Des Moines, Iowa, has a strong local economy and is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the U.S. One of the reasons for the city's appeal is the wealth of things to do in Des Moines. The city offers a vibrant art scene, an amusement park, a zoo, unique parks, and exciting nightlife.
The Civic Center of Greater Des Moines is the place to go to see Broadway-caliber shows and other live performances. In addition, the Civic Center offers pleasant surroundings and comfortable seats. Local theater fans can also see shows at the Des Moines Community Playhouse. Founded in 1919, this theater showcases local talent in professional-quality productions.
Another of Des Moines' attractions is Adventureland. Adventureland offers more than 100 rides, shows, and other activities. It's a classic amusement park that's fun for all ages. The Blank Park Zoo offers more than 800 animals, along with education programs and a petting zoo for little ones. The Iowa State Fairgrounds also hosts events throughout the year, though the main event is the State Fair in August, which is one of the most popular events in the city.
Those that enjoy the outdoors will find plenty of stuff to do in Des Moines. Pappajohn Sculpture Park offers more than 20 sculptures in tranquil surroundings, and Gray's Lake Park is perfect for walking or biking. It covers 167 acres and has well-lit trails. The Des Moines Botanical Center has more than 1,000 exotic plants, a herb garden, and a nationally recognized bonsai collection.
Des Moines activities also extend into the evening. One of the best local haunts is the Mars Cafe, which offers an extensive beer and wine menu and live music, making it the perfect destination to unwind after a busy day. It also offers a weekend brunch. The Royal Mile is another popular spot, offering an excellent beer selection with the ambiance of a British pub. Enjoying a pint with friends is one of the best things to do in Des Moines.