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…”
When you’re ready to get out and explore, the Clive and Des Moines areas have local dining and popular activities for everyone. Start with the Iowa State Fair in August, one of the best state fairs in the country with ten days of concerts, food, livestock shows and contests, food, amusement park rides, food and a butter sculpting contest (did we mention the food?) If you’re not lucky enough to visit in August, there are still countless ways to get out and make the most of your stay in the Hawkeye State. Below, you’ll find our top picks for Iowa attractions just a short drive from Sterling Hotel and Suites.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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!