March Madness Watch Parties & Events

With the NCAA Tournament games coming to Des Moines this year, Iowa venues are preparing for adrenaline-pumping events right in the midst of all the action. Check out these March Madness watch parties and events in Iowa to keep up with all of the insane highlights and bracket breakers.

March 16 to March 18: Hoops and Hops

Des Moines

For a unique way to celebrate March Madness, visit Downtown Des Moines in Cowles Commons for the sixth-annual Hoops and Hops on the weekend of March 16 to March 18 for all-day family-friendly fun. Keep your spirits up with drinks from the Iowa Craft Beer Tent while watching the NCAA Tournament action in a heated tent. Or, hit the courts with some good company between games. Hoops and Hops will feature two basketball courts, plenty of beer, live music and a large heated tent with lots of large-screen TVs to catch all of the March Madness action. Plus, this memorable and budget-friendly celebration will also offer food trucks from all of your local favorites, including Charlotte’s Kitchen, Big Red Food Truck, Hawaiian Grill and Big Mama’s Bistro.
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Wells Fargo Arena

March 16 and March 18: NCAA Fan Experience Watch Party

Des Moines

Experience March Madness in Des Moines like never before as Drake University hosts the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 16 and March 18 at the Wells Fargo Arena. Despite the fact that general public all-session tickets are no longer available, tickets may still be purchased through the NCAA Fan Experience Watch Party. Luckily, this exclusive experience is the place to be for the ultimate championship experience. Guests can expect mouthwatering tailgate-inspired appetizers, a variety of beverage choices, meet-and-greet opportunities and in-venue hospitality while watching the games.
Cost: Tickets begin at $500 per person.
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March 13 to March 31: Pulled Pork Madness


Sometimes the best place to watch basketball is from the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the annual Pulled Pork Madness aligning with March Madness, you can elevate your basketball-watching experience with the help of a delicious, state-wide barbecue competition where you can be the judge. Even if your bracket isn’t going as planned, Pulled Pork Madness lets you decide the winner. With last year’s winner, Starbeck’s Smokehouse, seeking another victory, fans will have to keep their champion in its rightful place. Or, mix things up and try out some of the other beloved competitors like The Rib Shack, Sugarfire Smoke House and Boxer BBQ, among many others. Voting begins March 13 with a champ being announced March 31. Whether you decide to order your pulled pork to-go or visit the restaurant for a more sociable viewing experience, Pulled Pork Madness is the perfect partner for March Madness watching in Iowa.
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March 16: March Madness Social Event at Ricochet

Des Moines

With the NCAA Tournament games returning to Des Moines this year, BOMA and IREM are gearing up to host an action-packed event in the heart of it all. This year, guests are invited to Ricochet, a gaming and drinking destination with a Player’s Club featuring a large TV and lounge area, on Thursday, March 16, from 3 to 5 p.m. Aside from the basketball viewing, the lively area also offers guests the opportunity to play ping pong and pool alongside darts, foosball tables and a full bar.
Cost: Tickets are available for $25 per person and include pizza and two drink tickets.
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Duration of March Madness: The Beerhouse


Home to beer, delicious food and over 20 TVs, The Beerhouse is a prime location for March Madness watching in Iowa. With 16 taps, including local Iowa favorites, The Beerhouse definitely has no shortage of brews. In typical sports bar fashion, this destination for basketball fans will also please the crowd with shareable small plates, juicy handhelds and over-the-top specialty pizzas. Guests can watch all of the March Madness action while splitting some wings, loaded nachos, truffle fries and giant soft pretzels with beer cheese sauce. Additionally, with fun-flavored pizzas like honey garlic alfredo, bacon cheeseburger and even crab rangoon, guests can make their stay an all-day affair.
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