Summer Fun in Des Moines!

I am SO excited for summer! And with the nice weather lately, I’m getting antsy for it to be here! Although fall is my favorite season, summer comes in a close second, mainly because July is my birthday month (and we all know I love a good birthday!). With summer rapidly approaching, I’ve seen so many fun upcoming events that I just can’t wait to go to here in good ol’ Des Moines, Iowa. Who knew Des Moines was so lively! With the hot, sticky days and the warm summer evenings, there’s fun from morning until night. This summer, I’m all for trying new things and experiencing ALL that this lovely city has to offer (don’t worry, I’ll still spend plenty of time relaxing poolside). So I’ve decided to compile a list of the top 10 things I’m excited for this summer (in no particular order). Maybe these will spark some fun ideas for you to partake in, or if you have fun things coming up, do share! I love planning out my summer well in advance 🙂

  1. Brewfest: I enjoy an ice-cold beer in the summer heat. And with Cityview’s Brewfest on July 14th, I can have my fair share of beer samples for only $23! I wasn’t able to make it last year but heard it’s a lot of fun. And besides, it supports locally brewed beers and premieres new products and specialty beers from great breweries. I’m all about sampling new things 🙂
  2. Iowa Cubs games: Read back to #1 “I enjoy an ice-cold beer in the summer heat.” This furthers that claim. Add in a little baseball and a ballpark frank and I’m good to go. Thanks to Groupon, I purchased 10 Iowa Cubs tickets for only $25, so I have even more reason to support my Triple-A baseball team (besides, they’re panning out to have a much better season than the Chicago Cubs, so perhaps it’ll offset Max’s Cub-fan depression. A girl can dream, right?). And with my parents making the move to Des Moines, my dad has already scoped out and scouted the whole roster, so I’ll always be in-the-know with what’s going on (obviously why I go to the games…). It’s a must to make a stop by El Bait Shop before the game begins for some fish tacos and a tap beer from their wide selection (and maybe a stop afterwards, too, as long as you have a DD 🙂 )
  3. Farmer’s Market (both downtown and Valley Junction): I love Farmer’s Markets, and it just so happens Des Moines’ Farmers Market was voted one of the best in the country! With tons of fresh produce, arts and crafts, local cheese and wine, and fun food stands, the Farmer’s Market is a definite summer must. I teach fitness class right in the middle of Saturdays downtown Farmer’s Market, so I’ll definitely be trying out the Valley Junction Farmer’s Market on Thursday evenings. They have live bands each Thursday night, so you can shop while listening to some good tunes.
  4. Winefest: What do I like more than an ice-cold beer in the summer heat? A nice glass of white wine. I won’t discriminate, though, any varietal will do! I’ve attended Winefest in the past and it was a great time. With samplings from great wineries, not only from Iowa but all over the country, and fun appetizers and sweets from local restaurants, Winefest was on my radar for this summer. There are a variety of different events associated with Winefest, but this year I’m focusing in on Sips in the City on Friday, June 8th. I’m volunteering for the Saturday Sessionsat Meredith Corp (where I work), which is awesome not only because I get to participate for free, but in doing so, I get free tickets to Sips in the City! So excited 🙂 What’s better than delicious wine? Delicious FREE wine.

    Photo Courtesy of

  5. Good reads: Not to get lost in the plethora of exciting things I have coming up this summer are all of the books I plan to read. Summer is the perfect time to relax outside and get lost in a good novel. I can literally sit for hours by the pool and read. It’s one of those things that clears my mind, and I get so swept up in books I often lose track of time (which is a good thing, since I could use a bit of a tan! Don’t worry mom, ample sunscreen will be applied.) Any good book suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    Photo Courtesy of

  6. Fresh herbs: Usually I don’t like trying things I know that I’m not good at. Well, gardening falls into this category. Last year we attempted to grow our own tomatoes, and while it worked (sorta), I overwatered them and the majority of them ended up with vine-end rot. Fail. So this year, I’ve decided to try my hand at herb gardening. I’ve heard it’s easy, and I’m all about second chances. Besides, I could really go for some homemade pesto with my OWN herbs! Metta and I plan to make our own potted herb gardens in May. Now let’s hope I don’t kill them off before summer even begins!

    Photo Courtesy of

  7. My birthday!: What’s not to love about my birthday? Well, the fact that I’m turning one year older perhaps, but since I’m still a ways from 30, I won’t get discouraged just yet. However, I still can’t rent a car, which doesn’t seem all that fair. The wheels are already turning for what I plan to do this year…nothing too crazy, but I want to take advantage of the summer fun. We’ll see what I can come up with 🙂

    Birthday 2011

  8. Jasper Winery Summer Concert Series: My Thursday nights are filling up quickly! Between VJ Farmer’s Markets and JW Summer Concert Series, I’ll be bouncing all over Des Moines. Jasper offers such a great setting for a nice band to finish off the week. They’ve got refreshing wines and a great sangria, and even offer grilled food during the concerts. Pull up a lawn chair and join me 🙂

    Photo courtesy of

  9. Patio time: Although this isn’t a specific event, I love hitting up good patios for Happy Hour or lunch/dinner both during the week and on the weekends. I’m looking forward to checking out Cafe di Scala‘s patio, and riding my bike to some other less-fancy places. And within walking distance from our apartment is Saints, a little bar/grill that has great patio seating! Super fun for watching Cubs games or taking a stroll down for a beer after dinner (and stopping off at Menchie’sfrozen yogurt on the walk back!)

    Cafe di Scala patio

  10. GirlTalk: Last, but certainly not least, is a little concert I’m VERY excited about. GirlTalk is coming to Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines! I missed him at 80/35 last year (which is another fun Des Moines event!) and am so excited I get another chance to go! He’s performing on June 25. Basically, he mashes up popular music — something that I love since I get bored with listening to the same artist’s songs over and over. His albums are one of my faves for a good running mix! 

So that’s my narrowed down 10 things I’m looking forward to this summer! There were plenty that didn’t make the list, and in a month I’m sure my list would be completely different. What are you most looking forward to this summer (besides my birthday, of course 😉 )?



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