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Visit Des Moines, Iowa

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The Best of Des Moines, Iowa: An Insider’s Guide

Do you want to read the well-trodden tourist paths? Look no further, as Des Moines, Iowa’s underrated metropolis, must be scrutinized. This city, often overlooked, is replete with unexpected delights and hidden treasures just waiting to be uncovered. Des Moines harbors something for every proclivity, from its rich heritage and cultural import to its effervescent gastronomic landscape and modern artistic expressions.

Join us on a privileged tour of Des Moines as we present a showcase of the imperative landmarks, tourist spots, and some hidden treasures that are not frequently trodden. We will delve into the city’s rich past, impart intriguing anecdotes and informative tidbits, and provide you with counsel on the optimum cuisine to sample and the optimal lodgings to reside in. So ready your luggage, secure your atlas, and commence your examination of the core of the Midwest!

Landmarks and Must-see Attractions

Des Moines, Iowa, is a metropolis that displays its rich history, artistry, and culture through its renowned monuments and important tourist destinations. Here are three of the city’s most famous attractions in detail:

State Capitol Building

The State Capitol Building in Des Moines, Iowa, is a significant historic landmark and one of the city’s most recognizable skyscrapers. Conceived in 1886, it has since become emblematic of the state’s political and cultural legacy. Tourists can embark on guided excursions of the building to gain insights into its history and importance. The tour showcases the magnificent stairways, intricate chandeliers, and mural paintings that embellish the interior of the building, along with the awe-inspiring views from the crest of the dome.

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a veritable oasis for connoisseurs of the fine arts. This whimsical green space showcases a collection of contemporary sculptures, numbering over 20, each unique and awe-inspiring creation by celebrated artists such as Mark di Suvero and Jaume Plensa. From the majestic “Eagle” to the peaceful “Egrets on Logs” and the playful “The Basket,” the park is a veritable cornucopia of aesthetic delight. Furthermore, it serves as a hub of cultural activity, hosting various exhibitions and events that further enrich its already impressive offerings.

Des Moines Art Center

The Des Moines Art Center is a beacon for aesthetes and connoisseurs of culture. Showcasing classical and contemporary works of art, this hub of creativity and imagination hosts exhibitions and events that will inspire. Visitors can delve into a rich tapestry of artistic expression, from paintings, sculptures, and photographs to multimedia installations. The Art Center’s storied legacy and cultural importance render it an indispensable stop for those seeking an enriching experience in Des Moines.

Uncommon Places to Visit

Uncommon Places to Visit

Des Moines, Iowa, boasts a plethora of obscure and thrilling locales primed to be explored. From participatory scientific demonstrations to quaint farmers’ bazaars, the city offers a plethora of unique and noteworthy venues to visit. Let us delve into three of the most refreshing locations in Des Moines:

Science Center of Iowa:

The Science Center of Iowa is a veritable feast for the intellectually curious, particularly families and minors. It harmoniously integrates education and merriment through its interactive exhibits and didactic programs. At the center, patrons can delve into the cosmos’ mysteries, expand their anatomy knowledge, and enjoy the sensation of hands-on education. With its stunning displays and thrilling events, the Science Center of Iowa is a non-negotiable pit stop in Des Moines.

Downtown Farmers Market:

The weekly Downtown Farmers Market in Des Moines gathers the city’s finest produce and freshest wares. The market has something for everyone, from ripe fruits and greens to handcrafted goods and artisanal treasures. More than just a shopping venue, the Farmers Market is a bustling center of the city’s cultural life. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local community and participate in various festivities and events.

Civic Center:

The Civic Center is a bastion of musical and theatrical extravaganzas in Des Moines. Its magnificent design and cultural legacy make it a mandatory stop for connoisseurs of the arts. Tourists can attend concerts, theatrical productions, and performances by renowned musicians and performers from across the globe. From its acoustical grandeur to its effervescent ambiance, the Civic Center is an imperative sight to behold in Des Moines

Des Moines’ Rich History and Interesting Stories

Des Moines, Iowa, is abundant with historical significance and cultural richness. From its renowned State Capitol Building to its world-renowned sculpture garden, Des Moines narrates the chronicle of its inhabitants and their traditions. Let us delve into three of the city’s most intriguing historical sites:

State Capitol Building:

The State Capitol Building in Des Moines is a political and cultural eminence monument. Its architectural grandeur and historical significance make it a requisite pilgrimage for connoisseurs of history and culture. Tourists have the opportunity to educate themselves on the building’s political and cultural import and uncover the various intriguing anecdotes that cement its status as a fundamental aspect of Des Moines’ past.

Pappajohn Sculpture Park:

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a rich array of contemporary art in Des Moines, attracting art enthusiasts from near and far. The park is an ineluctable site with its interesting sculptures and curatorial showcases. Visitors can delve into the patron’s history and foresight for the garden, grasping the vital function that contemporary art performs in Des Moines’ cultural legacy.

Des Moines Riverfront:

The Des Moines Riverfront has undergone a metamorphosis from its days as an industrialized zone to a bustling recreation center. This thriving community hub now boasts a plethora of festivities, musical events, and leisure pursuits for visitors to enjoy. Its rich historical background and vibrant community spirit make the Des Moines Riverfront a prime destination for those seeking an immersive experience in the city.

From the State Capitol Building’s political and cultural significance to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park’s breathtaking exhibitions and the Des Moines Riverfront’s transformation into a community hub, these landmarks provide visitors with a captivating journey through time and a glimpse into the soul of the city. So, you want to experience the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. In that case, these three destinations are to be noticed.

Fun Facts, Mysterious Stories, and Well-Known People

Des Moines, Iowa, harbors a host of unexpected delights steeped in a distinct cultural legacy and a past that blends amusement with an enigma. From its premier Science Center of Iowa to its thriving Downtown Farmers Market and prominent political figures, Des Moines is a metropolis that offers many thrilling and unforeseen opportunities. Let us delve into three of the city’s most intriguing mysteries:

Science Center of Iowa:

The Science Center of Iowa is an intriguing venue for families and juveniles, with interactive presentations and instructive curriculums that are entertaining and enlightening. Tourists can unearth unforeseen marvels and encounters and comprehend exciting tidbits about the center and its numerous thrilling projects and endeavors.

Downtown Farmers Market:

The downtown Farmers Market is a vortex of liveliness and exhilaration, presenting various local produce and wares from multiple purveyors. Yet it also boasts excellent lore and myths, rendering it enigmatically captivating. Visitors can observe uncommon sights and undergo remarkable experiences while familiarizing themselves with the cryptic tales that imbue the Farmers Market with such extraordinary and thrilling quality.

Well-known people related to Des Moines:

Des Moines, Iowa, has hosted a litany of luminary figures, encompassing political leaders, public personalities, and creative visionaries. Tourists may delve into the annals of the city’s history and become acquainted with its most prominent citizens, which span former heads of state, gubernatorial dignitaries, and distinguished artists who have left an indelible mark on the city’s cultural landscape. Here are a few of the most well-known people related to Des Moines:

  • Terry Branstad – A former governor of Iowa and the United States Ambassador to China
  • Chuck Grassley – A U.S. Senator from Iowa and the President pro tempore of the Senate
  • Tom Vilsack – A former governor of Iowa and former United States Secretary of Agriculture
  • Steve King – A former U.S. Congressman from Iowa and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Ashton Kutcher – An actor and entrepreneur who was born and raised in Des Moines
  • Jim Carrey – A comedian, actor, and producer who was born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada but raised in Des Moines
  • Nelly – A rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor who was born in Austin, Texas but raised in Des Moines
  • Adam Driver – An actor born in San Diego, California but raised in Mishawaka, Indiana, and Des Moines.

Food That Travelers Must Try

Gastronomically, Des Moines, Iowa, presents a tantalizing medley of classic steakhouse cuisine and novel culinary escapades. For those who relish succulent barbecues or seek more venturesome feasting, the city provides an array of delectable choices to appease your palate. Here are some iconic dishes and regional delicacies that travelers ought to sample in Des Moines, Iowa:

Maid-Rites: A succulent slider of seasoned minced beef sandwiched between the folds of a steaming bread roll.

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich: A scrumptious delicacy of Iowa, made with a hefty, pounded pork cutlet that is enrobed in a crispy batter after being fried to golden crispiness.

Sweet Corn: During the sultry summer months, sweet corn is a staple in Iowa, with its fresh bounty readily accessible.

Cheese Curds: Squeaky-fried curds of dairy, known as cheese curds, is a special delicacy in Des Moines, often served as a nibble at various festivities and carnivals.

Hot Beef Sundae: A savory creation of a juicy beef patty layered with creamy mashed potatoes, rich gravy, and melted cheese.

Apple Pie: A delectable pastry crafted from locally sourced apples, Des Moines is renowned for its delightful apple pie.

BBQ Ribs: Succulent, slow-smoked ribs slathered in a sweet and tangy sauce are essential to Des Moines’ delectable BBQ repertoire.

Accommodation and Travel Tips

Accommodation and Travel Tips

When embarking on a journey to Des Moines, Iowa, the judicious selection of lodgings and the insight of navigating the city can significantly enhance the overall experience. As various choices are available, it is crucial to deliberate beforehand to ensure a seamless and delightful excursion.

A. Recommendations for Accommodation

Budget-friendly options and luxury hotels

Des Moines offers a diverse array of lodgings that cater to all levels of monetary affluence, from economical hotels and motels for those on a stringent budget to grand hotels and lavish resorts for those seeking a more opulent encounter.

Proximity to attractions and landmarks

When seeking lodgings, contemplate its vicinity to the renowned monuments and sights of Des Moines. This can facilitate quick city navigation and amplify your excursion’s general delight.

B. Travel tips for visitors to Des Moines

Transportation options and parking

Des Moines offers convenient modes of transportation, such as public buses, taxi cabs, and ride-hailing services, enabling effortless mobility throughout the city. For those who prefer driving, there is a substantial quantity of parking facilities in Des Moines. Yet, it’s advisable to investigate beforehand to evade unexpected roadblocks.

Weather considerations and seasonal activities

Des Moines witnesses a spectrum of meteorological phenomena throughout the year. Hence it’s imperative to prepare and curate one’s luggage suitably. Summer draws many tourists to the city due to its profusion of outdoor pursuits and happenings, whereas winter can herald snow and sleet. Therefore, scrutinizing the climatic prediction and arranging one’s gear appropriately is advisable.

Finally, with a touch of preparation, travelers to Des Moines can relish all this bustling city has to offer, from its historical and cultural landmarks to its savory cuisine and top-notch lodgings. Whether the aim is to immerse oneself in the city’s notable locations and tourist spots or to unwind and bask in its numerous joys, Des Moines is a destination that is certain to furnish an unforgettable escapade.


In summary, Des Moines is an abode of grandeur, diversity, and allure. The city boasts several noteworthy sites such as the State Capitol Building, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines Art Center, Science Center of Iowa, Civic Center, and the lively Downtown Farmers Market, which draw visitors from far and wide. It is a hub of rich historical landmarks and cultural attractions and a destination for those seeking novel culinary journeys. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art connoisseur, or simply yearning for a jubilant escape, Des Moines is a city that caters to all. With economical lodgings, seamless modes of transportation, and a medley of events and activities throughout the year, now is the prime moment to plan a visit to this picturesque city. Take the chance to revel in the majesty that Des Moines has to offer.