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Your Downtown DSM Bucket List for Spring 2022

Spring 2022 in Downtown DSM

April 14, 2022

Hundreds of flowers aren’t the only thing blooming in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) this spring. Operation Downtown will beautify the city with flower planters, hanging flower baskets and more, and they’ll catch your eye as you head to one of the exciting events happening, or stop by a beloved family-friendly attraction in April and May.

Awesome Attractions

Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor attractions this spring, Downtown DSM has plenty to offer. Visit the Small Discoveries exhibit or Makers Studio at Science Center of Iowa. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden has plenty to do — explore the gardens and see what’s in bloom, from a spring tulip display to rose garden in full bloom. Another not-to-miss, but often forgotten garden to visit this spring is the Hall of Laureates Garden, a key part of the Principal Riverwalk that also features a statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug, founder of the World Food Prize.

If you’re more than ready to get outdoors, then stop by the Lauridsen Skatepark to watch the skate tricks in the flow bowl or picnic with the kids in the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Another picnic option is Gray’s Lake, which boasts a two-mile walking trail, perfect for biking, running and skating as well. Don’t miss the chance to see the crabapple trees blossoming in Water Works Park in April and May — they’re one of Downtown DSM’s most beautiful annual attractions. Visit the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge, before making your way to the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens, a relaxing place to walk along the Des Moines River that serves as a great photo op, too. In the Historic East Village, check out the debut of “LAPS: A Journey Through Time – Here and Now,” an interactive, temporary art installation that will be on display until Saturday, April 30. LAPS is presented by Operation Downtown and the Greater Des Moines Partnership. The installation features six hourglass modules that are nearly eight feet high. Downtown DSM is the first location in the country to share the p ublic artwork.

Upcoming Events

Don’t miss out on Justin Bieber at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday, April 24. Bieber is the number one artist on YouTube with more than 60 million subscribers worldwide and will perform with special guests JADEN, ¿Téo? and Eddie Benjamin. Des Moines Comic Con will celebrate comics, toys, TV, film, art, cosplay and more Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22 and visitors can purchase VIP and weekend passes for the Iowa Events Center event. For those looking for something with a calmer pace, Ballet Des Moines – Of Gravity and Light will take place on Friday, April 22 at Des Moines Civic Center, along with Broadway’s Hamilton, which begins its run in Downtown DSM on Tuesday, May 17. The play promises an adventure involving mismatched socks and adventure. If you’re a big reader, you won’t want to miss Amanda Montell, author of “Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism”, at Central Library on Thursday, April 21. As part of Des Moines Public Library’s AViD series, Montell will discuss creating community and ideology through language and how we are all influenced by cultish language every day.

Outdoor events start up this month, with the Iowa Cubs playing home games at Principal Park throughout the month and the Drake Relays kicking off with Road Races on Sunday, April 24 and the Grand Blue Mile on Tuesday, April 26 before ramping up for a full weekend of track and field events. In May, the Downtown Farmers’ Market returns Saturday, May 7, and it’s the place to find all your locally grown produce, plants and more. You won’t want to miss the chance to choose from more than 7,000 plants at the Spring Garden Festival at the Botanical Garden, either. It’s set to take place Saturday, May 7 (with a pre-sale for Members on Friday, May 6).

Looking for a great volunteer activity? Register to help clean up Downtown DSM locations for Earth Day Trash Bash, a collaborative effort in the region that is Iowa’s largest volunteer Earth Day event.

Finally, don’t forget to visit some of Downtown DSM’s restaurants in between your activities. Whether you’re in the Market District, the Historic East Village or one of Downtown’s other neighborhoods, there are breweries, coffeehouses and restaurants to suit your tastes. Trellis, located inside the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, offers a monthly menu that changes with the season. Aposto also serves up a seasonal menu that is sure to delight ... the restaurant was named a Top Diners’ Choice in Iowa in 2022.

Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.

Jerrica Marshall

Jerrica Marshall is the first Executive Director for The Directors Council. Jerrica will lead this coalition of leaders' mission to improve the conditions of individuals in the neighborhoods we serve through systemic change. Jerrica Marshall is also the former Downtown Placemaking Manager at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.