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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!

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    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.

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