Fall Bucket List | Greater Des Moines

Finally, it’s here. The season every one enjoys. Gone are the bikinis, swim trunks and diets of summer and back are the scarves, flannels, boots and jeans. Pumpkin EVERYTHING hits the shelves and stores, leaves start falling and, let’s be honest, you’ve probably already ordered your first PSL (pumpkin spiced latte…so basic of you)!

We’re lucky to live in a city that offers so many “must see must do, must photograph in the fall” and with the weather being as beautiful as it has been…get outside people! Trust me, snow will be upon us very shortly. Not sure where to start or what to do? You’re in luck, here is your fall bucket list.

Catch festive views 

Start at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park around lunch time. The leaves have already started turning, the grass is still green and the food trucks are still out. Grab a quick bite to eat at one of the favorites: Powered by Fries, Taco Loco or enjoy your last ice cream cone of the season at The Outside Scoop. Snap a quick photo and be SURE to include the trees, sculptures and the skyline. Perfect spot for family photos!

Catch fall drinks

Maybe it’s because I’m an Ankeny resident, but I love when Firetrucker Brewery releases a new beer. The past two years, they’ve hosted the Firetrucker Alempics where they release a special “event” beer (fall flavored of course), with six different bike events to compete in. Get that last ride in of the season. If you’re downtown, stop by Exile Brewing Company, Confluence, 515 Brewing Company, Madhouse, and Court Avenue for other seasonal delights and kick your taste buds into fall gear!

Catch Family friendly Halloween

Can you believe Night Eyes at Blank Park Zoo has been around for 25+ years? It’s because this is the perfect event to bring the kiddos to, making Halloween last more than just one night! Face painting, costumes, train rides, Disney characters and animals. What better way to get in the Halloween spirit? October 20-23; 27-30 Thursday and Friday from 5:30 – 8 p.m. or Saturday & Sunday from 1- 8 p.m.

Catch spooky spirits and German Beer

Love dressing up for Halloween? Looking for a reason to celebrate Oktoberfest? Be sure to check out our events calendar, for Halloween celebrations such as Living History Farms Family Halloween, the Pumpkin Walk in Historic Valley Junction, and Mysteries of the Castle at Salisbury House & Gardens.

If you are a beer lover, be sure to mark your calendar for Des Moines’ Annual Oktoberfest, September 23-24 in Downtown Des Moines. It’s just $10 per day and comes with your own commemorative mug. A stage featuring polka music, the seasonal craft beer village and Hofbrau Rooftop Bier Garden are just a few things to expect. Last year, Adventureland hosted its first ever Oktoberfest, opening the park for those 21+ to drink beer and enjoy the parks rides. The second annual event will be held Saturday, October 1 and will also feature live music, German beer and special contests. $15 admission gets you in to the park and 1 free Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest.


There's so many things on the fall bucket list, it's hard to hit them all. What are some of your favorites? What am I missing out on?