7 Popular Attractions in Des Moines, Iowa

One of the most vibrant cultural cities in the Midwest is Des Moines, Iowa, where there is something to do for everyone. While it is famous for its significant political landscape and many major insurance companies, this city has a lot more to offer its residents and visitors. 

So if you are heading to Des Moines for business or pleasure, make sure to use the opportunity and visit these popular attractions.

1. Downtown Farmers’ Market

Des Moines is home to one of the most bustling farmers’ markets in the Midwest, held from May to October, each Saturday. 

Here you will find some of the freshest produce you’ll ever eat, together with flower bouquets, handmade crafts, and food stalls. At the Downtown Farmers’ Market, you can stroll through several blocks filled with over 300 vendors who come from all areas of the state.

2. State Capitol

The State Capitol, which is home to the governor’s office, is situated in Des Moines, IA. It consists of a golden dome that can be seen from many areas across Des Moines. The interior of the building has a hand-carved design that holds many large works of art. 

Inside these walls, much history has been made, and visitors are free to roam the halls, the regal Law Library, and tour the open rooms on their own. Free guided tours are also available throughout the week and for a great view of the gold dome interior, there is a glass floor that can be walked upon.

3. Science Center of Iowa

Children of all ages will love a trip to the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines as it offers hands-on exhibits that consist of award-winning space features. Most of these permanent and rotating exhibits promote experiential learning in a fun way. 

For gazing upon the stars, the Science Center also has a planetarium and an IMAX Theater to explore deeper into space. 

The facility also provides an adult-oriented program, perfect for grown-ups who love science and socializing.

4. Des Moines Art Center

If you love fine art, then Des Moines Art Center is a must-visit. Fine art has been exhibited here since 1948. There are many rotating exhibits to be seen from local and nationally renowned artists. Permanent pieces like Matisse Monet and O’Keeffe and many others are also on display at the Des Moines Art Center.

5. East Village

The city of Des Moines is undoubtedly a cultural hub that offers various new tastes and styles. To experience the meaning of this statement, one needs to hit the streets of the commercial and residential neighborhood of the East Village.

This neighborhood is lined with plenty of local restaurants, shops, and lively entertainment for an adventurous night out in town. Tacopocalypse is just one example of unique eateries in the East Village where one can find mouth-watering burritos and more.

RAYGUN is one of the popular stores here that set the tone for the East Village, and there are plenty of galleries and art displays to be found.

6. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

At the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, you can discover plants that range from temperate to tropical. At this center, there is always something blooming, both inside and out. 

One can take a self-guided tour in the beautiful gardens or take up an adult-education class on gardening while admiring the beautiful surroundings.

Inside the garden, you can also grab a bite during lunch hours at the Trellis Cafe. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is open all through the year, and they also hold special events on occasions, including the “Botanical Bleus.”

7. Water Works Park

If you are the outdoorsy type, then the Water Works Parks is an excellent place to get some outdoor activities. This park consists of nearly 15 000 acres of green space and it is situated close to the streets of downtown Des Moines.

Popular activities at this park include running, biking, bird-watching, intramural athletics, and even fishing. 

The well-manicured grass at the Water Works Park makes a great spot for relaxing in the sun during the day. One can even head further down the bike trail that leads beneath Fleur Drive towards Gray’s Lake, which is perfect for boating.

Final Thought

The people of Iowa are proud of their capital city, Des Moines, as it is a thriving community with friendly faces. While much of Iowa’s history is still in the making in Des Moines, there are many free things to do and historical landmarks to be found in this city that hold a rich cultural heritage.

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