The capital and most populous city in Iowa, Des Moines is the political, economic, and cultural center of the state. The metro, home to 600,000+ residents, has built a reputation as an emerging city with rapid population growth and a high quality of life. In fact, Des Moines was recently ranked in the top 10 places to live in the United States by U.S. News & World Report and one of the top 10 Best Places for Business and Careers according to Forbes.
Part of a five-county metropolitan area expanding nearly 3,000 square miles, the Des Moines skyline boasts grand skyscrapers including the 33-story Marriott hotel and the 45-story Principal Financial Group tower. Despite its vertical growth in the 1970s and 1980s, Des Moines still retains its historic charm in communities such as Sherman Hill, Historic East Village and Historic Valley Junction.
Aside from historic districts, Greater Des Moines is growing in popularity for its long-list of attractions and first-class retail areas which includes four shopping malls, an outlet mall, and several shopping districts. Whether you are ice skating along the banks of the Des Moines River at Brenton Skating Plaza, exploring hundreds of plants and flowers at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, or watching the wildlife at Blank Park Zoo, visitors can find plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors in the city. Sports fans can catch an Iowa Cubs game at Principal Park, one of the top rated minor league stadiums in the nation, or get in on the action at places such as Climb Iowa, MB2 Raceway, and more. There are more than 800 miles of trails to bike, walk and run throughout the metro, with restaurants and breweries along the way. Visitors can rent a bicycle downtown or soak up the outdoors and public art by following the 6-mile Art Route, which connects people to 87 pieces of art throughout downtown Des Moines via green dots along the sidewalk.
If you are looking for indoor activities, explore the Des Moines Art Center, which brings in world-renowned and unique exhibits and offers free admission. Alternatively, children and adults alike can explore the solar system or the inner workings of the human body at the Science Center of Iowa. History buffs should not miss a visit to the State Historical Museum or the Iowa State Capitol, which details the people, places and events that have shaped Iowa's past. Catch a Broadway show or performance by the popular Des Moines Symphony at the Des Moines Civic Center or a concert at Wooly's.
From world-class dining to vibrant bars and clubs, Greater Des Moines has something for every night on the town. Pull up a chair at Alba's chef's table, ranked one of the best in the country. Or settle in for dinner at downtown Des Moines' famed Zombie Burger where you can pick from crazy and unique burgers. Night and day, indoors and out, there is never a shortage of things to experience in Greater Des Moines.