Top 10 Things to Do This Summer

  1. Travel to a big city.

Even if it’s just for the weekend, there’s nothing like getting a few of your friends together and exploring a giant city you’ve never been to. And it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, either. Splitting a hotel room and the cost of gas four ways is a serious money saver and lots of times, there’s enough to see and do in cities like Chicago that you can be entertained at basically no cost.  If you’re traveling out of Des Moines, it’ll only take you 3 hours to get to Kansas City, 3.5 hours to get to Minneapolis, and 6 to get to Chicago.

  1. Visit the farmer’s market.

The Des Moines Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to noon and is a great way to get outside and support your neighbors. Farmer’s markets are full of fresh, home-grown produce, baked goods, local artists, and live entertainment.  

  1. Read a book.

Summer’s a great time to start a good book. With no assigned readings for classes, reading can finally be something you do simply because you want to. Grab an old classic or something that’s hit the big screens already, like 13 Reasons Why or Before I Fall, and a snack and hit your favorite spot on your couch or in the park.

  1. Visit the zoo.

Who doesn’t love a good zoo? Take the time to get outdoors, appreciate the beauty of nature and its animals, and educate yourself on the conservation of natural habitat and care for animals facing extinction.  

  1. Volunteer.

Summertime comes with a lot of free time. Utilize yours by giving it to somebody else. Find someplace to volunteer, like an animal shelter, and spend a few hours there a week. You’ll feel good about helping out, you won’t be wasting time binging Netflix, and dogs are always a mood-booster.  

  1. Go to a concert.

Outdoor concerts are a different experience, and something everybody should get to go to at least once. The fresh air and late-afternoon sun mixed with your favorite music is a euphoric feeling. Bands like Little Big Town, Kid Rock, and Nickelback are going to be at the Iowa State Fair this year, and Des Moines 80/35 is full of bands you may not have heard of yet, like A Giant Dog and Bad Bad Hats.

  1. Go to a lake.

Enjoy the sun and the warm water while you’ve got it. Summer’s the best time to live in your swimming suit for a week at the lake, eat only ice cream and watermelon for every meal, and work on your tan for the next semester. Soak it in before it’s gone!  

  1. Get a summer job.

Summer jobs are the best jobs. They’re a great way to get paid for being outside, like lifeguarding at a pool, and the money’s always good for some extra summer fun cash or for saving.   

  1. Visit a fair.

If you’ve never been to the Iowa State Fair, you’re missing out. Give yourself at least one full day at the fair to see all the booths, people watch, and eat too much deep-fried food, and you’ll be hooked. Small-town Iowa also does county fairs right. They’re a fun, less costly place to hit up with your friends. Go on a wrist-band night, where all the rides are one set price for a few hours, and stick around for fireworks after the races one Saturday.  

  1. Do something you’ve always been scared to do.

Now’s your chance.

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