Skip to Content

Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Des Moines, Iowa. #Top Attractions

Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Des Moines, Iowa. #Top Attractions

Preparing to visit Des Moines, Iowa? You are on the right page! Make the most of your vacation time in Des Moines, Iowa, we have compiled a list of our favorite things to do in Des Moines, Iowa. Explore the top attractions and activities in the best places to go in Des Moines, Iowa, by scrolling down! Wondrous Drifter is a Web 3.0 startup in the tourism industry that aims to disrupt the industry as a whole by utilizing Web 3.0 technologies.

Adventureland Resort

Adventureland Resort Moines Lowa

Adventureland Resort Moines Lowa / Loren Javier / Flickr

The Adventureland Resort is one of the top attractions in Iowa.

Are you up for a challenge? While you’re having fun at Adventureland Resort, your heart will be pounding with excitement!

This world-class, all-inclusive resort is located in Des Moines, and it packs a ton of excitement and enjoyment into a single location.

 A campsite, an amusement park, a water park, and a hotel are all important parts of the resort.

Adventureland Resort offers over 200 smoke-free rooms, a swim-up bar, three huge pools, and a sports bar starting with the hostel. 

Campground amenities include playgrounds, modern bathrooms, and a swimming pool.

The amusement and water parks of Adventureland Resort are the primary draws to the resort, even though the hotel accommodations are among the best in the business.

For thrillseekers, there are roller coasters like “The Monster,” as well as kids’ rides like boats and “Junior Jockeys’ horse rides” at the amusement park.

At the Adventure Bay water park, some very amazing water attractions are suitable for the whole family.

There are a number of water rides to choose from, including a kiddie splash pad, water slide, and a wave pool.

 Adventureland Resort in Des Moines is a must-see trip if you’re in town because of all the thrilling activities available.

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

Big Creek State Park

Big Creek State Park, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

A place to relax, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Visit Des Moines Outdoors to learn about everything that the state has to offer to get out and enjoy nature.

Big Creek State Park in Des Moines, Iowa, is a place where families can enjoy nature and do many different outdoor activities.

The lake is located in the park and is a picturesque body of water where visitors may sunbathe, go swimming or boating, or fish from a pier that is located 

on the lake.

Activities such as trekking, biking, and a playground are all available within the park and the various water-based activities.

Big Creek State Park also has a picnic shelter that you can book for a lunchtime meal outside.

An interesting aspect is that the lake is surrounded by 22 picnic shelters.

Aside from its fantastic facilities, Big Creek State Park is an absolute delight for everybody who visits.

Modern facilities, a fish cleaning facility, eateries, and boat ramps round out the list of available services.

Visiting this park is a terrific opportunity to get out and appreciate nature in the Des Moines region.

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

Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo , Moines Lowa

Blank Park Zoo, Moines Lowa / Carl Wycoff / Flickr

Visitors to this zoo will feel like they’ve stepped into an animal-filled utopia!

One of the many enjoyable things to do in Des Moines, Iowa, is visiting this zoological park that spans 49 acres.

For those who visit Blank Park Zoo, it’s easy to cultivate a lifelong love of wildlife through the zoo’s unique blend of fun and learning.

With its lovely outdoor park environment, guests may see wild animals in their natural habitats at the zoo.

The animals at the zoo come from more than 200 different species, and more than 2,100 of them exist.

For those who enjoy seeing exotic wildlife up close, some of the most spectacular include the African lion, the Red River hog, the Amur Tiger, the Aldabra Tortoise, the rhino, and many more.

 It’s not just the animals that keep visitors entertained at the zoo; there are a few entertaining activities for visitors of all ages, such as carousel rides, camel rides, and train rides.

 Feedings of parakeets and giraffes are additional activities that guests can participate in while they are there. 

Make plans to visit this popular tourist site today or this weekend.

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

Thinking of going to Iowa for your vacation? Cool travel ideas await you for Cedar Rapids and Davenport. Take time to notice these cool things to do in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the fun things to do in Davenport, Iowa

Center Grove Orchard

Center Grove Orchard, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

The Center Grove Orchard is one of the best things to do in  Iowa.

Choose the appropriate container, take several pictures, and select the most delicious fruits!

The orchard near Des Moines, Iowa, boasts a love for the earth, the city, and family-friendly activities.

It’s no surprise that Center Grove Orchard is a popular destination for families, with more than 20 acres and 6,000 apple trees to explore.

In addition, Center Grove Orchard is a functioning farm and orchard where guests may get a taste of farm life while creating lasting experiences with their own families.

Among the activities available are “swimming” in a corn pool and riding a hay rack to another farm area.

There are more than 25 farmyard activities to choose from in the fall, including a corn maze, super slides, and animal feedings.

A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are available for harvest at various times of the year, such as apples, strawberries, pumpkins, sunflowers, and more.

Suppose you’re looking for something to drink.

In that case, you can go through a large building with a coffee kiosk and observe freshly prepared coffee and donuts being made right outside the window.

A trip to Center Grove Orchard is a must if you’re looking for an opportunity to spend time outside with your family.

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

Chocolate Storybook

Chocolate Storybook, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

Your trip is not complete without a piece of Chocs! 

For more than thirty years, the Chocolate Storybook has been a well-liked site in Des Moines, both among the city’s residents and those who are just passing through.

The founders of The Chocolate Storybook believe that their shop’s famous sweet creation has the power to bring customers closer together.

What’s interesting is that each bar of chocolate is crafted from scratch right here on the premises.

Gift baskets, chocolate towers, customized brand chocolates, and more are part of Chocolate Storybook’s array of delicious desserts that anyone may enjoy.

In a nutshell, Chocolate Storybook’s job is to make thoughtful and delicious sweets for a wide range of events and celebrations.

This Des Moines classic is a must-see for anyone looking for a wide variety of treats, including holiday-themed sweets, truffles, almonds, and more.

Additionally, Chocolate Storybook is well-known for the gourmet cotton candy it sells, which comes in more than 50 different flavors. 

Whether you’re there alone or with kids, your inner self will go crazy for all of the lovely, fragrant, and delectable sweets.

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

Planning to visit Iowa is easier with our travel guides! Be sure to check out the latest travel guides for Sioux City and Waterloo. You should not miss out on the fun. Check out on best things to do in Sioux City, Iowa, and the best things to do in Waterloo, Iowa.

Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

The Des Moines Art Center is a location of world-class standards and a place that just cannot be missed.

The Des Moines Art Center, founded in 1948, is one of Iowa’s most popular tourist destinations.

It is an institution that preserves modern and contemporary works of art in various mediums.

The museum strives to be representative in its displays by welcoming and appreciating the unique qualities that distinguish people who are a part of the center’s community.

The center has a collection of photos, artworks, fine arts, publications, recordings, crafts, and many more!

All of which are among the many interesting items that may be seen there.

A great gift store, an on-site café called Tangerine.

It provides snacks and beverages, and art workshops for all skill levels are just some of the amazing facilities available at the Des Moines Art Center.

 A visit to the Des Moines Art Center should definitely be on your agenda because it is one of the city’s many great free things to do.

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

Des Moines Civic Center

Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

Check out the Des Moines Civic Center’s event schedule, and if you see anything that interests you, make sure to get a ticket for it!

The Des Moines Civic Center, which first opened its doors to the public in 1979, is a tribute to the strength of a community’s commitment to hosting local events and activities.

Since it opened in 1979, many Broadway companies, artists, and groups have put on shows at the Civic Center.

DMPAC (Des Moines Performing Arts) owns and manages the Civic Center.

 But the center also offers wonderful performance art education options for performers of every age and ability level and staging fantastic shows all year round!

The Des Moines Civic Center usually hosts acts such as Disney musicals, dance performances, famous artists, orchestras, sitcoms, puppetry, and plays.

Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins have both been staged here, and both were fantastic shows!

A live performance can always be found on Iowa’s event schedule no matter what time of year you come.

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

Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market

Des Moines' Downtown Farmers' Market , Moines Lowa

Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market, Moines Lowa / Phil Roeder / Flickr

If you’re going to be in town this weekend, you should definitely stop by the Downtown Farmers’ Market.

Visiting the Downtown Farmer’s Market is a great way to meet new people, try new cuisines, and just have a good time.

The market, which connects urban and rural areas, helps about 300 local vendors.

Over the past several years, the market has developed into a gathering spot for friends and family, where individuals can vibe, and a location of success for local vendors.

It is one of the most interesting areas to visit in the city since it is home to various creative types, including farmers, bakers, crafters, and painters. 

Additionally, some businesses cater to a wide range of tastes.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market, which is only open on the weekends from May to October, attracts customers and sellers from all over the state of Iowa.

In addition to the many other things to see and do in Des Moines, the farmer’s market hosts a wide range of local businesses, including farmers, craftsmen, and chefs.

You can also enjoy watching live performances while eating your favorite food.

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

Franklin Avenue Library

Franklin Avenue Library, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

Attention, bookworms! We’ve located the perfect spot for you.

As soon as you enter this library, you’ll feel like you’ve walked back in time.

With volumes by Ben Franklin and gorgeous paintings and architectural decorations all throughout, you will surely enjoy them.

For more than just reading and research, the Franklin Avenue Library is a destination in and of itself.

Local history books, newspapers, periodicals, and a broad range of online databases are excellent resources for researching local history.

In addition, the library has a wide selection of Spanish literature as well as a book club suggestion service.

The Franklin Avenue Library offers a wide range of programs for people of all ages and interests, guaranteed to be both fun and instructive.

Kids’ treasure hunts, coffee discussions, and painting lessons are just a few examples of what you can see here.

Events like book discussions, movie screenings, author meet & greets, and book signings are common at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardenibrary.

Check the library’s events schedule before your visit to find a program for you and/or your kids.

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

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

Watching the flowers blossom at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a pleasant way to pass the day.

Des Moines, Iowa, is a must-see sight for those who want to get away from the city.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, which opened its doors to the public in 1920, is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

This site aims to teach people about a wide range of plants and the places they grow.

One of the most breathtaking sights in the United States may be seen in a botanical garden that spans over 14 acres and is located along the banks of the Des Moines River.

Gardening aficionados will appreciate this top destination, which features a historic bonsai collection, rare plant species, and much more.

You’ll find, among other things, rose and meditation gardens, as well as a water garden, a variety of plants, and art and sculptures around the grounds.

If you’re planning a trip to Des Moines, include this top destination on your list of must-sees.

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

Hoyt Sherman Place

Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

While in Iowa, check out Hoyt Sherman Place for any performances or events you might be interested in.

The Hoyt Sherman Place was built in 1877 in Des Moines, Iowa. It is the best example of Victorian architecture.

The luxurious family home was built by Hoyt Sherman, a wealthy pioneer businessman.

It has marble fireplaces, oak floors, and a carved mahogany doorway.

Sherman gave a lot of money to good causes. He gave money to Iowa schools, a waterworks system, and other important projects.

The Hoyt Sherman Place is a memorial to the amazing man who built the house and helped the city do important things.

The Des Moines Women’s Club is the owner of the property.

It also features a beautiful and historic theatre and a wonderful art gallery maintained by the club.

Several events are held at Hoyt Sherman Place, which is now a historic site.

Make a day of it and take in all the sights and sounds, but don’t forget to stop by one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

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

Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair , Moines , Lowa

Iowa State Fair, Moines, Lowa / Carol VanHook / Flickr

A year without an Iowa State Fair is like a life without fun!

It’s always a treat to take the family to the Iowa State Fair, which is always a great time.

Plan your vacation carefully, though, as this particular fair only happens once a year.

In honor of Iowa’s agricultural legacy, the ten-day festival is held every year in August.

The Iowa State Fair Parade takes place on the day before the state fair officially opens to the public. 

A total of 450 acres of fairgrounds and 160 acres of campgrounds are available for visitors.

Carnival-style attractions and stalls line the fairgrounds during the fair.

At the Iowa State Fair, visitors may choose from more than 200 food vendors and sample a wide range of cuisines, many of which are nutritious. 

One of the most popular foods at the Iowa State Fair is the footlong corn dog.

In addition, tickets to concerts throughout the festival can be purchased at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand. 

So, if you have the chance, try to make it to Des Moines in August for the Iowa State Fair!

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

Jester Park

Jester Park , Moines Lowa

Jester Park, Moines Lowa / Phil Roeder / Flickr

Looking for activities in the great outdoors? You’ve come to the right place.

Jester Park spans about 1,600 acres of land and is located close to Des Moines on the shores of Saylorville Lake.

On-site camping and a variety of recreation areas make Jester Park a terrific destination.

Campers may choose between cabins and tent sites, and there are other facilities to make their stay more comfortable.

There are lots of fun things to do at Jester Park for people of all ages and interests.

Trekking paths, fishing, picnic grounds, and a golf course are just a few of the park’s leisure activities.

Birdwatching is another one of the activities that attract a lot of visitors to Jester Park.

Horseback riding and boating are also permitted in the park, featuring boat ramps and fishing ponds for visitors to use.

The warmer months are ideal for paddling and canoeing, while the colder months are ideal for renting snowshoes and cross-country skis.

During your time in Iowa, you should make time to stop by Jester Park, which is widely regarded as one of the top parks in the Des Moines area and beyond.

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

Jasper Winery

Jasper Winery, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

Wine aficionados should pay a visit here. Taste is the best way to experience the truth!

Jasper Winery got its start in a converted warehouse, the brainchild of garden enthusiasts Jean and Paul Groben. 

Their son, a specialist in grape growth and wine science, helped create Jasper Winery as a well-regarded vineyard with the aid of his parents.

In 2000, Jasper Winery planted its first grapevines, and they were off to a great start.

For reasons of scale, the winery was forced to relocate in 2007 to a bigger location near Grays Lake in downtown Des Moines.

Currently, this is the only Adventureland Restoration where Jasper Winery produces wine.

As a result, the winery has become a meeting place for friends and family and a place to shop and listen to live music.

Make it a point to stop by the tasting room at the vineyard, where you can try up to five different wines on the house for no charge.

Additionally, the vineyard has a beautiful cafe and a great terrace area.

Visiting Jasper Winery is one of the top things in Des Moines, Iowa.

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

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Pappajohn Sculpture Park , Moines Lowa

Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Moines Lowa / Phil Roeder / Flickr

Do not pass up the opportunity to visit this beautiful park if you find yourself in downtown Des Moines.

Des Moines, Iowa, has plenty of entertaining things to do, and Pappajohn Sculpture Park is one of the best places to start.

The stunning sculptures of John and Mary PaAdventureland Resortppajohn are set against over 4.5 acres of Western Gateway Park, so your visit is guaranteed to be memorable.

In 2009, when the park opened, 24 sculptures were given to the city of Des Moines.

One of downtown’s most popular parks, containing a variety of enormous and interesting sculptures by various artists,

Hundreds of people visit this walkable park every day.

Additionally, the park is open every day from sunrise to midnight and may be toured by visitors on their own.

It’s a good idea to print off a map of the park’s sculptures so that you may see them from a variety of perspectives as you stroll through the park.

The city skyline can be seen from here, making it a great spot for a picnic or some alone time.

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

Salisbury House & Gardens

Salisbury House & Gardens , Moines Lowa

Salisbury House & Gardens, Moines Lowa / denisbin / Flickr

Peeps! Do not pass up the opportunity to visit Salisbury House & Gardens while in town!

In Des Moines, there’s a lot to see and do; the Salisbury House & Gardens is just one of them.

Carl Weeks, who made a lot of money in the cosmetics business, and his wife Edith used a copy of the King’s House in Salisbury, England, to plan their mansion.

 The Tudor-style mansion is a blend of Gothic and Carolean architecture.

The woodwork and rafters in the mansion are made of English oak and date back to the time of Shakespeare. 

The historic collection of artworks, furniture, and textiles from the Weeks family is one of the most interesting things about the manor.

The Iowa State Education Association bought the mansion after spending more than $3 million on building and furnishing it.

As a museum of a historic home, Salisbury House & Gardens aims to preserve, teach about, and promote Salisbury House’s international importance while giving the community a great place to meet.

 The property can be toured independently, but bookings for guided tours are strongly advised.

 To this day, the Salisbury House welcomes thousands of tourists each and every year.

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

State Historical Museum

State Historical Museum, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

The State Historical Museum is one of the best places to visit in  Iowa.

Visiting this site is the best way to learn about Iowa’s history.

Iowa’s rich history may be explored and learned about at the State Historical Museum, run by the Historical Society of Iowa.

Suppose you’re planning a trip to the State Historical Museum. In that case, you’ll learn about Iowa’s abundant natural resources, the changes that occurred when immigrants came, and more.

Experience the rich history of the state of Iowa through the exhibits and artifacts that are spread out over three floors and show what each of Iowa’s 99 counties has done, contributed, and left behind.

In addition, the museum’s extensive holdings include over 80,000 objects, of which only 1,500 are on exhibit at any given time. 

These relics span the whole span of human history, from ancient times to the present day.

Special events are often held at the museum as well.

The lovely café on the museum’s third level is a favorite hangout for visitors who aren’t there to see the exhibits.

It has a rooftop terrace from which you can see the Capitol and the rest of the city.

Anyone interested in history should make a point of visiting.

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

Terrace Hill

Terrace Hill , Moines Lowa

Terrace Hill , Moines Lowa / Beatrice Murch / Flickr

What to do in Des Moines? Look no further than the city’s historical landmarks, such as Terrace Hill.

One of the most impressive buildings in Iowa has a fascinating history that you should not miss.

This beautiful piece of architecture was built in 1869 as a private home. It just turned 150 years old.

One of Iowa’s most cherished national historic sites is Terrace Hill.

It is decorated in the French rural style and has elaborate gates, marble mantelpieces, handcrafted furnishings, and an exquisite sensibility.

The 18,000-square-foot palace is a stunning example of a Second Empire structure.

Terrace Hill is where the governor of Iowa resides.

Among the home’s most impressive features is its stunning stained glass.

One of the best free things to do if you’re planning a trip to Iowa is to see this stunning home.

Even though appointments are necessary, public tours take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Do some research about Terrace Hill before you visit, making the experience more interesting.

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

The Science Center of Iowa

The Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa

Image for illustration purposes only

Indulge your children as well. Bring them to the Science Center for some fun!

This is an excellent option to take your children to if you are looking for a destination that offers a variety of hands-on activities for them to participate in while they are there.

Visitors of all ages will enjoy the center’s interactive displays, theaters, and engaging programs.

While you’re there, you’ll be able to check out a mental health display and an exhibit of renowned structures constructed of Legos.

As a learner-centered institution, the museum’s exhibits are designed to impart knowledge to visitors.

The center features several long-term displays, including a creators’ workshop, a sky exhibit, a planet Earth display, and more aimed at curious babies.

Check out the HUGE bubbles in the Bubble Bay area too!

The bubble wands came in various shapes and sizes, they were great fun. 

When there are many children around, the ground might get slick, so be careful. 

Discover the best things to do in Des Moines right here!

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

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates , Moines Lowa

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates , Moines Lowa / Carl Wycoff / Flickr

If you’re in or around Des Moines, Iowa, don’t miss out on this fantastic location!

The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates pays tribute to Dr. Norman Borlaug and his many accomplishments in the battle against hunger. 

The hall is located in the Des Moines Public Library Building, which dates back a hundred years. 

It is a museum that honors those who have made significant contributions to the agricultural sector.

Moreover, the best way to learn more about them is to speak with a museum docent who can share their tales. 

For those that tour the hall, you’ll find themed rooms that are both educational and inspiring.

The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines is a stunning location for any special event.

A must-do while in Des Moines is a visit to the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

Traveling and having fun in the USA? You have to check out this page – the best states to visit in USA for the most fun and unusual travel ideas.

Need more reasons to visit Des Moines, Iowa? Visit reasons to visit Des Moines, Iowa, at least once in your lifetime here.

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