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27 Best & Fun Things To Do In Des Moines (Iowa)

Most significantly, Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa, The Hawkeye State.

A colorful mecca of the Midwest, the city is filled with culture, agriculture, history, art, a powerful political landscape and so much more.

As such, exciting and engaging things to do in Des Moines, Iowa are certainly not hard to come by.

With both a cityscape, prairies, farmlands, state parks, and everything in between, the diversity of the city makes it an attractive travel destination.

Home to museums (indoor and outdoor), historical landmarks, botanical gardens, excellent restaurants, amazing state parks, a rich art scene, awesome shopping, and so much more, it’s no wonder Des Moines is a Midwestern hotspot.

If you’re looking for epic attractions and destinations in the city, below you’ll find a comprehensive list of some pretty amazing things to do.

However, the truth is, no matter which attractions make the cut for your itinerary, you’re sure to have an amazing time in this well-loved Midwestern city.

1. Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines Art Center

Established in 1948, the Des Moines Art Center is one of the best tourist attractions in all of IA.

Des Moines Art Center is a museum for modern and contemporary art of all mediums.

By embracing and valuing the differences in those belonging to the center’s community and all those who walk through its doors, the museum aims to be representative in its exhibits.

Through a commitment to exhibiting and embracing thought-provoking art, the museum hopes to connect people.

There are so many cool things to check out at the center with collections of prints, photographs, paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, manuscripts, books, videos, textiles, and more.

In addition to the wonderful art on display, Des Moines Art Center has wonderful amenities like a delightful gift shop, an on-site restaurant named Tangerine that serves up sandwiches, small bites, cocktails, and art classes for all skill levels.

One of a few wonderful free things to do in the city, Des Moines Art Center is a must-see.

Address: 4700 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312, United States

2. Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market

Des Moines' Downtown Farmers’ Market

Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market (Phil Roeder / flickr)

Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market is one of the many fun things to do in Des Moines.

The market supports nearly 300 local vendors through intentionally connecting urban and rural communities.

Over the past few years, the market has become a place where friends meet, families shop, people vibe, and local purveyors succeed.

Home to artists, farmers, bakers, makers, and more, there are shops for every sensibility which makes this one of the coolest places to visit in the city.

Open weekends from May to October, Downtown Farmers’ Market hosts vendors and patrons from all over Iowa.

With farmers, artisans, foodies, entrepreneurs, and a whole host of local businesses all in one place, the market is one of many popular tourist attractions in Des Moines.

In addition to the awesome local goods you’ll shop, the market also hosts live shows, sit-down dining, and beyond.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market is a top attraction to visit if you’ll be in town this weekend.

Address: 300 Court Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

3. Des Moines Civic Center

Des Moines Civic Center

Des Moines Civic Center (Joe Ehrecke / flickr)

First opening its doors in 1979, Des Moines Civic Center is a testament to the power of a community’s dream to house local performers and performances.

Since 1979, the center has evolved into a world-class epicenter of Iowan entertainment.

However, in addition to hosting amazing performances throughout the year, the center also hosts amazing performance art education opportunities for performers of all ages and talents.

It’s worth noting that Des Moines Civic Center regularly runs performances like gospel music, Latino concerts, outdoor Yoga, Disney musicals, famous musicians, symphonies, comedy shows, puppet shows, musicals, dramas, dance performances, and so on.

No matter the time of year you’re visiting Iowa, there’s always a live show (or more) on the event calendar.

If you’re looking for world-class entertainment in Des Moines, Des Moines Civic Center is one of the top 10 places to visit.

Address: 221 Walnut St, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

4. Salisbury House & Gardens

Salisbury House and Gardens

Salisbury House and Gardens

Built in 1928 by cosmetic royalty, the Salisbury House & Gardens is one of many cool things to do in Des Moines.

The astounding manor home is a Tudor built in the Gothic and Carolean styles.

Modeled after a king’s house, the manor is home to 16th century English oak woodwork and rafters that date back to the Shakespearean Era.

Of note, the manor houses the Weeks family’s original collection of artwork, furnishings, and tapestries.

Built and furnished for nearly three million dollars, a mint in the 1920s, the house sold in 1954 to the Iowa State Education Association for only $200,000.

Since its sale, Salisbury House & Gardens has welcomed visitors to tour the vast grounds, the breathtaking architecture, and amazing art collections.

Although visitors are welcome to self-tour the property, guided tours, for which reservations are required, are highly recommended.

One of many wonderful sightseeing opportunities in Des Moines, we highly recommend checking out Salisbury House & Gardens.

Address: 4025 Tonawanda Dr, Des Moines, IA 50312, United States

5. World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

Housed in the century-old Des Moines Public Library Building, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates pays homage to Dr. Norman Borlaug and his achievements in fighting hunger.

One of many unique things to see in Des Moines, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates is a museum that recognizes achievements in agriculture.

It is also home to the Global Youth Institute which prepares today’s youth to become future leaders in the movement to fight hunger, an educational institution with interactive displays on hunger/food security, and event space.

When visiting the hall, you’re treated to themed rooms that inspire and educate.

For instance, you can enjoy a gallery on the building’s rich history, a room that focuses on pioneers in agriculture and humanitarianism, and exhibits that celebrate individuals who have given their lives to fighting hunger.

Open to the public on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the hall offers both public and private tours.

No matter which you choose, you are sure to feel inspired and informed after your visit.

One of many unique things in Des Moines, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates is a must-do.

Address: 100 Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

6. Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo

This 49-acre zoological park is one of many fun things to do in Des Moines, Iowa.

Through a marriage of recreation, education, research, and conservation, Blank Park Zoo inspires a deep appreciation for nature.

Set in a beautiful outdoor park setting, visitors to the zoo have the opportunity to experience wild animals in their natural habitat.

Speaking of the animals, some of the amazing creatures you can hope to encounter include lions, tigers, tortoises, giraffes, penguins, and so much more.

Beyond the animals, the conservation program provides educational presentations on the different plant species in the park.

Moreover, there are a few fun visitor experiences like camel rides, train rides, and carousel rides that make your trip to the zoo fun for the whole family.

Other visitor experiences include parakeet and giraffe feedings.

Open daily from nine to five, plan your visit to this top attraction for today or this weekend.

Address: 7401 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315, United States

7. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Located just outside downtown Des Moines, Iowa, this attraction is one of the best places to see near the city.

This 14-acre botanical garden situated along the Des Moines River is one of the most beautiful places to see in the US.

Notably, this site hopes to inspire, engage, and educate visitors about diverse plants and the environment in which they thrive.

With a storied Bonsai collection, uncommon plant species, seven acres of gardens, and so much more, gardening and botanical enthusiasts will adore this top attraction.

First established in the Spring of 1920, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden has many dynamic garden galleries that draw visitors from near and far.

For example, the garden is home to a hillside garden, plant collections, art/sculptures, indoor gardens, terraces, a reflection garden, a water garden, a rose garden, and so on.

When planning your visit, be sure to carve out time in your day to see the lovely garden shop and/or grab a bite at the Trellis Cafe.

One of many Des Moines attractions that will surely not disappoint, be sure to add this top attraction to your itinerary.

Address: 909 Robert D. Ray Dr, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

8. The Science Center of Iowa

The Science Center of Iowa

The Science Center of Iowa

If you’re looking for things to do in downtown Des Moines, look no further.

The Science Center of Iowa is one of a few points of interest that you won’t want to miss.

This center brings science to life through interactive exhibits, special format theatres, and special programming that attracts visitors young and old.

The museum is learner-centered, so every exhibit aims to teach guests something new.

Significantly, the center has many permanent exhibits like a makers studio, a sky exhibit, a planet Earth display, and a “small discoveries” room that’s geared toward enthusiastic toddlers.

Additionally, the IMAX planetarium has daily programs on the Seven Wonders of the World, the creation of the telescope, cosmology, the moon, the space age, and more.

Other points of interest at the center include a LEGO SCI model, a Feisal Sayeed Sculpture, and the Foucault Pendulum among others.

If you’re wondering what to see in Des Moines, wonder no more!

The Science Center of Iowa should top your list.

Address: 401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

9. State Historical Museum

State Historical Museum

State Historical Museum

Operated by the Historical Society of Iowa, the State Historical Museum is a place where visitors can explore and learn about the state’s rich history.

If you’re interested in historical stuff to do while visiting Iowa, this is the place for you.

Notably, during a visit to the State Historical Museum, you will hear about life in Iowa before it became a state, the changes to the state when settlers arrived, the state’s rich natural resources, and beyond.

Furthermore, the museum’s dynamic collections include more than 80,000 artifacts, 1,500 of which are on display at any given time.

Additionally, the museum frequently hosts special programming like “History on the Move” which takes place in a custom Winnebago, a kids’ club, and African American civil rights in Iowa.

Another of a few free things to do in Des Moines, the State Historical Museum is a great way to learn about The Hawkeye State.

Address: 600 E Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50319, United States

10. Jasper Winery

Jasper Winery

Jasper Winery

The pet project of avid gardeners Jean and Paul Groben, Jasper Winery was first established in a renovated warehouse.

With the planting of their first grapevines in 2000, Jasper Winery was off and running.

With the help of their son, an expert in grape growing and wine science, Jasper Winery was established as an acclaimed vineyard.

The winery has even received honorable mentions in “The New York Times” and “Wine Spectator.”

In 2007, the winery outgrew its warehouse space and moved to a larger property near Grays Lake in downtown Des Moines.

Today, all of Jasper Winery’s wine production takes place at this site.

The winery is now a space for gathering with friends and family, shopping for local varietals, and enjoying live music.

Be sure to check out the winery’s Tasting Room where you can sample up to five complimentary wines.

The winery also features a lovely cafe and a delightful patio area.

One of the best places to go in Des Moines, you won’t want to miss out on Jasper Winery.

Address: 2400 George Flagg Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50321, United States

11. Terrace Hill

Terrace Hill, situated in beautiful Des Moines, Iowa, is the official residence of the Iowa governor.

An astounding example of Second Empire architecture, this 18,000-square foot mansion is a sight to be seen.

If you plan to visit the state of Iowa, this astounding mansion is one of many wonderful free things to do in the city.

Although reservations are required, public tours are given Tuesday through Saturday.

Built as a private home in 1869, this architectural marvel recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.

A treasured symbol of Iowan history, Terrace Hill is a National Historic Landmark that has a French countryside aesthetic constructed of marble mantels, ornate gates, custom furniture, and other fine sensibilities.

The steeply pitched roof with colorful shingles, dormer windows, lush and open verandas, and elaborate cornices are all testaments to the luxury and beauty with which the mansion was designed.

If you’re wondering what to do in Des Moines, historical attractions like a visit to Terrace Hill is the answer to your question.

Address: 2300 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312, United States

12. Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

If you’ve asked yourself what to do in Iowa, be sure to check out Pappajohn Sculpture Park, one of many fun spots around Des Moines.

With nearly 4.5 acres of the Western Gateway Park as the backdrop for the amazing sculptures of John and Mary Pappajohn, you’re sure to enjoy your visit.

Of note, the park opened in 2009 with 24 sculptures generously donated to the city of Des Moines.

Since then, the park has acquired four more.

This pedestrian-friendly park is so popular that it draws hundreds of city-goers per day.

Significantly, the park is open daily from sunrise to midnight and can be visited with self-guided tours.

It’s recommended that you print your own guide map so as you meander the park sculptures you understand how each can be appreciated from different angles and in different ways.

While using the guidebook you’ll notice that each sculpture is marked with an indicator that suggests the best way (auditorily, visually, creatively, etc.) of experiencing the art.

One of the most interactive things to see in Des Moines, Pappajohn Sculpture Park is highly recommended.

Address: 1330 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

13. Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fairgrounds

Iowa State Fair

One of the most fun things to do in Iowa is to visit the Iowa State Fair.

But be sure to plan your trip wisely because the fair only comes to town once per year.

The ten-day event takes place annually in August as a celebration of Iowa agriculture.

Notably, the Iowa State Fair is a place for entertainment, competition, and wholesome family fun.

With rides, food, contests, and loads more, it’s no wonder folks travel from near and far each year for the fair.

But the Iowa State Fair isn’t all that happens at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

In fact, the fairgrounds are home to a variety of buildings that serve a multitude of purposes.

Of note, there are varied industry buildings, animal care centers, 4-H exhibits, several barns, an outdoor arena, and so much more.

So truly, no matter the time of year you’re planning to visit Des Moines, you’re sure to find a delightful way to enjoy the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Address: 3000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317, United States

14. Hoyt Sherman Place

Hoyt Sherman Place

Hoyt Sherman Place

Built in 1877 and situated in the heart of Des Moines, Iowa, Hoyt Sherman Place is the picture of Victorian Architecture.

Home of a former Postmaster and Abraham Lincoln-appointed Army Paymaster, Hoyt Sherman was a beloved Iowan.

In addition to his honorable appointments, Sherman was a consummate do-gooder who donated to Iowa schools, a waterworks system, and many other important facilities.

Today, the Hoyt Sherman Place serves as a reminder to visitors of the great man that built the home and supported the city and its important programs.

Owned and maintained by The Des Moines Women’s Club, the property boasts a magnificent art gallery as well as a grand and historic theatre.

Today, Hoyt Sherman Place is a historical landmark that hosts concerts, tours, art exhibits, and business affairs.

Come for the rich history, stay for the entertainment, but definitely don’t miss out on one of the coolest places to go in the city.

Address: 1501 Woodland Ave, Des Moines, IA 50314, United States

15. Gray’s Lake Park

Gray’s Lake Park

Gray’s Lake Park

If you’re looking for places to visit that appeal to one’s sense of and love for nature, be sure to check out this stunning 167-acre park.

One of the most popular Des Moines attractions, Gray’s Lake Park is loaded with outdoor recreational opportunities.

With tons of hiking/nature trails, including 68 miles of paved trails and 19 miles of soft trails, you’ll have the opportunity to see diverse ecosystems while hiking trails for all ability levels.

Additionally, the lake itself provides many opportunities for water recreation including swimming, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, and more.

For your convenience, Gray’s Lake Park even provides watercraft rentals.

Moreover, the park has many desirable amenities like public restrooms, shelter rentals, concession stands, athletic fields, and more.

With so many opportunities for outdoor recreation at Grays Lake Park, it’s no wonder visitors think it’s the best and most fun park in the city.

Address: 2101 Fleur Dr, Des Moines, IA 50315, United States

16. Water Works Park

Water Works Park

Water Works Park

One of the largest urban parks in the country, Water Works Park is a 1,500-acre park with loads of recreation of all varieties.

Situated along the Raccoon River, Water Works Park is a place for conservation, education, and recreation.

The park is an outdoor oasis in the heart of Des Moines that aims to improve the quality of life for both Iowans and the animals that reside in The Hawkeye State.

While you could easily spend many days visiting the park, a few of its most well-loved activities include the Crabapple Arboretum as well as miles of both paved and dirt trails.

The trails can be used for running, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and beyond.

Moreover, the river provides visitors with the ability to swim, canoe, kayak, and fish.

Finally, the park’s amphitheater hosts amazing concerts throughout the year.

A fun place with plenty to do during the day and at night, Water Works Park is a must-do.

Address: 2201 George Flagg Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50321, United States

17. Principal Park

Principal Park

Gregory Koch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Home to Minor League Baseball’s Iowa Cubs, Principal Park is one of many fun Des Moines attractions you won’t want to miss.

Formerly known as Sec Taylor Stadium, the park is a beautiful place to catch a game.

Of note, the park has plenty of seating so finding tickets isn’t usually a problem, however, there are premium seating options that offer a luxury baseball experience.

The “Betfred Sports Leftfield Lounge” is exclusive for fans 21 and older; the lounge serves upscale dining options, a full bar, and big screen highlights all game long.

Furthermore, if you’re visiting Principal Park with your family, the park has many wonderful programs and activities for children.

“Cubbies Kids’ Club,” “The Mug Club,” “Anthem Buddies,” and “Fareway Kid Captain” are inclusive ways that children can get involved at the ball game.

One of the most exciting Des Moines attractions, a trip to this ballpark, Principal Park, is definitely worth a spot on your itinerary.

Address: 1 Line Dr, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

18. Jester Park

Jester Park

Jester Park

Jester Park is one of Iowa’s most diverse parks.

If you’re wondering what to do in outdoor settings around the city, look no further.

Jester Park is situated on over 1,600 acres of land along Saylorville Lake near Des Moines.

With assorted recreational facilities as well as on-site campgrounds, Jester Park is a great place to visit this weekend.

Concerning camping, the park has both cabins and tent sites as well as many convenient amenities.

Concerning recreation, Jester Park has many fun activities that appeal to a variety of sensibilities.

The park’s recreational facilities include a golf course, a nature center, an equestrian center, a park lodge, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, hiking trails, fishing, and more.

Another popular pastime at Jester Park includes birdwatching.

The park also has convenient boat ramps, fishing ponds, and trails suitable for horseback riding.

One of the best parks in or around Des Moines, Jester Park is definitely worth a visit during your stay in Iowa.

Address: 11121 NW Jester Park Dr, Granger, IA 50109, United States

19. Ashby Park

Ashby Park

Ashby Park

This stunning 11-acre city park in Des Moines answers the nagging question of what to do with children in the city.

Open from sunrise until 10 pm every night, the park is fun to visit any time of day.

The park has many convenient amenities that make visiting it all the more appealing.

With ample street parking, restrooms, open shelters, picnic tables, benches, charcoal grills, and drinking fountains, Ashby Park makes visiting with children easy and comfortable.

Speaking of children, there are loads of recreational attractions at Ashby Park geared towards kids.

The park is home to tennis courts, pickleball courts, an accessible playground, open field space, hiking trails, and even a splash pool.

The park, established in 1925, even has a unique and rich history that you can learn about during your visit, making it an excellent destination for sightseeing as well as recreation.

Address: 3200 38th St, Des Moines, IA 50310, United States

20. Chocolate Storybook

Chocolate Storybook

Chocolate Storybook

For more than three decades, Chocolate Storybook has been a beloved destination for locals and visitors to Des Moines.

The Chocolate Storybook owners believe that the namesake’s sweet convection has the ability to bring people together.

Of note, all chocolate is made on-site to decadent perfection.

Chocolate Storybook is known for delicious/shareable treats, lavish gift baskets, chocolate towers, custom logo chocolates, and more.

In essence, Chocolate Storybook are purveyors of thoughtful and tasty treats for all occasions.

With specialty options like decadent holiday-themed candies, mouth-watering chocolate or caramel apples, truffles, popcorn varieties, nuts, and so much more, visiting this Des Moines institution is a must.

In addition to all of the wonderful chocolate treats, Chocolate Storybook is also known for their gourmet cotton candy of which they offer more than 50 varieties.

Whether visiting by yourself or with children, your inner child will go wild for all of the beautiful, aromatic, and tasty treats.

Address: 1000 Grand Ave, West Des Moines, IA 50265, United States

21. Des Moines Skywalks

Des Moines Skywalks

Des Moines Skywalks (Todd Van Hoosear / flickr)

Whether looking for a unique way to see the city or just trying to find a comfortable and easy way to travel around Des Moines, the skywalks are your answer.

Comprising more than four miles of climate-controlled walkways, Des Moines Skywalks are a fun way to navigate the city.

Easy to negotiate, the skywalks weave in and out of hotels, restaurants, meeting spaces, coffee shops, and beyond.

Before accessing the Des Moines Skywalks, it’s recommended that you print a skywalk map that depicts all of the awesome places you can visit along the roaming routes.

Some of the awesome places along the skywalks include Surety Hotel, Wells Fargo Convention Center, Des Lux Hotel, Wellmark YMCA, and the Des Moines Information Center.

If you plan to visit Des Moines, it’s worth considering traveling by way of the Des Moines Skywalk.

Address: Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

22. Adventureland Resort

This premier, all-encompassing resort just outside Des Moines has so much fun and adventure in one place.

Of note, the resort is home to an inn, a waterpark, an amusement park, and campgrounds.

To begin, lodging options at Adventureland Resort include the inn which has nearly 200 smoke-free rooms, three large pools, a swim-up bar, hot tubs, and a sports bar.

Additionally, the campgrounds have electric hookups, modern showers, a pool, and recreational areas.

Although the accommodation options at Adventureland Resort are wonderful, the real draw to the resort are the amusement and water parks.

In the amusement park, you’ll find thrilling rides like “The Monster” roller coaster and “The Stormchaser” swings as well as kiddie rides like itty bitty boat rides and “Junior Jockeys” horse rides.

At Adventure Bay waterpark there are epic water attractions the whole family can enjoy.

Some of the water rides include a wave pool, plummeting slides, a lazy river, and a kiddie splash pad.

With so much epic adventure in one place, Adventureland Resort is a must-see stop when you’re visiting Des Moines.

Address: 3200 Adventureland Dr, Altoona, IA 50009, United States

23. Center Grove Orchard

Center Grove Orchard

Center Grove Orchard (Carol VanHook / flickr)

This lovely Des Moines attraction touts its passion for the land upon which the orchard is situated, its community, and wholesome family recreation.

Not surprisingly, Center Grove Orchard is a place where families come to experience the more than 20 acres and 6,000 apple trees.

Of note, Center Grove Orchard is both a working farm and orchard where visitors can experience lively farm life while making indelible family memories.

The prime apple-picking season occurs during the fall months, so the orchard isn’t open to the public until then.

But if you’ll be in Des Moines during the autumn months, your family can enjoy more than 25 farmyard activities, some of which include a corn maze, super slides, and feeding animals.

Seasonally, you can pick apples, strawberries, sunflowers, pumpkins, and more.

Finally, Center Grove Orchard regularly hosts special events for all ages from June to January.

If you’re looking to get outdoors and make lasting family memories, a visit to Center Grove Orchard is definitely in order.

Address: 32835 610th Ave, Cambridge, IA 50046, United States

24. Big Creek State Park

Big Creek State Park

Big Creek State Park (Phil Roeder / flickr)

Located just outside Des Moines, Big Creek State Park is a family-friendly, nature-rich destination for enjoying a plethora of outdoor recreation.

The park’s centerpiece is the beautiful Big Creek Lake upon which you can bask in the sun, enjoy leisurely swimming, boat, and fish from the lake’s fishing jetty.

In addition to the many water activities, the park is a wonderful place to delight in activities like biking, hiking, disc golfing, and a jaunt at the playground.

Conveniently, boat and bicycle rentals are available at the lake’s beach.

In addition to all of the outdoor recreation you might enjoy at Big Creek State Park, you could reserve a picnic shelter for an alfresco lunch.

Of note, there are 22 picnic shelters and other picnic areas surrounding the lake.

Finally, Big Creek State Park has many wonderful amenities that make it a dream for visitors.

Amenities include modern restrooms, a fish cleaning station, concessions, and boat ramps.

If you’re looking for a great way to get outside and enjoy nature in the Des Moines area, be sure to visit this park.

Address: 8794 NW 125th Ave, Polk City, IA 50226, United States

25. Snookies Malt Shop

Snookies Malt Shop

Snookies Malt Shop

This iconic Des Moines ice cream shop is a must-see pitstop on your visit to this Iowa city.

A well-loved vintage ice cream shop, Snookies Malt Shop serves a wide range of desserts beyond ice cream as well as homemade ice cream and epic toppings.

Open year-round, Snookies Malt Shop always has long lines because of its amazing takeout treats.

Notably, the shop has been family-owned since its inception and has only ever served homemade treats.

Whether you’re in the mood for a sundae, an ice cream cone, a malt, a slushie, or a shake, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll devour and delight in your treat.

Snookies Malt Shop is not only family-friendly, but it’s also dog-friendly.

In fact, if you bring your pooch along, Snookies will treat him/her to a pup cone free of charge.

One of the city’s best ice cream parlors, Snookies Malt Shop deserves a spot on your travel itinerary.

Address: 1810 Beaver Ave, Des Moines, IA 50310, United States

26. Franklin Avenue Library

Franklin Avenue Library

Franklin Avenue Library

This epicenter of Des Moines culture, history, and literature is a wonderful place to visit alone or with children.

In addition to being a world-class library, Franklin Avenue Library is a place to explore, read, research, and watch.

Feel free to research local topics in historical directories, newspapers, magazines, indexes, and yearbooks, as well as a wide variety of free databases.

Moreover, the library shares stupendous book club recommendations in addition to a diverse collection of Spanish literature.

The Franklin Avenue Library consistently hosts entertaining, enriching, and educational programming on all topics and for all ages.

For instance, you could catch children’s scavenger hunts, character encounters, coffee conversations, art classes, and so much more.

The library also frequently hosts movie showings, book chats, and meet-the-author events.

Be sure to check out the library’s events calendar before your visit to determine if there’s a program right for you and/or your children.

Address: 5000 Franklin Ave, Des Moines, IA 50310, United States

27. Living History Farms

Living History Farms

Living History Farms

Des Moines’ Living History Museum shares more than 300 years of Iowan history from how Midwestern prairie lands were transformed into some of the most productive farmlands in the country.

Significantly, Living History Farms is a 500-acre open-air museum where visitors can travel through different periods in Iowan history.

Notably, interpreters guide visitors through an unconventional learning environment, exciting activities, and engaging demonstrations.

Some of the unique periods that you’ll experience during your visit to the farm include an 1850s pioneer farm, a 1700s Indian farm, a 1900s horse-powered farm, and a recreation of Walnut Hill in 1876.

The farm also hosts special programs such as historic dinners and teas, historic skills classes, and historic baseball.

This history-rich, engaging attraction is one the whole family can enjoy and learn from, so be sure to give it a go when you’re in Iowa.

Address: 11121 Hickman Rd, Urbandale, IA 50322, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Des Moines

One of many lovely vacation places in Iowa, Des Moines couples Midwestern sensibilities with big-city culture.

An underrated and often forgotten travel destination, the capital city of Iowa is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in the US.

It’s a big city for the Midwest, but it’s easy enough to navigate which gives off a warm and welcoming coziness atypical of a city setting.

The downtown area is especially inviting with magnificent restaurants, shopping, and attractions by the mile.

If you’re considering traveling to Des Moines, make sure to visit some of the astounding attractions listed herein.