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Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Art Museum
“Opened in 1948, the Des Moines Art Center is the perfect stop-off for art lovers with an interest in modern art.”
  • 27 locals recommend
Sculpture Garden
“Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park features artwork by 24 of the world’s most celebrated artists. 4.4 acres, right at the entryway to downtown Des Moines. ”
  • 28 locals recommend
Burger Joint
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“This is a local staple. Out-of-towners, as well as locals, love to stop here for a bite.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Pizza Place
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“This place is another Des Moines staple. They just opened a second location in Ankeny. Unique pizzas at a great price. Famous for their Crab Rangoon pizza!”
  • 21 locals recommend
Café
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“Well - if you're cutting carbs - you may need to take a holiday and enjoy all the fresh baked deliciousness that La Mie has to offer! This place has great metropolitan energy - excellent breakfast, lunch and brunch menu items, outstanding coffees and all the French breads your heart could ever desire. They are open from Mon-Sat from 7a-4p, the kitchen shuts down at 3p daily - closed on Sunday. Don't miss this one!! ”
  • 17 locals recommend
Food
“Located in the Downtown Historic Court District of the city, this farmers’ market is ideal if you want to support the local community and find over 300 local vendors all selling their wares in the same place. These include farmers, bakers, and artisans, and the market has been running for over 40 years, so know that you are in good hands with some of the best local producers in the business. Farmers who sell their wares at the market come from all 58 counties of Iowa and you can expect local fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs to be sold here, as well as delicious meats. There is entertainment in the form of live music and street performers throughout the day. ”
  • 18 locals recommend
Neighborhood
“East Village is a jewel located downtown​ in Des Moines. There are local shops to browse, coffee shops, casual and fine dining restaurants. You could spend a day strolling along and enjoying. ”
  • 20 locals recommend
Park
“Des Moines Botanical Center is lovely. Beautiful plants indoor and outdoor. It also has a wonderful cafe to eat lunch or just have a cup of coffee. ”
  • 12 locals recommend
Movie Theater
“Science Center of Iowa is fun for adults and children. It has an IMAX theatre with beautiful movies for young and old. Hands on things that keep the kiddos busy all day long. ”
  • 17 locals recommend
Local Government Office
“This is a beautiful building and you can schedule a free tour or just walk in and look around for free! The Capitol grounds are also very nice.”
  • 10 locals recommend
Zoo
“Blank Park Zoo is gorgeous and just the right size. You can see the whole zoo and yet not be exhausted from the day. They have a little train, face painting for the kids, a playground area. It is well kept and clean. A favorite for young and old. ”
  • 10 locals recommend
Coffee Shop
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“This is a great coffee shop conveniently located on the north side of downtown. It’s fun atmosphere with great coffee and sweet treats.”
  • 13 locals recommend
Performing Arts Venue
“The DES MOINES SOCIAL CLUB is an innovative arts and entertainment venue located in a renovated, historic art deco Firehouse in downtown Des Moines. It spans two buildings, multiple floors, an outdoor courtyard and features an art gallery, gift shop, black-box theater, music venue, restaurant, and coffee shop, as well as numerous performance spaces, classrooms, and non-profit office space.”
  • 9 locals recommend
Bar
“Below-ground bar for retro 80s & 90s arcade games & weekly specials, with craft beer & cocktails. This places gets very busier the later you get in the night. We love their old school pin ball machines! ”
  • 14 locals recommend
Park
“Grey's Lake is a gorgeous local lake. It has a two mile walking path, boats for rent. It is a wonderful place to get out and enjoy the city. Located right near downtown Des Moines. ”
  • 10 locals recommend
Brewery
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“(1.2 miles away) Bikers, dogs, families! Good beer and a relaxed atmosphere. I've gone to drinks beers and play Settlers of Catan with friends many times.”
  • 11 locals recommend

Top restaurants

Burger Joint
“This is a local staple. Out-of-towners, as well as locals, love to stop here for a bite.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Pizza Place
“This place is another Des Moines staple. They just opened a second location in Ankeny. Unique pizzas at a great price. Famous for their Crab Rangoon pizza!”
  • 21 locals recommend
Movie Theater
“Flix Brewhouse is America’s only first-run Cinema Brewery. Stop and think about that for a minute -- the best blockbuster movies, amazing on-site brewed beer and delectable hand-made food all crafted by serious movie-beer-food folks. For those who believe that movie going should be so much more than just staring at a screen, Flix Brewhouse is a game-changer.”
  • 15 locals recommend
Pizza Place
“Want those "high-end dining” feels without going broke? This is the place to be. Delicious Mediterranean/Italian/Moroccan-inspired food -- small plates, appetizers, and entrees. They also known for their AMAZING unique wood-roasted pizzas (I recommend). Come during their happy hours during 3-6pm and get your pizza and beer half off – super good deal.”
  • 10 locals recommend
Restaurant
“If you like beer, you will LOVE the Taproom. A beer hall-style setting in downtown Des Moines with 99 taps featuring all Iowa craft brews and a variety of American food favorites. 99 Taps from over 35 Iowa Breweries Browse the beers. Good food too! And a CupCake shop next door. ”
  • 7 locals recommend
Italian Restaurant
“Sunday brunch is great and reasonably priced. Dinner entrees are over-priced and mediocre. Hamburgers are very good and reasonably priced. ”
  • 8 locals recommend
Restaurant
“A favorite place if you're in the mood for fancy brunch and mimosas, but also an excellent choice for well-priced, elegant dinner or for parties/events.”
  • 10 locals recommend
Restaurant
“Personally, my favorite cocktail bar in Des Moines if for no other reasons than the Caipirinha (not on the menu, be sure to ask), the hidden outdoor patio, and the occasional jazz on the weekends. ”
  • 6 locals recommend

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