Top 5 Adventures in Des Moines, Iowa

Top 5 Adventures in Des Moines, Iowa

Maybe you’ve been hearing a lot about Des Moines in the news lately, after all, it was ranked #5 in US News & World Report’s Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2019, and #7 Best Place for Business and Careers by Forbes in 2018. Maybe you haven’t heard, and it’s just those who live here clicking on these lists and accolades. 

Des Moinesians (a term I just made up) are a proud people, and if you allow us, we’ll go on and on about how great our city is and how much fun stuff there is to do here. So, in true Des Moinesian fashion, allow me to you provide a list of the 5 best Des Moines adventures. 

The Greater Des Moines Trail System  

Trail (1).jpg

Do you have feet? Do you like to go places on them? If so, the Greater Des Moines Trail System may be just the right fit for you. With over 800 miles of trails connecting everything from the suburbs to downtown, you can bike, hike, skate, or any-other self-propelled motion to get from point A to point B or just have some fun. Basically all of the major trails are paved, which makes them perfect for a road biking tour or skate, and you’re sure to see a few wild creatures and some great places to stop along the way.


You may notice that on any given summer weekend in Des Moines you’re spotting a lot of kayaks on roof-racks and in the back of trucks. Likely, they are headed to one of the many rivers and lakes the metro has to offer. In addition to spots like Gray’s Lake, where you can bring your own or rent a kayak for the day, Des Moines is also home to several kayaking rental and touring outfitters that will help you enjoy a day experiencing the city as you paddle across the water.   

Indoor Rock Climbing

Indoor rock climbing can be a great way to face your fears, get some exercise, and challenge yourself, and Climb Iowa in Grimes offers everything you need to do it. Whether you’re a novice looking to try it out or an experienced climber who wants to stay in shape, Climb Iowa’s variety of courses and equipment offerings let you explore the sport and put your comfort zone to the test. 

dsm_rock climb.jpg

Ice Skating at Brenton Plaza

If you find yourself in our wonderful city over the winter months, keep in mind, it’s not always like this. Challenge your desire to stay inside under the blankets and head over to Brenton Skating Plaza. The rink is perched on the banks of the Des Moines River with beautiful views of downtown, so whether you’re nailing triple axles or just trying to stay upright, you’ll have a lovely panorama of our skyline to keep your smiling. The rink offers skate rentals for all ages or you can bring your own. 

Downtown Des Moines Farmer’s Market

My fellow Des Moinesians would send me into exile if I failed to include at least one food related item. Iowans love food. Des Moines loves good food. And the downtown farmer’s market does not disappoint when it comes to uniqueness, variety, and taste. You’ll find more than just heirloom tomatoes at this farmer’s market. In addition to the enormous assortment of produce (Can’t find daikon at the grocery store? You can find it here!), the market serves up breakfast, lunch, and snacks from a diverse array of local food artisans. You’ll also find live entertainment, fresh flowers, crafts, and local art. We recommend you bring a hand-cart or a large shopping bag so you can haul all the loot home at the end of the day. 

No matter your reason for being in Des Moines, you’ll have no shortage of adventures to choose from. Good luck choosing just one!

Mindfulness on the trail

Mindfulness on the trail

1, 2, 3 Types of Fun

1, 2, 3 Types of Fun