Des Moines Travel Guide

  • State Capitol Building
    State Capitol Building
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  • Des Moines
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  • spicy meatballs
    spicy meatballs
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Des Moines Things to Do

  • John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

    The Des Moines Arts Center continues to collect - and commission - new work. The Sculpture Garden in particular has continued to expand. It's a lovely place with flowers, tree, hills, and water. If I lived in Des Moines, I would certainly come here often. This is a piece by Bruce Nauman called "Animal Pyramid."

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  • Grays Lake

    A walk around Grays lake especially at night is a relaxing activity. The lake is a former quarry that has been turned into a hub for bicyclists and walkers. It also has a wonderful bridge that is lit up at night. The path is about 1.2 miles mostly flat, and provides a nice view of downtown. The lake is located southwest of downtown just off of...

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  • Science Center

    The Science Center in downtown Des Moines was kind of neat. My favorite parts were the dinosaur model on display (although I hear it's a traveling exhibit), the weather room, and the planetarium room. This place was a lot more centered for kids than we had expected, and seeing as we don't have kids, it wasn't as great of an experience for us as a...

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  • Des Moines Botanical Center

    Here is a nice little outing for anyone who has some time to spend in Des Moines. This place has an interesting collection of plants from around the world. Most are enclosed in a huge glass dome, due to the harsh Iowa winters.

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  • Des Moines Art Center

    Nothing to do in Des Moines? Well, that's not quite accurate. This museum has a good set of collections for a city this size. If you're passing through this way, and have a little extra time, check it out.

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  • Pork Expo

    Iowa is one of the largest producers of pork and shares an Expo alternating years with Illinois. If you like pork take a trip to the State Fair grounds (on the east side of the city) and pay about $8 for all you can eat pork ALL DAY LONG. Normally for me its a definite once a year trip where I gorge myself on the fatted hog. If you happen to be...

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Des Moines Hotels

Des Moines Restaurants

  • Good Chain Restaurant

    $13 as of August 2013. Perkin's specializes in "comfort food" and baked goods (like great pies and cakes). The atmosphere tends to be casual and family oriented. This time I had some Cajun Tilapia, herbed rice, and steamed spinach. Everything was well-prepared and the portions were good. Perkins is open 24 hours a day.

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  • Retro Resto!

    Charming authentic 1950s diner in west Des Moines, a big hit with the collegiate set at Drake, very popular for weekend breakfasts.

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  • Vietnamese in Iowa

    This Vietnamese Restaurant on the west side of Downtown offers good Vietnamese food at reasonable prices. It seems to attract a good number of its patrons from the nearby medical school and hospital, but I've also noticed a fair number of college students eating here as well.

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  • Not unchained, but a nice bistro

    Pleasant, quality bistro in downtown Des Moines. Reliable and well-recommended by Des Moines natives, Django is one of the most-admired upscale restaurants in the city.

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  • Lucca Skywalker?

    Beautiful, casually elegant restaurant with a classic Euro-feel, in Des Moines' fashionable East Village neighborhood, just west of the State Capitol. They do a great value lunch special here, too.

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  • Worth crossing the Alps to Get Here!

    The Continental Lounge is a chic lounge/bar/restaurant in the heart of the East Village neighborhood, in the shadow of the imposing State Capitol. Handsome brick walls and a friendly and well-stocked bar up front, comfortable seating area for dining in the back. During the day, the lounge serves tasty tapas, while at night more substantial fare is...

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Des Moines Nightlife

  • Beer-lovers bar

    Friendly, convivial tavern downtown which attracts a interesting mix of beer lovers. I was attracted by the roster of over 90 draught beers, including hard to find rarities from the West Coast and Belgium. People seemed to be very interested in talking about their beer: I fell into a long conversation with a young investment banker from South...

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  • Prairie Meadows Casino is fun

    I normally don't like casinos. This one has a racetrack and a variety of gaming attractions.Unlike a lot of the usual "indian casinos," which to me seem to have terribly tight/sticky slots, you can actually win on these. Please never gamble beyond your budget though. Saw a person win 100,000 Grand in the high roller room one night. Nice atmosphere,...

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  • Clive/West Des Moines

    Clive is a suburb where this is a good slew of bars. It is where my older brother goes to hang out usually. There is Mickey's, Drink, Coconut Joe's and a few other big name bars Scattered around. It's in the suburbs so you have to drive from bar to bar if you want to bar hop (a designated driver helps too). Pretty casual.

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Des Moines Transportation

  • Driving is your best bet. The...

    Driving is your best bet. The cost to fly into and out of Des Moines is very high.There is a public bus system but I have never taken it. I have never had any real problem dirving around. Downtown has a very nice skywalk system.

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  • If you live less than 8 hours...

    If you live less than 8 hours away, don't fly. Airfares to and from Des Moines are high. Often better to fly into Omaha and make the 2 hour drive.Limited public transportation outside of the downtown area, especially during weekends. Rent a car!

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  • Des Moines Hotels

    50 Hotels in Des Moines

Des Moines Local Customs

  • Top things to see/do in Des Moines, Iowa

    If your travels ever bring you to Des Moines here are what I suggest you see or do...1.Go to a sporting event -Des Moines offers several professional sports team The Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of Chicago Cubs), the Iowa Barnstormers (arena league 2 football), The Iowa Stars (were the top minor league team for the NHL Dallas Stars, but recently...

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  • People in Iowa are friendly...

    People in Iowa are friendly almost to the point of being annoying. Strangers strike up conversations with each other at the drop of a hat and if you sound like you're 'not from around here,' then be prepared to talk for a while. They are also extremely helpful, so if you need directions, recommendations on a place to eat or someone to take a...

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  • As my experience with people...

    As my experience with people here increases, I am discovering that most everyone is pleasant and friendly. If you need anything...directions, supplies, etc...just ask!This pig is titled, 'Well Suited For A Pig.'

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Des Moines Warnings and Dangers

  • Restaurants often serve out-sized...

    Some restaurants in the Des Moines area specialize in serving out-size portions of not just the entrees but also the appetizers and everything else in a meal, which can be a problem if you're trying to cut down for one reason or another. Ask your server what's included with your entree and how big your entree is before you order and don't be afraid...

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  • COMMON SENSE IS THE KEY

    Even though it is generally very safe, there ARE a few neighborhoods to be a little wary of, especially at night. One is located off ofDrake University near Martin Luther King Blvd.A few sections off of the main downtown area can be scary too. Skywalks are coveredwith security cams and patroled by police, but if I were female, I would still...

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  • One thing that I am beginning...

    One thing that I am beginning to discover as I see more of the US is that driving is not necessarily the same everywhere. In Des Moines there are several 35mph roads that are four lanes (two going in each direction). Some of these roads allow parking in the right lanes during certain hours. The first time I discoverd this, I nearly ran headfirst...

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Des Moines What to Pack

  • Packing List

    What you wear really depends on when your coming. In the summer it is extremely hot and humid so you won't want to wear much. In the winter it can be brutally cold. Ahhh... I love the weather in Iowa.

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  • Packing List

    Posted December 2000: If you are coming here this winter...pack as many sets of clothing as you can and wear them all at once!!! Over the past few weeks our average temperature has been about 5-10F. Girls, bring moisturizer or dry out like a prune! Since there's nothing around to slow it down, the wind gets pretty nasty sometimes, and the wind...

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  • Packing List

    Posted Summer 2000 - The weather around here changes fast...sometimes in a matter of hours. So far, this summer has been fairly stable, but when I visited last fall, I packed for a warm weekend. Friday was hot and humid, Saturday morning was comfortable, and by Saturday afternoon it was cold and windy. If I remember correctly, it rained a bit on...

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Des Moines Off The Beaten Path

  • Statue of Liberty

    In the us are many replica's of the Statue... Des Moines has one also it is located right in front of the State Capitol.This replica was donated by the Boy Scouts of America in 1950. It was a part of their annual service project.The inscription reads: With the faith and courage of their forefathers who made possible the freedom of their United...

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  • Salisbury House

    The Salisbury House dates from the 1920s, but it was constructed to resemble English country homes of the 14th to the 18th centuries. It operated both as a museum and as a conference center, and the gardens are a popular place for weddings.

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  • BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

    Grab a camera and head west out I-80 toWinterset. Turn south and the signs will point you to the various covered bridges seen in the movie with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. It is relaxing out there and seldom overcrowded.

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Des Moines Sports & Outdoors

  • Des Moines Buccaneers

    The bucs are a local in the USHL Tier 1 Jr. A Hockey league. A small rink and fast skating make for a very entertaining evening. Fights are frequent, and the fans really enjoy verbally abusing both the ref, and the visiting goalie. Fun for all ages!Ticket Prices:$13 for Ice Level.$11 for Arena Level.$8 for Arena Level (children 12 and under)

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  • The Des Moines Menace

    Des Moines Menace. Our local soccer team competes in the Premier Development League. There are special events at many of the games geared specifically toward kids, and the players hang out after the game to sign autographs.Tickets Prices: · Adult Tickets $8.00 · Youth Tickets $6.00 (12 to four years old) · Children 3 years old and younger receive...

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Des Moines Favorites

  • St. Ambrose Cathedral (Roman Catholic)

    St. Ambrose, the seat of the local R.C. diocese, is centrally located in Des Moines at 607 High Street. This attractive Romanesque pile was built with local stone, and was dedicated in 1891.

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  • Crusoe Umbrella

    This 1979 steel sculpture is the work of Claus Oldenburg and his partner Coosje van Brugeen. Another one of their monumental pieces - a giant spade! - can be seen in front of the headquarters of the Meredith Corporation just west of downtown.

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  • Des Moines Civic Center

    This is Iowa's largest theatre, capable of seating an audience of 2735. The Civic Center is used for touring Broadway shows and major community events. 221 W. Walnut: http://www.civiccenter.org/

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