Hello, and welcome (or welcome back), Bulldogs! You’ve chosen a wonderful city to further your education in, but what is there to do in your downtime? Luckily, you have me, a Des Moines native, to tell you about all the fun Des Moines has to offer.
#1 Take a Tour of the Capitol Building
Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa, and Iowa is one of 11 states with a golden-topped capitol building, so why not go see it for yourself? The building stands shining in the East Village, its iconic dome made from 23-carat gold. The Capitol is stuffed with history, art and impressive architecture. It is also the site of many important legislative and executive decisions. Tours of the building are offered Monday-Saturday, lasting 75 to 90 minutes. If you don’t have a car, don’t worry! You can ride Des Moines’ DART bus around town for free by showing your student ID to the driver. To schedule a tour at the Capitol, call 515.281.5591 or go to the Iowa Legislature website.
#2 Enjoy Visual Art
In Des Moines, visual art is all around. From murals painted downtown to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the Des Moines Art Center, there is something for everyone. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a hidden gem close to Drake, and a wonderful place to spend your time. Grab your books and study outside or grab your besties and have a photo shoot. The possibilities are endless! For mural admiration, simply go for a drive. Plenty of murals cover the sides of buildings downtown, and they can be spotted on almost every Iowan’s Instagram. If street art is not your thing, the Des Moines Art Center always has a mix of both well-known and local art pieces on display. Thanks to the Art Center’s mission to make art accessible, admission is always free.
#3 Watch Live Performances
Des Moines offers many opportunities to see a wide variety of live performances. Big name artists like Michael Bublé and Green Day have played for thousands of adoring fans in the Wells Fargo Arena downtown. Professional theater troupes parade through the Civic Center, and local actors give their all at the Community Playhouse. Opera singers soar high and swoop low at the Des Moines Metro Opera, and up-and-coming artists play heart and soul at local bars and festivals.
#4 Catch a Game
Des Moines is home to multiple sports teams, and the Wells Fargo Arena houses indoor football, hockey and basketball. While each sport has its own season, the Arena is incredibly versatile, able to house a concert, two football games and a hockey game all in one week. In the spring and summer, you can grab a seat and a hot dog at Principal Park to enjoy a game of baseball. There’s a sport for everyone to enjoy, and most are played within a 10 minute drive from Drake.
#5 Stay at Drake!
Drake is a wonderful place to be! There is a wide variety of clubs, music, comedy and student showcases right on campus. Attend these events to support your fellow Bulldogs! Follow student organizations on social media to stay in the loop about upcoming events. Griff also posts a lot of events on his twitter account, @drakeugriff. It is easy to find something to do, and most events are completely free for students, including Drake sports.
This is just a handful of ideas to pass your time in Des Moines! To stay in the loop and find even more Des Moines activities, follow Catch Des Moines and Iowa Events Center on Facebook!