Each month, we highlight the most buzzworthy places and events in Greater Des Moines in a feature we call Des Buzz. It's your “in the know” list of places to go!
Throw on your kitschiest green t-shirt (Kiss Me, I’m Iowa-ish) and try your luck at any number of St. Paddy’s Day celebrations around the metro. Anchored by the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Grand Avenue at Noon on March 17, there's mischief to be made all week, from bar crawls and corned beef to dueling fiddles and dodgeball. So, raise a glass of green beer and check out our full list here!
Hoops and Hops
The madness has just begun – March Madness that is! Cheer on your favorite college basketball teams at Hoops and Hops at Cowles Commons from March 17 – 19 with a large, heated tent to protect you from any March weather elements. With multiple televisions showing games, you won’t miss a minute of the action, no matter your team colors. Food trucks will be on site, as well as the Iowa Craft Beer Tent and Iowa Distilling Company Bar for all your food and beverage needs. If all that competition has you ready to relive your glory days, there’s two full basketball courts that will be open to show off your (March) mad(ness) skills. Did we mention there is no admission fee? Sounds like a slam dunk to us.
If your idea of southern comfort involves battered fried chicken, collard greens with bacon, and brown butter pecan pie (as opposed to the whiskey you drank in college), you’ll be fixin’ to try out Tupelo Honey, opening downtown on March 15. Specializing in scratch-made Southern food, they will be open for lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on the weekends. Famous for their fried chicken, but full of other fried items as well. Green tomatoes, cauliflower, brussels, pickles, you name it, they fry it (and we’ll try it).
RENT - 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour
Everyone is applauding Hamilton’s upcoming encore in May, but long before Hamilton became a cultural phenomenon, RENT was the drama darling dominating the cultural conversation. Now you have one last chance to experience the celebrated touring production, as it returns to the Des Moines Civic Center on March 11 and 12. The story of a diverse group of young friends in New York City as they struggle to follow their dreams without selling out, has never been timelier than it is today. Get your tickets for this timeless show here before the curtain closes.
Described as the “closest thing to Brooklyn that Iowa has ever seen,” we love the effortlessly cool vibe of the East Village, home to some of the best bars in town. Things are picking up steam with the addition of The New Northwestern, a new railway-themed cocktail bar located in the historic spot that used to house a hotel of the same name. During the early 1900s, the East Village was a hot spot for passenger rail activity, and The New Northwestern incorporates that rich history into every touchpoint, from overstuffed barstools to the white marble bar top. Grab another passenger and stop by for their happy hour (3 – 6 p.m., weekdays, half price wine and cocktails) and enjoy a LocoMojito or one of their Gin & Tonic Flights.
Boys State Basketball
Everyone knows that in Des Moines, the actual March Madness starts weeks before, with the Girls and Boys State Basketball tournaments. IYKYK. Head down to Wells Fargo Arena from March 7 – 11 to cheer on your favorite Iowa High School boys state qualifying teams. Need something to do in between games? We’ll be over here dishing out assists with our Quintessential Des Moines Itinerary that has everything you need for a distinctly Des Moines week.
Combine the sleek aesthetic of a New York City loft, the gamesmanship of Smash Park, and the drink list of a Full Court Press bar, and you’ve got Ricochet, the newest place to play at Capital Square in downtown. With nine different game areas (think skee-ball, shuffle board, cornhole, pool, pong, etc.) and a fully stocked bar, Ricochet has quickly established itself as the place for both pre-gaming, post-gaming, and everything in between. You can even bring food into the bar or have it delivered there. Game, set, match!
Sourdough bread making. Tiger King. Wordle. The pandemic introduced us to many kinds of escapism, but perhaps none more productive than rekindling our love for curling up with a good book. So good news all you book worms, the DSM Book Festival is back on March 26! Winner of the Best New Festival (International Festivals and Event Associations 2019) this year's festival features authors like Angeline Boulley (Firekeeper’s Daughter) and Dawnie Walton (The Final Revival of Opal & Nev). Admission is free, but you can purchase premium workshops and VIP packages that allow you to mingle with authors who can turn a phrase better than you. Put down the phone and make books cool again.
We’ve been watching the new Jurassic World Dominion on repeat, and it‘s got us roaring with excitement for Jurassic Quest, which stomps into the Iowa Events Center from March 11 – 13. Take a walk through Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic Periods and learn what it would have been like to walk alongside all different types of dinosaurs. Enjoy digging for fossils, riding your favorite dinosaur, and other dino-mite activities. Tickets start at $19, so nab them here before they go extinct.