Explore all that Downtown Des Moines has to offer with museums, activities, restaurants, breweries, nightlife and more. There will always be something to do in this diverse city – experience local culture and unique attractions. Check out some of our favorite hot spots below to help you decide your next adventure in Downtown Des Moines.  


Des Moines Botanical Garden - Visit the vibrant collections of plants and flowers at the Des Moines Botanical Garden. Learn about exotic plant species that you may have never even heard of before! Get your hands dirty and attend a workshop or class, diving deeper into the world of horticulture while having fun at the same time.  

Science Center of Iowa - Where technology and science come together, the Science Center of Iowa is known for its interactive exhibits that provide hands-on learning. Experiment with chemical reactions, build formations, or uncover the world of archeology!  

Des Moines Art Center - Immerse yourself in the local and national art scene with ever-changing exhibits at the Des Moines Art Center in Downtown Des Moines. Walk through thought-provoking collections, explore the outdoor gardens and sculptures, and even enjoy lunch at the onsite restaurant.   

Des Moines Community Playhouse - Known for family-friendly shows and children’s programs, the Des Moines Community Playhouse hosts engaging musical and theatre productions for all ages. Some past shows include; Tinker Bell, Diary of Anne Frank, Singing in the Rain, and more!  

Iowa Cubs - Catch a fly ball at Principal Park in Downtown Des Moines! Grab your season tickets for a summer of fun in the grandstands, munching on ballpark hot dogs, or drinking down a pint of your favorite craft brew.   


Des Moines Civic Center - Home to Broadway smash hits and award-winning Des Moines Symphony, the Des Moines Civic Center hosts theatrical productions and nationally-touring artists. You can see globally-recognized speakers and get a taste of world cultures, right in Downtown Des Moines!    

Pappajohn Sculpture Park - Take an Insta-perfect snapshot among one of many larger-than-life sculptures at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Located in the heart of Downtown Des Moines and surrounded by fantastic architecture, these sculptures stand tall in a beautiful park perfect for a walk, picnic, or bike ride!  

Brenton Skating Plaza - In the winter it's ice skating season, in the summer it becomes an outdoor-concert area full of live music! No matter the time of the year, check out Brenton Skating Plaza for fun activities all year long.  

Iowa State Capitol - You've seen the big gold dome, but have you ever explored what's inside? Visit the Iowa State Capitol and take a guided tour of what makes Iowa's capitol so unique – besides being named one of the country’s most beautiful capital buildings. Check out the magnificent Iowa Law Library, special artifacts, and more!  

Restaurants & Breweries  

Fong's Pizza - A locally owned pizza favorite, with a convenient location right in Downtown Des Moines! This Eastern fusion pizza is famous among our residents and travelers alike. Order up the famous Crab Rangoon pizza or a plate of their specialty egg rolls.   

The Walnut - This restaurant is home in a converted 20's style garage, offering American-style dishes and local craft brews. Order a juicy gourmet burger, sandwiches, and wraps, or snack on spicy corn fritters and pork belly burnt ends.  

El Bait Shop - This unique, offbeat cantina is known for their vast selection of 262 craft brews (America's largest selection of craft beers on tap!) and comfort food eats. With live music, it's always a fun dinner out in Downtown Des Moines at El Bait Shop. Check out menu items such as; the roasted chicken dinner, pot roast, beef stroganoff, pot pies, and more!  

Hessen Haus - Authentic German food and beer - what more could you ask for? Hessen Haus is a festive beer hall featuring over 175 European and German brews, along with a full menu of classic German dishes such as; schnitzel, bratwurst, spaetzle, stroganoff, currywurst, and more!  

La Mie Bakery - Breakfast, lunch, dessert, or snacks - La Mie Bakery in Downtown Des Moines will satisfy that sweet tooth craving! The menu offers a variety of pastries, breakfast platters, quiche, tartines, sandwiches, and more.   

Bubba - Craving a comforting dish of Southern-style favorites? Head over to Bubba to enjoy the upscale ambiance and selection of whiskeys to wash down spicy gumbo, crab cakes, shrimp Po' boy, chicken fried steak or a catfish skillet.  

Outdoor Recreation  

Principal Riverwalk - A convenient trail along the river of Downtown Des Moines, this paved trail is perfect for spotting art murals and taking in the scenic cityscape of downtown.   

Meredith Trail - This trail is perfect for bike riding and walking, weaving you through Pappajohn Sculpture Park and ending along on the river.   

Riverpoint Trail - Ending (or starting) at the river in Downtown Des Moines, get a glimpse of the city along this route as you ride past Principal Park, home to the Iowa Cubs, and along the Riverwalk.