Login | Register | Subscribe to the GG RSS Feed

Getting to Know Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines has something of interest if you take the time to look

Your life might be a highway, but your vacation doesn't have to be. You can be connected 50 weeks of the Des Moines, IowaDes Moines, Iowayear, but for 2 weeks give yourself permission to get off the freeway, away from the billboards and aggression. And then steer yourself somewhere simpler.


Locals refer to it as "Dead Moans" and author Bill Bryson declared that he's from Des Moines because Des Moines, IowaDes Moines, Iowa"someone had to be." But look a little closer and you'll find a thriving arts community, some good eating and, of course, lots of fun things to do.

Over the next few days we'll be posting all you'll need to know if you're planning a road trip to Iowa.

  • Des Moines Hotels
  • West Des Moines Attractions
  • East Des Moines Attractions
  • Des Moines Nightlife
  • In the meantime, chew on these "Need to Know" Des Moines factoids:


  • Des Moines International Airport offers limited air services, but Greyhound schedules daily routes to Chicago and Omaha.
  • If you're not driving here, you can rely on public transportation, cabs or a rental car to get yourself where you want to go.
  • Weather

    Des Moines enjoys an unnaturally cozy relationship with Old Man Winter, so unless you're made of sterner stuff, visit during the spring when temperatures moderate to a more sane level. By the way, summer is just as uncomfortable as winter with temperatures and humidity rivaling for top ranking.



    Des Moines began life as Fort Des Moines, a military post that evolved into a farming community. During WW1, more than 100,000 Iowans trained for combat here. Like all farming communities, Des Moines struggled to reinvent itself during the Depression and emerged a major Mid-west business center. Today, it's the 3rd largest insurance center in the world.


    Special Events

    Listed in Lonely Planet's, "10000 Places to See Before You Die," the Iowa State Fair celebrated their 150th anniversary in August 2004. They still hold hog- and husband-calling contests, a 500-pound butter cow, and needlepoint and vegetable contests. But don't discount it as all kitschy. Garth Brooks, Kid Rock and Clay Aiken are just a few of the big-name performers who grace the stage, and there are more than 900 food categories to chomp your way through.

    More Information

  • Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Des Moines Register
  • Iowa.com
  • TravelIowa.com
  • Ever been to Des Moines? Love it or hate it, let us know!

    Related Stories

    Rate This post


    I disagree with referring to Des Moines as a small town, Des Moines is a city for one thing not a town. And although it is smaller than Chicago or St. Louis it is still quite a large city for the midwest. Des Moines also has a happening night life for those who are 21+. Yea it may not be the ideal place to spend a vacation, but it is by no means a "dead" city. Des Moines is also a great place to live, especially if your trying to get started in the business world, there is great networking.

    Post new comment

    GoGirlfriend Recommendations

    Connect With Us



    Membership is free and with it you can set up a profile, vote on stories and post your opinions.

    Already a member?

    Not a member? Join!

    Most Recent Comments

    • On Lesbian Adventure Travel, ELLA Travel said "Thanks for the great article!! If you're travelling to Europe check the ELLA International Lesbian Festival (ellafestival.com) and ELLA Travel (ella-travel.com), organising lesbian events and trips! "
    • On 5 Nudist Resorts that Will Blow Your Mind, John Ruze said "Hi Julia, There is a brand new, very popular nudist resort you should think about reporting on in your next article about naturism. It is the New Terra Cotta Clothing Optional Resort and Spa in sunny Palm Springs, California.. The original Terra Cotta Inn was a fantastic nude resort. Repeat guests from around the world stayed there. TCI was sold in Nov 2015 and greatly missed. Well, this July 2017, it was revived at a new location in Palm Springs. The site is HotelTerraCotta.com. Guests are super happy. It's perfect for couples and girlfriend getaways. And Tom and Mary Clare from the original Terra Cotta Inn work with us, so it has the same relaxing, fun feel. "
    • On The Best Naturist Resorts in Ontario, Dennis Wilson said "Love the freedom feeling going nude . 1st time ever was at freedom fields ranch near Tamworth On,Hector & Eyvon are super hosts ,hope to visit this summer but want to learn of more places to visit."
    • On An Open Letter to Hotels Everywhere, Lynn said "I agree on the night light thing. Since hotels have none, I end up keeping the bathroom light on all night with the door ajar. Windows. I understand in the litigious US of A, hotels need to prevent folks from throwing themselves out the windows (or else the hotel could be sued?!!). Ok, fine. But for those of us who dislike A/C and only use it when absolutely necessary, can't we still have the option for some FRESH AIR? There ARE ways to allow windows to open up only so much, while at the same time preventing an entire body from throwing itself out the window. Bedskirts. Am I the only one who gets the skeevies when I see hotel beds with bedskirts that hit the floor? I always had images of food crumbs, bugs, and god only knows what...as being hidden behind that bedskirt. I'd much rather a bedskirt that's at least 2" above the (usually carpetted) floor. Towels. Can't we get nicer towels that don't feel like cardboard? Carpetting. Am I the only one who never walks barefoot in a hotel room ...esp when there's carpet? Blech. I'm sure those things are very rarely cleaned. "
    • On How to Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin on Your Next Cruise, Tinu said "Thank you for this post! I was dragging my feet about going on a cruise. Now that I know there's such a thing as a balcony cabin, I can't wait to book a trip!"

    Blogs We Love

    beautiful Vancouver, British ColumbiaCheck out our GoGirlfriend Facebook page to follow us as we seek new adventures and create memories in our own part of the world.