As our “Destination Spotlight” series moves along, we recently featured Des Moines, Iowa on our nationally syndicated radio show and for good reason. Our time in Des Moines is always unique but some things we can consistently count on are meeting wonderful people, experiencing interesting art and sculpture, enjoying terrific food and music and there’s absolutely no shortage of outdoor activities to explore.In 2019 alone, U.S. News & World Reports named Des Moines the 5th Best Place to Live in America, and the 3rd Most Affordable. Our friends at WalletHub added it to its Top-10 Best Capitals, and Expedia called it 1 of their 11 top cities for a Staycation.
Downtown Des Moines is a lively mix of culture and public art. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park sits on 4.4 acres featuring about 30 works of art. It’s a great addition to Des Moines itself but also is the site of many public events throughout the year. It’s pedestrian-friendly and the caliber of the outdoor art combined with the unique landscape design with an emphasis on a layout organized like an art gallery, puts the park at one of the highest levels of any sculpture park in the U.S. Not to mention, it’s all free to the public!If you’re a garden lover, there’s a beautiful Botanical Garden in Des Moines, there’s the famous Blank Park Zoo, craft beer breweries, many new creative restaurants popping up, and during baseball season, the Triple- A minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs — the Iowa Cubs — calls Principal Park their home and is one of the top drawing minor league baseball teams in the country.
If politics is a passion of yours, Des Moines is an important U.S. city in presidential politics and is the site of the first caucuses of the presidential primary cycle. If you’re interested in seeing presidential candidates in personal, intimate settings, there’s really no better place to go than Des Moines.Since we are in the middle of summer, what’s summer without a visit to a festival of some sort, whether music, food, art, etc? The U.S. has some of the most well attended, fun-filled outdoor festivals in the world and we think one of the best is in Des Moines, Iowa. The Iowa State Fair is internationally acclaimed and attended by roughly one million visitors annually. We’ve enjoyed our time there and often say if you want to understand America — go experience the Iowa State Fair! It’s one of the oldest and largest agricultural expos in the country celebrating the best in the state in farming, products, mid-western food favorites, art, and more. Some refer to it as the heartbeat of the Mid-West and we can attest that is an excellent description! Between the Butter Cow, the corn dogs, the agricultural expos, crafts, music, entertainment and the plethora of mid-western foods — many of which you’ll find served on a stick — the fair is a one of a kind guaranteed great time for all.
This summer if you’re anywhere near Iowa or can grab discount flights in August for a last minute family fun trip, the Fair runs from August 8-18, 2019 and tickets are available in advance and at the Fair.
Des Moines may not be a city most travelers think to ever visit, but we think you’d be pleasantly surprised to see all that it offers.
Safe and Happy Travels!
Robert & Mary Carey, Hosts
America’s #1 Travel Radio Show