The NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines is once again hosting the big dance.
On March 21 and 23, 2019, Des Moines will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. As the second time hosting the wildly popular March Madness tournament, the capital city of Iowa wants to build on the incredible success it had hosting its first men’s basketball tourney back in 2016. If you attended the 2016 tournament, you will notice a few changes in the downtown area. Hotel capacity has dramatically increased, with the addition of the Hilton Hotel situated in downtown Des Moines.
CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greg Edwards, echoed the sentiment of civic and business leaders concerning the return of March Madness to Des Moines. “We showed the NCAA, the student-athletes and the fans that attended, that we know what we’re doing,” said Edwards in an interview. Edwards also remarked that the 2016 tournament generated more than $5 million for the local economy.
Once again, Wells Fargo Arena is the venue hosting the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Wells Fargo Arena also hosted the 2016 tourney, which included a star-studded college basketball school lineup including Kansas, Kentucky, and Indiana. Drake University will serve as the host school for the 2019 event.
NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena
Wells Fargo Arena is no stranger to hosting high-profile sporting events. In addition to hosting the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the more than 16,000-seat arena located adjacent to the Des Moines River has played host to several NCAA wrestling championships. Wells Fargo Arena hosted the regionals for the 2012 NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament. The arena also represents the home for the reigning indoor football league champs, the Iowa Barnstormers.
The arena is part of a large entertainment complex that includes Hy-Vee Hall and the Iowa Events Center. Both adjoining facilities are ideal venues for hosting large pre and post NCAA tourney game parties. A vast downtown skywalk system allows visitors to the March event to navigate the city indoors and avoid the sometimes brisk conditions that define March weather in Des Moines.
Located to the south of the main entrance, Buzzard Billy’s has become synonymous with the parties held before Wells Fargo Arena events. The spacious restaurant features Cajun and creole cuisine, as well as standard American fare. A few more blocks to the south, fans visiting Des Moines for the 2019 men’s college basketball tournament will find numerous bars and restaurants humming within the Court Avenue Entertainment District. Stop by local favorite Johnny’s Hall of Fame to get your fill of locally brewed beer, as well as other 2019 tournament games.
Across the Des Moines River, East Village is home to several upscale eateries and popular clothing boutiques. The neighborhood sits below the state capitol rotunda in an area that also includes the Iowa State Historical Society Museum. Learn about the rich history of Des Moines and the major events that helped shape the identity of the State of Iowa. Craft beer aficionados should spend a couple of hours tasting the beers brewed at the Iowa Tap Room.
March Madness 2019 First and Second Round Sites
The first and second round games for this year’s NCAA Tournament are taking place in eight exciting U.S. cities. To shop tickets in each of these locations, follow the links below.