Free Things to do in Greater Des Moines
There is no shortage of free things to do in Des Moines! If arts and culture is your thing, explore the Des Moines Art Center, Moberg Gallery, or the John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines. Learn about the history of Iowa at the State Historical Museum or check out the long list of Iowa athletes that have made a lasting impact at the Iowa Hall of Pride. Meander shopping districts such as Historic Valley Junction, Historic East Village and West Glen Town Center where exploring is free! Enjoy the Des Moines Public Library who hosts an array of unique events every week. Enjoy a long list of free attractions in Des Moines year-round. Save on your budget and do more for less in Greater Des Moines.
ART CENTERS, GALLERIES, & SCULPTURE PARKS
- Des Moines Art Center
- Ankeny Art Center
- Moberg Gallery
- John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park
- State Historical Museum of Iowa
- World Food Prize Hall of Laureates
- Iowa State Capitol
- Iowa Hall of Pride
- Carnegie Library Museum
- Celebrate! Innovation Exhibition
- Historic Swanson House and Clive Depot
- Iowa Gold Star Military Museum
Ankeny Art CenterBack to Top of List
The Ankeny Art Center, just minutes from downtown, features gallery space for local artists work. With new exhibitions every 6-8 weeks, it’s easy to catch something new each time you are there. They also offer art classes for an additional charge.
Moberg GalleryBack to Top of List
Moberg Gallery is a contemporary gallery representing fine Midwest artists that work in various mediums including paintings, metalworks, glass and more.
John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture ParkBack to Top of List
The John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in the heart of downtown Des Moines. This 28-piece art park features the work of world renowned artists. It’s a great place to snap a photo!
Another hidden art gem in Greater Des Moines is the Hoyt Sherman Art Gallery and Museum. Founded in 1885, the Des Moines Women's Club knew that an art collection was needed in the city. This is now recognized as one of the earliest and most distinctive in Iowa, and you can get a look at the Hoyt Sherman Art Gallery and Museum. Open weekdays from 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. and guided tours are available!
Historical Museums & Exhibits
Iowa Hall of PrideBack to Top of List
From Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson to NBA All Star Fred Hoiberg, the Iowa Hall of Pride showcases some of Iowa’s greatest natives. All ages can enjoy interactive exhibits. This is free to all Iowa students.
Historic Swanson House and Clive DepotBack to Top of List
Explore the historic center of Clive, which was platted in 1882 by touring the Historic Swanson House and Clive Depot. Guided tours are available to learn more about the history of the people and businesses of the city of Clive
Iowa Gold Star Military MuseumBack to Top of List
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum displays artifacts and tells the story of Iowa veterans from the Mexican War of 1846 to present day. The museum also houses a reference library on military subjects and Iowa veterans.