10 Free Things to Do in Des Moines this Summer


sculpture park downtown des moines. Des Moines MomWho doesn’t love a family activity that’s free!? We found 10 fun things you can do with your family that won’t cost you anything. Enjoy!

10 Free Activities in Des Moines

1. Watch an outdoor movie

There’s something about watching a movie outside under the stars that is quintessentially summer. Check out our guide to outdoor movies and add one to your calendar. 

2. Take a yoga class outside 

Find your zen at one of the many free yoga classes offered around Des Moines this summer. 

3. Go to the beach

Des Moines (and Iowa) may not have a coast, but there are plenty of lakes you can dip your toes in. Pick a beach and enjoy a day on the water. 

4. Check out a local festival

Summer is prime time for festivals, whether it’s a small town celebration or a cultural event, there’s one for you! 

5. Play at a new park 

Des Moines has so many great parks, it can be hard to choose! Some of our favorites are the new Johnston Commons Park behind the Johnston Library, Walker Johnston Park in Urbandale, and Greenwood Park in Des Moines. 

6. Take photos with sunflowers

Sunflowers in central Iowa are usually at their peak in July and August. Check out our guide for where to find them near Des Moines. 

7. Catch the Dew Tour

Head to the Lauridsen Skate Park in downtown Des Moines to see some of the best skateboarders show off their skills. The Dew Tour returns to Des Moines July 29-30.  

8. Listen to live music at Jasper Winery 

Thursday nights are for listening to music and relaxing. The Summer Concert Series at Jasper Winery is a family favorite. Food and drinks are available for purchase, but you’re welcome to bring your own food. 

9. Cool off at a spray ground or splash pad

Des Moines has 12 spray grounds and 10 wading pools! These are great when your kids are little and going to the pool seems overwhelming! 

10. Sign up for a library reading programs

Encourage kids to read this summer and sign up for a summer reading program. Most offer fun (and free!) incentives for finishing. Check with your local library for details. 

What free events or activities would you add to our list? 

More Summer Events and Activities


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