The Highest-Rated Attractions in Des Moines

Jean Jones
April 08, 15


Now that spring is here, you're probably anxious to get out and about. Why not try looking at Des Moines like a tourist would? Sometimes a city's best attractions get overlooked by residents who consider the area "home" rather than an exciting entertainment destination.

TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site, has compiled a list of the top attractions in Des Moines based on input from its online community. Discover a new place to visit or a familiar one that's worth another look!

1. Capitol Building

This may sound like more of a destination for a high school government class field trip, but Iowa's Capitol Building is considered to be one of the finest in the country. The architecture is awe-inspiring and the artwork and historic artifacts provide a vivid sense of the state's history. When the legislature is in session you can sit in the balcony and watch your government at work. Explore on your own or schedule one of the free guided tours.

2. Pappajohn Sculpture Park

The beautifully landscaped grounds of this 4.4-acre park in downtown Des Moines make a unique setting for 28 stunning pieces of sculpture featuring a variety of styles and subjects. Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant or pack a picnic basket and dine inside the park.

3. Blank Park Zoo

While this zoo is a bit on the small side, its size makes for a more intimate atmosphere as you stroll among the exhibits. See more than 100 types of animals including lions, rhinos, penguins, snow leopards, and bald eagles in their natural settings. Admission is only $12 for adults and $7 for kids between ages 3 and 12. 

4. Principal Park    

Root, root, root for the Iowa Cubs at Principal Park, one of the most beautiful stadiums in the minor leagues. Seating has exquisite views of the Capitol Building and downtown Des Moines from the stadium's location at the point where the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers meet. Ticket prices start at just $7 for adults and $4 for kids.

5. Adventureland

What is summer without a visit to an amusement park? Adventureland is home to more than 100 rides, shows, and attractions that offer something for every family member. Cool off at Adventure Bay, the popular water-park-within-the-park that features a wavepool, floating river and numerous slides along with Kokomo Kove, an interactive attraction with hose jets and water guns.   

6. East Village

This fascinating neighborhood is where Iowa's past and present meet. East Village includes several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places as well as an eclectic assortment of fun, funky shops and restaurants. You can also visit attractions like the State Capitol, State Historical Museum and Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

These places also form a handy itinerary for outings with out-of-state visitors to your home at Springs Apartments. Touring these attractions will renew your sense of pride and delight in your home city.

Did we miss your favorite local attraction? Let us know in the comments! 

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