Des Moines, the capital of the lovely state of Iowa, is also the most populated city in Iowa and has been called “the center for U.S. insurance companies.” Now, I don’t care too much about that particular fact, but Des Moines is also the site of first caucuses during the US presidential primaries, and many campaign headquarters are set in Des Moines (now, that’s pretty interesting!)

In French, Des Moines means “of the monks,” and one interpretation says that it refers to a group of French Trappist monks that lived over in St. Louis (which is actually like 300 miles away). Another interpretation has it that the name was derived from Moingona, the Algonquian name for loon (the aquatic bird).

We made a spontaneous trip out to Des Moines on a Friday night, and since it wasn’t planned (and we didn’t have that much time), we decided to just go walk around the city and visit the Sculpture Park, which features artwork by 22 of the world’s most celebrated artists and is the most significant donation of artwork ever made to the Des Moines Art Center. We then spent some time just roaming the streets of downtown, and it’s pretty cool how all the buildings are essentially connected through the walkways in air. Des Moines is a lovely city, and although we didn’t get much time to explore it in its entirety, I do hope we can make another trip out during the day.

7 thoughts on “iowa: explore des moines

    1. You should! It’s a very nice place — although it’s the largest city in Iowa, it’s definitely not a New York or Chicago, so it has more of that large medium city kind of feel 😉

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  1. I was in Des Moines a few weeks ago, and loved seeing the capitol! Didn’t have time to check out the sculpture garden since I also explored Ames and Iowa State. The city is good..just not much free parking.

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