Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! So, join in all the revelry. Even though the actual holiday is a ways off, Des Moines is getting in the spirit a little early. March 11th kicks off some shamrock’n St. Patty’s events and activities in the Metro and the luck and fun continues well past the 17th. Here is your guide to some terrific St. Patrick’s Day family-friendly events happening in Des Moines.
St. Patrick’s Day Events and Special Activities in Des Moines
Join the Irish-American super group, Cherish the Ladies at Hoyt Sherman Place. They are Grammy-nominated, have toured the world, have played the White House and the Olympics, and have recorded 16 outstanding albums, including “Irish Homecoming,” a live recording of their Emmy winning Public Television Special that aired across the United States of America and Ireland. The concert starts at 8:00 pm and tickets are $25.00 in advance and $30.00 on the day of the show.
Bring your little leprechauns to Warrior Lanes for a safe, fun-filled afternoon of Glow-in-the-Dark bowling. This is an alcohol free event. $55 per Lane includes: Bowling (2 hours), shoe rental, large one topping pizza and a pitcher of soda. Maximum of five bowlers per lane. Pre-Paid Non-Refundable Reservations are required.
Celebrate St. Patricks Day by attending an Irish Hooley at the Johnston Public Library! The Foy School of Irish Dance Des Moines will be there to wow everyone with a traditional Irish dance performance. End the show by trying your hand (or your feet) at Irish dancing. This is an all ages performance.
St. Patrick’s Day Crafts – FREE
Make St. Patrick’s Day crafts at Central Library. Kids and their parents can make a shamrock tie from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, while supplies last.
Kids and families can make and take a Magic Color Scratch Shamrock in the Children’s Area of the Southside Library. Kids will make designs to reveal the colors of their shamrock and take it home. For youth ages 5 to 11. Craft available while supplies last. This is an unsupervised, drop-in program. Parent/guardian must be present with children.
Shamrock Scavenger Hunt – FREE
Search for Shamrocks in the Children’s Department at the Kirkendall Library in Ankeny and after your search stop by the Kid’s Desk and receive a small prize!
St. Patrick’s Day Parade – FREE
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade snakes through Downtown Des Moines and is sponsored by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. The parade starts at 12:00 noon. The parade route runs from 15th Street to Grand and then east to 8th Street. The parade fills the streets with costumed marchers, Irish step dancers, bagpipes, drum corps, and more.
St. Patrick’s Day Reception – FREE
After the parade all are welcome at the Marriott Hotel at 7th & Grand for the official Friendly Sons of St. Patrick reception following the parade. Enjoy music by Kelly’s Clan, along with performances by a Des Moines piping group and the Foy Dancers. Food and drink will be available, of course. Parade dignitaries will be presented and raffle prize winners will be announced at 4:00 pm.
Join a Polk County naturalist at Brown’s Woods to learn how to use a GPS, then go search the woods for Leprechauns! If you are lucky, you may even find a pot of gold. Dress for the weather as the trails may be muddy. Space is limited, so register early. Pre-registration required; deadline is March 13. Fee is $5 per child (ages 5-15).
Celebrate Irish culture with a performance from the Foy School of Traditional Irish Dance. The revelry includes delightful traditional dances and contemporary choreographed numbers which will enchant, entertain, and inspire you, 1:30 to 2:15 pm!
Leprechaun Lock-in – FREE
There’s a Leprechaun loose in the Altoona Public Library! Help them find the Leprechaun by learning about Irish folk-lore and fantasy creatures. They will be playing games, doing activities, and making crafts for St. Patrick’s Day. And who knows, if you find the Leprechaun, you might find his pot of gold, too! For 3rd – 6th grades, registration required.
A family friendly St. Paddy’s 5K, appropriate for all ages at the Iowa State Capitol Grounds.
One of Ireland’s leading tenors brings you an evening of songs, stories, tunes and dance, from the heart of the Emerald Isle. Michael Londra’s Celtic Fire focuses on the traditional culture of song and dance generating an electric atmosphere that will sweep you away to Ireland, its culture, its land, its pubs, its music and its heart. At Stephens Auditorium in Ames, the show starts at 7:30 pm.
Part of the Live at the Temple Concert Series, no Irish traditional band in the last dozen years has had a wider impact on audiences and music lovers throughout the world than Altan. With their exquisitely produced award-winning recordings, ranging dynamically from the most sensitive and touching old Irish songs all the way to hard hitting reels and jigs, and with their heartwarming live performances, Altan have moved audiences from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle. The concert starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are $29.
Make like a leprechaun and run as fast as you can at the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Fun Run. Funds raised at this event provide scholarships to two senior cross country or track athletes (one girl and one boy) who will be graduating from Des Moines metro area high schools.
Irish Restaurants and Pubs in Des Moines
4800 Merle Hay Road; Urbandale
Bennigan’s is an Irish-Pub themed family friendly restaurant chain. The Menu includes salads, sandwiches, steaks, soups, and they also serve up Irish inspired fare such as Housemade Cottage Pie and Irish Country Pot Roast. Little Leprechauns can chow down on mac ‘n cheese, grilled cheese and other typical Kids Menu items.
110 1st Street SE; Bondurant
Situated right off the bike path in Bondurant, Founder’s Irish Pub provides an authentic atmosphere to enjoy the Emerald Isle’s renowned spirits and live musical entertainment. They also serve up a few Irish inspired foods like their Reuben Sandwich or give the Reuben Egg Rolls a try for a little twist on the traditional sandwich.
50 SE Laurel Street, Waukee
This neighborhood pub offers a fun atmosphere. They have a great patio and regularly host bands and live music. St. Paddy’s Day is their biggest celebration of the year. Their menu includes salads, sandwiches, steaks, soups and, of course, fish and chips.
210 4th Street, Des Moines
Walking into the Royal Mile feels like you’ve just been transported to London or Ireland. This terrific pub serves a vast array of English inspired food, such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and Guinness stew. And if you’re looking to fuel up before the parade, have one of their breakfast items such as corned beef and hash.
Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day family fun? See our searchable calendar!
How will your family celebrate St. Paddy’s day this year in Des Moines? Tell us about it below!