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!
They say April showers bring May flowers and the Farmers’ Market is the perfect place to get them! The beloved Downtown Farmers' Market, named the #2 farmers’ market in America (but #1 in our hearts), has its opening day on May 7. Every Saturday from 7 a.m. to Noon, the Historic Court District downtown is transformed into an art and foodie paradise, with around 275 local vendors, live music, and countless precious pups. This is a Des Moines bucket list item and Instagrammers paradise, so make sure you check all the boxes: bundle of sunflowers, pineapple drink, mural selfie, Farm Boys breakfast burrito, and Bozz Prints shirt to prove you were there. Check out our Des Best video on it here.
Another great option is the Valley Junction Farmers Market in West Des Moines, kicking off on May 5. This market occurs weekly on Thursday evenings from 4 – 8 p.m., and features Music in the Junction from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. There are 100 weekly vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, plants and flowers, not to mention all the vintage shops, art galleries, cute boutiques, and underrated eateries that make up Valley Junction’s main drag. It’s a vibe and we’re here for it.
Thrill season is upon us! Opening Day for Adventureland Resort is May 14. As Iowa’s largest amusement park, it boasts more than 100 rides (including nine new ones this year), shows, and attractions. And if you want to get wet and wild, there’s the attached Adventure Bay included in admission, opening May 27, which has a wave pool, lazy river, half a dozen water slides, Kokomo Bay for the kiddies, and a swim up bar for mom and dad. (Pro tip: Rent a canopy in Adventure Bay and use that as your basecamp for the day.) If you’re a season passholder, you can experience the special Preview Weekend on May 7 and 8.
Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Did you catch the track and field bug from the Drake Relays? You can scratch that itch with the Missouri Valley Outdoor Track and Field Championships, coming to the iconic Drake Blue Oval from May 13 – 15. This is a prime opportunity to watch some of the best collegiate track and field athletes compete for a conference championship. Get your tickets here.
Lachele’s Fine Foods
We’d call our assertation that Lachele’s has the best cheeseburger in that state a hot take, but given that they were recently nominated for Best Burger in Iowa by the Iowa Beef Council, we clearly aren’t alone in our thinking. Although Lachele’s has only been around for about a year now, their smash burgers, which practically melt in your mouth, have garnered tons of accolades and a huge cult following. You’re there for the burgers, but don’t sleep on their unique daily specials (their fish sandwich is one of the best in town), vegetarian offerings, and Berkwood dogs either. Comfortable, cool, cheesy. What more do you need?
503 Drink Lab
Located at 503 Locust Street in the East Village (*lightbulb goes off*), 503 Drink Lab is the new brainchild of Lynn Pritchard, chef and owner of the wildly popular Table 128 (formerly of Clive, relaunching downtown Des Moines soon). Serving casual small plates (bao buns, anyone?), with a rotating menu every few weeks, this modern cocktail lounge focuses on thoughtful, complex drinks, including a robust offering of non-alcoholic choices to serve as a healthy alternative. Plus, bar director Jake Humburg was just named Iowa's top mixologist! You can try one of his winning drinks, "Between the Frames", anytime you visit 503 Drink Lab. We’ll raise a glass to that.
Hamilton at Des Moines Civic Center
We don’t really have to sell you on this, do we? One of the most beloved Broadway shows of all time makes its return to Des Moines from May 17 – June 5. Known for its soundtrack that blends hip-hop, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton has taken the world by storm since its debut. Stop reading now and go get your tickets here before they’re gone!
Cinco De Mayo
Cinco De Mayo in Greater Des Moines is the perfect excuse to eat tacos and drink margaritas. Thursday, May 5 is full of specials throughout the Des Moines restaurant scene, and we’ve piled them all into one place for you. Read our Cinco De Mayo blog here and get a taco flight (or two) for us.
Proudfoot and Bird
Named for the original architects of the Hotel Fort Des Moines, Proudfoot and Bird is the buzzy new restaurant inside the hotel. But make no mistake, this is no ordinary hotel bar and restaurant, this is destination dining, and a place to see and be seen. Think Sex and the City chic (the old one, not the reboot), with stunning marble tables, plush soft seating, and a grand circular bar that takes people watching to a whole new level. Open daily for lunch and dinner, they offer small plates like truffle parmesan fries and warm ricotta on grilled bread, along with mains like Alaskan salmon and a Pasta du Jour. Step inside the newly renovated hotel for an elegant meal in the heart of downtown Des Moines.