Explore Des Moines: Planning a Family Weekend in the City

Welcome to Des Moines, Iowa! While this state capital is best known for hosting the Iowa State Fair every August, there is still plenty to do at any time of year. Des Moines is a family-friendly city with many activities and attractions that kids of all ages can enjoy. Read on to see our itinerary for the ultimate three-day family weekend while staying in our centrally-located Des Moines rental suites.

Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Courtesy of Pappajohn Sculpture Park Facebook Page


Friday morning is the ideal time to travel to the city and check into your short-term Des Moines rental. Once your family has settled in, grab lunch at Fong’s, which serves up incredible Asian-inspired pizzas. Then, spend the afternoon strolling around Pappajohn Sculpture Park and admiring the larger-than-life sculptures. The newly-installed “LOVE” sculpture is a great spot to snap a selfie! Finish your first day in the city at the Science Center of Iowa. The second Friday of every month is $5 Family Night, where you can explore the museum after 5 pm for just $5 a ticket. Don’t forget to grab dinner at the Food Chain Cafe while you’re at the SCI.

Day 2

There’s no better way to kick off a Saturday morning in Des Moines than with a little breakfast and shopping at the Downtown Farmer’s Market. Kids will enjoy exploring the booths of different vendors selling interesting food, fresh produce, flowers, handmade crafts, and more. The farmer’s market is open from May through October. If you’re in town during the offseason, we recommend stopping for breakfast pastries at La Mie instead.
Grab lunch at the infamous Zombie Burger before heading to Adventureland Park for the rest of the day. Adventureland is located just outside the city in Altoona and has over 100 rides, shows, and attractions, including a waterpark. After a long day of fun, head down the road to enjoy a late dinner at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill. This underwater-themed restaurant offers plenty of family-friendly menu items (plus a few adults will love, too).

Adventureland Park
Courtesy of Adventureland Park Facebook Page