Things to Do in Des Moines

Things to Do in Des Moines, IA - Des Moines Attractions

Things to Do in Des Moines

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Top Attractions in Des Moines

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What travelers are saying

  • Mags boy S
    Navarre, FL425 contributions
    Great experience. We don’t go to our own state capital and only went here cause we were visiting. Very nice arts and designs on Building. Gift shop included. Was able to learn facts I didn’t know. Some politicians allow you to go in their office. Library was great. Highly recommend. God bless this location.
    Written January 31, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • NatureBoo
    Plymouth, MN52 contributions
    This was a fun experience. The booths seemed to go on and on. There was some farm produce but it seemed to be mostly different food booths and other products. My daughter enjoyed an interactive experience with one of the musicians performing on the corner. She was able to play some musical instruments.
    Written October 22, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Carrie D.
    Cleveland, OH1,973 contributions
    The Iowa State Fair is huge—it is so big that it took us two full days to really feel like we’d seen it all. Here’s our observations as first-timers from out of state…

    We had each downloaded the app on our phones, but we didn’t find the map all that useful. It was a little hard to use. We finally picked up a hard copy to use and that was actually much simpler. The app could be more user friendly, for sure.

    The grandstand was awesome. We had tickets to concerts two nights in a row and our seats were great. Also there were tons of bathrooms and concessions inside, which was appreciated because the shows were long!

    They have every food possibly available at the fair, and most of them are deep fried, lol. We made it a mission between us to try as many different things as we could. We came away feeling fat. One thing we do with is that there were more tables around—it was hard to eat some of these things without a picnic table or something. Oh—and the chocolate chip cookies live up to the hype—definitely take a bucket of those home with you!

    We enjoyed the sky ride, even though the line was long. We really wanted to do the iconic slides, but the lines for that were crazy long and we just didn’t have the time.

    Parking can be tough, especially if you get there later in the day. We had a great experience parking in a neighborhood yard and paying the homeowner to park there—this seems fairly common to do. And the neighborhood we were in was right across the street from Gate 11. As a bonus, the folks in the neighborhood were friendly and had some great tips—we chatted with them quite a bit, both before and after getting to the fair.

    Finally, we found it shockingly hard to find the big name politicians—we thought that was kind of weird. Part of the reason we came specifically in 2023 was to see some of the big national candidates and we really struggled to find them. That was a bummer.

    A little planning is needed because it's so big, but it's a pretty spectacular state fair and definitely lived up to its reputation as one of the nation's best.
    Written December 23, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Mags boy S
    Navarre, FL425 contributions
    Free Admission. Free parking on Sundays. Very unique and pretty area out there. Would recommend one time. Thankful we got to see it even in winter. God bless this location.
    Written January 28, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Tony K
    Des Moines, IA2 contributions
    We stopped by before heading to the East Village for lunch. They do have a restaurant within the botanical garden, but we decided to come back another time and try it.
    Written October 2, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • RLCZ70
    Grand Island, NE714 contributions
    Nicely laid out, nice gift shop, lots of space to wander, nice variety of pieces, friendly staff, lots of parking
    Written August 21, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew E
    2 contributions
    Nice short walk around the lake, some great views of the city and lucky to spot a bald eagle in the trees on the river
    Written September 28, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Dee D
    Marshalltown, IA154 contributions
    This zoo is on the smaller side, but still had lots to interest my 8 year old grandson. Good explanatory signage at the exhibits, which are arranged in a pleasant park with great walkways and plenty of shade. The grounds are well-kept and the animals look healthy. Admission is reasonable considering what it takes to keep a zoo running, $12 for the kids under12 ticket, and $16 for my senior (over 65) ticket. But you have to pay extra to take a short ride on a small train, ride the carousel, and participate in animal feeding. Biggest con for us was the lack of concessions. There is only one (1) stand with meal type food like burgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, and pizza, and the line was extremely long with very slow service. I would recommend anyone going to this zoo pack a picnic to avoid this mess. There were a couple of other stands with snacks/drinks only. It took us a little over 3 hours to see everything we wanted to see, and that included the 35 minute wait at the food stand plus eating.
    Written June 13, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • cenzt
    Iowa5,818 contributions
    Great trip. We arrived at approximately 12:45 pm and made our way towards the entrance of the house. We did have to call ahead of time in order to reserve a spot on their guided tour that started at 1 pm. While waiting for the tour to start, we explored their outdoor gardens and walked on a trail that looped to the back of the residence. We then made our way inside where the tour started. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the house and the family that lived inside of it. We made our way from room to room, where the tour guide pointed out interesting features along with pieces of furniture in the room. The guided portion of the tour lasted roughly an hour and fifteen minutes. After the tour was over, we were free to explore the rest of the house on our own. There were informational plaques in several of the rooms, that gave us more information on the family themselves and their life experiences.

    Tip: I recommend spending 2 hours here if you truly want to see everything.
    Written June 29, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • BaggageConveyorBelt
    Kansas City, MO294 contributions
    Very much enjoyed seeing a touring Broadway show at the Des Moines Civic Center.

    Every seat in the theatre has a good view of the stage. Seats are comfortable, offering a little more width and leg room compared to many other auditoriums.

    Very interesting floor plan, with lobby areas on multiple levels - great for people-watching. Plenty of restrooms available, and drink service offered on the main floor.

    I'm so glad that I purchased my tickets through the Civic Center's website. I saved a significant amount of money as opposed to online ticket resellers. Plus, I received an email with tons of helpful information about the venue, parking, etc.

    Finally, I must praise Des Moines' extensive Skywalk system. We were able to walk from our downtown hotel, right to a special entrance to the center. There were many turns, and we had to refer to maps and our phones multiple times, but the exercise was good, and we avoided having to park a car or take a ride hail.

    Good job, Des Moines.
    Written March 19, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • aatbender
    Dandridge, TN493 contributions
    A very nice ballpark convenient to downtown, only a short walk from our hotel. We had great seats right behind home plate where they have service from wait staff. Outstanding craft beer selection. Pretty darn good hot dogs. They do a lame virtual race between innings of characters on the scoreboard. Just stop. Really nice Friday night fireworks. Inconsistent game start times was odd.
    Written September 11, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • aatbender
    Dandridge, TN493 contributions
    This facility, housed in the old City Library, is a national treasure. Our guide was wonderful and we learned so much about the world food/agriculture mission and its founders. What a gorgeous space and it’s fitting that such an important organization can call it home. Well worth a visit.
    Written September 8, 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.