Temperatures are dropping and the days are shortening. These are the symptoms of autumn and the warning that winter is right around the corner.
Before students are snowed in and cramming for those last-minute finals, there are plenty of fun fall activities around the city of Des Moines to check out.
One of the more popular festivities is the Des Moines Farmers Market located downtown along Court Ave. and the adjacent streets.
“The Farmers Market in the fall is a lot better than in the beginning in May when it’s really warm. It feels much better to walk around in a warm cozy sweater instead,” said Kayla Bonneau, a sophomore studying psychology and 3&3 law.
Bonneau’s opinion is shared by a handful of Drake University students who all agree the Farmers Market is more enjoyable during the fall for reasons like the weather, the types of stands and the overall environment.
“I’ve been meaning to check it out, I haven’t yet, but I really want to,” said Ethan Jermain, a sophomore majoring in business management.
The market consists of over 200 vendors and small businesses from all over the state of Iowa. Most vendors accept cash but cards and/or a contactless payment method are encouraged throughout the entire market.
For students interested in checking out the market, it runs every Saturday through Oct 29th from 8 a.m. to noon.
Last year Jermain and his friends instead went to a local farm for a harvest party that was filled with many festivities. Though he couldn’t remember the name of it, he said it was very enjoyable.
“It had a corn maze, there were caramel apples, it had all the good old classic fall things,” Jermain said.
A popular spot that’s been advertised around Des Moines is Howell’s Pumpkin Patch, located in the town of Cumming, about 20 minutes south of Des Moines.
According to Catch Des Moines, it has a large pumpkin path, a tractor ride, a corn maze and plenty of food and other activities for people to enjoy.
Admissions are $15 per person and it runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day through Oct 31.
“I love a good apple picking moment or anything to do with pumpkins,” said Katie Das, a junior studying environmental sustainability and law politics and society.
Das said this time of year she is usually found at any apple orchard or pumpkin patch, and she’ll never turn down a glass of fresh apple cider.
She is also a member of the Drake Environmental Action League which holds a lot of pumpkin painting and carving activities throughout the season, mostly on-campus events. Students can be on the lookout for future announcements from DEAL as the fall season continues
“Other things in Des Moines that I like are walking around the sculpture garden downtown,” Das said. “I also really like going to coffee shops and getting fun fall-themed drinks.”
Coffee shops are another popular spot for students, with plenty of options around campus and the city. Das enjoys Smokey Row and Caribou as spots to hang out, study and relax.
“I love pumpkin pie chai tea. I love the taste and everything about them,” Bonneau said. “They are the essence of fall. It’s like you can taste the cold weather when you drink them.”
Bonneau’s favorite coffee shop to hang out at and drink pumpkin pie chai tea is Mars Cafe in Dogtown because it reminds her of her hometown coffee shop.
Jermain tends to stick to the Starbucks on campus most of the time but did say he does enjoy Freedom Blend Coffee, located just north of campus on Hickman Rd.
“I don’t usually go to coffee shops, but I will say Smokey Row is probably my favorite. If you want to feel like a local and get the Des Moines culture, that’s the perfect spot,” said Aaron Khan-Gumm, a junior studying politics and strategic political communications.
Other popular coffee shops students enjoy in the Des Moines area are Friedrich’s Coffee, Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure and Horizon Line Coffee. All of these are accessible by the DART bus system, and students get to ride for free with the access of their student IDs.
A personal favorite activity for Khan-Gumm is skateboarding. He said he enjoys it the most in the fall because the weather feels perfect, not too hot or cold.
“This time of year you really got to get your skating in, because in winter there’s no indoor skating spots,” Khan-Gumm said.
Khan-Gumm enjoys the Lauridsen Skatepark located downtown along the river. Lauridsen is currently the largest public skatepark in the United States.
Other popular spots and activities students mentioned included the Drake Fall Carnival, which occurred on Sept 28 and the Latino Heritage Festival which occurred on Sept 24.
“It was so beautiful. I was not expecting that type of turn out,” Khan-Gumm said, talking about attending the Latino Heritage Festival. “So many different people, different cultures all celebrating and embracing the Latino culture we have in the Des Moines area.”
Students looking for more activities and things to do can check out the postings outside the Student Life Center in Olmsted for campus events or catchdesmoines.com for events around the city.