The capital of Iowa isn't exactly what you'd call a city with famous attractions but there are still enough things to do if you end up spending time here. Don't miss the Iowa State Fair. It is fun to watch all those "Iowa's biggest pumpkin" award or whatever else vegetable or animal decided to grow very big. Plus the food is always to die for. And if you think you ate too much, just take one of the trails and work off those calories.
WHAT TO DO
While Des Moines doesn't have any spectacular places for which to be famous world-wise, for those looking for a relaxed holiday, there are plenty of places to enjoy.
Iowa is known for having one of the most beautiful capitol buildings in the US. It is very easy to spot thanks to its 23-karat gold leaf dome. There are tours available each day of the week (except weekends) and they last between half an hour and an hour and half. Visitors particularly enjoy the woodwork and the 29 different types of marble used in the building.
Iowa State Fair draws more than 1 million visitors each year and is famous for featuring "Iowa's biggest..." award for pretty much anything, from pumpkins to horses and corn. During the day, the food stands are the main center of attraction while during the night the stage is taken by the popular acts such as Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, or Alicia Keys. The fair lasts for 10 days and is a great place to spend some time with the family.
The Recreational Trails are expending each year and they are suited for walkers, hikers and bikers. Also Saylorville Lake and Big Creek State Park are located very close to downtown and offer the possibility to practice water sports, explore the trails, fish and camp.
You have to get a real taste of rural Iowa while visiting Des Moines, so make sure to head to the Downtown Farmer's Market which is open from May to October.
Des Moines International Airport had a bad reputation of being expensive in the past but now things are starting to change and there are enough flights to Des Moines available. If you decide to drive to the airport, you can save both money and time if you book Des Moines airport parking online before you leave.
WHERE TO STAY
There are plenty of Des Moines hotels to choose from and they prices are very affordable. Most of them are located near the airport. Also, most of the hotel chains are present in the area so there are enough places to choose from. There aren't any official hostels in Des Moines but there are enough budget places to stay which are suited for backpackers.