Des Moines, Iowa

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Des Moines, Iowa


Geographic Coordinates: 41.572500, -93.610500
Temperature Range: -40.0°C to 40.0°C (-40°F to 104°F)
Climate: Climate and weather patterns in Des Moines vary throughout the year.
Population: 514654
Language: English

Des Moines, Located in the heart of Iowa, Is a thriving city with a rich history dating back to its founding in 1846. The city’s downtown area boasts an impressive skyline with high-rise buildings including the iconic Financial Center building that stands at 45 stories tall. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city from various points throughout downtown or take a stroll along one of the many scenic trails that wind through its parks.

The city is home to several cultural institutions such as the Des Moines Art Center and Science Center of Iowa which offer visitors an opportunity to explore art, History, And science. History buffs will appreciate visiting Living History Farms where they can experience life on an 1875 farm firsthand. Sports fans will find plenty to cheer about in Des Moines as well with several minor league teams including baseball’s Iowa Cubs and soccer’s Des Moines Menace. Additionally, Drake University hosts NCAA Division I athletics events throughout the year.

Foodies will love exploring Des Moines’ burgeoning culinary scene featuring innovative chefs and local ingredients. From farm-to-table bistros to traditional Midwestern fare like pork tenderloin sandwiches or sweet corn on-the-cob; there are plenty of delicious options available for every palate.

Nature lovers will appreciate all that Des Moines has to offer with over 90 parks covering more than 4, 000 acres throughout the metro area providing ample opportunities for hiking or biking trails as well as fishing or kayaking on nearby rivers like Raccoon River or Saylorville Lake. Des Moines is a dynamic city that offers something for everyone whether you’re interested in exploring its cultural institutions, Cheering on local sports teams, Dining at award-winning restaurants or enjoying the great outdoors; there’s no shortage of things to do in this Midwestern gem.

Important Landmarks

  1. Iowa State Capitol Building
  2. Pappajohn Sculpture Park
  3. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
  4. Science Center of Iowa
  5. Blank Park Zoo
  6. Principal Park Stadium
  7. Salisbury House and Gardens
  8. Des Moines Art Center
  9. East Village District
  10. Jordan Creek Town Center Mall

Primary Industries

  1. Insurance: Des Moines is known as the insurance capital of the world due to the presence of many large insurance companies such as Principal Financial Group, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and American Equity Investment Life Holding Company.
  2. Finance: The city has a strong financial industry with companies like Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Bankers Trust having their headquarters in Des Moines.
  3. Healthcare: Major healthcare providers in Des Moines include UnityPoint Health, Mercy Medical Center, and Iowa Health System.
  4. Manufacturing: The city has a diverse manufacturing sector with companies like John Deere Des Moines Works producing agricultural equipment and Vermeer Corporation manufacturing industrial equipment.
  5. Technology: Technology firms such as Microsoft Corporation have established offices in Des Moines while others like Dwolla Inc., are headquartered there.
  6. Agriculture: As Iowa’s capital city, agriculture plays an important role in its economy with agribusinesses such as DuPont Pioneer being located there.
  7. Education: Higher education institutions including Drake University and Grand View University are located within the city limits of Des Moines along with several public school districts serving surrounding communities.

Noteable History

  1. The founding of Des Moines in 1843.
  2. The construction of the Iowa State Capitol building in 1884.
  3. The Great Flood of 1993 that devastated parts of Des Moines and surrounding areas.
  4. Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, was born in West Branch, Iowa (about an hour away from Des Moines).
  5. Carrie Chapman Catt, a women’s suffrage leader and founder of the League of Women Voters, was born in Ripon, Wisconsin but spent much of her life in Iowa including attending college at Iowa State University.
  6. Robert D. Ray, former Governor of Iowa who served from 1969 to 1983 and played a key role in welcoming refugees from Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War era.
  7. Simon Estes, a world-renowned bass-baritone opera singer who was born and raised in Centerville (about an hour south-east from Des Moines) but has performed on stages across the globe including at Carnegie Hall and with major opera companies like New York City Opera.
  8. Bill Bryson is an author known for his humorous travel writing books such as A Walk In The Woods which details his time hiking on the Appalachian Trail – he grew up just outside Des Moines before moving to England as an adult where he began his writing career.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Des Moines Art Center
  2. Iowa State Capitol Building
  3. Pappajohn Sculpture Park
  4. Salisbury House and Gardens
  5. Science Center of Iowa
  6. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
  7. Living History Farms
  8. World Food Prize Hall of Laureates
  9. Blank Park Zoo
  10. State Historical Museum of Iowa

Sports Teams

  1. The Iowa Cubs are a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Chicago Cubs and play in the Pacific Coast League. They have been located in Des Moines since 1969 and have won four division titles.
  2. The Des Moines Buccaneers are a junior ice hockey team that plays in the United States Hockey League. Established in 1980, they have won two league championships.
  3. The Des Moines Menace is a semi-professional soccer club that competes in the Premier Development League (PDL). Founded in 1994, they have earned multiple division titles.
  4. The Iowa Energy were a professional basketball team that played in the NBA G League from 2007 to 2017 and won one championship title during their time as a team.
  5. Drake University’s athletic teams, known as the Bulldogs, participate at various levels of collegiate sports such as basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, tennis, golf, cross country and track & field among others.
  6. Grand View University’s athletic teams are called Vikings and compete at different levels of collegiate sports including football wrestling, basketball etc..
  7. The all-female roller derby league named “Des Moines Derby Dames” started out with just five members back in 2008 but now has around sixty active skaters on their roster competing against other leagues across Midwest region of US.

Cultural Events

  1. Iowa State Fair is one of the largest and most popular state fairs in the country, featuring agricultural exhibits, concerts, food vendors, and carnival rides.
  2. Des Moines Arts Festival is a three-day event that showcases local and national artists, musicians, and performers.
  3. World Food & Music Festival is a celebration of cultural diversity through food and music from around the world.
  4. Latino Heritage Festival is a two-day festival celebrating Latino culture with music, dance performances, food vendors, and cultural exhibits.
  5. CelebrAsian Heritage Festival is an annual event that celebrates Asian-Pacific American heritage with cultural performances, food vendors, arts & crafts booths.
  6. Des Moines Renaissance Faire is a weekend-long medieval festival featuring jousting tournaments and live entertainment including jugglers and magicians.
  7. Hinterland Music Festival is an annual summer music festival held in St Charles near Des Moines which features a diverse lineup of indie rock bands.
  8. Drake Relays are one of America’s oldest track meets held annually at Drake University in April.
  9. Pridefest- Annual LGBTQIA+ celebration held every June featuring parades,music,dance performances etc.
  10. Juneteenth Celebration- Annual event commemorating the end of slavery in United States featuring African-American history,culture,music,dancing etc.


  1. Iowa-style pizza at Fong’s Pizza.
  2. Pork tenderloin sandwiches at Jethro’s BBQ.
  3. Steak and seafood at Django.
  4. Italian food at Centro.
  5. Tacos and margaritas at Tacopocalypse.
  6. Farm-to-table cuisine at Alba.
  7. Mediterranean food at Eatery A.
  8. Korean barbecue and sushi rolls at A Dong Market & Restaurant.
  9. Craft beer and pub fare at El Bait Shop.
  10. Authentic Mexican dishes from La Michoacana Meat Market & Taqueria.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Gray’s Lake Park offers walking trails, fishing, boating, and a beach area.
  2. Water Works Park features bike trails, picnic areas, and a large pond for fishing.
  3. Pappajohn Sculpture Park showcases contemporary art pieces in an outdoor setting.
  4. Des Moines Botanical Garden displays various plants and flowers from around the world.
  5. Brenton Arboretum is a 140-acre park with over 2,000 trees and shrubs to explore.
  6. Principal Riverwalk is a scenic walkway along the Des Moines River with restaurants and shops nearby.
  7. Blank Park Zoo is home to over 800 animals from around the world including lions, tigers, giraffes, and more!
  8. Adventureland Amusement Park & Resort is an amusement park with rides for all ages as well as waterpark attractions.
  9. Greater Des Moines Softball Complex is home of USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex.
  10. Southridge Mall is a shopping mall that has various stores like Target, Walmart, etc.


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