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Des Moines Travel Guide

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Best Times to Visit Des Moines

The best time to visit Des Moines is from June through August. Thanks to the summer season's warm temperatures that rest in the mid-80s, conditions are perfect for enjoying the city's outdoor pursuits like walks around Gray's Lake and bike rides along the High Trestle Trail. A fall visit is equally attractive thanks to an abundance of leaf-peeping opportunities, but as soon as the winter chill sets in come December, you'll likely spend little time outside. Similar to its Midwestern neighbors, Des Moines is slow to warm up in spring, with high temperatures ranging from the high 40s in March to the low 70s in May. No matter what time of year you visit, you'll enjoy affordable hotel and airfare prices.

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Weather in Des Moines

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
31
14
36
18.5
49
29.3
62.2
40.7
72.3
51.8
81.6
71.7
85.7
66.5
83.8
64.5
76.1
54.8
63.1
42.6
47.9
30.1
34
17.6
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
1
1.28
2.3
3.86
4.74
4.94
4.47
4.13
3.05
2.64
2.19
1.42
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

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June-August

With balmy temperatures in the 80s, now is a great time to make the most of the city's outdoor attractions. If you need to cool off, head to the water park at Adventureland Resort. The warm summer season also yields a bountiful selection at the downtown farmers market. Plus, the festival calendar is packed with some of the city's top events, including the Iowa State Fair.

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September-November

Mostly pleasant temperatures that range from the mid-70s in September to the mid-40s in November make fall another ideal season for outdoor activities. Retreat to local pumpkin patches, apple orchards and corn mazes with the family, or hop on a bike and explore the Des Moines area's more than 800 miles of trails.

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December-February

Winter temperatures in Des Moines are frigid, with average lows in the teens. Luckily, there are plenty of indoor diversions should the ice and snow keep you from exploring outside. Popular indoor attractions include the Science Center of Iowa and the balmy conservatory at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. If you don't mind the cold, head to the Sleepy Hollow Snow Park for tubing and sledding, or the Brenton Skating Plaza, which welcomes ice skaters from November to March. And if you're sightseeing around downtown, make use of the city's climate-controlled skyways, which span 4 miles.

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March-May

Spring in Des Moines starts out chilly, with temperatures in the high 40s in March. But by May, conditions have warmed up to the pleasant mid-70s. Plan to stop by the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden or the nearby Iowa Arboretum to see what's in bloom.

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