4 Unique, History-Inspired Places You Should Visit in Des Moines

June 22, 15

Historic_Places_Des_MoinesIf you’re looking for some unique places to check out in Des Moines that are a little off the beaten path and show off some of the city’s rich history and culture, then be sure to visit these 4 fun locations that are a bit under-the-radar.

Kavanaugh Art Gallery
131 - 5th Street

A love of fine art prompted Dan and Carol Kavanaugh to share their passion by opening this stunning gallery that would be right at home in New York City. Located in the historic Valley Junction district, the gallery carries an inventory of approximately 4,000 fine art pieces. The works are primarily paintings and sculptures, along with antique and reproduction prints and posters. Kids are kept entertained with paper and crayons while you browse the collections.

The LiFT
222 - 4th Street

Calling The LiFT an ordinary bar is like referring to the Eiffel Tower as an ordinary sculpture. This delightful bohemian-style bar in downtown's Court District takes its cues from its historic location in the Kirkwood Hotel. The centerpiece is an antique elevator car that retains some of the original ironwork. Walls serve as a gallery for a rotating display of works by local artists. You won't find any big-screen TVs, but you'll have just as much fun with events like Movie Nights, live jazz, and Mona's Pub Quiz.

Wallace Centers of Iowa
756 - 16th Street

The Wallace House was inspired by the legacy of its namesake family to create a center promoting awareness of Iowa's abundant agricultural community. Tour the charming restored Victorian home and attend one of the weekly "Food for Thought" dinners where experts lead discussions on contemporary food issues. Menus feature ingredients grown at the Wallace Center in Orient. Learn to incorporate fresh farm products in your cooking with their culinary classes focusing on specific dishes and preparation methods.

Exile Brewing Company
1514 Walnut Street

The Tursi family operates Exile Brewing as a tribute to their patriarch and other immigrants who come in search of the American dream. Tours are offered each Saturday at 3:15 p.m. The modest $5 admission includes a souvenir Exile tulip glass and four tickets good for six-ounce draws of any draft beers. The facility includes the Annex, a full-service restaurant serving elevated bar food, and the Beer Hall, a casual spot for a quick lunch or evening cocktail. 

Have you discovered other Des Moines gems that should be added to this list? Tell us about them in the comments!

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