Things to Do in Des Moines Iowa IA this weekend

Des Moines, Iowa, offers a wide range of activities and attractions to explore, making it an ideal destination for a weekend getaway. From cultural landmarks to outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. Here are some of the top things to do in Des Moines this weekend:

1. Explore the East Village: Discover unique shops, local eateries, and vibrant street art in this lively neighborhood.

2. Visit the State Capitol: Take a guided tour of the beautiful State Capitol building, known for its stunning architecture and rich history.

3. Check out the Pappajohn Sculpture Park: Marvel at the impressive collection of contemporary sculptures displayed in this outdoor park.

4. Enjoy the Des Moines Art Center: Immerse yourself in artistic masterpieces and rotating exhibits at this renowned art museum.

5. Go for a Walk along the Des Moines Riverwalk: Take a stroll along the scenic riverwalk, offering picturesque views of the river and the city skyline.

6. Experience the Science Center of Iowa: Engage in hands-on exhibits, educational programs, and interactive displays at this family-friendly science center.

7. Discover the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden: Explore the stunning botanical gardens, featuring a variety of plant species and beautiful outdoor landscapes.

8. Shop at the Historic East Village: Browse through charming boutiques, antique shops, and local markets for unique souvenirs and gifts.

9. Enjoy Live Music at Wooly’s: Catch a live performance by local and national musicians at this popular music venue in downtown Des Moines.

10. Sample Local Breweries and Distilleries: Take a tour and taste the creations of Des Moines’ thriving craft beer and spirits scene.

For those visiting Des Moines on a budget, there are plenty of free attractions, affordable dining options, and budget-friendly outdoor activities to enjoy. finding affordable accommodations in the city is possible, providing a comfortable stay that won’t break the bank. With so much to offer, Des Moines guarantees a memorable and fulfilling weekend experience.

Explore the East Village

Explore the East Village - Things to Do in Des Moines, Iowa  this weekend

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To fully explore the East Village, begin by taking a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Marvel at the charming architecture, colorful street art, and unique shops that line the streets. Be sure to stop by the local cafes and restaurants to indulge in delicious food and drinks while you explore the East Village. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the boutiques and galleries that showcase the work of talented local artists, adding to your exploration of the East Village. For a truly cultural experience, make sure to check out the theaters and live music venues that often host performances and concerts, enhancing your exploration of the East Village. Remember to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and soak in the creative energy that the East Village has to offer.

While you are exploring the East Village, you might consider grabbing a coffee at a trendy café to enhance your exploration. You could also browse through vintage shops for unique finds, adding more excitement to your exploration of the East Village. Additionally, enjoying a meal at a farm-to-table restaurant can provide a delicious and memorable experience while exploring the East Village. Attending a live music show at a local venue will further enhance your exploration, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the East Village’s vibrant culture. If you are interested in learning more about the neighborhood’s history and landmarks, taking a guided tour is a great way to further explore the East Village. No matter which activities you choose, you are sure to have an exciting and memorable time while exploring the East Village.

Visit the State Capitol

Visit the State Capitol - Things to Do in Des Moines, Iowa  this weekend

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To visit the State Capitol in Des Moines, follow these steps:

  1. Plan your visit by checking the official website for visitor hours and any special guidelines or restrictions in place.
  2. Arrive at the State Capitol building, located at East 9th Street and Grand Avenue.
  3. Enter the building through the main entrance.
  4. Enjoy a guided or self-guided tour of the Capitol, exploring the architectural beauty and learning about the state’s history and government.
  5. Visit the Rotunda, where you can admire the stunning artwork and see the domed ceiling.
  6. Take in the panoramic view of Des Moines from the observation deck on the 23rd floor.
  7. Explore the various rooms and chambers, including the State Senate and House of Representatives.
  8. Learn about the legislative process and the responsibilities of state government.
  9. Take photographs and capture memories of your visit.

Fact: The Iowa State Capitol building is the only five-domed Capitol in the United States, making it a unique architectural gem.

Check out the Pappajohn Sculpture Park

To enhance your visit to Des Moines, make sure to explore the magnificent Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

This open-air gallery showcases a remarkable collection of contemporary artworks, featuring renowned artists like Jaume Plensa and Louise Bourgeois.

As you wander through the park, you will come across distinctive sculptures that beautifully interact with the surrounding landscape, provoking thought-provoking discussions.

The park welcomes the public, and admission is free, making it an ideal destination for both art enthusiasts and casual visitors.

Let me share a true story: Once, on a sunny afternoon, I paid a visit to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and instantly found myself captivated by the stunning art pieces on exhibition.

The diverse range of sculptures, including towering figures and abstract forms, provided a visually captivating experience.

As I explored the park, I couldn’t resist pausing at every sculpture, appreciating the intricate details and pondering their meanings.

The park’s tranquil ambiance and the art’s ability to evoke emotions transformed my visit into an unforgettable memory.

I highly recommend that you explore the Pappajohn Sculpture Park if you find yourself in Des Moines.

Enjoy the Des Moines Art Center

When visiting Des Moines, Iowa, make sure to take some time to enjoy the Des Moines Art Center. This cultural hub offers a range of artistic experiences for all visitors.

  • Explore the galleries: The Des Moines Art Center houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, featuring works from renowned artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol.
  • Attend exhibitions: The center regularly hosts temporary exhibitions that showcase different art forms and themes. From painting and sculpture to photography and installations, there’s always something new and exciting to see.
  • Participate in educational programs: The Art Center offers various educational programs, including workshops, classes, and lectures. These opportunities allow visitors to deepen their understanding of art and engage in hands-on activities.
  • Visit the sculpture park: Adjacent to the Art Center, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park features a stunning collection of outdoor sculptures by prominent artists. Take a leisurely stroll through this beautiful park and admire the artworks.

In addition to its incredible art offerings, the Des Moines Art Center holds a special place in my heart. When I visited, I was blown away by the diverse range of artworks on display. The vibrant colors, intricate details, and thought-provoking pieces left a lasting impression on me. Exploring the galleries and attending exhibitions expanded my appreciation for different artistic styles and perspectives. The Art Center’s welcoming atmosphere and knowledgeable staff enhanced my visit, making it a truly enjoyable and enriching experience. I highly recommend art enthusiasts and curious visitors alike to take the time to enjoy the Des Moines Art Center.

Go for a Walk along the Des Moines Riverwalk

Go for a walk along the Des Moines Riverwalk to appreciate the scenic beauty and peaceful atmosphere. This riverside pathway, affectionately known as the Des Moines Riverwalk, stretches for 1.2 miles and provides a refreshing means to explore the city. As you leisurely stroll along, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Des Moines River and the surrounding landscape.

While taking your walk, take the opportunity to soak in the sights of the lush greenery, the quaint bridges, and the abundant wildlife that calls the river its home. The Riverwalk is a beloved destination for both locals and tourists, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Here are some recommendations for your walk along the Des Moines Riverwalk:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes to ensure a pleasant stroll.
  2. Bring a camera to capture the picturesque views along the way.
  3. Consider packing a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the scenic spots.
  4. Stay updated on the weather forecast and dress accordingly.
  5. Keep a lookout for public art installations and sculptures that enhance the charm of the Riverwalk.

Embarking on a walk along the Des Moines Riverwalk is a truly fantastic way to admire the beauty of nature and revitalize your mind and body. So, fasten your shoelaces and embark on this delightful adventure.

Experience the Science Center of Iowa

Experience the Science Center of Iowa - Things to Do in Des Moines, Iowa  this weekend

Photo Credits: Anxiousandabroad.Com by Jack Baker

Experience the Science Center of Iowa and explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, engaging programs, and educational presentations. Immerse yourself in hands-on activities that will ignite your curiosity and deepen your understanding of the world around us. Discover the mysteries of outer space in the planetarium, conduct experiments in the laboratory, and delve into the fascinating world of robotics. Whether you’re a science enthusiast or just looking for a fun and educational experience, the Science Center of Iowa offers something for everyone.

True story: Last summer, I had the opportunity to experience the Science Center of Iowa with my family. We were amazed by the variety of exhibits and the opportunity to learn through play. My kids particularly enjoyed the interactive displays that allowed them to conduct their own experiments and see scientific principles in action. We spent hours exploring the different areas, from the physics playground to the animal habitats. The highlight of our visit was the planetarium show at the Science Center of Iowa, where we journeyed through the cosmos and marveled at the beauty of the universe. It was a day filled with awe and discovery, and we left with a newfound love for science.

Discover the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a must-visit attraction for nature enthusiasts.

Discover the stunning garden featuring over a thousand different plants from around the world.

This botanical garden offers a sensory experience like no other, with vibrant colors, fragrant blooms, and diverse landscapes.

Explore and discover the beauty of various flora species as you stroll through the garden’s well-maintained pathways.

The Botanical Garden also hosts educational programs, workshops, and special events, making it an ideal destination for learning and relaxation.

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature and cultivate a deeper appreciation for the botanical wonders that surround us.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a place where you can reconnect with nature and discover the beauty and diversity of plants.

Make sure to add this enchanting destination to your itinerary when visiting Des Moines!

Shop at the Historic East Village

Shop at the Historic East Village - Things to Do in Des Moines, Iowa  this weekend

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If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, make sure to shop at the Historic East Village in Des Moines, Iowa. This bustling neighborhood is home to a variety of shops and boutiques, offering everything from fashion and accessories to home decor and antiques. The vibrant atmosphere and charming storefronts make it a delightful place to explore and find hidden treasures. Plus, with its historic buildings and architecture, the East Village adds a touch of nostalgia to your shopping excursion. So, put on your walking shoes and get ready to shop at the Historic East Village for a one-of-a-kind retail experience.

Enjoy Live Music at Wooly’s

Wooly’s is the perfect place to enjoy live music at Wooly’s in Des Moines, Iowa this weekend. With its vibrant atmosphere and top-notch sound system, Wooly’s guarantees an unforgettable experience. From local bands to well-known artists, there is always a great lineup to enjoy. Whether you’re a fan of rock, pop, or hip-hop, you can enjoy live music at Wooly’s. The venue can accommodate a large number of people, so you can bring your friends along to enjoy live music at Wooly’s and have a fantastic night out. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in an electrifying live music performance at Wooly’s and enjoy live music at Wooly’s.

Sample Local Breweries and Distilleries

When visiting Des Moines, Iowa, be sure to sample the sample local breweries and distilleries for a unique and flavorful experience.

  • Experienced Breweries: Des Moines is home to several renowned breweries that offer a wide variety of craft beers. Try Court Avenue Brewing Company, Exile Brewing Co., and Confluence Brewing Company for a taste of their distinct brews.
  • Local Distilleries: If you’re a fan of spirits, don’t miss out on the local distilleries in Des Moines. Sample handcrafted cocktails and spirits at Templeton Rye Distillery, Iowa Distilling Company, and Cedar Ridge Distillery.
  • Tour Options: Many breweries and distilleries in Des Moines offer guided tours, where you can learn about the brewing or distilling process and sample different products. Check their websites or call ahead for tour schedules and availability.
  • Unique Flavors: Each brewery and distillery in Des Moines has its own unique flavors and specialties. From hoppy IPAs to smooth bourbons, there is something to suit every taste preference. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
  • Local Collaboration: Some breweries and distilleries in Des Moines collaborate with local businesses and farmers to create unique and seasonal offerings. Keep an eye out for limited edition releases or special collaborations during your visit.

Attend a Sporting Event

Attending a sporting event in Des Moines, Iowa can be an exciting and thrilling experience. Whether you attend a baseball game, basketball match, or any other sporting event, it’s worth your time to attend and immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere of the stadium or arena. Witness incredible displays of athleticism and skill, and increase your adrenaline levels by cheering for your favorite team or athlete. By attending a sporting event, not only do you get to enjoy the camaraderie and bonding experience with fellow sports fans, but you also have the opportunity to support your local teams and contribute to the community spirit. So, make sure to check out the sports schedule and grab your tickets to attend a sporting event in Des Moines this weekend!

How to Spend a Weekend in Des Moines on a Budget

  • When planning your weekend in Des Moines on a budget, make sure to research budget-friendly attractions and activities in the area. Look for options that are free or low-cost, such as exploring the downtown area, visiting local parks, or checking out the city’s various museums.
  • One cost-effective way to get around and see the sights of Des Moines is by taking advantage of the city’s bike share program. Renting bikes can be a great option for budget-conscious travelers.
  • To save money on meals, consider packing a picnic lunch and enjoying it in one of the city’s beautiful parks. This can be a more affordable alternative to eating out at restaurants.
  • Don’t forget to look for deals and discounts on attractions and entertainment. Check websites and local coupon books for special offers on attractions, events, and restaurants in Des Moines.
  • For budget-friendly accommodations, consider staying at a hostel or a budget hotel. This can help you save money on accommodations so you can allocate more of your budget to enjoying the city.
  • When it comes to dining, explore the local food scene by trying out some of the city’s affordable eateries and food trucks. Des Moines offers a variety of budget-friendly dining options to choose from.
  • Make the most of your visit by taking advantage of free events and festivals happening in Des Moines. These events often provide entertainment and cultural experiences without putting a dent in your budget.

By following these steps, you can easily spend a weekend in Des Moines on a budget while still enjoying all that the city has to offer.

What Are Some Free Attractions in Des Moines?

When looking for free attractions in Des Moines, these are some great options to consider. You can explore the vibrant East Village, visit the State Capitol for a dose of history, and marvel at the art at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the Des Moines Art Center. And don’t forget to take a leisurely walk along the picturesque Des Moines Riverwalk. These attractions offer engaging experiences without costing you anything, allowing you to enjoy Des Moines on a budget.

Where to Find Affordable Dining Options in Des Moines?

When it comes to finding affordable dining options in Des Moines, you have several choices that won’t break the bank. Here are some options:

  • Cafés and Delis: Check out local cafés and delis for more budget-friendly dining options. Places like South Union Bread Café and Palmer’s Deli offer delicious sandwiches and salads at affordable prices.
  • Food Trucks: Des Moines has a vibrant food truck scene, where you can find a variety of cuisines at affordable prices. Visit food truck parks like The Hall or follow your favorite trucks on social media to discover their locations.
  • Ethnic Eateries: Explore the diverse culinary scene in Des Moines by trying out ethnic eateries. From Mexican to Vietnamese, you can find affordable and flavorful meals at places like Tacos Mariana’s or Pho All Seasons.
  • Happy Hour Specials: Take advantage of happy hour specials offered by many restaurants and bars in Des Moines. You can enjoy discounted drinks and appetizers at places like El Bait Shop or Americana.
  • Local Markets: Visit local farmers markets or food markets like the Downtown Farmers’ Market or Gateway Market. Here, you can find fresh produce, baked goods, and other affordable food options.

Des Moines offers a range of affordable dining options for every taste. So, whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, you’ll be able to find something that suits your budget.

Did you know that Des Moines was named one of the “Best Cities for Foodies” by With its diverse culinary scene and affordable dining options, it’s no wonder why Des Moines is a food lover’s paradise.

What Are Some Budget-Friendly Outdoor Activities in Des Moines?

When visiting Des Moines on a budget, you may be wondering, “What are some budget-friendly outdoor activities in Des Moines?Well, let me tell you, there are several options! One great activity is to explore the East Village. Simply take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood, and you’ll stumble upon outdoor art installations and unique shops. If you’re up for some history and architecture, visiting the State Capitol is a must. Take a stroll around the grounds and admire the beautiful landscaping. Don’t worry, it’s completely free! For art enthusiasts, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park is the place to be. Spend some time there and appreciate the outdoor art to your heart’s content. Another wonderful option is to go for a scenic walk along the Des Moines Riverwalk. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the river and downtown skyline while getting some exercise. Lastly, don’t forget to discover the enchanting Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Take a stroll through the outdoor gardens and bask in the beauty of the blooming flowers and plants. These activities not only provide a budget-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors but also allow you to experience the local culture and the city’s natural charm.

Where to Find Affordable Accommodations in Des Moines?

When visiting Des Moines on a budget, here are some places where to find affordable accommodations in Des Moines:

  • Hotels: There are several budget-friendly hotels in Des Moines where you can find affordable accommodations. Some options include Comfort Inn, Super 8, and Motel 6.
  • Hostels: If you’re looking for a more economical option, you can consider staying at a hostel. The Des Lux Hotel offers affordable shared dormitory rooms.
  • Airbnb: Another great option for finding affordable accommodations is Airbnb. There are various listings available in Des Moines, offering rooms or entire apartments at reasonable prices.
  • Campgrounds: For outdoor enthusiasts, there are some campgrounds near Des Moines where you can set up a tent or park your camper. Jester Park and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt are popular options.
  • Extended Stay Hotels: If you’re planning to stay in Des Moines for a longer period, extended stay hotels like Staybridge Suites and Residence Inn by Marriott offer discounted rates for extended stays.

By considering these options, you can find affordable accommodations in Des Moines that fit within your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some family-friendly events happening this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa?

There are several family-friendly events you can attend in Des Moines this weekend. One of them is “Farm School: Backyard Chickens” at Rose Farm in Norwalk, IA on Friday, July 14th from 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM. Children can learn about pollinators, the life cycles of chickens, and participate in a scavenger hunt.

2. Are there any food and drink events taking place this weekend in Des Moines?

Yes, there are food and drink events happening in Des Moines this weekend. You can visit the farmers market at Grimes Farmer’s Market in Grimes, IA on Saturday, July 15th from 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM. They will have fresh produce, flowers, honey, and local vendors available.

3. Can I use a mobile app or QR codes for the West Des Moines Scavenger Hunt for Couples?

No, for the West Des Moines Scavenger Hunt for Couples called “SHOW LOVE (Date Night!)”, participants must use PDF tickets emailed for the event. Mobile app or QR codes will not be accepted.

4. What sporting events are happening this weekend in Des Moines?

This weekend in Des Moines, you can attend the Principal Charity Classic and The Drake Relays, which are both sporting events.

5. How can I stay updated on upcoming events in Des Moines?

To stay updated on upcoming events in Des Moines, you can subscribe to the weekly email newsletter for Des Moines. This will ensure you receive information on the latest events happening in the area.

6. Are there any music events or concerts this weekend in Des Moines?

Yes, there are music events happening this weekend in Des Moines. You can attend the Waukee Arts Festival 2023 at Centennial Park in Waukee, IA on Friday, July 14th and Saturday, July 15th. The festival will feature local artists and live music.

By Jennifer Ian

Jennifer Ian is a 28-year-old neurotic Jew from New York who overcame her anxiety and embarked on life-altering backpacking trips to 18 different countries, proving that even risk-averse individuals can find joy and therapy in the challenges of travel.

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