Des Moines is a city in the State of Iowa, the United States, with much history to explore and fun things to do. However, if you are on a budget, it might be best to take advantage of the free attraction this city has got to offer.
Since there are plenty of great restaurants and shopping facilities, you might want to splurge on those instead. Here are some top attractions that are free to visit yet allow you to learn more about the culture and fantastic history of Des Moines.
Iowa State Capitol
It is no doubt that the Iowa State Capitol is an architectural masterpiece! Thousands of tourists flock to the city of Des Moines each year just to see this building as it holds a significant part in American History.
The State Capitol was constructed in 1871 and is the only five-domed capitol in the United States. The dome consists of 23-carat gold leafing, which has a lookout lantern in the past, that rises 275 feet above the ground floor.
Visitors are free to tour the building on their own. The fascinating interior includes a law library, paintings, a built-to-scale model Battleship Iowa, a porcelain doll collection representing 41 Iowa first ladies, replicas of inaugural gowns, etc. Free guided tours are offered every Monday to Saturday.
Des Moines Art Center
At the Des Moines Art Center, returning visitors will never get bored as they hold changing exhibitions throughout the year. Permanent collections include works from famous artists like Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol.
From photography shows, video galleries, and outdoor sculptures, there are various collections for every taste. So if you are an art-lover and want to see some fantastic pieces free of charge, make sure to visit the Des Moines Art Gallery when you are in town.
State Historical Museum of Iowa
The State Historical Museum of Iowa is situated in Des Moines and is free for all. Here you can find exciting inventions discovered by the Iowans.
The permanent collection has over 80 000 artifacts that represent Iowa’s impressive history. Here you can see interesting displays like the first computer, a mechanism to slice bread, learn about the presidential past, the history of RAGBRAI, and much more.
Pappajohn Sculpture Park
For a free outdoorsy adventure, visit the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines. Besides fresh air in a four-acre park, you will get to tour a display of 28 contemporary pieces for free. Some of the world’s most revered artists made these sculptures, which can be seen on foot or bike.
Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden
The Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden is situated in the downtown of Des Moines, IA. Here one can see hundreds of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals that provide a colorful experience for free.
The gardens consist of 22 distinct sections that are designed to resemble backyards. The gardens were created as an outdoor photography studio for the magazine “Better Homes and Gardens,” but the public is free to tour the area every Friday from 12 to 2 pm, May to September.
World Food Prize Hall of Laureates
In Des Moines, IA you can visit a museum that recognizes outstanding achievement in agriculture.
The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates celebrates Norman Borlaug’s work to feed the world. This Iowan was also awarded the Nobel Prize. The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates is situated in the former century-old Public Library building on Des Moines River banks and offers free tours on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The city of Des Moines is home to over 216,853 people with friendly faces who welcome visitors all year round. There is much to discover in this urban city during the day and the nightlife is always lively. And if you’re looking for more things to visit, you can ask the locals what is currently happening in town as there is always something new to discover.