The Iowa State Fair is a great way to experience the heartland! A fair is one of the most fun ways to learn more about a region and to see what the people who live there like to show off about their state. The livestock, agriculture, arts, crafts, games, food, and other fair offerings can give you a great idea of what people love and value about their home. Of course, along with showcasing the state’s bounty, you also get a chance to enjoy some rides, play some games, and eat some delicious food!
There’s a lot to see at the Iowa State Fair! Kids can participate in Vet Camp and learn all about what it takes to care for animals. Younger kids can check out Little Hands on the Farm, a free, hands-on exhibit that takes kids through a garden, apple orchard, chicken coop, tractor shed, and sheep and dairy barns. After they gather items on their journey, kids get to “sell” their items at the Farmers’ Market and get a Little Hands dollar to spend on a snack.
There are also thrill rides, of course. There are three separate areas of rides - the family-friendly (but still hair-raising) Thrill Ville, the more extreme Thrill Zone, and Thrill Town for the youngest fair-goers. You can purchase a wristband that allows you unlimited rides, or you can purchase credits that are used individually on rides.
The Iowa State Fair is trying hard to make sure you’re comfortable and have a pleasant time! There is an area for parents that includes changing tables and nursing stations. There are also ATMs throughout the grounds. The fair also offers motorized scooters, wheelchairs, strollers, and wagons to rent for the day. The Iowa State Fair does not allow coolers or outside food and beverages.
3000 East Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50317
You can't forget the concerts! And the Iowa State Fair has live entertainment for everyone. The 2020 lineup includes Chris Stapleton, Bethel Music, and Kidz Bop Live. You can find all the details and additional ticket info here.
Camping is available right at the fairgrounds across 160 beautiful acres. You can enjoy a full day at the fair, then head back to a quiet space, a comfortable bed, and a nice hot shower just steps away. If you rent an RV with RVshare, then even if you don’t own a motorhome you can enjoy the ease of a space of your own near where you’re having fun all day. More information on camping at the fair can be found here.
There are also places to camp nearby, including:
Whether you own your RV or use a rental from RVshare, RVing is a great way to travel to the fair! You can take your time getting ready in the morning, make your own food to bring along, and know that you have your own shower and comfy bed waiting for you at the end of the day!
If you choose not to camp at the fair, there are plenty of hotels and motels available as well. You can find many of those hotels listed on the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce website here, with plenty of options for your stay.
Directions from northern Iowa: From I-35, take I-235 to exit 10A, then head east on E. University Ave approximately four miles to the fairgrounds.
Directions from southern Iowa: From I-35, take IA 5/US 65 to exit 79, then head west on E. University Ave approximately four miles to the fairgrounds.
Directions from eastern Iowa: From I-80 take exit 141 (Hwy 65 bypass), travel south on Hwy 65 to exit 79 and head west on Hwy 163 (E. University Ave.) approximately three miles to the fairgrounds. The website suggests you enter the fair parking lot at E 36th because a left-hand turn might not be allowed into the grounds at E 33rd at certain times.
Directions from western Iowa: From I-235, take exit 10A then head east on E. University Ave approximately four miles to the fairgrounds.
Parking is $10 per day. The Blue Line Parking Tram is free and available inside the North and Northeast parking lots to take you to the admission gates.
You can buy tickets to the fair ahead of time online, and can purchase grandstand tickets for the concerts here. Advanced tickets are $9 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 - 11, and is free for kids 5 and under. Prices for tickets purchased on-site are $14 for adults, $8 for children ages 6-11, and still free for kids 5 and under.
At RVshare we love to help people try new things and explore new places. Whether you’ve never been to Iowa before, or you know the area well, attending the state fair is sure to bring you some great experiences! You’ll learn more about Iowa’s arts & crafts, food, and agriculture, play carnival games and ride midway rides, and enjoy some top bands and entertainment.
RV camping at the fair is sure to be another wonderful adventure! You’ll have your own things nearby and your own food to make and eat, just a short distance from where you spend the day exploring. Whether you head to the fair in an RV rental from us or make other arrangements, we want to see pictures of your adventures! Be sure to send us photos at [email protected] and tag us on social media to share your visit! Your trip could be featured on our blog or social accounts.
Check out @IowaStateFair on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for event updates!