Offbeat Places in Des Moines


Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, is often celebrated for its lively downtown, thriving arts scene, and iconic attractions like the Iowa State Capitol and the Blank Park Zoo. However, beyond the well-trodden paths lie some hidden gems that offer unique experiences for the adventurous traveler. In this guide, we’ll take you on a tour of offbeat places in Des Moines that will allow you to discover the city’s lesser-known treasures.

The Salisbury House and Gardens

Nestled in a residential neighborhood, the Salisbury House and Gardens is a stunning 1920s mansion designed to resemble an English manor. This historic gem features impressive architecture, intricate woodwork, and a vast collection of rare books, art, and artifacts. Stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

Art enthusiasts will find solace at the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, a unique outdoor art museum located in the heart of downtown Des Moines. Home to over 30 sculptures by renowned artists, this park offers a tranquil and contemplative environment for visitors to appreciate modern art.

Capitol Park

While the Iowa State Capitol building draws many visitors, the surrounding Capitol Park often goes unnoticed. Take a leisurely walk through this green oasis to discover hidden gems like the World War II Memorial, the Civil War Monument, and the charming Capitol Park Rose Garden. It’s a peaceful place to soak in some history and natural beauty.

The East Village

Des Moines’ East Village is a vibrant neighborhood that’s brimming with unique shops, boutiques, and local art galleries. Explore the quirky stores, sample artisanal foods, and take in the colorful street art that adorns the district’s walls. The East Village is a hub for creativity and independent businesses.

The Iowa Hall of Pride

For a dose of Iowa’s rich history and culture, pay a visit to the Iowa Hall of Pride. This interactive museum showcases the state’s achievements in sports, entertainment, and more. It’s an educational yet entertaining experience, perfect for both adults and kids.

Des Moines Botanical Garden

Escape to the tropics right in the heart of Des Moines at the Des Moines Botanical Garden. This hidden oasis boasts a wide variety of rare and exotic plants, from towering palms to vibrant orchids. Explore the lush indoor gardens and outdoor spaces, and gain a deeper appreciation for the world of botany.

Sleepy Hollow Sports Park

In any season, Sleepy Hollow Sports Park offers outdoor recreational activities for the whole family. In the winter, enjoy skiing and snow tubing, while summer brings opportunities for zip-lining and hiking. It’s a lesser-known spot for adventure seekers looking to escape the city for a day.

Why Explore Offbeat Places?

Exploring offbeat places in Des Moines allows you to avoid crowds, immerse yourself in the local culture, support small businesses, and capture unique photo opportunities. These hidden gems often provide a more personal and authentic experience than the typical tourist attractions.

Practical Tips for Exploring Offbeat Places

Before embarking on your offbeat adventure in Des Moines, consider transportation options, check hours of operation, inquire about guided tours and activities, and explore local dining and accommodation choices to make the most of your visit.

Tour Reviews

There are no reviews yet.

Leave a Review