The architecture of the Des Moines Art Center alone reflects the changing artistic sensibilities the museum has undergone throughout the years, shifting from an original art deco right wing to a modernist design for its second addition, then towards a more natural design to maximize the flow of natural light in the third wing. This not-for-profit institution has a variety of classic works, including the likes of Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Andy Warhol to name just a few. Stop here to catch the latest exhibition, which varies twice a year, for a relaxing afternoon in Des Moines.
Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Ave, Des Moines IA, USA, +1 515-277-4405
Originally the home of Major Hoyt Sherman, brother of Civil War hero General William Tecumseh Sherman, the Hoyt Sherman Place stands today as testament to his influence on shaping Des Moines. Today it serves as one of the city’s finest theaters, built for Sherman at the peak of his banking career. With routine performers here like Robert Cray and the Punch Brothers, come to the Hoyt Sherman Place for an intimate concert experience that’s laced with history.
Hoyt Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Ave, Des Moines IA, USA, +1 515-244-0507
This Iowa tradition never gets old. The Iowa State Fair, one of the largest state fairs in the country, is one of the best cultural events to attend as a visitor. All 450 acres of the fair are put to use, where livestock competitions, amusement park rides, cultural tents and food trucks rule (with more than 200 food stands, look for the unique, not-so-healthy dishes, like deep-fried snickers for something a little different). Also be on the lookout for the famous butter cow, an Iowa State Fair tradition since 1911.
Iowa State Fair, 3000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines IA, USA, +1 515-262-3111
The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park makes its home in the middle of Des Moines’s downtown. With 28 sculptures spread out on a 4.4-acre, pedestrian-friendly green, it is one of the most accessible parks in the city, and a great one to come to for some down time. A traveler’s tip would be to bring the spoils of the Downtown Farmers Market here to picnic and enjoy the relaxing sights of the park.
Western Gateway Park, Des Moines IA, USA, +1 515-237-1386
With a variety of trendy bars and restaurants, and many specialty shops, the historic East Village of Des Moines presents a good chance to get a taste of the area’s most bustling neighborhood. From Jett and Monkey’s Dog Shoppe to Fugitive Apparel Co., there’s something for every kind of consumer in the East Village, even those that walk on four legs.