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Explore Downtown DSM’s History & More: 5 Can’t-Miss Events This Week

Five Things to Do

September 15, 2023

There is a deep and rich history in Downtown Des Moines (DSM), ripe and ready to be explored! And this week, Downtown is buzzing with interesting events and unique finds, chockful of fascinating tales, cultural experiences and cool architectural finds. Take a look:

The Mid-Autumn Celebration

Saturday, Sept. 16 | Robert D. Ray Asian Garden
The culmination of the this week's event, The Ray Way: Asian Culture and Heritage Festival, is The Mid-Autumn Celebration on Saturday — providing an opportunity to explore the tastes and cultures represented by the Robert D. Ray Asian Garden. Stroll the views of the Principal Riverwalk along the Des Moines River while sampling a variety of Asian foods and learn about former Governor Ray’s vision of further cultivating Iowa as a welcoming community. Free to participate!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Brass & Boujee: The Marcus Lewis Big Band

Friday, Sept. 15 | Noce
Hit the town for a night out full of live jazz. National act trombonist Marcus Lewis collaborates with emcees Kemet the Phantom and Kadesh Flow to create hip-hop and big band-style jazz drawing fans across both genres. Their 2018 album, “Brass and Boujee,” topped the charts at #1 in jazz music on iTunes.

Celebrate 175 Years at Woodland Cemetery

Saturday, Sept. 16 | Woodland Cemetery
Take a walk back in time! Visit the Woodland Cemetery’s 175 Year Celebration for a day filled with captivating insights from the 1800s and fascinating tales of the rich history that has made Downtown Des Moines what it is today. Rounding out the day, meet historians, passionate re-enactors and descendants of the people laid to rest in the cemetery. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for walking, and bring water to drink if you need it!

Woodland Cemetery Entrance

Doors to the Past: Self-Guided Tour of Historic Homes

Saturday, Sept. 16 – Sunday, Sept. 17 | Sherman Hill Neighborhood
For the 43rd year, this self-guided walking tour will bring awareness and appreciation for the 19th and 20th Century historic homes in the Sherman Hill neighborhood. You’ll see neighborhood points of interest, historic architecture, lush gardens and historic buildings, including properties in various stages of restoration. The tours kick off at the Hoyt Sherman Place box office, and tickets are $15 if purchased on-site, with discounts available for students or advanced purchase.

Des Moines Streetstyle Open

Thursday, Sept. 21 – Saturday, Sept. 23 | Lauridsen Skatepark + More Locations
Cheer on incredible skaters as they compete in three-minute jams with the goal of making it to the final round of competition. Check out several offshoot competitions at nearby locations, plus the Block Party taking place at Subsect Skateshop where you'll find a popup skatepark, local food trucks and skate contests. Watching the action is free, and registration to participate is available online as well.

Photo Credit: Alex Sveda, Red Bull Content Poll, @slamdunkapher

Looking for even more Downtown events and happenings? Here’s a look at 5 free things to do in Downtown Des Moines during September!

For these upcoming events and more, find tips on Downtown Des Moines (DSM) parking and navigation. For additional upcoming events, visit the Downtown DSM events calendar. Plus, 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.