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!

National Balloon Classic

A classic favorite in Des Moines is back! The National Balloon Classic in Indianola returns from July 28 – August 5. This event features over 100 hot air balloons that fill the sky with gorgeous colors. Balloons fly every night at 6:30 p.m. and feature live music each night as well. You can also experience “dawn patrol,” a 5 a.m. early morning session. There are also fireworks, an art festival, and food and beverage choices as well. With nine days to choose from, there’s something for everyone with the National Balloon Classic. Plus, check out our blog with five things you can’t miss throughout the week here!

Iowa State Fair 

Nothing compares to August in Des Moines, especially because of the Iowa State Fair. Eleven days full of fried food, furry animals, and fast thrill rides. From August 10 – 20, enjoy one of the 64 new foods debuting this year like an Iowa Twinkie and Pork Belly Pinwheel or stick to the classic corn dog and cheese curds. No matter what, they’re all sure to be delicious. Enjoy a concert or two, including headlining acts like The Chicks and The Black Keys, or head to the free stage to see Hairball and other acts. Baby animals, parades, and anything you can imagine on a stick. The best days ever are at the Iowa State Fair

Major League Quadball Championship 

Catch a match of the new and exciting sport, Major League Quadball. Quadball is a mixed-gender sport that combines the elements of rugby, basketball, and dodgeball and takes after the popular Harry Potter game, Quidditch. Twelve of the best teams in America will be competing for the title August 26 – 28 at the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex. You can purchase tickets here

Vibrant Coffeehouse and Kitchen 

There’s a new place for you to grab a cup of joe in the Historic East Village. The Quad Cities-based Vibrant Coffeehouse and Kitchen is opening their doors at the beginning of August. They will be serving up coffee, handcrafted caffeinated creations, savory and sweet treats, lunch, breakfast, and exclusive apparel and gifts. If you don’t fall in love with their menu, you are sure to like their cool toned aesthetic vibes. What makes a coffeehouse even better? How about a walk-up window! 

Dave and Buster’s

Eat, drink, and play at Dave and Buster’s in Jordan Creek Town Center. Officially open the first week of August, the long-awaited restaurant, sports bar, and arcade is the perfect place for kids to be kids and bring out the inner kid in adults. Score big on arcade games, play virtual reality games, and billiards. Then fuel up on some food like wings, beastmode bacon burger, or pretzel dogs and wash it down with an ice-cold beverage. With plenty of TVs to watch games, this may be your new go-to sports bar. 

World Food and Music Festival

Immerse yourself in the food and music of dozens of countries at the World and Music Festival, August 25 – 27 in Western Gateway Park. Catch a program like a cooking challenge or festival adventures where you can explore exotic fruits like jackfruit. Expand your love for food and grab a bite from one of the 55 food vendors representing 26 countries. And don’t forget to check out one of the many musical acts on the stage. The festival is free to attend.

DSM Restaurant Week

Calling all foodies! dsm Restaurant Week is back, August 18 – 27. For ten days, you can try new dishes, dine at new restaurants you’ve been wanting to try, and save some extra cash on dinner specials. With more than 25 participating restaurants, you have options to choose from. Whether you are looking for a romantic Mediterranean meal, wood fired pizza, plant-based seasonal meal, or anything in between, you’re sure to find a mouthwatering meal. Dinner specials range from $40 – $80 and lunches range from $15 – $25. See the list of restaurants here


One of the best music festivals in Iowa returns August 4 – 6. Head 30 minutes outside Des Moines to the countryside for four days full of music. With over 30 acts, there’s something for everyone at Hinterland. Headliners include Bon Iver, Zach Bryan, and Maggie Rogers, along with other supporting acts like Noah Kahan, Wallows, and more. Spend your weekend soaking up the sun while listening to hours' worth of music. Check out ticket availability here