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!

Chow’s Hy-Vee Winter Classic 

Some of the top gymnasts in the region will be competing at Chow’s Hy-Vee Winter Classic, January 12 – 14 at the Iowa Events Center. The already top-notch event is growing with the addition of a boys meet, recreational meet, and Special Olympics Iowa exhibition. You’ll also be able to meet the gymnasts on Simpson College’s Gymnastics team on Sunday, January 14. Get your tickets and see the full meet schedule here


Try going vegan in January with the help of Veganuary. Sounds intriguing, right? Blue Sushi Sake and Grill is already a leader when it comes to vegan maki, and they are encouraging people to try vegan if they aren’t already. Each week in January they will have a featured special highlighting their vegan dishes. Twist our arm, we’ll go and try more sushi!  

Iowa Ag Expo 

The third largest indoor ag show in the country is back at the Iowa Events Center, January 30 – February 1. Explore the latest in the agriculture and farming industry like equipment and exhibitors spanning over 7 acres. It’s a can’t-miss event for those in the ag industry or those who just enjoy learning about the business. Don’t wait in line for tickets, buy your tickets in advance here and save $5. 

Basic Bird 

You may remember visiting Joe Tripp’s restaurant, Harbinger, during the pandemic to find you could order fried chicken dinners through his pop-up Basic Bird. Then, recently, Basic Bird was only offered on Sundays at the restaurant. Well, good news, Basic Bird will open on January 3 in its own building located at 2607 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines. The menu will feature Korean fried chicken with multiple sauce options, a bone-in chicken sandwich, two kinds of dumplings, and more. You’ll also be able to start your meal off with boneless wings or cauliflower wings. Did someone say, “Yum!”? 

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Tired of the cold? Catch some warmth at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden this winter. Not only is exploring the gardens a great way to spend the day, but they have tons of events happening throughout the chilly season as well. Experience Botanical Blues on Sunday afternoons starting on January 7. Each week will feature different live music acts, as well as food available at Trellis Café. You can also head to the Botanical Garden on Friday nights for Dome After Dark. The gardens will be dark but lit up with beautiful colored lights throughout the entire dome. Learn more about the events here

Brenton Skating Plaza

Want to take advantage of the winter weather? Head to Brenton Skating Plaza all season long to bundle up and skate through the snow. They are open every day, except Wednesday, in the evenings on weekdays and throughout the day on the weekends. Take in the beautiful views of downtown while skating circles around your friends and family. Want weather updates about the rink? You can text BRENTONSKATING to 84483 for alerts. Find admission prices, schedules, and more here

Drake Men’s and Women’s Basketball   

Des Moines’ hometown team has plenty of action throughout all of January. Head to the Knapp Center to cheer on both Drake Men’s and Women’s basketball teams. Throughout the month, the men start conference play by taking on Illinois State, UNI, and more. The women also start conference play by battling it out with Indiana State, Belmont, and more. Cheer the bulldogs to victory by getting tickets here

Best Day Coffee 

There’s a new place to grab a cup of joe in Altoona. Best Day Coffee recently opened in the former Nomi’s space. They offer locally roasted coffee from Black Silo, as well as local products from AE milk and Bell Farm. You can get your regular caffeine fix or try a specialty drink, Best Day Mocha (espresso, steamed milk, white chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, and whipped cream) and The Bee’s Knees (espresso, steamed milk, Bell Farm honey, and cinnamon). Come for the coffee, stick around for the eclectic vibe with vintage-style furniture.