With its grand State Capitol, vibrant neighbourhoods and flourishing arts scene, Des Moines lives up to its reputation as Iowa’s liveliest city. There are plenty of opportunities to discover local history and cultural attractions, along with the internationally-acclaimed Iowa State Fair, which attracts over one million visitors every summer.
Things to do in Des Moines
Historic East Village is the city’s trendiest district, luring visitors with artisan cafes, trendy boutiques and stylish cocktail bars. It’s a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll, a laid-back brunch or an evening of bar hopping.
With its gold-domed roof, Renaissance facade and soaring ceilings, the Iowa State Capitol is the city’s most iconic landmark. Visitors are welcome to enjoy both self-guided and formal tours that offer a glimpse of Iowa’s colourful history.
The Des Moines Art Centre is famous for its contemporary collections, showcasing paintings, sculptures and mixed media exhibitions. Nearby is Pappajohn Sculpture Park, an urban oasis featuring works by local legends like Sol LeWitt, Keith Haring and Willem de Kooning. It boasts sweeping views of the skyline and is lined with a string of fine-dining restaurants.
For a breath of fresh air, why not escape to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden? In addition to its beautifully manicured outdoor gardens, it also features a geodesic dome. Inside you’ll find a tropical oasis of exotic orchids, lush ferns and flowering plants.
Getting around Des Moines
Des Moines is pedestrian-friendly with a 10-kilometre network of skywalks linking the downtown area. A free downtown shuttle runs throughout the city centre, while local buses also service greater Des Moines.