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5 Free Things to Do in Downtown Des Moines — July Edition

Five Free Things to Do

Header image by Samm Yu.

It’s the dog days of summer in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). As things are heating up this month, check out these super cool, 100% awesome, totally rad events you won’t want to miss. Oh, did we mention they’re free?

Free in July: Downtown DSM Festivals, Events + More

Free Patriotic Fireworks in Downtown DSM

Monday, July 3 – Tuesday, July 4 | Visible Throughout Downtown DSM
The eve of Independence Day, July 3, is Iowa’s largest one-day concert and a beloved DSM tradition: the Des Moines Symphony’s Yankee Doodle Pops! Enjoy a free evening of patriotic music followed by fireworks over the downtown skyline! Then Tuesday, July 4, following the Iowa Cubs matchup against the St. Paul Saints, more Downtown DSM fireworks will light up the sky.

Free Stages at 80/35 Music Festival

Friday, July 7 – Saturday, July 8 | Western Gateway
Get your groove on at 80/35 in Downtown DSM, with several free stages each featuring a full lineup ready for you! Just a few of the many free artists taking the stage include Ric Wilson, House of Large Sizes, Thumpasaurus and Lipstick Homicide. You can also visit the on-site vintage and craft market, kids’ zone, nonprofit village, amazing local food trucks and even take DART’s free D-Line shuttle to make parking a breeze, too!

Free Farmers’ Markets Happening Around Downtown

You’ve just got to mark your calendar for these farmers’ markets taking place every week during July (and beyond!), at various neighborhoods located around Downtown DSM:

(*Pro Tip: Look for the ever-changing Spark DSM minority-owned business vendors on rotation at the Downtown Farmers’ Market to try something new each week!)

Free Jazz in July Events

Tuesdays, July 11, July 18 & July 25 | Hoyt Sherman Place
This Downtown DSM venue will be transformed, both indoors and outdoors, for three evenings of free jazz music as part of the annual Jazz in July series. Taking place from 5:15 to 9:30 p.m. during each event, attendees can bring a blanket or lawn chair and find food and beverages available for purchase on-site.


Wednesday, July 26 | Water Works Park
For the 50th year of RAGBRAI, the route is stopping overnight in Downtown DSM! That means DSM is about to throw the biggest, bestest bash you can possibly imagine — with free access to the community to join in the fun! Water Works Park is the official location for camping and a free concert with headliner Lynyrd Skynyrd. Check back for more details coming soon.

Looking for even more Downtown DSM adventures? Each week we publish a list of five events you just can’t miss coming soon to Downtown. Explore the recent stories posted on our blog to learn more.

Plan your visit to Downtown Des Moines (DSM) with these tips for parking and navigation and follow @downtownDSMUSA on Instagram for more epic, things-you-just-can’t-miss happening around Downtown.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

DSM USA is the regional identifier for Greater Des Moines (DSM). DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research. The Partnership will champion the DSM USA message, and encourages its Investors, its more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and DSM USA Ambassadors to help share the region's story with One Voice.