

Farmers’ Markets

Three metro farmers’ markets happen on Thursday nights. Grab your produce and fresh flowers before the weekend even begins. Here is where you can find them:

Valley Junction Farmers’ Market – West Des Moines

  • 4 - 8 p.m.

  • 4th – 7th blocks of Railroad Avenue & Locust Street

Polk City Farmers’ Market – Polk City

  • 3 - 7 p.m.

  • 3rd Street and Van Dorn

Pleasant Hill Farmers’ Market - Pleasant Hill

  • 4 - 7 p.m.

  • 5299 E. University Avenue


Free Music

There is so much live music happening in Greater Des Moines this summer! You can catch it every Thursday in two spots for FREE! Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy the night at Jasper Winery for their 2016 summer concert series. Each week features a different band or artist and you can purchase wine by-the-glass, sangria or Madhouse Brewing Company beer. They also feature food vendors. In conjunction with the farmers’ market in West Des Moines, you can also catch Music in the Junction at Historic Valley Junction. They feature new artists each week, and attendees can listen while browsing food and farmers’ market vendors. Of course, the stores will be open too so you can check out all the district has to offer.

2016 Summer Concert Series

  • 6 – 9 p.m.

  • Jasper Winery

Music in the Junction

  • 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

  • Historic Valley Junction 

Music in the Junction

Free Flicks

Grab the kids and check out an outdoor movie at various parks across the City of Des Moines. The movies, shown on a 25-foot portable screen, begin around 9 p.m. every Thursday. Families can catch everything from The Lego Movie to Frozen! Admission is free and attendees are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and snacks. Here’s a schedule of movies and the locations they will be played.

Free movies

Free Racing

Get ready for high speed horse racing! Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack & Hotel features live thoroughbred horse racing every Thursday – Sunday. If you haven’t checked it out before, take a Thursday night and experience the excitement. It’s free to attend and all ages are welcome (although you must be 21+ to place bets). Enjoy the outdoors and grab a bite to eat at the concessions or inside at the newly renovated AJ’s Steakhouse or Triple Crown Buffet.

Racing at Prairie Meadows

Of course, there are hundreds of other events on Thursday’s throughout the summer. These are just a few that you can count on each week! Which one will you check out?

- AB