Des Moines, before known as Fort Des Moines, is the capital of Iowa and was founded in 1843. The area was established at the confluence of the two rivers to protect the rights of the natives who inhabited the region at the time, namely the Sauk and Fox peoples.
Settlers came to the area in 1845 and the community grew rapidly. The area eventually became a city in 1857 and the word “Fort” was dropped from the name. This city was named after the nearby river, Des Moines River, which was most likely adopted from the early French name Rivière des Moines, meaning “River of the Monks”.
Present-Day Des Moines
Today, the city of Des Moines, IA is home to over 216,853 people, 75.39% of which are white, 11.28% Black, and 6.54% Asian. The metropolitan area of Des Moines consists of six counties in central Iowa, namely Polk, Dallas, Warren, Madison, Guthrie, and Jasper.
The city is home to some major insurance companies and a significant political landscape. Forbes ranked Des Moines as the #1 city in the nation for business and careers and the #1 place to raise a family. The publishing business base and financial services in this city are sizable.
Furthermore, Des Moines is considered a pretty good place to live as one can find solid jobs, cheap homes, excellent schools, and short commutes. According to reports, Des Moines is the 11th best place to live in the U.S., and it was the top-ranked city in the Midwest.
The friendly residents in Des Moines can, therefore, enjoy the big city life since job opportunities are excellent and cultural attractions are abundant. There are many sculpture parks, botanical gardens, shopping amenities, and restaurants to be found in Des Moines.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that many tourists also flock to this city every year, especially in August, as Iowa’s State Fair is held here.
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is also a popular attraction in this city. This Garden is an indoor conservatory with over 15,000 exotic plants. One of the most significant collections of desert-growing plants in America’s Midwest can also be found at the Des Moines Botanical Garden.
Visitors and residents can enjoy nature at Gray’s Lake Park, located very close to downtown Des Moines. Here one can relax in a friendly environment away from the crowded city streets or enjoy some outdoor activities as it offers walking trails and a lake where one can rent paddle and sailboats.
The number one tourist attraction in Des Moines is for sure the Iowa State Capitol building. Since it consists of a 23-karat gold-covered dome that rises 275 feet above the Capitol grounds, it is for sure a postcard-worthy image. However, inside this building, there is also much history to discover, making it worth the visit.
Many more famous attractions can be found in Des Moines, including the Iowa State Fairgrounds and the Iowa Barnstormers.