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Free Things To Do in Downtown Des Moines: October Edition

Free Things to Do

September 29, 2023

The best of fall is yet to come! The crisp autumn air and colorful trees make for the perfect backdrop for these five totally free events coming up during October in Downtown Des Moines (DSM).

City Sounds Season Closer

Thursday, Oct. 5 | Captain Roy's
The first-ever season closer event for City Sounds will also launch a new mobile piano project. During the event hear live performances by Lani, Jordan Mayland, Erik Jarvis, Dorothy Hecht and Nick Leo, and be the firstto snag '23 piano art durin gthe silent auction.

Season Clloser Logo

Downtown Farmers’ Market

Saturdays, Oct. 7 – 28 | Historic Court District
October brings new hours for the much-loved Downtown Farmers’ Market! The opening bell will ring at 8 a.m. for the remainder of the season, continuing until Noon each Saturday throughout October. Fall is the perfect time to browse your favorite seasonal items like pumpkins, fresh-picked apples, warm clothing, homey décor and more. Plus, live entertainment like music and performance arts makes this a can’t-miss stop on our list of free things to do in Downtown DSM during October. Pro Tip: Plan your visit in advance by browsing the vendors on-deck each week. And be sure to mark your calendar for the Winter Farmers’ Market set to take shape Friday, Nov. 17 through Sunday, Nov. 19 at Hy-Vee Hall in Downtown DSM.

Downtown Farmers' Market Vendors 


Sunday, Oct. 8 | Confluence Brewing Co.
Hosted by the nonprofit organization Cultivate: Local Food Connections, this free event fosters education in food preservation, fermentation and extension of the growing season for local gardeners, growers and farmers — from amateur to avid. Grab a beverage from Confluence’s line-up (including non-alcoholic root beer!), sample local food and settle in for learning plus Q&A.

Harvestfest 2023

IMT Des Moines Marathon

Sunday, Oct. 15 | Various Downtown DSM Locations
The spirit is contagious! Bring a fun sign and noisemakers to cheer on your favorite athlete.
Don’t know anyone running? No sweat! We promise you’ll have a fun time cheering for all the runners (and you might even recognize a few, too!). With the finish line right on Court Avenue in the Historic Court District, you’ll be swept away with the fun atmosphere as the runners earn their race medal.

IMT Des Moines Marathon

Beggar’s Night

Monday. Oct. 30 | Sherman Hill & Other Downtown Neighborhoods
The Greater Des Moines (DSM) tradition continues this Hallow’s Eve, including trick-or-treating in Downtown neighborhoods. Kiddos and families are encouraged to don their favorite costumes and have a joke ready to share for this sweet occasion. (Catch up fast: Learn more about what Beggar’s Night means to locals around the region, including some safety tips as well!).

Halloween in Sherman Hill

Looking for more fun things to do in Downtown Des Moines this fall? Explore these top places for great fall views around Downtown DSM, including the various bridges in the area. Find a roundup of fall-flavored drinks, places to shop for autumn things, seasonal treats and more!

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.