Fun Things To Do In Des Moines, Iowa

Fun Things To Do In Des Moines, Iowa

If you’re looking for fun things to do In Des Moines, Iowa we’ve got a great list! Our post also includes suggestions for where to eat in Des Moines and where to stay in Des Moines.

 

Fun Things To Do In Des Moines, Iowa

Although we were only able to spend a day in Des Moines, we were able to do quite a lot of fun things. This ranged from outdoor to indoor activities (perfect if you’re looking for things to do in Des Moines in winter). We also found a few free things, which is always great if you’re traveling on a budget. Below are our recommendations for fun things to do in Des Moines…

 

John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

One of the top free things to do in Des Moines is to visit the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. This incredible 4.4 acre park in downtown Des Moines has 29 pieces of art and was donated by the Pappajohn’s because they believed that everyone should be able to enjoy art.

 

free things to do in Des Moines include visiting the Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

There are 29 pieces of artwork in the Pappajohn Sculpture park

There are 29 pieces of artwork in the park

fun things to do in Des Moines include seeing these pieces of art

Public art in downtown Des Moines

 

Street Art in Des Moines

Speaking of art, make sure to look for murals in downtown Des Moines. We saw a few as we drove around and were pretty happy because we love finding street art in new cities. Some of the pieces we saw reminded us of some of the street art in Miami.

 

Colorful street art in Des Moines

Colorful street art in Des Moines

Inspirational murals in Des Moines

Inspirational murals in Des Moines

More fun street art in Des Moines Iowa

More fun street art in Des Moines

 

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

We thought these gardens were really nice and designed very well. The geodesic-domed conservatory is a focal point, with a few different gardens inside. There is also an outside garden area that has plants that grow throughout the year and also has many sculptures.

 

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Things to see in Des Moines include the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Inside the dome of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Relaxing in one of the gardens of the Des Moines Botanical Gardens

Relaxing in one of the gardens

Sculptures in the outside gardens of the Des Moines Botanical Gardens

Sculptures in the outside gardens

 

Iowa State Capitol

One of the must see attractions in Des Moines is the State Capitol building. There are formal tours available, but you can also do a free self-guided tour, which is what we did. Simply pick up an informational pamphlet and you can be on your way, exploring the beautiful building and learning about its history.

 

Iowa State Capitol has a mini Statue of Liberty

Iowa State Capitol has a mini Statue of Liberty

Underneath the rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol

Underneath the rotunda

Lots of amazing artwork and details inside the Iowa State Capitol

Lots of amazing artwork and details

 

Des Moines Art Center Museum

The art museum is pretty extraordinary because it holds some cool art inside some spectacular architecture, so it’s doubly awesome. We also like the fact that it’s free to enter. Des Moines truly is all about having accessible art for its community.

 

Des Moines Art Center Museum

Des Moines Art Center Museum

Artwork throughout the building at the Des Moines Art Center Museum

Artwork throughout the building

There are many styles of art

There are many styles of art

 

Greatest Store In The Universe

You absolutely have to stop in to RAYGUN when you’re in Des Moines. After all, it is the greatest store in the universe! We wandered all around this store and looked at almost everything they had because it was all so fun or inspirational. Or both! The only downside is limiting how much you let yourself buy. LOL!

 

fun things to do in Des Moines

RAYGUN store in Des Moines

One of our favorite items at the RAYGUN store in Des Moines!

One of our favorite items!

 

Where to eat in Des Moines

We were only in Des Moines for a day, but the two places we went to came highly recommended by locals. We loved them both so we think you should definitely give them a try.

 

Scenic Route Bakery

Talk about good coffee and delicious pastries! Our first stop of the day was Scenic Route Bakery and it got us ready for a day of exploration. We had a latte and chocolate chip cookie. Yum! Their sandwiches looked really good too so we’ll have to try one of those next time.

 

where to eat in Des Moines should include Scenic Route Bakery

Inside Scenic Route Bakery

Yummy chocolate chip cookie from Scenic Route Bakery

Yummy chocolate chip cookie

 

Fong’s Pizza and Tiki Bar

OMG. This place changed my life. Normally when it comes to pizza I keep it simple. But we were told we HAD to go to Fong’s and get a Crab Rangoon pizza.

 

DON’T MAKE THAT FACE!!

 

We know it sounds weird, but hear us out. It doesn’t have tomato sauce, which we think is what throws everyone off. It has a crab rangoon base, surimi, green onion, asiago and mozzarella, topped with crispy wontons and a sweet chili lattice. It was SO good, we would seriously fly back to Des Moines just for this pizza.

 

Fong's Pizza in Des Moines

Fong’s Pizza

Crab Rangoon Pizza from Fong's

Crab Rangoon Pizza

 

Where To Stay In Des Moines

We got in to Des Moines the previous night and stayed at the Holiday Inn and Suites West Des Moines Jordan Creek. We liked it because it wasn’t right in the hustle and bust of the city but it was a quick drive to where we wanted to go. Our room was nice and the restaurant had a good menu. We arrived hungry so we appreciated that the restaurant was still open.

 

where to stay in Des Moines

Holiday Inn and Suites West Des Moines-Jordan Creek

Perfect room at the Holiday Inn & Suites West Des Moines-Jordan Creek

Our room was prefect!

Hanging out at the bar in Des Moines

Hanging out at the bar

Toasted ravioli at Johnny's

Toasted ravioli

 

Final Thoughts On Fun Things To Do In Des Moines

We only scratched the surface in Des Moines as it was only a small part of our big Iowa road trip. We managed to see a lot in a day though, and know we’d love to go back and explore more when we return with more time. What we loved most about Des Moines is how much they emphasize the community. To be honest, it’s something we saw all across Iowa. It must be part of that Midwest culture. 🙂

 

Click below to see the items we recommend for a visit to Iowa

 

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If you're looking for fun things to do In Des Moines, Iowa we've got a great list! Our post also includes suggestions for where to eat in Des Moines and where to stay in Des Moines.

**A big thank you to Travel Iowa and Catch Des Moines for helping us come up with such a fun itinerary. As always, all opinions are our own.**

 

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Hi! I'm Vicky, a South Florida-based blogger traveling around the world with my stuffed monkey Buddy. Tired of the 9-5, we recently sold all of our stuff and started traveling full time. Click on the photo to learn more!

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