Try DSM: Tune into the Music Scene in Des Moines for Live, Local & Big Names

Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a mecca for music. If music is your jam, check out Des Moines’ music scene with a weekend filled with outdoor concerts, clubs with live music, or a big arena show playing all the hits. (P.S. — For a jazz or more classical take, check out part two of this music-lovers guide to DSM.) 

Weekend Guide to DSM’s Live, Local & Big-Name Music 

Hotel Pick: Des Lux HotelYou’ll feel like a rockstar when you check into this swanky hotel with luxurious interior design and cool exposed brick walls in some of the guest rooms. It’s also centrally located in Downtown DSM between hip restaurants, bars and a short Uber ride to several music venues.  

DSM’s Friday Night Music

a band playing live music
  • After you check in, stroll down Locust Street in Downtown DSM to have dinner at Americana. (It’s a 6-8 minute walk.) The restaurant has an industrial modern vibe, a great menu and overlooks the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.  
  • Request a ride to take you to Water Works Park for an outdoor concert at Lauridsen Amphitheater. There are a variety of bands who perform on Friday nights, so check the calendar to plan your weekend around a group that suits your tastes.  
  • For more live music on a Friday night, head to Wooly’s, a local club in the Historic East Village that brings diverse acts to perform in Des Moines. Alternatively, several local restaurants and smaller venues host live music on Friday nights to consider as well: The Cave DSM and Truman’s KC Pizza Tavern in Downtown DSM, as well as Captain Roy’s near Saylorville Lake. 

Saturday Tunes All Day in DSM

  • On Saturday mornings May through October, visit the Downtown Farmers’ Market in the Historic Court District and pick up coffee, a breakfast burrito, or freshly baked pastry as you stroll block after block of local vendors. You’ll find everything from food trucks to homegrown veggies and flowers to graphic t-shirts and art. And streetside local music performances and live entertainers are also a staple! 
  • After walking around the Farmers’ Market, rest your feet, rehydrate and enjoy a leisurely lunch at Court Avenue Brewing Company. Their delicious food is all made from scratch, and they boast a wide selection of hand-crafted beers. Sit on the patio and you’ll be able to enjoy the sights and sounds as The Market continues until Noon. 
  • Spend the afternoon at the Des Moines Civic Center and enjoy the matinee performance of a musical, such as Dear Evan Hansen. Different Broadway shows tour through Des Moines every few weeks so there’s always a new show to see! 
  • Head back to the hotel for a little downtime. Then get ready for a night out on the town, and hop across the street to Hello, Marjorie for pre-show drinks.  
  • If you’re looking for an intimate show, check out the club xBK Live to see singers and songwriters like Andrea von Kampen and other up-and-coming bands.  
  • If big arena concerts with major headliners — like Chris Stapleton, The Avett Brothers, Rob Zombie, Lauren Daigle and Shania Twain — are more your style, snag tickets to a show at Wells Fargo Arena at the Iowa Events Center.  
  • Other local venues to browse their lineup of upcoming music and shows with national names: Hoyt Sherman Place in Downtown DSM, Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines, Horizon Events Center in Clive, Prairie Meadows in Altoona and post-race concerts at the Iowa Speedway in Newton.

Sunday Jams Around Des Moines

For brunch, head to HomeGrown. Be sure to use the Yelp app to put your name on the list in advance to avoid a wait.  

Travel south to Indianola for an afternoon of music and wine at Summerset Winery. Their Sunday Tunes event is open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. from May through October. There is no cover charge, but you can buy wine and food there. Plan to bring a folding chair or blanket to sit on. You can also bring in a picnic to enjoy while you listen to live music. (No outside beverages are allowed.) 

More Live Music to Love in Greater Des Moines 

While every weekend in Des Moines has a variety of acts performing at different venues throughout the city, there are also several prominent music festivals you won’t want to miss, including 80-35 in July and Hinterland in August. Also, be sure to check out the lineup of concerts and free music performances at the Iowa State Fair.  

And explore even more music to love around Greater Des Moines with part two of our guide for music fans, highlighting jazz and classical tunes.  

As you take in live music, concerts and entertainment, you’ll find Greater Des Moines (DSM) offers a place where you can do something greater: Chase your career dreams, live affordably and get connected in a welcoming community. Get to know DSM and find your greater here. 

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