8 Things to Do 4th of July Weekend in Greater Des Moines

It’s hard to believe that Independence Day is almost here! This year it falls on a Monday which means there are nearly 4 days full of patriotic celebrations, fireworks and more to check out. This is a great weekend to get out and experience Greater Des Moines. Here’s a quick list of eight things happening this 4th of July weekend.

25th Good Guys Heartland Nationals

Browse hundreds of hot rods and muscle cars at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Good Guys is back in town Friday through Sunday! More than 4,000 custom and classic cars and trucks will be on display. Attendees can also catch a motocross show, swap meet, live music, a kid zone and more! Some of the fairgrounds food vendors will also open up for the event which means you can look at cool cars with a beer in one hand and a tenderloin in the other. If you attend on Saturday night, be sure to stick around for a fireworks display at 8 p.m. Admission is $20 at the gate or $17 in advance. Get them here.

Goodguys Heartland Nationals

Yankee Doodle Pops

The annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert starts at 8:30 p.m. on Friday with fireworks following. Head over to the West Terrace of the Iowa State Capitol grounds early and mark your territory with blankets and/or chairs. A concert prelude will start at 6:30 p.m. and there will be food vendors nearby. Of course, feel free to bring your own snacks and food to this fun, free event. You can catch a free ride there too. Thanks to DART, the D-Line will run a few extra hours on Friday night (until 11 p.m.) to help get people to and from the West Terrace. After fireworks, the D-Line will only travel westbound until 17th Street to drop-off passengers back at their cars.

Yankee Doodle Pops

Festival of Racing

Spend Saturday at Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack & Hotel. Live horse racing begins at 1 p.m. All ages are welcome to attend and watch, but you must 21+ to place bets. When racing wraps up around 5 p.m., stay for a free show by “The Dweebs” on the Budweiser Party Patio as part of Prairie Meadows Sounds of Summer Concert Series. The band “Riddle Me This” will also be playing at 8 p.m. in the Finish Line Show Lounge. Top the day off with fireworks at dusk!

Festival of Racing Prairie Meadows

Urbandale 4th of July Celebration

Experience one of the best and largest 4th of July celebrations in Greater Des Moines! Head to the Urbandale 4th of July celebration. Festivities start on Saturday and run through Monday. Experience carnival rides, live music and more! Enjoy a picnic on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and a teen street dance from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. On Sunday, attendees can enjoy music in the park starting at 4 p.m. and another street dance at 8 p.m. Then spend Monday enjoying a pancake breakfast, 5k race, 4th of July parade, cribbage tournament, soccer game, car show, jazz band and firework display. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and fireworks go off at 10 p.m.

4th of July Urbandale

All Iowa Bash

Catch the All Iowa Bash starting at Noon on Sunday in Historic Valley Junction. The event will feature Iowa food vendors, crafts, live music and, of course, district retailers will be open for business. The West Des Moines Independence Day Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. at Valley High School and ends at Historic Valley Junction. Live music will begin after the parade concludes.

All Iowa Bash

Live at the Creek

Head over to Jordan Creek Town Center for Live at the Creek at 5 p.m. Sunday night. You can enjoy live music from the amphitheater or one of the five lakeside patio restaurants surrounding it. Did we mention there will also be a beer and wine garden nearby? Enjoy a bite to eat, a cold drink and live tunes in West Des Moines.

Live at the Creek

Independence Day at Living History Farms

Experience an old-fashioned 4th of July celebration at Living History Farms. Take part in a pie eating contest, foot race, spelling bee and a watermelon seed spitting contest. Catch The Blustockings, a 19th century baseball team, play at 2:30 p.m. Grab the entire family for a day of friendly competition and exploration of the 1875 town of Walnut Hill!

Living History Farms Independence Day

Iowa Cubs

Grab your ball cap and head to Principal Park on Monday night to watch the Iowa Cubs take on the Omaha Storm Chasers. This game starts at 7:08 p.m. and will end with a firework show above the Downtown Des Moines skyline. Grab a bite to eat at nearby Guru BBQ or Mullets before the game!

Iowa Cub Fireworks Principal Park

Of course there are dozens of other events like Music Under the Stars, sprint car races in Knoxville and local farmers markets that will be happening throughout the weekend. You can find a list of weekend events here. You can also check out a full list of firework displays across the metro here. Enjoy!


- AB