Des Moines Travel Guide & Information

The name, Des Moines, like its riverfront city, is beautiful and unique in everyway – whether it’s during the day or at night. The bridges – like the Court, Grand, Walnut and Locust – that cross over the Des Moines River are an architectural phenomenon.

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In fact, Des Moines is the capital of Iowa. Moreover, this pristine city, unlike New York or Chicago, remains untarnished by the advances of modern society; thus, it keeps it head up high knowing that its city streets have yet to be corrupted.

Everything about this city is innocent and welcoming from its warm-hearted inhabitants to its many great family-fun attractions – with the exception that this was the city where Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat! Who ever said this city was dull?


Things to do in Des Moines

Daytime Attractions:

Blank Park Zoo: Zebras, lions, giraffes, red pandas, South African penguins and more exotic animals greet you in joy as you walk through the zoo. One of the coolest things about this zoo is the fact that this is the only zoo where you can spend the night there through its Indoor Night Safari program! How cool is that? Sleep in the midst of unique and exotic live animals only to awake to the call of the Sun Bittern bird in the morning.

General Admission: Adults [13-64]($10.95); Senior [65+]($8.95); Kid [3-12]($5.95); & Kids [2 & under](FREE).

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Address: 7401 SW 9th Street.

Contact Information: 1-512-285-4722

Salisbury Hotel and Gardens: This 16th century historic castle has become one of the most prominent landmarks in Des Moines. It is lavished with stained-colored sky, antique furnish, and decadent taste you’ll you’d want to have more and more.

General Admission: Adult ($7) seniors ($6); Kids ($3).

Address: 4025 Tonawanda Drive.

Contact Information: 1-515-274-1777


A Dong: This quaint Thai & Vietnamese restaurant has a simple and unimpressive façade, and definitely not eye-catching – you wouldn’t look twice. However, as real food enthusiasts know that you never go wrong finding the best tasting food in the decrepit looking like boutique restaurants or side vendors. In fact, A Dong is considered exactly one of those, simple in decorations, but spell-binding in food and service.

Address: 1511 High Street.

Contact Information: 1-515-284-5632

The Pasticceria: This restaurant welcomes you with the Italian hospitality from its selection of impressive wines, exquisite pastas and the regular, Pizza. Its décor is contemporary and cozy with baskets hanging over the windows to give you that true Italian vibe and atmosphere.

Address: 215 4th Street.

Contact Information: 1-515-288-3151

Nighttime Attraction:

Blues on Grand: Feel the vibe and groove to the Blues while sipping on a mug of beer. Rated by the Blues Foundation as one of the best Blues club in United States, the Blues on Grand will blow your mind away from its superb staff, atmosphere and crowd to the live Blues bands featured five or more a week.

Address: 1501 Grand Avenue.

Contact Information: 1-515-244-3092


Where to Stay in Des Moines

Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel: Starting at $109 [prices may vary] per night (stay for 2), you’ll find yourself in a beautiful accommodation adjacent to the business distance attractions such as Des Moines Civic Center, State Historical Museum and many more. Its amenities feature the restaurant BOS and the lounge Mohican’s Speakeasy Lounge, an indoor pool, a whirlpool, a fitness center and many more.

Address: The Renaissance Des Moines is located at 401 Locust Street.

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Contact Information: 1-515-244-2151

Holiday Inn Express: Starting at $89.95 [prices may vary] per night (stay for 2), you’ll be in the vicinity of all major attractions in Des Moines such as Blank Park Zoo and Civic/Convention Center. It has a chic and contemporary renaissance façade, and a quaint and simple interior décor. Its amenities feature high-speed internet, great service, parking lot, complimentary breakfast and many more.

Address: 1140 24th Street.

Contact Information: 1-515-255-4000

Des Moines Marriot: Starting at $89 [prices may vary] per night (stay for 2), this chic and contemporary hotel nestles in the heart of downtown Des Moines. Its décor looks like it was dragged out of one of the photos you see in an interior designing magazine. Its amenities feature the on-site restaurant Rock River Grill & Tavern, indoor pool and whirlpool, health club and many more.

Address: 700 Grand Avenue.

Contact Information: 1-515-245-5500


Passport & Visa Requirements (this is only for the states of the US)

For US Citizens:

Any sort of valid identification (Identification card) in order to board the plane. Note, passport is not needed if you have an identification card to show.

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For Non-US Citizens:

* Passport will be needed

* Non-immigrant visa for temporary stay must be obtained showing your purpose to U.S.

For Canadians: (just one will be needed)

* Passport will be needed

* Nexus Card

We strongly recommend you to check out the latest travel alerts, various airlines baggage policies and travel safety tips.

*Kindly note that we take the utmost care in providing you with correct information at all times. However, the passport and visa regulations are subject to change and we strongly urge you to check the requirements directly with the US passport office and, or the Canadian Passport Office before traveling.


When to visit Des Moines

The busiest time to travel to Des Moines is during the months of summer, Des Moines’ peak season, when weather is warmest. Vacationers flock to Des Moines during the summer for its awesome outdoor activities and the warm weather makes the elegant city of Des Moines a paradise city. However, hotel rates and airfares tend to be more expensive during this period, so if you’re looking for a cheap stay and a frugal vacation you can go during the months of winter, its off-peak season.

P.S. The secret is going during early fall (September), colorful fall foliage, or late spring (May), memorable spring blossoms, when the weather is just below 70 degrees.

Des Moines Weather

Average Annual Temperature: 49.9 Degrees

Average Max Temperature: 59.8 Degrees

Average Min. Temperature: 40 Degrees

December - February: 22.8 Degrees

March - May: 50.2 Degrees

June - August: 74.1 Degrees

September – November: 52.5 Degrees

Average Rainfall (inches/year): 33.1 inches.

Currency and Language:


The main language spoken in Des Moines is English.

Other languages:

* Spanish (5.4%)

* Indo-European Languages (2.6%)

* Asian & Pacific Island Languages (2.9%)