Things to do in Des Moines May 23-26: Pete Davidson, Willie Nelson


If you want to stay on top of all the fun things to do in Des Moines, sign up for Off Hours, your free weekly newsletter from the Des Moines Register that showcases all things fun you can do in central Iowa. Recently, we’ve written about pizza farms, karaoke bars, where to go thrifting, where to buy crafts, vegan restaurants, gluten-free options, the Amana Colonies and where to buy plants. If you sign up for our newsletter, you get a whole list of fun places to go, things to do, what to eat, and more early Thursday morning in your inbox.

Wild Lights Festival

Mythical creatures, animal displays and handcrafted illuminated lanterns will light up Blank Park Zoo in 2024 when the Wild Lights Festival returns.

Thursday night: The lights go on for Blank Park Zoo’s Wild Lights Festival starting at 7:30 p.m. through May 27 on Wednesday through Sunday nights, the zoo at 7401 S.W. Ninth St., Des Moines, showcases nearly 50 handcrafted, larger-than-life, illuminated Asian lanterns shaped like animals and mythical creatures. Zoo officials suggest that visitors should arrive around sunset and plan 60 to 90 minutes for the best viewing experience. Tickets for peak times start at $25 for nonmembers and $21 for members. Head online to reserve a ticket.


The 20th annual CelebrAsian festival took over Western Gateway Park in 2023.

Friday morning: Take the day off to head to the CelebrAsian festival at Western Gateway Park, 1205 Locust St., Des Moines. The two-day festival from the Iowa Asian Alliance brings food, cultural exhibits, entertainment and family-friendly activities. The festival opens at 11 a.m. and runs until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is free. Head to the website for more info:

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