Places to visit and things to do

By Sofia Legaspi Dickens

Over the past decade, the Des Moines metro grew by more than 110,000 residents. At a population increase of 18.6%, the U.S. Census Bureau deemed the Des Moines/West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area the fastest-growing metro by percentage in the Midwest.

No longer is Iowa’s humble state capital a well-kept secret — our region is attracting residents from across the nation and the globe. And with that population growth comes new businesses, new events and new activities.

Whether you’re just visiting, recently moved to the area or were born and raised in central Iowa — we guarantee that you have yet to experience everything the metro offers. This edition of our semi-annual guide covers seasonal activities, live entertainment, unique diversions, retail and restaurants, ways to give back and more. Enjoy, and explore it. 

Editor’s note: While we strive for accuracy, last-minute changes are inevitable. Before visiting an event or attraction, be sure to verify location, scheduling and safety regulations. And while many attractions are free (love you, Iowa!), please check websites for any ticket and registration requirements.