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Reimagine Downtown DSM Through Adventure Stories

Be a Downtown Des Moines (DSM) adventurer and explore vibrant storytelling and creative installations during the Downtown DSM Adventure Stories series! This series gives Greater Des Moines (DSM) visitors and residents an opportunity to experience more than 20 locations in Downtown DSM in a new way — as the backdrop to five unique adventure stories throughout different neighborhoods. Participants can watch the stories unfold before their eyes and transform the city into exciting new places like faraway planets and lush green forests.

All Downtown DSM Adventure Stories encompass four to six chapters. Each chapter will be marked on-site with visuals that include a special QR code. Adventurers will use their smart phone to scan each QR code, which opens the corresponding chapter in the story. Every chapter will include an interactive Adventure Challenge activity, like sketching or photography, that allows adventurers to engage even further with a story. A clue at the end of the chapter will lead to the next stop on the journey.

This activity is free to the public thanks to our sponsor MidAmerican Energy Company.

Sponsored By


How To Complete Each Downtown DSM Adventure Story


Nature Adventure Icon

Trave Adventure Icon




  • Select a story above.
  • Once you are on site, pull out your mobile phone and turn on your device's camera.
  • Hold the camera to the QR code located at each stop to scan the code and gain access to the corresponding chapter.
  • Read through the story chapter on your mobile phone.
  • Complete the Adventure Challenge.
  • Follow the clues to the next chapter.
  • Continue until you complete all chapters.
  • Share your experiences and completed Adventure Challenge on social media using #downtownDSM.

Downtown DSM Adventure Stories is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership in collaboration with Group Creative Services as part of an ongoing Glad You're Here | Love Downtown DSM series that creates moments of surprise and delight in Downtown DSM this summer and fall, with the goal of getting more people supporting local Downtown businesses.

Thank You

Special thank you to the local artists, designers and author who provided creative elements for Downtown DSM Adventure Stories:

  • Siricasso
  • Alex Braidwood
  • Linda Lewis
  • Baby Moses
  • Jordan Brooks
  • Ugly Cat Company
  • Kate Thompson

Have questions about your upcoming adventure? Check out our FAQ page for more information.

Participants are encouraged to support #DSMlocal on their adventures. Check out Things to Do in Downtown DSM for a list of attractions, music and entertainment, recreation, shopping, restaurants and more.