In addition to being the political, financial and commercial capital of Iowa, Des Moines was named the “Best Place for Business and Careers” by none other than Forbes magazine. But that’s just business and you know what they say about “all work and no play…”

living history farms

Living History Farms 1.2 Miles

A 500-acre collection of working farms, blacksmith shops and a fully recreated 1870s town, Living History Farms is a vibrant, open-air museum that examines how the earliest Hawkeyes transformed the fertile, untamed prairie of Iowa into the most productive farmland in the country.

Jordan Creek town center

Jordan Creek Town Center 4 Miles

The top shopping, dining and entertainment destination in Des Moines has it all. Brand name stores, from Abercrombie and Brookstone to Yankee Candle and Zales Jewelers. Thirteen restaurants and bars, including Bar Louie, The Cheesecake Factory and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. You’ll also find a Century Theaters and a children’s play area, too (Like we said, this place has it all).

drake relays

Drake University 7 Miles

Recognized as one of the finest universities in the Midwest, Drake is home to the Drake Relays, a century-old meet that has become one of the nation’s premier track and field competitions. In addition to an up-close, behind-the-scenes look at world-class athletes in action, the campus buzzes with fun traditions, including Street Painting, alumni reunions, an indoor pole vaulting contest and an open-to-all-ages mile run through the heart of downtown Des Moines.

Iowa Events Center

Lowa Events Center 9 Miles

Located in downtown Des Moines, this state-of-the-art convention and entertainment complex is comprised of the 100,000-square-foot Hy-Vee Hall exhibition center, Wells Fargo Arena for sporting events and concerts and the 28,730-square-foot Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. In addition to Iowa’s top conventions, you can catch Iowa Wild minor league hockey games, the NBA Development League’s Iowa. (Photos courtesy of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau.)

blank park zoo

Blank Park Zoo 16 Miles

“Iowa’s Wildest Adventure!” also happens to be the only accredited zoo in the entire state. In addition to exotic species from tropical rainforests, the Australian Outback, Africa and the Arctic, the zoo offers educational classes, tours and facilities for private events.

Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines Arts Center 7 Miles

Established in 1948, this world-class museum houses an extensive collection of paintings, sculpture, modern art and mixed media. In addition to docent-guided and self-guided tours, the museum provides film exhibitions and seasonal classes for children and adults.

Prairie Meadows

Prairie Meadows Casino and Race Track 19 Miles

Located in nearby Altoona, this thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack and casino offers high-stakes gaming thrills of every kind. The 24-hour casino features more than 2,000 slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette tables and a smoke-free poker room. The one-mile dirt track and clubhouse features live and simulcast horse racing. If gaming’s not your thing, catch a live show at the Meadows, which has hosted acts ranging from Smokey Robinson, B.B. King and Tony Bennett to Travis Tritt and ZZ Top.

adventureland

Adventureland Amusement and Water Park 19 Miles

Thrill Rides like roller coasters, anti-gravity launches, a 260-foot giant swing, and something called “The Inverter.” Waterslides, lazy rivers, and a splash park. Kiddie rides for the smaller set. Iowa’s #1 family fun park has something for kids of all ages!

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