Five Awesome Places to Visit in Des Moines

Des Moines, the capital of Iowa, may not seem like a must-see destination city. It doesn’t top many people’s bucket lists yet, but it certainly could. Des Moines is a city rich in hidden gems, with stunning museums, beautiful parks, and amazing attractions galore. If you’re looking for your next adventure, look no further. Here are five awesome places to visit in Des Moines.

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park spans 4.4 acres in downtown Des Moines and hosts over 20 incredible sculptures by well-known artists. The artworks were donated by the Pappajohns to Des Moines Art Center, and the park opened in 2009. Guided tours are available from April to October each year, though anyone can visit the park and view the sculptures during park hours. You can even rent the park for special events!

The BHG Test Garden

Are you a fan of “Better Homes and Gardens?” Parent company Meredith Corporation has its headquarters in Des Moines, and next door stands the BHG Test Garden, which serves as a display garden. It is where they test various plants, and it doubles as a photography studio for the magazine and website! The garden is open to the public from May through September on Friday afternoons between noon and 2 p.m. Larger groups may even schedule tours.

Salisbury House and Gardens

This beautifully furnished 1920s house and botanical garden is located on Tonawanda Drive. The historic stone mansion houses an art museum, a library, and even a concert venue. The home was inspired by Carl and Edith Weeks’ visit to the 15th-century Kings House in Salisbury, England. Salisbury House hosts special events like yoga in the gardens, dinners, concerts, and book clubs, and the house and gardens can be rented for weddings and other private functions. It’s truly a spectacular site to visit and the perfect romantic destination.

Brass Armadillo Antique Mall

Okay, so this one isn’t specific to Des Moines. There are actually six Brass Armadillo Antique Malls throughout the country. But with over 450 antique and collectible dealers under one roof, it’s still worth a mention. The Brass Armadillo has an amazing selection of antique furniture, vintage quilts, primitive art, and more. The 36,000-square-foot showroom makes shopping feel like a treasure hunt. There are millions of one-of-a-kind vintage and repurposed items that make amazing gifts for yourself or others. It’s definitely a must-visit when you’re in Des Moines.

East Village

The East Village is a downtown residential and commercial district in Des Moines. This is one of the oldest historic areas in the entire state, and it’s home to the State of Iowa Historical Museum, the Iowa State Capitol, and the Hohberger Building. It’s probably the best reason to get a hotel in downtown Des Moines, as securing accommodations in this neighborhood will allow you easy access to this area. It’s amazing to think that many of the buildings were scheduled for demolition before citizens stood up and saved them. Now they’re used as restaurants, shops, and homes. It’s one of the most popular neighborhoods in Des Moines and home to some awesome events.

Des Moines, Iowa, is definitely worthy of your bucket list when you think about some of the incredible things to see and do there. Why not check it out the next time you’re looking for a new adventure?


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Katie Reed

Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 38 year old mom blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have four beautiful boys. Dexter is 9, Daniel is 7, Chester is 5 and Wilder is 2. She writes about living with mental health issues while navigating motherhood. Her blog focuses on tips and tricks for moms, information and parenting news, kid-friendly recipes and crafts. She loves to reflect on the humorous side of parenthood and shares the reality of her life, with a "warts and all" attitude.

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