15 Amazing Things To Do In Des Moines During Your Vacation

Des Moines is the capital and most populous place in the U.S. state of Iowa.

Des Moines has a lot to offer, so here are 15 amazing things that you can do here, to help you find something that will help you enjoy and make the most of your holiday to this amazing place.

Jasper Winery

Jasper Winery is located in the heart of Des Moines, Iowa.

Established in 2012, Jasper Winery offers a unique experience in wedding planning and events.

Their mission is to provide high quality wines paired with exceptional food and stunning surroundings.

Jasper Winery focuses on locally grown grapes, creating custom blends based upon each client’s preferences.

Jasper Winery provides a complete event package including catering options, venue rental, and expert advice.

Salisbury House

A manor house in the Victorian, Georgian, and French Renaissance styles, Salisbury House sits on nearly 2 acres of land in Des Moines, Iowa.

Built between 1923 and 1928, it is one of the largest houses in the city. In fact, it is larger than most mansions you see today.

The home was designed by John Wellborn Root, a New York architect, and built by cosmetics tycoon Carl and Edith Weeks.

They wanted to build a home that reflected their love of English architecture, especially the work of Sir Christopher Wren.

In 1926, the Weemses sold the house to the City of Des Moines, which turned it into a museum.

Today, the Salisbury House Foundation owns the building and operates it as a historic site. It also offers guided tours and special events.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library And Museum

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library “Museum” is located on the grounds of the Herter National Historical Site in West Branch, IA.

This place is one of the best places to learn about the life of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States.

Together with his friend Harry Truman, Hoover dedicated this museum to the people.

The biography of this president, who led during the Great Depression, is brilliantly portrayed in this incredible museum and exhibition.

More than 150 different collections may now be found here, most of which are concerned with political reform, atomic energy and famine relief.

Iowa State Capitol

The Iowa State Capitol is one of America’s most iconic buildings.

Located in Des Moines, it is home to many state offices, including the governor’s office, attorney general’s office, auditor’s office, treasurer’s office, secretary of state’s office, supreme court, and several others.

Visitors can tour the building without charge from Monday through Saturday.

Guided tours must be reserved ahead of time.

Tours run approximately 45 minutes long and include information about the history of the building and the people who worked here.

Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair is one of America’s oldest state fairs. Its roots date back to 1851 when it was held in New York City.

Today, the annual fair takes place in Des Moines, Iowa.

This 11-day event celebrates farming and the agricultural industry, the backbone of Iowa’s economy.

You can attend the fair to enjoy kid-friendly live music performances, amusement rides, and tasty locally grown food.

Des Moines Botanical Gardens

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens celebrate the world of plants.

Founded in 1939 as a greenhouse, it transformed into a botanical garden in 1979.

It now houses more than 1,200 species of plants, including orchids and bonsai.

In addition, visitors can enjoy the beautiful grounds and outdoor spaces.

Travel a few blocks down the river to visit the picturesque Asian Gardens.

This park features eight themed areas that include Japanese rock gardens, waterfalls, Chinese pavilions, and a bamboo grove.

There are also many different types of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses.

Downtown Farmers Market

This farmers’ market in downtown Des Moines is the perfect place to begin your Iowa culinary experience tour.

Over 300 local farmers, bakeries, and artisan vendors offer their products in this marketplace.

From meats, fruits, vegetables to flowers, herbs, and much more.

The market has been supporting local farmers from all 58 Iowa counties since 1973.

Whether you are looking for beef, chicken, goats, lamb, pork, turkey, or anything else, downtown farmers’ market can satisfy your meat needs

Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo is a great place to take your kids.

This zoo on 9th Street educates children about the importance of preserving our planet and educating others about it.

Blank Park Zoo is divided into several sections such as the Reptile House, Butterfly Pavilion, Aquarium, Wild Animal Safari, Children’s Farm, and much more.

Des Moines Art Center

The Des Moines Art Center houses both permanent and rotating collections, featuring works from famous names like Picasso, Matisse, and Monet.

This 1948 art center in Downtown Des Moines combines Art Decor and Art Nouveau architecture.

Here, you’ll find artwork from international artists like Rodin and O’Keeffe.

And don’t miss out on the beautiful rose garden, where you’ll see sculptures by Auguste Rodin.

Sports And Outdoor Activities In Des Moines

Des Moines offers many opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including kayaking, fishing, bird watching, hiking, and cycling.

In addition, there are several parks where people can enjoy nature walks, camping, picnicking, and other recreational activities in the area.

The city has six lakes, including the largest lake in Iowa, Easter Lake Park, which covers over 3,500 acres.

This park includes a marina, boating rentals, picnic areas, trails, and public access points.

You can take a walk along the Ackelson Trail, which runs along the banks of the Des Moines River.

This trail connects several parks and recreation areas, such as WaterWorks Park, Raccoon River Park, and the East Village neighborhood.

Science Center Of Iowa

The Science Center of Iowa opened in April 2016 and offers a variety of activities for families and children of all ages.

This award-winning center promotes hands-on learning experiences for kids of all ages and provides interactive science demonstrations.

Kids can explore the world around them while exploring space, dinosaurs, and even outer space.

John And Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Des Moines’ newest public art piece is located in the heart of Downtown.

Located just west of the Iowa State Capitol Building, the Pappajohn sculpture park features over 20 pieces of artwork.

The park is named after John and Mary Pappanen, who donated $20 million to the city of Des Moines for the creation of the park.

This park is open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset.

Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets, picnics, and chairs to enjoy the park.

World Food Prize Hall Of Laureates

Designed by renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson, the library is considered to be among the finest examples of his work in America.

Its Beaux Arts style is characterized by massive columns, ornate cornices, and elaborate windows.

This grandiose exterior belies the intimate interior spaces designed specifically for use by children.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The World Food Prize Foundation undertook an extensive renovation of the historic Des Moines Public Library building as the centerpiece of a $29.8M capital campaign.

The purpose of the restoration is to preserve the integrity of the structure while providing modern amenities needed to serve the growing population of the city.

Des Moines Food And Alcohol Experiences

Des Moines, Iowa, is home to some of the most unique restaurants in America.

From fine dining to casual eats, there are plenty of places to satisfy everyone’s palate.

If you’re looking for something different, there are many different and varied eateries that offer immersive culinary experiences.

You can even enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine at one of the many local eateries.

These include Tasty Tacos, located near the Iowa Memorial Union; Tacos Mariana’s; Tacos DeGolado; and Tacos La Familia.

All offer delicious dishes, ranging from tacos al pastor, to quesadillas, to tortas and more.

Jester Park

Jester Park Nature Center, one among many in Iowa, brings people together to experience the beauty and wonder of nature.

This institution adds immense value by connecting visitors to the state’s unbroken landscape.

Tourists, educators, families, communities, and others can connect with the natural environment here via restored woodlands and Saylorville Lake, along with a network of natural trails throughout the park.

Visitors can also enjoy outdoor recreation and wellness activities at the Outdoor Recreation and Wellness Center.

This spot is located next door to the nature center and offers a wide range of outdoor programs.

Final Thoughts

As you can see there are a lot of things to do in Des Moines and this article will help you find out what will best suit you when visiting Des Moines, Iowa.

You’ll learn about the best things to see, do and experience whilst on your holiday without wasting your time with things you may not enjoy.