Des Moines - Tourist Attractions, Things To Do, Hotels And Restaurants

About Des Moines, Iowa

If you are not a fan of touristy places and want to visit something different, it’s time to pack your bags and book your tickets to Des Moines, a city with a rich and diverse history. 

Des Moines’ history dates back to its origins as Fort Des Moines in 1843. The city’s archaeological sites reveal late prehistoric villages dating back to 1300 AD, providing glimpses into its early inhabitants’ lives. One of the city’s standout features is its prominence in the insurance industry, earning it the title of the “number one spot for U.S. insurance companies” and the designation as the third-largest “insurance capital” globally. 

When it comes to culture and history, Des Moines offers a lot of attractions and activities for residents and visitors alike. The gold-domed State Capitol building stands as a clear example of the state’s rich heritage. Its landmarks, on the other hand, like the Salisbury House and Gardens and the Hoyt Sherman Theater, showcase the city’s cultural legacy. 

One thing that you would love about Des Moines, Iowa is its recreational activities. Des Moines has something for everyone. Baseball lovers can catch an evening game under the lights, while the ones who go crazy for art can explore impressive collections in local galleries. Whether it’s baseball, basketball, or soccer, the community rallies together to cheer on their favorite teams.

The city’s climate is characterized by hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters, typical of a humid continental climate. Fall brings pleasant temperatures and a vibrant atmosphere, making it an ideal time to explore outdoor attractions.  If you like to learn more from us on Des Moines, Iowa, continue reading.

Why do people go to Des Moines?

People visit Des Moines for its rich history, vibrant cultural scene, thriving insurance and financial industries, and diverse attractions like the Science Center of Iowa and the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. 

What food is Des Moines known for?

One of Des Moines’ most renowned dishes is Steak de Burgo. Known for Iowa’s top-quality corn-fed beef, the city’s Italian steakhouses craft the finest versions of this classic meal.

What famous person is from Des Moines, Iowa?

One famous person from Des Moines, Iowa, is American fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick, known simply as Halston.

Stay in Des Moines

There are multiple high-rated hotels in Des Moines that you can conveniently stay in and enjoy your vacation in the wonderful city: –

Hilton Des Moines Downtown

The Hilton Des Moines Downtown is a highly-rated hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, offering convenience, comfort, and modern amenities. The hotel’s favorable location connected to the Des Moines Skywalk system provides easy access to the Iowa Events Center and other nearby attractions. There are also stylish meeting spaces, making it suitable for group events. 

The Baymont by Wyndham Des Moines Airport

It is a convenient and comfortable non-smoking hotel located near Des Moines International Airport. It offers amenities like a free airport shuttle, fitness center, indoor pool, and hot tub. The hotel’s 4000 square feet of event space with 4 meeting rooms makes it ideal for conferences or special events. Nearby attractions include Valley West Mall, Iowa State Fairgrounds, and Adventureland Amusement Park. 

The Ramada by Wyndham Des Moines Airport

The Ramada by Wyndham Des Moines Airport offers a full-service experience near Des Moines International Airport and downtown. Guests enjoy complimentary airport shuttle service, free WiFi, and access to an indoor pool and fitness center. The hotel features 8,000 square feet of event space, ideal for meetings or special occasions, and offers a range of amenities, including free breakfast and mobile check-in. The Ramada is located nearby attractions such as the Blank Park Zoo and Iowa State Fairgrounds. Thus providing comfortable and convenient accommodations for both business and leisure travelers.

The Holiday Inn Des Moines

Holiday Inn in Des Moines is a prime destination adjacent to the Des Moines International Airport. It offers excellent service, a convenient location, and an array of amenities for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel features a unique tropical courtyard with an indoor pool and whirlpool, an expanded fitness center, free WiFi, and a 24-hour business center. Guests can also enjoy the full-service express restaurant, on-site bar, and speakeasy, along with a complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle. The best part? It even has pet-friendly accommodations.

Things to do in Des Moines

There are plenty of things to do in Des Moines that are gonna make your vacation memorable and worthy of your money. Let’s discuss some of the  tourist attractions and stuff to do in Des Moines: –

Historic East Village Des Moines 

The Historic East Village in Des Moines is the city’s most vibrant and diverse district, featuring some of Iowa’s finest shopping, dining, nightlife, and commerce. It is situated between the Iowa State Capitol and the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines and is easily accessible by car, bike, bus, or on foot.

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

The 6,000 acres of wildlife habitat offer visitors a chance to engage in wildlife-dependent recreational and educational activities such as tours, walking trails, a 4.5-mile bike trail, and a 5-mile auto tour. The visitor center provides hands-on educational exhibits, a 15-minute educational film, and outdoor eating areas. The refuge also hosts scheduled programs, special events, and volunteer projects, offering opportunities to learn about and enjoy the native tallgrass prairie heritage.

The Mahaska County Historical Society

Visitors can explore historical buildings, engage in self-guided or guided tours, attend special events showcasing the past, and uncover artifacts left behind by early settlers. The site is open from May through September, Tuesday to Saturday, with Sunday visits by appointment only. Group tours and photography permissions are available. 

The Balloon Museum

The Balloon Museum provides a unique experience with exhibits highlighting women balloonists, the Channel Champ, and more. You can attend exciting events like the Grand Reopening, Winter Closure, and the 2024 Hall of Fame Induction there. Make sure you add this to your list of fun things to do this weekend in Des Moines. 

Current Des Moines Events, Places to Visit, and Tickets Availability

Des Moines’s events are in abundance. The city hosts a variety of events day and night, especially on weekends. There are vibrant music festivals and concerts in Des Moines featuring local and national artists. Popular venues include the Wells Fargo Arena and Hoyt Sherman Place, which also host theater productions and comedy shows. So if you are someone into theatres, we warn you not to miss visiting this place. For sports fans, catch thrilling games with the Iowa Cubs or enjoy hockey with the Iowa Wild. Nightlife in the Historic East Village and the Western Gateway is lively, with numerous bars and live music spots.

Furthermore, if you wish to enjoy live music, sports, theatre, or performing arts events, visit the official website of Eventsfy, learn the venue details, and book your tickets instantly. 

Most Visited Event Places/Venues in Des Moines

Walnut Creek Downtown 

Walnut Creek Downtown in Des Moines, Iowa, is a vibrant and inclusive community fostering spiritual growth and support. It is centered around the profound teachings of the Bible and offers a welcoming atmosphere. The place offers multiple service times on Sundays, a range of enriching events, and opportunities for personal and communal development. Visitors can expect engaging Gospel-focused teachings, a casual environment, and ample parking options for a seamless and fulfilling experience.

Stoner Theater

The Stoner Theater, located within the Des Moines Civic Center in Iowa, offers an intimate setting for diverse performances, including theater, comedy, improv, and special presentations. It has a capacity of 200 and is home to renowned groups like Comedy Xperiment, Pyramid Theatre Company, and DM Young Artists’ Theatre. Visitors can also enjoy informative DANCE talk sessions and unique artistic experiences.

Kutt’N’Up Dance Studio

Kutt’N’Up Dance Studio, established in 2017 by Director Tyrone Crosby, is a vibrant hub for hip-hop dance in Seattle. It caters to all ages and experience levels, offers various classes, and nurtures a dance family united by a passion for hip-hop. The studio even promotes avenues for further dance education and professional pursuits while providing rental and retail opportunities.

Water Works Park 

This water park offers nearly 1,500 acres of green space along the Raccoon River. The park caters to various recreational pursuits, including picnic areas, jogging, fishing, and hiking. Visitors must adhere to the park’s rules, including restrictions on firearms, fires, and waste disposal. Water Works Park provides a serene urban escape, promoting outdoor enjoyment and environmental stewardship.  

Events in Des Moines – Current and Upcoming Events Calendar

Check out the current events happening in the Des Moines area and book tickets now at

Live Music Events in Des Moines

Comedy Shows in Des Moines

Theatres in Des Moines

Sports Events in Des Moines

Nightlife in Fort Des Moines

Now that you are well informed about what to do in this charming city and want to explore and learn about some of the nearby cities, too, Hialeah should be on your list next.