Des Moines travel guide

Des Moines tourism | Des Moines guide

You're Going to Love Des Moines

Des Moines is a Midwestern city that punches well above its weight (and not just during election season when Iowa stages the first party primaries). This city of just over 200,000 people has so much to offer visitors, whether they want family fun, major events or cultural attractions.

If you want to spend your time learning about history or gazing on artworks, institutions like the Des Moines Art Center will have everything you need. However, for others, the rides, shows and sports contests available at the Iowa State Fair are the real attraction.

See how America's next generation of track and field stars are shaping up at the Drake Relays. Take your family to ride the rollercoasters, drift on the lazy river at Adventureland, or indulge in a love of classic cars at the Salisbury Automobile Classic.

You could just shop at the constantly developing selection of boutiques in the East Village, or spend the week dining on the freshest, most succulent beef around at restaurants like Chuck's. So make a date with Des Moines for your next Midwestern getaway.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Des Moines

What to do in Des Moines

Top activities & attractions in Des Moines

When to Visit Des Moines

Estimated hotel price

Des Moines in {1}

1 night at 3-star hotel
Prices are not fixed and may vary with time

If you want to attend the Iowa State Fair, a visit to Des Moines in August is essential, but with huge crowds and soaring accommodation prices, others might want to explore alternative times to go. Try early summer or late spring for fine weather and plenty to do, or visit in the fall when tourist numbers start to decline.

Average temperatures
Celsius (°C)
When the weather is nice in Des Moines

How to Get to Des Moines

Airports near Des Moines

ALO Waterloo

Airlines serving Des Moines

Good (68,280 reviews)
Good (45,944 reviews)
Good (29,554 reviews)
Good (27,851 reviews)
Good (3,661 reviews)
Good (4,194 reviews)
Excellent (29,503 reviews)
Good (5,822 reviews)
Show more

Where to Stay in Des Moines

Most of Des Moines' accommodation options are located Downtown, and tend to be family or business hotels rather than smaller family-run boutique B&Bs. Some of the best include the 19th-century Renaissance Savery Hotel, the massive Sheraton West, and the Des Moines Marriott. All feature amenities like fitness centers and pools. If you want a more intimate experience, try the Cottage on 28th Street, the city's best traditional B&B.

Popular Neighborhoods in Des Moines

Where to stay in popular areas of Des Moines

Most booked hotels in Des Moines

How to Get Around Des Moines

The Cost of Living in Des Moines

Shopping Streets

East Village is definitely the place to go if you love to shop, and it has an impressive array of boutiques, craft stores and galleries to check out. Wandering around, you'll find everything from bridal boutiques to kitchen accessory creators like Kitchen Collage, apparel outlets like Hill Vintage and Knits and jewelers like Leona Ruby. If you want to visit a conventional mall, head to Jordan Creek Town Center, Iowa's largest shopping center.

Groceries and Other

Shopping for groceries in Des Moines isn't a problem, with supermarkets like Hy-Vee, Gateway and Price Chopper, along with meat delis like B&B and Italian grocery stores like Graziano's. Grocery prices in Des Moines shouldn't be too high. Expect to pay around $3.40 for a gallon of milk and $2 for a pound of potatoes.

Cheap meal
Cheap meal
A pair of jeans
A pair of jeans
Single public transport ticket
Single public transport ticket

Where to Eat in Des Moines

While Des Moines isn't famous as a culinary destination, it should be. There are countless places to grab a high-quality beef burger, with restaurants like B-Bops, Drake Diner and Chuck's specializing in using locally-reared Iowan meat. Other options include fantastic Italians like Christopher's and the French cuisine at Django. Expect to pay $10-15 at mid-range places and over $20 at high-end eateries.