1. Do more for less while you’re in Des Moines! Explore everything the city has to offer while staying within your budget. Save at local restaurants, retailers and attractions by taking advantage of these Deals & Discounts.
2. Looking to get a glimpse of spring before it starts? Check out the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden! The Garden offers visitors a chance to cultivate nature’s beauty all year round. This tropical conservancy is a one-of-a-kind stop for your wintery Des Moines weekend.
3. Check out a movie at one of Greater Des Moines’ movie theatre. With so many theaters around the area you can choose the time you want to sit down with a tub of popcorn and enjoy a flick based on when you’re free between games. Check out the following theaters websites for showtimes: Century 20 Jordan Creek and XD, Cinemark Altoona and XD, AMC Classic Southridge 12, Johnston 16, Cobblestone 9 and Altoona 12, B+B Ankeny 12 + B-Roll Bowling.
4. Greater Des Moines is also a shopping destination to suit any fashion trend. From factory discounts at the Outlets of Des Moines, hip stores in the East Village, antique shops and art galleries at Historic Valley Junction and over 133 retailers at the Jordan Creek Town Center the shopping possibilities in Greater Des Moines are endless.
5. Find your happy place at Smash Park! With the largest patio in Iowa, Smash Park offers many indoor and outdoor activities for everyone. Activities include pickleball, shuffleboard, ping pong, cornhole, giant Jenga and more! While you’re there make sure to grab some “nacho average nachos” or a tray of sliders.
6. The dining options in Greater Des Moines can please the wildest of taste buds. If you’re feeling adventurous, head over to Fong’s Pizza and order some of their crazy-but-delicious pizzas, including Crab Rangoon or the 4thStreet Special. Farm-to-table dining is also something to try in Greater Des Moines. The Machine Shed’s “Dedicated to the American Farmer” mission makes for some of the best Midwest comforts. Serving up a cinnamon roll as big as your head or a classic chicken pot pie, The Machine Shed offers a home-cooked dining experience. For more of the tastiest food options in town, check out our Des Best page.
7. If you love to learn or enjoy science, the Science Center of Iowa offers exhibits for any science enthusiasts. You can also take advantage of their virtual resources here.
8. If you’re looking to bring out the competitive side of your group we recommend heading to Great Escape-The Ultimate Experience and taking advantage of the entertainment center featuring 24 bowling lanes, laser tag, arcade games and virtual reality. There’s fun for the entire family at the Great Escape and you’re sure to find some friendly competition during your experience!
9. If you have a short turn-around between games check out the 4.4 acre John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. Within a 15-minute walk and 5-minute drive of the Iowa Events Center you can explore 31 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the Des Moines Art Center. It’s the perfect place for a group selfie or an artsy TikTok. Information on the audio tour can be found here.
10. This list of things to do in Des Moines doesn’t stop at 10! For more awesome inspiration, check out The Check List itineraries, our Des Best page filled with favorites as voted by locals and or award-winning The S’s Are Silent video series. The question will turn from “What is there to do in Des Moines?” to “How do I fit it all in?”
**Catch Des Moines is an official partner of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.