Des Moines Places

TripWhat's travel guide to Des Moines; our list of the best things to see, including Recreational Trails, 80/35 Music Festival and Flying Mango.
  • The best place in Des Moines: Recreational Trails

    Recreational Trails

    For those wanting a chance to see the area at their own pace, 300+ mi of trails available for use. The trails are expanding each year and they offer a great way for visitors to see the quieter parts of the area as well as getting a chance to enjoy the outdoors. Cross-country skiing in the winter.
    Greater South Side food nearby
  • 80/35 Music Festival

    80/35 Music Festival

    Western Gateway Park
    First Friday and Saturday in July. A new music festival that brings over 40 nationally-known, regional, and local musicians in various genres to downtown Des Moines. As of 2009, two day passes are $80, one day passes $40-50.
    Downtown Des Moines eat nearby
  • Flying Mango

    Flying Mango

    4345 Hickman Rd
    Open for dinner but lunch by special appointment only. $15-25. Originally began as a catering business but when their uniquely smoked Cajun and Creole creations caught on, they soon started to get a bigger loyal following. Full wine list.
  • Ledges State Park

    Ledges State Park

    Popular park featuring canyons and bluffs, with the Des Moines River flowing through it. 13 miles of trails to go along with fishing, canoeing, and 95 campsites.
    East Village food nearby
  • Mines of Spain State Recreation Area

    Mines of Spain State Recreation Area

    Visit us online at or call 515-281-5918 with your questions. Our "Facebook hours:" 8:00am - 4:30pm Mon-Fri. | | |
    East Village eat nearby
  • Des Moines Art Center

    Des Moines Art Center

    4700 Grand Ave, Sculpture Park at 13th St and Grand Ave
    Tu-W, F 11AM-4PM, Th 11AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM, closed M. Free, Center and Sculpture Park. The Center boasts a permanent collection of contemporary art from the 19th and 20th centuries, including works from Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Georgia O'Keeffe, Henri Matisse, and Francis Bacon. It also boasts a restaurant with a 5-star rating from The Des Moines Register, featuring a different menu weekly and open for lunch only. In 2009, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park was opened in Western Gateway Park downtown and showcases more than $40 million of public art, topping off a complete overhaul of the Gateway area in little more than a decade.
    Greenwood restaurants nearby
  • Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company

    Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company

    309 Court Ave
    Su-Th 11AM-midnight, (Nov-Apr) F Sa 11AM-2AM, (May-Oct) 9AM-2AM. $4 drinks, lunch from $9, $15-30 dinner. Beers made on-site are featured and are the only ones available (Bud Light fans need not enter). Live music a few nights a week, including jazz. The food is equally delicious. Outdoor patio and gluten-free menu available. Martini specials on Saturdays.
    Downtown Des Moines
  • Royal Mile

    Royal Mile

    210 4th St
    M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su noon-2PM. $5. This is the place to go on Court Avenue if you want a good urban setting and a multitude of imported draft and bottled beers to from which to choose--nearly 30 on tap and over 100 bottled brews. More than 85 varieties of Scotch whisky as well. On top is the Belgian themed Red Monk.
    Downtown Des Moines
  • Terrible's Lakeside Casino

    Terrible's Lakeside Casino

    777 Casino Dr, Osceola
    Hotel and RV park available.
    Capitol Park restaurants nearby
  • Chicago Speakeasy

    Chicago Speakeasy

    1520 Euclid Ave
    A Des Moines classic. Live music, excellent prime rib and a number of fish offerings.
    Oak Park
  • Continental


    428 E Locust St
    Upscale urban setting with live jazz (Th-Sa) and fresh cuisine ideas are the highlights of this blossoming restaurant. The place has a reputation for their mini plates which allow customers to try all sorts of different features but without paying the full portion price.
    East Village
  • Raccoon River Brewing Company

    Raccoon River Brewing Company

    200 10th St
    If you're wanting a place with a classy atmosphere, handcrafted brews and incredible food, look no further than this spot. A variety of home brews. Local ingredients used in some entrees. Live music during the week. Outdoor patio and billiards available.
    Downtown Des Moines
  • Baru 66

    Baru 66

    6587 University Ave
    M-Sa 5PM-close. $27-45 3 course menus, $75 6 course specials. Noted for their French-American food that comes without too much hassle.
    Merle Hay
  • Tursi's Latin King

    Tursi's Latin King

    2200 Hubbell Ave
    One of the longest-standing restaurants in the area (since 1947), the Italian cuisine and beautiful restaurant setting will please anyone with a desire for a bit of originality. Very busy during the lunch hour, particularly when the state's legislative branch is in session. Small patio available. Full wine list.
  • Iowa Energy

    Wells Fargo Arena, 833 5th Ave
    Member of the National Basketball Developmental League (NBDL). Affiliated with the NBA's Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns. In 2011, the Energy were D-League champions.
    restaurants nearby
  • State Historical Society of Iowa Museum

    600 E Locust St
    Tu-Sa 9AM-4:30PM, Su noon-4:30PM, closed M and holidays. Exhibits include a venture into Iowa's past when glaciers pushed their way through and mammoths roamed the plains, state's frontier and prairie past where kid-friendly activities such as pushing a plow or carrying buckets with a shoulder yoke can be had. Fossil, Native American, wildlife, and Iowa U.S. Civil War flags on display. Cafe Baratta's inside.
    East Village food nearby
  • Downtown Farmer's Market

    Court District
    May-Oct 7AM-noon. Free. Get a taste of rural Iowa each Saturday morning. Fresh produce, pastries, wines, cheeses, art and jewelry, and more are all available for those wishing to taste and view. Event takes place rain or shine.
    Capitol View South
  • Terrace Hill

    2300 Grand Ave
    Mar-Dec, Tues-Sat every 60 min from 10:30AM-1:30PM. Since 1971, has served as home for the Governor and and First Family of Iowa during his or her term. The site was the home of Iowa's first millionaire, Benjamin Franklin Allen, with construction beginning in 1866 after being designed by William Boyington (designer of the Water Tower of Chicago which survived the Great Fire). Aptly named as it sits atop the Raccoon River.
    Arbor Peaks restaurants nearby
  • Iowa Cubs

    Principal Park, One Line Dr
    Member of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (one level below the Major League's) and the top farm team of the Chicago Cubs. The team is consistently near the top of attendance figures each year. Great view of downtown. Usually have fireworks every Friday night.
    Downtown Des Moines food nearby
  • Sleepy Hollow Sports Park

    4051 Dean Ave
    Prices vary. Various sports throughout the summer and winter seasons. Summer options include batting cages, go-Karts, sand volleyball, golf, mini golf, driving range, and climbing wall. Winter sports include skiing, snowboarding, and tubing--lifts available for all. Rental equipment available.
    eat nearby
  • Drake Relays

    Drake Stadium, 2719 Forest Ave
    $20-85, varies on event session. Arguably the nation's top outdoor track & field event. Past participants include Michael Johnson, Bruce Jenner, Gwen Torrence, Natasha Kaiser-Brown, and Jeremy Wariner.
    Drake restaurants nearby
  • Salisbury House

    4025 Tonawanda Dr
    Tour schedule varies. $7, aged 6-12 $3, 65+ $6. The house, originally built between 1923-1928, features Tudor, Gothic, and Corolean styles all throughout its 42 rooms. Also shelters many artifacts, including objects of art, furniture, tapestries and books. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has labeled it a "national treasure" and the property has also been featured on A&E and Home and Garden Television. Hosts many events during the year, including chamber music concerts, Gatsby Gala, Salisbury Automobile Classic, group meetings and Shakespeare on the Lawn. .
    Salisbury Oaks food nearby
  • Science Center of Iowa

    401 W Martin Luther King, Jr. Pkwy
    Pkwy (Court District downtown), ☎ +1 515 274-6868, fax: +1 515 274-3404, M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. $16, aged 2-12 $13, 65+ $14 ($11/$7/$10 without IMAX). The Center hosts six different experience platforms including Science is Where You Find it (including exhibits Kitchen Chemistry and Physics in the Field), When Things Get Moving (including Design a Propeller and Robot Run), Who are We? (including Color my World and In Your Genes), Why the Sky? (including Cosmic Video Jukebox and Viewing the Night Sky, in addition to planetarium shows in the 50-foot dome), Small Discoveries (including Bubble Bay and World of Wonder, all geared toward children 7 and under), What on Earth? (including Iowa Habitats, Ant Farm, and the WHO-TV Weather Studio) and limited exhibits in Principal Hall.
    Downtown Des Moines eat nearby
  • Iowa Barnstormers

    Wells Fargo Arena, 833 5th Ave
    Arena football team in the new AFL league. Tailgaiting in the adjacent parking lot is perhaps just as busy as the game.
    restaurants nearby
  • Des Moines Symphony

    221 Walnut St
    Concerts are held at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines in downtown.
    Downtown Des Moines food nearby
  • Des Moines Botanical Center

    909 Robert D. Ray Dr
    Tours $5, $3 children, $4 seniors. Particularly popular during cold Iowa winters. Special events and learning modules all throughout the year. Connected to the parking lot is the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens with a featured Asian pavilion, built in honor of both the Asian Americans who immigrated to Iowa in the late-70's and former Gov. Ray.
    Capitol Park eat nearby
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EDIT THIS ITINERARY Our list of places in Des Moines uses some content from Wikipedia and Wikivoyage.