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Downtown Attractions

There’s always something new to see in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Arts and culture abound at Broadway shows performed at the Des Moines Civic Center, across the street from Cowles Commons. The Des Moines Symphony, which also performs at the Des Moines Civic Center, and Ballet Des Moines bring melodic harmonies to life. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the many galleries located in Downtown DSM showcase the visual artistry of talented artists, both local and global. To see as much art as possible, follow the Des Moines ART RTE, showcasing nearly 100 pieces of art along a 6-mile path from Pappajohn Sculpture Park to the Iowa State Capitol. Additionally, the Des Moines Social Club is a melting pot of art and eclectic entertainment — with an art gallery, black box theater, basement bar, Latin restaurant, coffee and comic books shop — all within one location. The Des Moines Social Club also offers poetry slams, live theater performances, jazz music, trivia nights and much more.

The whole family will enjoy family-friendly stops — from the Science Center of Iowa (SCI) to the State Historical Museum and other stops in between — that are perfect for all ages. SCI’s Blank IMAX Theater offers a way to look at things from a different perspective. Little ones will love making small discoveries in the exhibit of the same name for visitors seven and younger. Brenton Skating Plaza is the place to practice and perfect your ice skating form before enjoying a cup of hot cocoa with friends. And if free is what you're looking for, stop by The Iowa State Capitol, State Historical Museum, Iowa Hall of Pride or the Wells Fargo History Museum.

Downtown DSM is the place to be to experience the outdoors, too. Walking tours offer a way to see the city by foot, along the Principal Riverwalk through Downtown DSM's stunning architecture, by meandering through the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and more.

When the sun goes down, venues in the Historic East Village, Historic Court District and Western Gateway ramp up with live music acts in all genres. Wooly’s, Vaudeville Mews and the Des Moines Social Club are just a few of the Downtown DSM locations that offer exceptional acts. Throughout the summer, Brenton Skating Plaza and Simon Estes Amphitheater transform to welcome a lineup of shows held each summer at Nitefall on the River. Famed artists come through Downtown DSM and play to audiences at Wells Fargo Arena

Locals and visitors alike love the experiences Downtown DSM offers so embrace the city and have some fun!