Maurizia Thomsen

Written by Maurizia Thomsen

Modified & Updated: 17 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, is a hidden gem nestled in the heartland of the United States. Known for its vibrant culture, thriving economy, and friendly Midwestern charm, Des Moines has slowly but surely captured the attention of travelers and residents alike. From its rich history as a center for agriculture and industry to its modern-day appeal as a hub for arts, entertainment, and innovation, Des Moines has something to offer for everyone.

In this article, we will explore 46 fascinating facts about Des Moines that will give you a deeper understanding of this captivating city. Whether you’re planning a visit, considering a move, or simply curious about this Midwest marvel, you’ll be amazed at the diverse range of information we have in store for you. So sit back, relax, and join us on a virtual journey through the vibrant streets and charming neighborhoods of Des Moines, Iowa.

Key Takeaways:

  • Des Moines, Iowa, is a vibrant city with a rich history, diverse culture, and thriving community, offering something for everyone to explore and enjoy.
  • With over 220 parks, a thriving arts scene, and a low cost of living, Des Moines is a welcoming city that embraces innovation, entrepreneurship, and Midwestern hospitality.
Table of Contents

The name “Des Moines” means “of the monks” in French.

The city gets its name from the nearby Des Moines River, which was named by early French explorers.

Des Moines is home to more than 220 parks and 81 miles of trails.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a plethora of green spaces and recreational opportunities in and around the city.

The Iowa State Fair, held in Des Moines, is one of the largest and oldest state fairs in the United States.

Every August, the fairgrounds come alive with livestock shows, concerts, carnival rides, and deep-fried delicacies.

Des Moines has a thriving arts and culture scene.

The city is home to numerous museums, theaters, and art galleries, showcasing both local and international talent.

The World Food & Music Festival is an annual event that celebrates the diverse culinary traditions of Des Moines.

Visitors can sample delectable dishes from around the world while enjoying live music and cultural performances.

Des Moines is known as the “Insurance Capital of the World.”

Many insurance companies have their headquarters in the city, contributing significantly to its economy.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden features an impressive collection of plants from around the world.

Visitors can explore the tropical and desert biomes, as well as the outdoor gardens and sculpture park.

The Des Moines Art Center houses works by renowned artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Henri Matisse.

Art enthusiasts can admire a diverse range of contemporary and modern art at this esteemed institution.

The state capitol building in Des Moines is one of the few with a golden dome.

Its distinctive dome is covered in 23-karat gold leaf, making it a prominent landmark in the city’s skyline.

Des Moines has a strong sporting culture, with professional teams in baseball, soccer, hockey, and more.

Residents and visitors can cheer on their favorite teams at various stadiums and arenas throughout the city.

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines showcases an impressive collection of modern sculptures.

Visitors can stroll through the park and appreciate the unique and thought-provoking artwork on display.

Des Moines experiences all four seasons, with hot summers and cold winters.

From colorful fall foliage to blankets of snow, the city offers diverse weather throughout the year.

The Iowa State Capitol is located in Des Moines and is recognized for its beautiful architecture.

Visitors can take guided tours to learn more about the building’s history and see stunning interior features.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market in Des Moines is one of the largest in the country.

Every Saturday morning, vendors from across Iowa gather to sell fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts.

The Des Moines Symphony is a nationally recognized orchestra that performs a wide range of classical and contemporary music.

Music enthusiasts can enjoy captivating performances by talented musicians in venues throughout the city.

Des Moines is home to several prestigious colleges and universities, including Drake University and Grand View University.

These institutions contribute to the city’s vibrant academic and research community.

The Iowa State Capitol is located on a hill, offering panoramic views of the city from its grounds.

Visitors can enjoy the scenic vistas while exploring the beautifully landscaped Capitol Complex.

The Des Moines River, which runs through the heart of the city, provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and watersports.

Outdoor enthusiasts can experience the natural beauty of the river and its surrounding areas.

The Iowa Cubs, a Triple-A baseball team affiliated with the Chicago Cubs, play their home games at Principal Park in Des Moines.

Baseball fans can catch exciting games and enjoy the lively atmosphere at this popular sports venue.

The Greater Des Moines area has a growing craft beer scene, with several breweries offering unique and flavorful brews.

Beer enthusiasts can embark on a tasting tour and sample a wide range of locally brewed beers.

The Des Moines Riverwalk provides a scenic pathway for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy views of the river and downtown skyline.

It’s a popular spot for outdoor recreation and leisurely strolls.

The Iowa State Capitol building offers free tours to visitors, providing fascinating insights into the state’s history and government.

Guided tours take visitors through the grand halls and chambers, showcasing the building’s architectural marvels.

The Des Moines Register, a prominent newspaper headquartered in the city, has a rich history dating back to 1849.

It remains one of the most reliable sources of news and information for residents of Des Moines.

The Principal Financial Group, one of the largest financial services firms in the United States, is headquartered in Des Moines.

The company has played a significant role in the city’s economic growth and development.

Des Moines hosts numerous annual events and festivals, including the Des Moines Arts Festival and the Iowa State Fair.

These celebrations showcase the city’s vibrant arts, culture, and agricultural heritage.

The State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines offers a fascinating glimpse into the state’s past.

Visitors can explore exhibits on Native American history, pioneer life, and Iowa’s contributions to national events.

The Iowa State Capitol building features a striking exterior adorned with intricate sculptures and a grand staircase.

It’s a must-visit landmark for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.

The Des Moines Playhouse is a community theater that showcases a wide range of productions, from classic plays to contemporary works.

Theater lovers can enjoy high-quality performances and support local talent.

The Greater Des Moines area has a thriving food scene, with diverse cuisines ranging from farm-to-table fare to international delicacies.

Foodies can indulge in culinary delights at the city’s numerous restaurants, cafes, and food trucks.

The Science Center of Iowa offers interactive exhibits and hands-on learning opportunities for visitors of all ages.

It’s a great place to explore the wonders of science and technology in a fun and engaging way.

The Des Moines Social Club is a vibrant hub for arts, culture, and entertainment in the city.

It offers a wide range of classes, workshops, and events, fostering creativity and community engagement.

The Iowa State Capitol building houses a law library that contains thousands of volumes and legal resources.

Law students and researchers can access valuable reference material in this esteemed institution.

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park features iconic sculptures from renowned artists such as Jaume Plensa and Louise Bourgeois.

Art enthusiasts can appreciate these unique pieces in a serene outdoor setting.

The Greater Des Moines area has a strong cycling culture, with numerous bike lanes and trails for cyclists to explore.

It’s a bike-friendly city, making it easy for residents and visitors to get around on two wheels.

The Des Moines Botanical Garden is home to a variety of exotic plants, including orchids, succulents, and tropical blooms.

Nature lovers can immerse themselves in the serene beauty of the garden’s diverse plant collections.

The Iowa State Capitol building is adorned with stunning murals depicting key events in Iowa’s history.

These intricate artworks add to the building’s grandeur and historical significance.

The East Village in downtown Des Moines is a trendy neighborhood known for its eclectic shops, art galleries, and eateries.

Visitors can explore this vibrant district and discover unique treasures at every turn.

The Des Moines Public Library system consists of six library locations that provide resources, programs, and services to the community.

Book lovers and researchers can access a wide range of materials and engage in educational activities.

The Iowa State Capitol building is surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds, including well-maintained gardens and statues.

It’s a tranquil spot for visitors to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings.

The Greater Des Moines area has a strong sense of community, with numerous volunteer opportunities and charitable organizations.

Residents actively contribute to making the city a better place for everyone.

The Des Moines Arts Festival is a three-day event that showcases fine arts, live performances, and interactive activities.

Art enthusiasts can appreciate and purchase unique works from talented artists.

The Iowa State Capitol building is an architectural masterpiece, featuring stunning stained-glass windows and intricate woodwork.

Visitors can marvel at the craftsmanship and attention to detail throughout the building.

The Greater Des Moines area is known for its friendly and welcoming residents.

Visitors can experience Midwestern hospitality at its finest while exploring the city’s attractions and neighborhoods.

The Des Moines Civic Center hosts a variety of performing arts events, including Broadway shows, concerts, and dance performances.

Audience members can enjoy world-class entertainment in a state-of-the-art venue.

The Greater Des Moines area has a low cost of living compared to many other metropolitan areas in the United States.

It offers residents access to affordable housing, quality education, and a range of amenities.

Des Moines is a city that embraces innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering a thriving business community.

From technology startups to established companies, the city offers opportunities for growth and success.

Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, Des Moines has something for everyone. These 46 facts about Des Moines (IA) showcase the city’s rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant community. Explore the attractions, immerse yourself in the arts, indulge in delicious cuisine, and experience the welcoming spirit of this remarkable city.


Des Moines is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. From its humble beginnings as a trading post to its current status as the capital of Iowa, Des Moines has grown and evolved into a vibrant and thriving metropolis. With its beautiful parks, diverse dining scene, and numerous attractions, there is always something to see and do in this city.

Whether you’re interested in history, art, sports, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, Des Moines offers a wide range of opportunities for visitors and residents alike. With its friendly Midwestern charm and welcoming atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Des Moines continues to be one of the best places to live, work, and play in the United States.


Q: What is the population of Des Moines?

A: As of 2021, the estimated population of Des Moines is approximately 217,891 residents.

Q: What is the weather like in Des Moines?

A: Des Moines experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by hot summers, cold winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year.

Q: What are some popular attractions in Des Moines?

A: Des Moines boasts several popular attractions, including the Iowa State Capitol, the Des Moines Art Center, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and the Blank Park Zoo.

Q: Is Des Moines a family-friendly city?

A: Yes, Des Moines is known for its family-friendly environment, with excellent schools, parks, and recreational activities for children and families.

Q: Are there any famous events held in Des Moines?

A: Yes, Des Moines hosts numerous annual events, such as the Iowa State Fair, the Des Moines Arts Festival, the World Food & Music Festival, and the Drake Relays.

Hungry for more captivating facts about Des Moines? Satisfy your curiosity by exploring the city's urban development, delving into its rich history, and immersing yourself in its vibrant art and culture scene. From the transformative power of urban planning to the lesser-known tidbits that make Des Moines truly unique, there's always more to discover in this Midwestern gem. So why not embark on a journey through the pages of our other articles and uncover the hidden treasures that await you in Des Moines?

Was this page helpful?

Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.