Des Moines, Iowa, is one of those cities that I take for granted that it’s so near. We’ve visited the city just a handful of times since I started this blog, and each time, we discover something new and exciting. It’s probably time I compile some of the greatest hits of our DSM adventures for you!
COVID-19 Update: Businesses in the state of Iowa is opening at a limited capacity, so double check before your visit to see what the restrictions are. Either contact the restaurant or attraction or see if there is an update on Catch Des Moines, the city’s official tourism website. Check the Iowa Department of Public Health for the latest health updates.
Sample family-friendly weekend itinerary for Des Moines
Based on both experiences, and on my experience of always stopping at a particular restaurant in Des Moines every.single.chance. I get, here is my suggested itinerary.
Spend the day in downtown Des Moines. If it’s a Saturday and it’s summer, stroll through the farmer’s market. Sample a few foods as you make your way down the street to your first destination: The Science Center of Iowa.
After a few hours there, you’ll be hungry. Lucky for you, Fong’s Pizza is on the same block. Get the crab rangoon pizza. Just trust me.
If your kids are, somehow, still full of energy, have them run it out at the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden. If you’d rather be indoors, head to the state capitol building for a tour.
End the night with a crazy huge burger at Zombie Burger in the Historic East Village.
Hope you’re rested. Today you can choose between thrills at Adventureland or history and cows at the Living History Farms. Either way, you’ll be walking a lot and probably really hot by the end of the day.
If you’re at Adventureland, just plan on eating in the park for lunch.
At the Living History Farms, you’re not farm from the Machine Shed. The servings are huge, so I hope you’re hungry.
For dinner, pick something off Megan’s list of the best restaurants in Des Moines. And, um, take a shower before you go.
Where to stay in Des Moines
To be honest, I don’t have a favorite hotel in Des Moines, but I can recommend a few that are near some attractions, and maybe that will be enough of a deciding factor.
If you are planning to spend a day or two at Adventureland, I wrote about the hotel that’s super close to the amusement park.
If your plans take you to West Des Moines (or further), we stayed at the Wildwood Lodge in Clive. This one had a pretty cool lodge theme to it and the kids loved the pool.