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Check Out the Free Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines, IA, United States
7 Kudos
Just because Des Moines isn't a huge city doesn't mean it can't exhibit a worthwhile art collection inside an art museum that is worth seeing. Because it can. The Des Moines Art Center has a great collection of artwork on display on three levels that's worth ~2-3 hours of your time. Interesting sculptures, American and European paintings (including one of many of Van Gogh's olive tree paintings) are on display. Some funky and even humorous contemporary art will also capture your attention such as a dog on a vegetation covered chair and a piece that highlights the importance of vacuum cleaners (LOL!). It's not crowded and best of all, it's 100% free, too. Of course, donations are greatly appreciated. Great activity on a hot, sweltering day. TIP: The museum is not located downtown so you'll have to either drive, taxi, Uber or you can take a local public bus from downtown for about $2 which drops you off about two blocks away from the museum.
Story Details


Ingersoll Ave / 42nd St, DSM
Bus #60 goes from downtown to this stop, which is just a couple blocks away from the art museum.

Culture and experiences

Heritage Art Gallery
Art lovers should also be certain to check out this art gallery in downtown Des Moines.
Salisbury House Drive
Take a tour of this Gothic-inspired home that is modeled after the same in Salisbury, England. You can make a full day of it exploring the art museum and then heading here afterwards.
Des Moines Art Center
Spend a few hours checking out Des Moines' interesting art collection at this art museum on the west end of town. Free admission.


Hyatt Place Des Moines/Downtown
Hotel I stayed in for two nights in downtown Des Moines. Very convenient to most tourist attractions.
Butler House On Grand
Butler House On Grand is a bed and breakfast option near the museum and Salisbury House.

Points of interest

Drake University
Drake is the city's largest college university, nicknamed the Bulldogs
Terrace Hill Historic Site
Terrace Hill Historic Site is a historical site just blocks from downtown.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Visit Des Moines botanical gardens right beside the river for just $10.
Salisbury Oaks
One of Des Moines' nicest neighborhoods. It's worth it to take a walk to the Salisbury House from the art museum if you so choose.
Exile Brewing Company
One of Iowa's top brewers. Iowa is known for it's big selection of local beers. Try some while here!
Polk County Courthouse
Very beautiful courthouse building in downtown Des Moines. Worthy of a photograph!
Woodland Cemetery
Large cemetery in Des Moines. Makes for a good walk.
E Grand Ave / State Capitol, DSM
Definitely one of the most unique state capital buildings in the U.S. Has 5 domes atop it's roof.
Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Cool sculpture park located in downtown Des Moines. Lots of interesting works!
Gray's Lake Park
Pretty lake to bike, walk and kayak along right in the city.
Ingersoll Park
The west Des Moines neighborhood where the museum is located.
Clare and Miles Mills Rose Garden
Lovely park immediately flanking the art museum to the south. Good place for a picnic!


Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company
Stop in for a beer and meal at this pub on Court Avenue. Great selections!
This unique establishment doubles as a cafe and a pharmacy.

Special activities

Iowa State Fairgrounds
The Iowa State Fair takes place annually during the middle of August. It's one of the top fairs in the country.
Ashworth Swimming Pool
Take a refreshing dip at this public park pool on Des Moines' hot summer days.


Waveland Golf Course
You can golf at this nearby golf course in Des Moines.
Principal Park
Home ballpark of the Iowa Cubs, an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs MLB team.
Wells Fargo Arena
Home to the Iowa Wild hockey team, NHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.

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