Catch Des Moines is committed to attracting and enhancing the experience of all visitors throughout our region. As the tourism and travel industry marketing organization, we want all visitors to experience our region as a welcoming place no matter their backgrounds and abilities. We recognize the importance of diverse views, providing equitable opportunities and making sure everyone feels welcomed and included. This foundation inspires learning, advances innovation, is a catalyst for creativity, and makes life more exciting and fun.

The impact of politics and legislative issues at the state and local level are constantly changing, but our community continues to welcome all groups and all visitors. We invite you to come and experience Greater Des Moines as you are.


Des Moines has a little of everything…for everyone. We’re the Iowa State Fair, but we’re also the Latino Heritage Festival and PrideFest. We’re that tenderloin as big as your head, but we’re also a comforting bowl of Pho and the best birria tacos you’ve ever had. Our region’s minority-owned businesses, retailers, and attractions are the lifeblood of our communities and neighborhoods. And our melting pot of cultures helps tell the story of a progressive, welcoming city in the heart of the Midwest. So, come discover diverse Des Moines. Where no matter who you are, you are welcome.


Des Moines has the largest population of African Americans in any city in Iowa. The population boom began when Fort Des Moines became the site of the Colored Officers Training Camp in 1917. When World War I ended in 1918, many African American families chose to stay in Des Moines. These incredible leaders helped shape the community into what it is today.  

For a deeper dive into African American history, be sure to visit the Historic Jordan House. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a member of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program, it was a designated stopover on the Underground Railroad during the antebellum period. The 1850s Victorian structure in West Des Moines is one of five preserved underground railroad stops in Iowa. You can also check out “A Monumental Journey” sculpture by Kerry James Marshall located in downtown Des Moines along the Principal Riverwalk. This piece of art was designed to honor 12 African American lawyers who created the National Bar Association, an effort that began in Des Moines.


More than 200,000 Latinos from 22 Latino nations call Iowa home, with 21.3% of that population residing in Polk County. The population has grown 110% since the turn of the century, resulting in 1,500 Latino businesses in Greater Des Moines alone. From film festivals to taco trucks, there’s no shortage of ways to experience authentic Latino culture.  

One of the best ways to celebrate that culture is through one of the many festivals that the region hosts each year. The largest celebration is the Latino Heritage Festival in September, the only two-day Latino Heritage festival in the state, featuring music, dance, and food that sizzles. There is also the annual Cinco de Mayo Festival in Historic Valley Junction and Day of the Dead at the Des Moines Art Center, along with diverse and welcoming Latino neighborhoods on Des Moines’ east side.


The Asian American community in Greater Des Moines is the second largest and second fastest-growing population. Many Asian Americans came to Iowa and Des Moines in 1975 when former Governor Robert Ray created a refugee resettlement program. Greater Des Moines is now home to many from varying Asian ethnicities: Bhutanese, Burma, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Japan, Korean, Laotian, Nepalese, Tai Dam, Thai, and Vietnamese.   

The largest celebration of the Asian American community takes places every year during CelebrAsian. The annual event is a diverse and cultural festival offering authentic food, cultural exhibits, live entertainment, and activities for the family. You can also support and celebrate the community any day of the year by visiting the Robert D. Ray Asian Garden. The Garden highlights the importance of diversity and acknowledges the accomplishments that Asian Americans have made to Iowa. For more artistic touches, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park also features Yoshitomo Nara’s “White Ghost.”


The hidden gem of the Midwest, Iowa's capital city is progressive, welcoming, and surprising. Des Moines has a vibrant gay community, with several gay bars in the trendy Historic East Village neighborhood, along with gay-friendly neighborhoods like Sherman Hill, Drake University, and Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines.

Downtown Des Moines is walkable and safe (with a nifty skywalk system), with a sense of style and art permeating every touchpoint, from the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and Des Moines Art Center to the Des Moines Civic Center and the beautiful Iowa State Capitol building. Check out some of the resources below, courtesy of our friends at Capital City Pride, that will help you best explore Des Best city on Earth!