Not quite old enough to order a drink with dinner, but too old to order off the kids' menu? There's still plenty of things to do when you're under 21 in Des Moines! Whether it's a day trip with friends or a long weekend trip with the family, Des Moines is full of places to explore and ways to have fun.
Historic East Village
East Village, located at the eastern edge of downtown Des Moines, is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood featuring dozens of local shops and boutiques. Check out hip Midwestern merch from Domestica, or grab a printed tee of your favorite Iowa tradition or inside joke from Raygun. Feeling hungry for a snack? Head over to Molly's Cupcakes for a gourmet sweet treat.
Historic Valley Junction
This railroad district holds a collection of more than 120 retail businesses, including art galleries, fashion boutiques, antique shops, restaurants, and specialty stores. Find unique home décor pieces or vintage clothing when you explore Valley Junction. During the summer months, be sure to stop by on Thursday evenings for the farmers market featuring live music, tons of vendors, and food trucks.
Jordan Creek Town Center is a two-level enclosed shopping mall with over 100 retailers, a movie theater, and many lakeside restaurants in West Des Moines. At Jordan Creek, you can find popular retailers such as Anthropology, Dry Goods, Scheel's, and Lululemon. After a day of shopping and dining, enjoy a leisurely walk around the scenic lake and maybe snap a selfie or two.
Enjoy fun and games for all ages at Smash Park! Gather your friends for a day of indoor or outdoor entertainment with countless activities from pickleball and shuffleboard to classic arcade games and giant connect four. Stay fueled with an extensive menu featuring comfort favorites like mac and cheese pretzel bowls and loaded nachos.
Catch tickets to a Broadway show or see the symphony at the Des Moines Civic Center. With new productions every few weeks, you can experience world-class culture and entertainment right in downtown Des Moines.
Open your mind when you visit the Des Moines Art Center. Their seasonal exhibits offer a glimpse into the featured artists' intentions, both nationally and locally-recognized. Be sure to explore the surrounding gardens and outdoor sculptures during your visit. Before heading there, grab a skillet of creamy and gooey Mac and cheese from the Cheese Bar.
Catch the latest blockbuster at Flix Brewhouse where you can enjoy food delivered right to your comfy seat! Located right in Merle Hay Mall, you can shop before the show and partake in some friendly competition in the arcade at Gameday.
Movies, bowling, food and games...what more could you ask for? Ankeny B&B Theatres is newly built, modern and chic movie theater perfect for a night out. Challenge each other to a game of bowling, catch a new film, and stay for dinner and arcade games afterward!
Nothing beats live music! With artists from all genres, you’re sure to find some tunes to get you dancing. Check out local bands and national acts spanning country, indie, pop, rock, and more! Make sure to follow Wooly’s on social media for updates about upcoming shows and how to grab your tickets!
Bring back childhood memories of visiting the zoo, by grabbing your friends for an afternoon exploring the animal exhibits at Des Moines' very own Blank Park Zoo! Feed the giraffes, ride the train, laugh with the otters, pet some goats, and more! After your adventure at the zoo, enjoy an excellent southside treat: Classic Frozen Custard.
Rediscover the world of plants like you never have before with the Botanical Gardens. Walk through the indoor dome garden and grab a fresh drink or snack from the plant-inspired Trellis Café. Then, go outside and wander through the beautiful gardens while learning about horticulture and pollinators.
For outdoor adventure seekers, Greater Des Moines is well connected with more than 600 miles of biking and walking trails. Take a ride out on High Trestle Trail and over the bridge, or walk Principal Riverwalk to grab Insta-worthy pics at famous murals. Check out our page for a full list of trails and information.
Plan a day at Adventureland Resort and don’t forget to bring your beach towel and sunscreen for a splashing good time at Adventure Bay waterpark. You and your friends will be entertained all day with thrilling rides, delicious concessions and live shows and interactive attractions throughout the park.