Apr 2, 2022 - Things to Do

Des Moines' ultimate spring things-to-do guide

Baby at Pella Tulip Time
Bre Maxwell takes photos of her daughter Emerson Maxwell, 2, in Pella during Tulip Time on May 7, 2021. Photo by: Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register via Imagn Content Services

Hey, Des Moines β€” ditch your puffy coat and head outside!

  • Spring is in the air, and it's that wondrous moment when we can put some of that cold dread behind us.

Here's our ultimate guide of things to do once the warm weather finally hits us.

1. Grab a drink with friends outside
The patio at Secret Admirer
The patio of Secret Admirer in Des Moines. Photos courtesy of Secret Admirer
  • Secret Admirer is a cute, intimate spot that features creative cocktails and sweet views of downtown. Plus: It's easy to walk to your next stop with Court Avenue nearby.
  • Bike to these easy spots to get to by trail: Confluence Brewing by Gray's Lake and Captain Roy's by Birdland Marina.
  • Got a lot of friends? Lua Brewing offers plenty of seating and delicious food.
2. Don't miss these big events
A red panda at Blank Park Zoo
The red pandas at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/The Register/USA Today Network

Who ever said Des Moines is boring? Make sure to get your spot at these events.

🐼 Join "Storytime with Ruby the Reading Red Panda" at the Blank Park Zoo on April 11 at 11am.

πŸƒ Or root for the world's fastest athletes at the Drake Relays from April 27-30.

🌷 And don't forget to stop and smell the flowers during Tulip Time in Pella from May 5-7.

3. Check out the local botanical center
Des Moines Botanical Center
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden's "Dome after Dark" event last year. Photo: Brian Powers/The Register via Imagn Content Services

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is undergoing a 7-acre expansion, and some of the first of its projects are slated to open in the coming weeks.

Visitors can check out two new gardens, following a grand opening planned for late May.

  • Founders Garden: A drought-tolerant Iowa prairie with native grasses and sandy berms to resemble the quick-draining hydrology of the Loess Hills.
  • Hiller Rain Garden: A lower-lying area where deep-rooted plants help educate about water management.

Plus: Founders Garden includes "Threshold," a 16-foot steel leaf sculpture that was commissioned by the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and installed late last year.

A photo of steel leaf artwork called "Threshold."
"Threshold," by Spanish artist Juanjo Novella. Photo courtesy of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

More information.

4. Go for a staycation at these nearby Airbnbs
Grain Bin airbnb
Grain bin getaway in Missouri Valley. Photo courtesy of Airbnb

There are some cool Airbnbs within driving distance of Des Moines, and one of our favorites is this grain bin getaway in Missouri Valley

  • Features: Hiking trails, fire table, 30-minute drive to Omaha.
  • Space: 4 guests, 2 beds, 1 bathroom.
  • Cost: $170+ per night.

Check out other unique stays.

5. Bike, hike and run around central Iowa
A High Trestle Trail bridge
Cyclists on the High Trestle Trail Bridge during the annual Pigtails ride on May 22, 2021. Photo: Brian Powers/The Register via Imagn Content Services

What makes Des Moines so special is its extensive trail system that connects all of central Iowa.

One of our favorite getaways is the High Trestle Trail Bridge, which you must see, especially at night.

  • You can start in Ankeny for a solid 45-mile bike ride or park in Slater or Madrid for a shorter jaunt.
  • Or if you want something closer to town, take a shady fun ride along the Clive Greenbelt Trail.
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