Hoyt Sherman Place

Hoyt Sherman Place has been a staple of the Sherman Hill neighborhood since 1877. With an impressive, eclectic lineup of past artists (including Band of Horses, Ted Nugent, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, and Emmylou Harris) and a beautiful theater and art gallery, Hoyt Sherman puts on a great show.

Captain Roy’s

Boasting a large patio, pontoon stage, and great food, catching a show at Captain Roy’s is a must for your summer bucket list. They are located at Birdland Marina, making it the perfect spot to drive, bicycle, or boat to.

Carl’s Place

If you’ve never been to a Tuesday night Blues Jam at Carl’s Place, you owe it to yourself to check it out. This Des Moines institution attracts talented musicians locally and from all over the Midwest. They all come together at this Sherman Hill dive to play and sing the blues.


This quintessential Des Moines concert venue is located in the heart of East Village. With a packed calendar of events, it’s not hard to find something for everyone.

Greenwood Lounge

With bands playing almost every night, Greenwood Lounge is one of the best places to catch local live music on Ingersoll Avenue. This neighborhood dive also has friendly bartenders, a lively dance floor, and a tucked-away pool room.

Lefty’s Live Music

This Drake neighborhood location has had a history of being home to several great venues—including Lefty’s Live Music. Come to Lefty’s to enjoy a variety of live music, local artwork on display, and great beer.

Vaudeville Mews

Nestled downtown on Fourth Street, this low-key venue gets as loud as it’s Court Avenue neighbors. Stop by to see some top local and national acts.

Des Moines Yacht Club

Sit back and enjoy great live music on Fridays and Saturdays at Yacht Club. This Ingersoll destination has everything you’re looking for in a neighborhood dive: dim lighting, cheap drinks, and wood paneling.

Lauridsen Amphitheater at Water Works Park

Lauridsen Amphitheater is the perfect venue for a balmy summer night—don’t forget your lawn chair and picnic blanket. Past acts include Marin Morris, Flaming Lips, and Ben Folds.

The Gas Lamp

This hot spot is located right in the middle of Downtown, Sherman Hill, and Ingersoll neighborhoods. Head here for excellent drinks, great sound, and a fun atmosphere.

The Canopy at Brenton Skating Plaza

This wintertime ice skating rink transforms into a concert venue as soon as the snow and ice melt. Located in Historic East Village, this outdoor spot’s concert series, Nitefall on the River, has hosted a variety of acts that range from Lake Street Drive to Shakey Graves to Eli Young Band.

The Fremont

This east side neighborhood bar attracts all kinds of acts coming through town. The cash-only bar and venue has a quirky vibe, friendly bartenders, and feels like a well-kept secret.

Wells Fargo Arena

We would be remiss to leave Des Moines’ largest indoor concert venue off this list. Since opening in 2005, the 17,000 seat arena has hosted many superstars, including Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, and Taylor Swift.

Des Moines Performing Arts

Parent to the Des Moines Civic Center, Cowles Commons, and Temple Theater, Des Moines Performing Arts knows how to put on a show. The Civic Center has brought Broadway musicals Wicked, Hamilton, and CATS to Des Moines.

Val Air Ballroom

Historic Val Air Ballroom has been an anchor of Valley Junction for nearly a decade. Head here to see some great acts perform on the same stage that once held Duke Ellington, Merle Haggard, and Bob Dylan.  

xBk Live

This intimate, Drake neighborhood venue brings a modern feel thanks to a recent renovation. Be sure to swing through for a great show in a vibrant space.