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Greater Des Moines is an affordable, easy, and surprising destination for meetings, conventions, and events. Every year, more than 3 million visitors come to experience the food, fun, and hospitality that the metro area offers. Ranked as one of the Top 10 Hippest Mid-Sized Cities in America by gogobot.com, Des Moines continues to build a reputation for its big city offerings without the hassle and price tag.
Greater Des Moines' growth as a meetings destination is thanks to the more than $3 billion city transformation. The metro now offers more than 12,500 hotel rooms, expanded rideshare and public transportation offerings, recently renovated meeting facilities, more than 1,000 locally-owned restaurants, more than 800 miles of trails, and dozens of new public art pieces sprinkled throughout the metro.
Located in the heart of the Midwest, Des Moines is easy to get to with nearly two dozen direct flights from the Des Moines International Airport and its convenient location at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Interstate 35. Once here, visitors can access a free downtown shuttle that takes people from Western Gateway Park where restaurants, meeting facilities, and a 28-piece sculpture park can be found, to the Historic East Village, which boasts more than 90 local restaurants, retailers, and entertainment venues as well as the Iowa State Capitol. Downtown is safe, clean, and walkable. With a 4-mile climate-controlled skywalk system, you can easily get to hotels, restaurants, and meeting facilities with ease. Plus, Uber, Lyft, and taxi services are always just a few minutes away to take you where you want to go.
Easy navigation is only the beginning when it comes to hosting a meeting in Des Moines. Your attendees can also enjoy the affordable restaurants and attractions the city offers. Whether they are looking for a James Beard nominated chef or an As Seen on TV destination, visitors can experience award-winning dishes for half the price and without the wait. Des Moines also offers a long list of free attractions and events including the Des Moines Art Center, the award-winning Des Moines Arts Festival, Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market, and so much more.
Commonly referred to as "Hartford of the West," Des Moines is one of the largest insurance centers in the United States. Several large corporations are headquartered in Des Moines including Principal Financial Group, Meredith Publishing Company, Allied Insurance, and EMC Insurance. These companies play an important role in growing the arts and culture scene and luring large events to the metro through their volunteer efforts, financial support, and overall commitment to enhancing the community.
Experience a city that will deliver a unique and memorable experience for your attendees. Catch the excitement, affordability, and ease of Greater Des Moines for your next event.
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.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Similar to most Midwestern cities, Des Moines has a humid continental climate that sees a wide range of weather conditions and four very distinct seasons. The summer months see an average high temperature of 86°F, while temperatures in the winter drop to a chilly 32°F. Winters have moderate to heavy snowfall that transforms the city into a powdery white wonderland. Rainfall typically occurs during the months of May and June with precipitation averaging 33 inches annually.
Although there is a high variability in Des Moines' weather conditions, the city's extensive climate-controlled skywalk system allows visitors to enjoy the city in comfort year-round. However, the absolute best time to visit Des Moines is autumn, when the weather is sunny and dry.
Iowa Events Center
The Iowa Events Center is a unique combination of three venues: Wells Fargo Arena, Hy-Vee Hall, and Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Following a $42-million renovation, the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center now boasts 33,892 square feet of new meeting room space and a 28,730-square-foot ballroom. The entire Iowa Events Center now has 226,000 square feet of total space, including 150,000 square feet of exhibit space, 40 meeting rooms and a 17,500 seat arena. The renovation included unique upgrades including an infinite amount of LED lighting capabilities, eight large projectors that can display images that are 16’ tall by 30’ wide, technology to display both static marketing logos and dynamic videos interacting and cold water plumbed into each of the 21 meeting rooms.
Des Moines Civic Center
221 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Iowa State Fairgrounds
East 30th Street
Des Moines, IA 50317
Total Meeting Space – 300,000 Sq. Ft.
Des Moines International Airport (DSM)
Located approximately six miles south of downtown Des Moines, the Des Moines International Airport is Iowa's largest airport, providing non-stop service to 19 destinations including Chicago, New York City, and Washington, DC. Des Moines International handles more than 2.5 million passengers per year. American Airlines, United, and Delta carry the most passengers in and out of the airport.
Passengers traveling to and from Des Moines International will find the airport loaded with amenities including a business center, meeting rooms, currency exchange, and short-term, long-term, and economy parking. Plus, they can also enjoy the ease of taxis, Uber, and Lyft services as well as complimentary hotel shuttles.
Airline carriers serving Des Moines International Airport
The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) operates a convenient and efficient public bus line that covers the Greater Des Moines area seven days a week. On average, DART provides 16,000 rides every weekday making stops at shopping malls, business districts, residential areas and schools. Regular route fare is $0.75 for children ages 6-10 and $1.75 for adults. Express route fare is $0.75 for children and $2.00 for adults.
DART Paratransit provides demand response transportation service to senior citizens and persons with disabilities. Some services are provided free of charge under contract to many agencies. Other services require the passengers to pay a fare and are subsidized by DART member cities.
DART has a free shuttle service that connects the Capitol Complex with the Western Gateway in downtown Des Moines. The shuttle, known as "D-Line", operates Monday through Friday about every 10 minutes from 6:30 AM to 6 PM, Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October 28, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. after October 28.
Several familiar rental car companies, including Alamo, Avis, Enterprise Rent a Car, Hertz, National and Thrifty, operate out of the baggage claim area at Des Moines International Airport. Additional rental car companies are located throughout Greater Des Moines.
Greater Des Moines offers Taxis, Uber and Lyft at the airport and around the metro. Both Capitol and Yellow Cab companies provide 24-hour service from the airport and accept cash as well as major credit cards. The average fare from Des Moines International to the Iowa Events Center is approximately $20. When using the Uber app, enter code DSMUBER to receive $20 off your first ride.
Photo Credit: Catch Des Moines
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