Des Moines is an event city, and there’s no better time to visit (or explore your own backyard) than when summer events are in full swing. From festivals and farmers’ markets to concerts and sports, we’ve rounded up all the best highlights to help build out your summer itinerary in Greater Des Moines.

Recurring Events

Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market
When: Saturday mornings from 7 a.m. – Noon, May – October 
Where: Historic Court District 
What: Voted the #2 Best Farmers’ Market in America, the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market boasts nearly 275 local vendors with fresh produce, food, art, flowers, and more. 

Prairie Meadows Live Horse Racing
When: Friday – Monday, May – September  
Where: Prairie Meadows 
What: Place your bets and cheer on the winnings horses all summer long at Prairie Meadows Racetrack, Casino, and Hotel.  

Valley Junction Farmers’ Market
When: Thursday evenings from 4 – 8 p.m., May – September  
Where: Historic Valley Junction 
What: Explore the stores and vendors throughout all of Valley Junction. Shop produce, baked goods, arts and crafts, and more.

Jasper Winery Summer Concert Series
When: Thursday evenings from 6 – 9 p.m., May – August 1  
Where: Jasper Winery
What: Enjoy outdoor live music at Jasper Winery on Thursday evenings throughout the summer. Beer, wine, cider, and sangrias will be available, as well as food trucks and other food options. Rain or shine, be sure to bring a lawn chair to enjoy the music! Find the schedule here.

Zoo Brew
When: Wednesday evenings from 6 – 9:30 p.m., June – August  
Where: Blank Park Zoo 
What: Drink and explore the Blank Park Zoo after hours throughout the summer! This event features live music, as well as local brews. Proceeds from the event help support the care and conservation of the zoo.


When: May 24 – 25  
Where: Western Gateway Park 
What: This annual festival is the largest Asian American event in Iowa featuring authentic food, cultural exhibits, and live entertainment and performances. The festival is free to attend. 

Greek Food Fair
When: May 31 – June 2 
Where: St. George Greek Orthodox Church 
What: Enjoy Greek and Serbian Food at the Greek Food Fair. They will also have dancing, gifts, and more. 

Principal Charity Classic
When: May 31 – June 2 
Where: Wakonda Club 
What: A mainstay on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule, the Principal Charity Classic is a summer must do in Greater Des Moines. Located at the newly renovated Wakonda Club, cheer on some of your favorite longtime golfers while exploring the course all weekend long.


Iowa Craft Brew Festival
When: Saturday, June 1 
Where: Water Works Park 
What: Celebrate all things Iowa brewing with the Iowa Craft Brew Festival. With 70+ local craft breweries in attendance, the unlimited drink samples will be never ending. Pair that with numerous local food trucks, and your day is set. 

World Pork Expo
When: June 5 – 6  
Where: Iowa State Fairgrounds 
What: World Pork Expo is the largest pork industry-specific trade show, educational seminars, and industry updates. It brings together pork producers and industry professionals from around the world for three days of education, innovation, and networking as well as over 1,000 exhibitors at the trade show, showcasing the latest pork production technologies, products, and services. 

Capital City PrideFest
When: June 7 – 9  
Where: Downtown Des Moines 
What: Celebrate Pride Month and pride in Des Moines with Capital City PrideFest. Spreading from the East Village to Western Gateway Park, enjoy live music, vendors, a parade, and so much more.

IRONMAN 70.3 Des Moines
When: Sunday, June 9 
Where: Gray’s Lake, Downtown Des Moines 
What: Cheer on athletes as they race to finish IRONMAN 70.3 Des Moines. Start at Gray’s Lake as they swim, check out transition to see competitors switch to bike, and head downtown to follow runners to the finish. 

Neighbor’s Day
When: Saturday, June 15 
Where: Western Gateway park 
What: Iowa Juneteenth is hosting their annual Neighbor’s Day festival to help celebrate Juneteenth. Enjoy live music, food, activities, and more to celebrate the special day. 

National Speech and Debate Tournament
When: June 16 – 21  
Where: Locations throughout Greater Des Moines 
What: Over 6,000 students will flood Greater Des Moines as they compete in the national tournament. Free to attend, cheer on students in debates, improv, and more. 

BBQ & Brew
When: Saturday, June 22 
Where: Principal Park 
What: Back for its second year, BBQ & Brew is an afternoon of sampling Iowa Pork and craft beers. There will also be live music, entertainment, and more. Tickets are $20, with $15 tickets for a non-alcoholic afternoon as well.

National Junior High Finals Rodeo
When: June 23 – 29 
Where: Iowa State Fairgrounds 
What: Attend one of the biggest rodeos in the world at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. In addition to the rodeo, there will also be one of the greatest western trade shows in the nation. This is free and open to the public in the Varied Industries Building.  

Des Moines Arts Festival
When: June 28 – 30  
Where: Western Gateway Park 
What: Celebrate the arts at one of the largest arts festivals in the country. Explore the streets of downtown Des Moines filled with nearly 200 of the nation’s top artists, as well as live music, food, and more.


Yankee Doodle Pops
When: Wednesday, July 3 
Where: West Terrace, Iowa State Capitol 
What: Start your 4th of July celebrations early with the annual Yankee Doodle Pops show on Capitol Hill with the Des Moines Symphony. Enjoy a concert full of long-time patriotic favorites, fireworks, and more. 

TruBank Des Moines Challenge
When: July 5 – 7 
Where: Pickard Park 
What: Cheer on players on the Disc Golf Pro Tour as they compete at Pickard Park in Indianola. Three days full of some of the best Disc Golfers around, tickets start at $15. 

Goodguys 33rd Speedway Motors Heartland Nationals
When: July 5 – 7 
Where: Iowa State Fairgrounds 
What: Goodguys features over 5,000 of the Midwest’s finest 1999 & older hot rods, trucks, customs, muscle cars, and classics. Enjoy vendors, live music, fireworks, and plenty of cars. 

80/35 Music Festival
When: July 12 – 13 
Where: Water Works Park 
What: 80/35 is an annual music festival in Des Moines, featuring two full days of live music and performances. Headliners for the 2024 festival include Killer Mike and OK Go.

Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend
When: July 12 – 14 
Where: Iowa Speedway 
What: Watch world class races at the Iowa Speedway, along with concert performances from Luke Combs, Post Malone, Kelsey Ballerini, and Eric Church.  

Warren County Fair
When: July 24 – 29 
Where: Warren County Fairgrounds 
What: Get your fair fix in July with the Warren County Fair, featuring a carnival midway, livestock shows, contests, concerts, and more. 

National Balloon Classic
When: July 26 – August 3 
Where: Indianola  
What: Watch 100+ hot air balloons suspend over the horizon, along with food trucks and live music.  


Hinterland Music Festival
When: August 2 – 4  
Where: Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater, St. Charles 
What: Experience three days of live music and performances from top-charting artists including Noah Kahan, Vampire Weekend, Hozier, and more. 

Iowa State Fair
When: August 8 – 18  
Where: Iowa State Fairgrounds 
What: The single largest event in the state of Iowa kicks off in August. Enjoy 11 days of fried food, live music, farm animals, and so much more.  

Ingersoll Live
When: August 24 
Where: Ingersoll Avenue 
What: Explore the block party on Ingersoll Avenue with Ingersoll Live. This family-friendly party features live music, art, food, and more, all celebrating the businesses and residents of Ingersoll Avenue. 

World Food & Music Festival
When: August 23 – 25 
Where: Western Gateway Park 
What: Experience flavors and cuisine from all over the world right in Des Moines. The festival will include numerous dishes to try, transporting you to different places around the world through unique cuisines. 


Savannah Bananas
When: September 6 – 8  
Where: Principal Park 
What: Cheer on the Savannah Bananas as they take on the Party Animals in a three-game series at Principal Park. Experience extreme baseball, dancing, tricks, and more!

Des Moines Streetstyle Open
When: September 19 – 21  
Where: Lauridsen Skatepark 
What: The streetstyle open is a multi-day open street contest throughout Des Moines, including the world-class Lauridsen Skatepark.  

Iowa Latino Heritage Festival
When: September 21 – 22  
Where: Western Gateway Park 
What: Experience Iowa’s only two-day Latino festival in the state. The exclusive Sabor Latino event features food, live music, dancing, and more.

When: September 27 – 28  
Where: Lauridsen Ampitheater, Waterworks Park 
What: Transport yourself to Germany with Des Moines Oktoberfest. The festival features German beers, seasonal and craft beers in the Craft Beer Village, a Party Plaza, traditional German dance troupes, Bier Maiden contest, Stein Holding competition, German carnival games, and of course food. 

Animate! Des Moines
When: September 27 – 29  
Where: Iowa Events Center 
What: Explore Animate! Des Moines, which features entertainment, Q&As, video and tabletop gaming, panels, costume contests, cosplay wrestling, and so much more fandom for you to explore.

Suburb Events 

Ankeny Summerfest
When: July 12 – 14 
Where: The District at Prairie Trail – 1500 SW Main Street 
What: Summerfest is a 3-day festival, with music, carnival rides, great local food, amazing fireworks and fun for everyone!  

Bondurant Blues and Brews Festival
When: July 15 
Where: Bondurant Regional Trailhead 
What: This is a family-friendly event at Bondurant’s iconic regional trailhead in the heart of the Chichaqua Valley Trail system. The evening includes two local blues bands, so bring your lawn chairs, blankets, friends, and family for a night full of live music. 

Nights in the Heights
When: June 25, July 9, July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6 
Where: Colby Park 
What: Grab a chair and head down to Colby Park for a free concert on Tuesday nights, starting June 25th. All concerts start at 7 p.m. Each night also brings a great food truck line up. 

Pleasant Hill End of Summer Fest
When: August 26 
Where: Copper Creek Park 
What: Close out summer at the Pleasant Hill End of Summer Fest. The event begins at 1 p.m. with a parade, followed by family-friendly activities with bounce houses and more! 

Clive Festival
When: July 19 – 20 
Where: Greenbelt Landing 
What: Check out the Clive Festival for bounce houses, a beverage garden, food trunks, a Miss Iowa meet and greet, live music, fireworks, swimming at the Clive Aquatic center and much more. 

Waukee Arts Festival
When: July 19 – 20 
Where: Centennial Park 
What: Take part in a new summer tradition as the Waukee Arts Festival hosts a scenic race through Centennial Park and Sugar Creek Trail finishing in Waukee's best annual event.  Enjoy a timed run and stick around to listen to live music, eat at a food truck, and peruse the wonderful local artists for something that speaks to you. 

Four Seasons Festival
When: July 19 – 20  
Where: Polk City Town Square 
What: Head over to the Four Seasons festival featuring familiar favorites and new activities, including live music, Friday night bike night, a beer garden, 5K Run, kids fun run, a parade, Bill Riley Talent Search, classic car show, free children's activities, and food vendors. 

Racoon River Park Palooza
When: June 8 
Where: Racoon River Park 
What: Everyone is invited to Racoon River Park Palooza, a summer festival celebrating the West Des Moines community & outdoor recreation. Attractions for the event include live music, cardboard boat races, a vendor fair with fun activities for kids, a beverage tent featuring craft beer, food trucks & so much more. 

Grimes Governors Days
When: June 6 – 8 
Where: Grimes South Sports Complex 
What: Celebrate Grimes Governor Days with concerts, parades, carnivals and more. 

Johnston Green Days
When: June 13 – 15 
Where: Terra Park 
What: Head to Johnston Green days to experience a packed schedule of exciting activities, such as Jammin’ in Johnston Business Expo, parade, carnival, bags tournament, Johnston Alumni night, fireworks, and live entertainment in the beer garden.