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Summer in Greater Des Moines

Summer in Greater Des Moines means stomach-flipping thrill rides at Adventureland Park, baby animals at the Blank Park Zoo and nighttime concerts on the river. Summer is for catching fly balls at an Iowa Cubs game and live horse racing at Prairie Meadows. Cruise more than 800 miles of trails and enjoy the expansive Downtown Farmers' Market

Summer weekends are jam-packed with events. Plan your trip to attend the internationally recognized Des Moines Arts Festival or the Iowa State Fair. Enjoy multi-day adventures at 80/35 Music Festival, Des Moines Pride Festival, CelebrAsian and the Latino Heritage Festival. Experience the Summer you've been waiting for in Greater Des Moines. 

Adventureland Park

Adventureland Park has more than 100 rides, shows and attractions, including the new Phoenix roller coaster! Rides for all ages are available, from mild to wet-and-wild. Shows throughout the park feature a variety of family entertainment. And don't miss Iowa’s newest water park, Adventure Bay. Water park admission is included with admission to Adventureland Park. 

Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo is "Iowa's Wildest Adventure!" Experience the wonders of nature found in the tropical rainforests, Australian Outback and Africa. The zoo offers educational classes, tours and rental facilities.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The I-Cubs play in 11,000-seat Principal Park as part of the Pacific Coast League. The I-Cubs season runs from early April to early September.

Prairie Meadows

Come see why Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack & Hotel is your place to play. With more than 85,000 square feet of exciting casino action, Prairie Meadows has every game you want to play this side of Vegas. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Prairie Meadows also offers a wide variety of restaurants, live horse racing, weekly entertainment, and a luxury hotel at affordable prices. 

Downtown Farmers' Market

The Market brings urban and rural communities together, supporting nearly 300 vendors from across the state from the first Saturday of May through the last Saturday of October and also a special Winter Market indoors in November and December. Nourishing the community, The Market offers diverse products from locally grown produce to arts and craft and Iowa-raised meat – The Market has it all!

Des Moines Arts Festival

The Des Moines Arts Festival® is a twelve-time winner of the Grand Pinnacle Award. The Festival invites you to ‘go where it takes you…” by engaging with 180 invited professional visual artists, emerging Iowa artists, the cutting-edge Interrobang Film Festival, live music, performing arts, interactive arts activities, award-winning community outreach programs, live artist demonstrations, artisan food, and beverages for every taste.  

Iowa State Fair

Nothing Compares to State Fair Moments. The moment you ride the big slide, the moment you share a corn dog, the moment you earn a purple ribbon, the moments are endless and unique. With over 1 million attendees and 11 days, there are billions of moments at the Iowa State Fair.

80/35 Music Festival

80/35 is a multi-day festival celebrating music, artists and fans. The main stage features national bands, with regional and local supporting acts on smaller side stages.

Des Moines Pride Festival

Weekend-long festivities include a street party in the Historic East Village and a Pride Parade and festival. 


The Iowa Asian Alliance unites the different Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa for a two-day event called CelebrAsian. This Annual Asian Heritage Festival over Memorial weekend is the largest Asian event in the state, showcasing cultural exhibits, live performances, authentic food, sports, martial arts, and family activities attracting more than 60,000 attendees!

Latino Heritage Festival

The Latino Heritage Festival is the largest Latino Festival in the state, as well as the largest ethnic event in the state. The Festival offers traditional foods, authentic arts, crafts, cultural exhibitors, educational areas, entertainment and a Saturday night street dance.


Hear from locals about where to eat, drink, and spend your time while visiting Des Moines this summer. Catch an insider look at events in Des Moines, suggested itineraries, places to shop in Des Moines, and a few of the many delicious restaurants. These are just a few of our recommendations! Read these suggested summer blogs and then check out an entire list of blogs here.