Skip to content

Top Summer Activities in Des Moines accent

July 31, 2023 | By

Des Moines is the perfect summer city with a bevy of attractions. Enjoy a climate warm enough to garden and a city that embraces a range of indoor and outdoor summer attractions. Summer in Des Moines is a great time to catch up with friends and family, cultivate a healthier lifestyle, master a new skill, and learn more about the city you call home. 

Check out our top picks for summer activities in Des Moines.

Farmers Markets 

A host of farmers markets in Des Moines offer live music, farm-to-table fare, freshly prepared meals, plants and flowers, and locally made crafts. You can make a day of it by heading to the market, then using ingredients to prepare a delicious meal for — or with — friends. Or pack everything in a picnic basket, grab some chairs, and head to one of the many excellent parks in the region. 

As summer fades to fall, get ready for apple picking at one of our many local orchards

Read our guide to the top Des Moines farmers markets.

Blank Park Zoo

The zoo isn’t just for kids — though your grandkids will love it too. Featuring big cats, giant tortoises, red river hogs, and more, Blank Park Zoo is a must on your summer to-do list. Check out one of the many educational events, including weekly programming for kids. Or head to Zoo Brew for some 21-and-over fun.


Des Moines boasts many free local parks with fishing, walking trails, various sports courts, playgrounds, and more. Here are some parks where you can easily spend an entire day: 

Embrace Botany and Farming 

Plants play vital roles in most aspects of daily life, but they often go unnoticed. Brush up on the role of botany in your everyday life at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, which offers a host of classes and events. Music in the Garden is also a perennial family favorite. 

For more fun, check out Living History Farms, which features a wide range of summer exhibits, including an exceptional guide to Black history. 

If working out in nature sounds like the perfect way to blend your natural living interests with the pursuit of good health, check out one of this summer’s free outdoor yoga classes

Events and Live Entertainment

For a bit of offbeat fun, head to The Dinner Detective, where you’ll enjoy interactive murder mystery theater. If you want to enjoy some laughs, get tickets to see Southern Belle and comedian Leanne Morgan. You can catch this stand-up performance at Hoyt Sherman Place this August.

If movies are more your speed, try packing a picnic and heading to the Valle Drive-in. Settle in for a double feature under the stars.

Des Moines Art Center 

The Des Moines Art Center is home to some of the best art in the region, and it’s a great location for classes, events for kids, and community workshops. Even if you’re not into art, it’s worth a visit. Located in Greenwood Park, the area surrounding the center boasts a range of attractions, including: 

  • Dan and Mary Kelly Family Sprayground
  • Accessible playground
  • Jay Spence Enclosed Shelter
  • Sylvan Amphitheater
  • Open shelter
  • Clare and Miles Mills Rose Garden
  • Ashworth Pool
  • Tennis courts
  • Nature trail and a walking/bike path

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs are a minor league team that serves up all of the excitement of Major League Baseball but with smaller crowds and more affordable tickets. Games happen all week long during the summer months. 

The right senior living community is the perfect place to return home after a busy summer day in Des Moines enjoying all the attractions the city offers. To learn how exciting active senior living can be, check out our Complete Guide to Healthy Senior Living in the Des Moines Metro Area.

guide to living your best life after 55


Related Blog Posts

Your Guide to Must-Visit Fall Attractions in Des Moines

Des Moines

Your Guide to Must-Visit Fall Attractions in Des Moines

Read More
Adult Day

Adult Day

Adult Day "walks the walk" in showing appreciation for veterans

Read More
The Best Walking Trails in Des Moines

Des Moines

The Best Walking Trails in Des Moines

Read More
View All Posts