Exploring Des Moines in A Day

If you’re like me, you love visiting new places. With the pandemic, it’s been hard to do that. In fact, the last time I was ever on a plane was over a year ago! During spring break, however, I decided to be spontaneous and plan a trip to Des Moines, Iowa. It was towards the end of spring break, which meant I technically only had a day to spend. However, I managed to fit a lot in a single day! So, if you’re looking for a perfect place to get away for just a day, definitely consider Des Moines. Here are the places I visited in a day, and definitely encourage you to do so too.

  1. After about a three-hour drive, the first thing you’ll want to do when you get to Des Moines is to get some food. St. Kilda’s is the perfect place as it has both food and coffee, which means you can opt for your fuel of choice. I ordered their avocado toast with a poached egg and it was honestly one of the best avocado toasts I’ve ever had. The dine-in area has a very clean aesthetic, so if you are looking to get some brunch pictures, this would be the place to go.

  2. Open sign

    One of Des Moines’ most vibrant districts, the East Village is definitely an area you’ll want to visit while you’re in town. There are various shops lined along the streets, and some of my favorites include Marv’s Record Store and Porch Light. If you are planning on driving down to the East Village, or frankly any other part of Des Moines, I would recommend carrying multiple quarters with you since there are meters sprinkled everywhere around the city.

  3. With artwork from over 20 of the world’s most celebrated artists, John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is the perfect place to visit to appreciate the art and take some pictures. I got some coffee from Horizon Line Coffee before heading over, and spent at least 30 minutes at the sculpture park.

  4. Woman at art museum

    Speaking of art, the DSM Art Center should be on your list of places to check out in Des Moines, especially if you are an art lover. Tickets are free, but you need to make a reservation before heading in. They even offer virtual tours of some of their exhibitions on their website, so even if you can’t travel to Des Moines, you can appreciate the art pieces virtually!

  5. Located right next to the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge, the Robert D. Ray Asian Garden has an Asian pavilion and a Diversity Circle Granite Slab, among many other attractions that aim to highlight the importance of diversity. It was the last stop I made before heading back to Kansas City, and the sunset I saw before leaving was truly spectacular. The Asian Garden would also definitely be a perfect spot for a picnic, or even to take a breather before exploring the rest of Des Moines.

I hope at least one of these places will make it on your list the next time you visit Des Moines. Do remember to wear your mask and practice social distancing, regardless of whether or not you are visiting Des Moines. Together, we can help stop the spread of the virus and ensure things get back to normal quicker so that we can all travel again.