How to Enjoy a Weekend in Des Moines

Upon your arrival in Des Moines, the people you encounter in each place, from the airport to your hotel and beyond will greet you with warm smiles and unparalleled Midwestern kindness. We are always happy to welcome new faces to our little slice of land-locked paradise.

Cityscape of Des Moines, Iowa

Sights of Des Moines
Des Moines is known for its beautiful gold-topped capital building and stunning skyline, complete with views of the river. Spend an afternoon at the beautiful Botanical Gardens where you will see the most gorgeous Hydrangeas and Buddleia plants among so many others. Tickets are reasonably priced at $10 per adult.

Next, take a stroll at the Pappa John Sculpture Park, where you can enjoy the outdoors surrounded by art, restaurants, and coffee shops. Insider’s Tip: Visit the sculpture garden at night, the park is lit up and the shadows add a great element to the sculptures.

Visit the Blank Park Zoo for a day’s worth of fun for the whole family. There are countless animals on exhibit and this is a great activity for all ages. Grab your happy hour friends and head to the zoo during the summer at night for their weekly Zoo Brew Event for 21+ visitors with live entertainment.

Sounds of Des Moines
Des Moines is a great destination for music savvy travelers. If Jazz music is your forte, catch a show at the Noce Jazz Club, a cozy venue with a Sinatra-esque lounge. Another great concert venue is Wooly’s, you can catch a show almost every weekend with great artists from every genre of music.

The Downtown Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday morning from May through October from 7 AM-12 PM, and the market is dog-friendly. Listen to a variety of musicians while you shop for the best farm to table food.

Shopping in Des Moines
Dive into the East Village shops and boutiques, you’ll find great vintage items at Preservation, modern one-of-a-kind clothing, and jewelry at Aimee. You won’t have to shop until you drop, stay properly caffeinated at the Mars coffee bar, which happens to be connected to one of the hottest shops in Des Moines, Raygun. This is the perfect place to find everything you can imagine, from tees to magnets, baby clothes and jewelry, all with something uniquely Iowa about them. Have your own screen tee printed right there on the spot, and make sure to browse all of the beautiful postcards with different Iowa landmarks and inside jokes printed on the front. This is where you can grab a keepsake to remember your visit to Iowa.

Tastes of Des Moines
Along with a bunch of fun activities, Des Moines offers great options when it comes to cuisine. There are so many gems in the city; it is difficult not to list them all! The Iowa Taproom boasts a menu of local Iowa beers, classic appetizers, lunch menu options, and a delectable cheesecake. My favorite beer is the Beatnik Sour, an unfiltered extra pale beer with a nice sour punch. Next on the list is an unconventional find but nonetheless delicious, Casey’s General Store Pizza, which you will find inside of the convenience store. You can pick all of your classic toppings and I suggest trying the best taco pizzas you will ever find.

Exile Brewing Company has great beer and the most delicious truffle fries, you won’t need ketchup for these delicious fries. They also have a great menu for lunch and dinner. My favorite dinner entrée is the Cedar Plank Salmon, topped perfectly with the right amount of butter and pairs well with mashed potatoes. The atmosphere is casual and laid back with unique décor that will have your head turning in admiration.

Des Moines is the heart of the Midwest, a place full of family-friendly activities, adventures for couples and fun getaways with friends. Start planning your trip to Des Moines to experience this gem for yourself!

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Lauren F. Are you interested in traveling to Des Moines? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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