Top 8 Things To Do in Des Moines in September 

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Top 8 Things To Do in Des Moines in September 

In September, you are either ready for some pumpkin spice and all things fall or dreading the end of summer. Whichever side you are on, here are some events to look forward to throughout the month of September in Des Moines, Iowa!

Taste of the Junction 

When & Where: 

  • Friday, September 1st, 5:00 PM-8:00 PM at the Valley Community Center, 4444 Fuller Rd, West Des Moines, IA 50265 
  • Saturday, September 2nd, 2:00 PM-10:00 PM at the Railroad Park Pavillion in Historic Valley Junction, 425 Railroad Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50265

Cost: Free admission 

Spend Labor Day weekend at the Taste of the Junction. Taste of the Junction is a multicultural festival celebrating the community of Valley Junction. On Friday, head to the Valley Community Center for The Junction Speaks. There will be a pop-up history museum, storytelling slideshows, and refreshments. On Saturday, head over to Historic Valley Junction for the multicultural festival at the Railroad Park Pavillion. Enjoy live music, food trucks, craft vendors, and a kid zone. 

Dan and Claudia Zanes 

When & Where:

  • Friday, September 15th @ 6:30-James Hurd Amphitheater, 4100 Mills Civic Pkwy, West Des Moines, IA 50265
  • Saturday, September 16th @ 10:30 AM-Doanes Park, 4900 Doanes Park Rd, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327

Cost: Free

Des Moines Performing Arts presents Dan and Claudia Zanes. Dan Zanes is a Grammy award-winning children’s performer and Claudia Zanes is a Haitian-American music therapist and jazz vocalist. The duo performs for children all over the country. Their mission is to make all of their concerts sensory-friendly. Enjoy these live performances at local parks. As a bonus, Totally Rolled Ice Cream will be at James Hurd Amphitheater on Friday. 

Beaverdale Fall Festival

Address: Downtown Beaverdale, on Beaver Ave and Urbandale Ave between Beaver Crest Dr to the south, Adams Ave to the North.

When: Friday, September 15th, 5:00 PM-11:00 PM and Saturday, September 16th, 9:00 AM-11:00 PM 

Cost: Free admission

Begin celebrating fall at the Beaverdale Fall Festival.  Each day there will be a market with local vendors, food vendors, and a carnival. The parade will be held on Saturday at 10:00 AM. Make sure to get a spot on the parade route to see all the floats and gather some candy. Check out their website for all the details. 

Art on the Lake Festival 

Address: Copper Creek Lake Park, 4390 E University Ave, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327

When: Saturday, September 16th, 11:00 AM-5:00 PM 

Cost: Free admission

Come support local artists at Art on the Lake. Art on the Lake’s mission is to promote and foster participation in the arts. Wander through the booths and marvel at the art, listen to live music, munch on some food from a variety of vendors, and let the kids show their artistic talent at Lil’ Artist Alley. Afterward, walk around the 1.22-mile Cooper Creek Lake Trail that goes around the 40-acre lake.  

Grow Wild Iowa

Address: Jester Park Nature Center, 12130 NW 128th St, Granger IA 50109

When: Saturday, September 16th, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM 

Cost: Tickets are $5 each, 2 and under are free

You may know this event as Glow Wild but they are re-imagining it into Grow Wild. Hosted by Polk County Conservation, the change in name and look is to align it more closely with its mission and have more family-friendly hours. So if you have never been, this would be a great year to join the fun! Throughout the day, there will be live music on the nature center’s beautiful patio. Other activities include taking a ride on the horse-drawn wagon, saying hi to the ponies, kayaking or canoeing at Discovery Pond, hiking around the prairie, and so much more! See the full list of activities here

Des Moines Oktoberfest

Address: Lauridsen Park at Water Works Park, 2251 George Flagg Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50321

When: Friday, September 22nd, 3:00 PM-12:00 AM and Saturday, September 23rd, 12:00 PM-12:00 AM  

Cost: Tickets are $25 per person until August 14th, $30 after that, or $35 on the day of. Ages 6-20 are $15 each and ages 5 and under are free. Designated driver tickets are $15 each. 

*The event is 21 and over after 9:00 PM 

Need a date night? Head to Oktoberfest! Oktoberfest is back for its 19th year and at a new location, Water Works Park. The new space will provide easier parking and more room for tented bier gardens. Be there Friday at 4:00 PM for the tapping of the golden keg and enjoy free beer while it lasts. Then learn how to polka and devour Authentic German food from Strudl Haus. The Lederhosen Lounge will have 2-liter glass boots of beer for groups. Dress in German attire and you will be eligible to win free beer tickets and participate in the bier maiden and stein holding competitions. There will be two stages for live music including, The Leinenkugel’s Main Stage which will have polka bands, and the silent disco which will begin at 8:00 PM each night. All tickets include free parking and a commemorative pint glass. Buy a ticket for Friday and come back Saturday for free just keep your wristband on and bring your pint glass with you for free entry.

Latino Heritage Festival

Address: Western Gateway Park, 1205 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309

When: Saturday, September 23rd, 10:00 AM-11:00 PM and Sunday, September 24th, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM 

Cost: $5 per adult, 12 and under free 

Head to Western Gateway Park for Latino Heritage Festival. Latino Heritage Festival is an opportunity to celebrate Latino Heritage and learn more about the culture. At the festival, you will find artist displays, food vendors representing the culinary traditions of Latin America, a variety of cultural booths to learn about the diversity within the Latino community, and Latino musical performances.  There will also be children’s activities such as jumping castles and pinata making. Free parking is available courtesy of Nationwide at the Nationwide ramp at 1100 Walnut Street. 


Address: WDM City Campus, 4200 Mills Civic Pkwy, West Des Moines, IA 50265

When: Saturday, September 23rd, 4:00 PM-9:00 PM 

Cost: Free admission 

West Des Moines Parks and Recreation presents Illumifest, a fall light festival. At the festival, you can expect inflatables, paper lantern painting, food trucks, live music, bingo, tethered hot air balloon rides (must be +42” tall to ride), and fireworks at 9:00 PM. 

Bonus! Zinnia Festival

Address: Deal’s Orchard at 1102 244th Street, Jefferson, Iowa

When: September 4 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Cost: Apple Acres admission is required for access to the Zinnia field.

Spend your Labor Day enjoying beautiful flowers, live music, and hard cider on the farm. Enjoy hours of activities in Apple Acres to kick off the Fall season!

Jackie Fioritto

Jackie Fioritto

Hi, I’m Jackie. I am a teacher who recently became a stay-at-home mother of two. My husband and I moved to Des Moines from Green Bay, Wisconsin a few years ago. Originally, I am from Chicago, Illinois. My family has loved exploring Des Moines and all that it has to offer!

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