Des Moines Art Center


This art museum's complex is an all-star monument to some of the greatest architects of the modern era; Eliel Saarinen, IM Pei and Richard Meier all designed portions. Inside there's a solid collection of art from the 19th century onwards. Matisse, O'Keefe, Rodin and Warhol are some of the names represented. Don't miss the museum's Pappajohn Sculpture Park closer to downtown.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Iowa attractions

1. Valley Junction

1.67 MILES

This historic old village is now part of West Des Moines. The five-block-long commercial strip on Fifth St is the most interesting in the region. Over 60…

2. Pappajohn Sculpture Park


This curvaceous public park has great skyline views and features sculptures by 22 celebrated artists, including Sol LeWitt, Keith Haring and Willem de…

3. State Historical Museum of Iowa

3.78 MILES

At the foot of the capitol, this modern museum features first person accounts from people who lived through different historical eras and events. Yes,…

4. State Capitol

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From the sparkling gold dome to the spiral staircases and stained glass in the law library, every detail at this bling-heavy capitol (1886) seems to try…

5. Living History Farms

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Unfortunately this large and high-concept open-air attraction dedicated to the history of farming never quite lives up to its promise. The site is…

6. Winterset Cidery

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Using nothing but apples (no sugars, waters, noxious chemicals etc) the family behind this cidery creates a range of cider styles and flavours. Much…

7. Hogback Covered Bridge

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In a serene setting, the bridge makes a dramatic statement as it parallels the charmless modern bridge over the river. The ubiquitous graffiti is…

8. Madison County Courthouse

24.34 MILES

A worthy focal point for Madison County, this soaring structure was completed in 1876 and has been used ever since. The silver-colored dome tops out at…