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Des Moines Destinations

The "S" in Des Moines may be silent, but our city's local events have lots to say for themselves. As one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the Midwest, Des Moines draws in people from near and far to experience its slew of special events. No matter how long you've lived here, or how new you are to the area, there are endless Des Moines destinations just waiting to be discovered. 

Keep scrolling to dive into Des Moines' event calendar, and in the meantime, you can check out some of the area's most sought-after neighborhoods

Our Favorite Annual Events

Holiday Promenade November 19 – December 17, 2021

Each Friday, enjoy kid-friendly holiday celebrations! Expect most retailers, restaurants, and attractions in the East Village to remain open until 9:00 PM, so you can cap off your night of games and activity with a snack at your favorite spot. While you celebrate the holidays, make it even more fun by listening to the official Holiday Promenade Spotify playlist!

Historic East Village

The Winter Market in Des Moines November 20 – December 4, 2021

UnityPoint Health is excited to present a safe, outdoor, seasonal Saturday farmers market! Grab your groceries and support local artisans by buying their jams, jellies, cheese, meat, eggs, and more!

Historic Court District

Jolly Holiday Lights November 20, 2021 – January 1, 2022

Support the Make-A-Wish Iowa Foundation by buying tickets to Jolly Holiday Lights! This fun-for-all-ages event will feature the classic holiday tradition of light displays! Receive personal emails from Santa Claus, participate in fun virtual activities, and feel great knowing that everything you're doing is supporting children in need.

Adventureland Park

Best Holiday Lights in Greater Des Moines Area November 27 – December 30, 2021

Listen to classic holiday songs, keep yourself warm with steaming hot cocoa or peppermint mochas, and drive around at your leisure to take in some of the best light displays in the Greater Des Moines area. Check out this list of recommendations—here are the absolute best displays that will make your holiday even greater!

Adventureland Park

Brenton Skating Plaza Mid-November – March, 2022

Enjoy ice skating in a whole new way! For half the year, Brenton Skating Plaza will allow its visitors to ice skate in the open! Take in the winter and early spring air, improve your skating skills, and admire the view of Des Moines sprawling out alongside you!

520 Robert D. Ray Drive | Des Moines, IA 50309

Christkindlmarket Des Moines December, 2021

Experience Des Moines' claim to cultural diversity at this German-inspired holiday market! Children can participate in cultural activities, while adults try the European-style beverages in the beer tent. Learn about German culture while you taste it!

Principal Park, 1 Line Drive | Des Moines, IA 50309

Des Moines Arts Festival June 24 – 26, 2022

Set against the backdrop of the 4-acre Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the newly constructed Krause Gateway Center, the Des Moines Arts Festival is the perfect opportunity to stop and appreciate the city's art scene. Serving as a mecca for the nation's top artists, this world-renowned arts festival attracts more than 200,000 people each year. 

Western Gateway Park, 15th & Locust Streets, Des Moines, IA 50309

Science Center of Iowa/Blank IMAX Dome Theater Year-round

Open all year, the Science Center of Iowa (SCI) allows you to learn about science in an engaging and entertaining way. Catch the interactive exhibits and live science demonstrations while you learn all about scientific phenomena, from astronomy to dry ice.

401 W Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway | Des Moines, IA 50309

Sleepy Hollow Sports Park, Inc Year-round

Enjoy fun every season at Sleepy Hollow! With events like the Renaissance Faire and Haunted Scream, Sleepy Hollow has put Iowa on the map for theme parks. In winter, watch it turn from a Halloween Haunted House to a snowy hill ready to sled down! Or, if you aren't a fan of snow, just wait until spring, when you can participate in the only permanent Renaissance Village in Iowa.

4051 Dean Avenue | Des Moines, IA 50317

Des Moines Civic Center Year-round

Spend a night with your loved ones at the theatre! Watch local and touring crews perform a hit musical, or buy a ticket to a stand-up comedian's show when you need a laugh. Des Moines Civic Center is there for you with masterpieces of art, whatever you need, whenever you need them.

221 Walnut Street | Des Moines, IA 50309

Wells Fargo Arena at Iowa Events Center Year-round

If you're tired of watching a game from your couch, head down to the Wells Fargo Arena to catch it live! Whether you're more interested in watching the local high school's wrestling championships or the collegiate basketball team's home competitions, you'll find it at the Arena. Unobstructed sights, no commercials, and seating that might replace your chair as your favorite furniture are only some of the benefits of attending.

730 3rd Street | Des Moines, IA 50309

Tours at Hoyt Sherman Place Year-round

Built in 1923, this theater is part of the Des Moines historic district. Boasting elegant banquet, meeting, and theater areas, Hoyt Sherman Place offers tours, is open for special events, and allows bookings for corporate meeting rooms. Book a day now and experience history in the 21st century.

Historic Sherman Hill, 1501 Woodland Avenue | Des Moines, IA 50309

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden Year-round

Feast your eyes on seven acres of vibrant blooming buds, all from 10 distinct gardens. Enjoy an afternoon in the rose garden, or explore the iconic conservatory, home to tropical and desert plants! Stop by the Trellis Café for brunch and then visit the Gardeners Show House to get inspiration for growing your own plants!

909 Robert D. Ray Drive | Des Moines, IA 50309

Some Highlights of Des Moines

Art Appreciation

When you spend the day in Des Moines, make sure to set your sights on some of the city's artistic attractions. Dripping with diversity, the Des Moines arts scene features everything from performing arts stages to sprawling art routes. 


There's no better way to celebrate a city's culture than with a fun-filled festival. Think of Des Moines festivals as networking events—ones where you get to know your neighbors in the midst of good food, music, and most importantly, company! 

Outdoor Adventures

When the weather forecast calls for sunshine in Des Moines, there's no doubt you'll find our residents out and about. With more than 150 miles of water passages, there's always a lake or river to be explored in the area. And if you prefer dry land adventures, there are tons of trails to embark on, too!  

Shopping & Dining

Do you consider yourself a foodie? Or maybe more of a shopaholic? Either way, you'll fit right in throughout Des Moines' shopping and dining districts. Des Moines has enough dining options to devote an entire day to eating (hey, we won't judge you). But if you want to break up your meals, there's a lengthy shopping list of must-visit stores in Des Moines.  

Find Your Fun in Des Moines

Ready to Dive into Des Moines?

If you're thinking of buying a home in or relocating to the Des Moines area, then it's time to contact VIA Realtors! We want to help you explore the area, discover its fun and unique communities, and find the perfect home for your personalized needs!