If you are looking for a quick and easy get away, Des Moines is a great city to enjoy a weekend trip. The drive is straightforward. Literally. Drive west on I-80. Less than two hours later, you will arrive to the city where our legislators are hard at work (insert winking face emoji here).
For our family vacation, we stayed in the downtown area at The Comfort Inn and Suites Event Center, located at 929 3rd St. There are many different option for lodging; nonetheless, my family was very comfortable at this location. We were able to walk to many of our destinations and enjoyed the complimentary, hot breakfast.
Some of the activities we did included:
- Des Moines Downtown Farmer’s Market: The farmer’s market was really entertaining and accommodated a diversity of vendors and products. You can find produce, food, art, flowers, and live music. It is a fairly large and active scene, but not overwhelming. I would definitely recommend leisurely strolling by the stands, grabbing a bite to eat, and exploring the many vendors.
- Science Center of Iowa: We were with family friends who had memberships to the science center in Minneapolis, so we were fortunate to save some money using the reciprocity offered with their membership. My daughter enjoyed the exhibits, hands on activities, and shows presented by museum teachers. She still talks about getting to touch a bull snake! The museum is definitely kid-oriented and on the smaller side. I would put this on the list only if you need a kid-friendly indoor activity.
- Iowa State Capitol: Exploring the capitol should absolutely be on your to-do list if you have never been. We went on a free, guided tour, which was great for adults (and children who sit very still for long periods of time). If your family is not up for the guided tour, walking around on your own will still be an interesting and worth-while experience.
- Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens: Our family friends also had a membership to the botanical gardens in Minneapolis, so again we enjoyed the benefits of reciprocity. I felt this was a great experience for kids and adults. The gardens include both indoor and outdoor areas. Older kids can participate in a scavenger hunt to make their experience even more interesting.
- Tacopocalypse: Tacopocalypse is a casual eatery featuring Asian-inspired tacos. My dentist actually recommended this spot. We weren’t blown away, but it was a fun spot with food you won’t find in Iowa City.
- Le’s Chinese Bar-B-Que: We were pretty excited to eat some Chinese BBQ, specifically roasted duck and pork (char siu). This is definitely not a trendy eatery, but an authentic option we would never be able to find in the Iowa City area. Bonus: the left over duck made an awesome stir-fry when we got home!
- Bubba- Bubba was a great spot with southern comfort food for Sunday brunch. I would highly recommend checking out their brunch while you are here. Everyone was very satisfied with their food (Especially my little one with her pimento mac and cheese).
Who in IMP has been to Des Moines? What restaurants and activities do you recommend adding to our to-do list for our next visit?