Des Moines


2010: 203,433, #106 in U.S., #1 in Iowa

1950: 177,965, #53 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 569,633, #88 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 226,010, #86 in U.S.


Des Moines was founded in 1843 as Fort Des Moines, along the Des Moines River. There is a Riverwalk on both sides of the river in the downtown area. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened in 2009 on the west side of downtown. Downtown has almost four miles of skyways between the second floors of buildings.


Tallest building: 801 Grand (1991), 630 feet

List of tallest buildings

The domed State Capitol (1884), 274 feet tall, overlooks downtown from a hill on the east side of the river.


The Kaleidoscope at the Hub was a small indoor shopping mall that closed in 2019. The flagship Younkers department store closed in 2005.


Amtrak has no service to Des Moines.

Downtown Des Moines
(Photo by Tim Kiser)


The Iowa Historical Museum and the Science Center of Iowa are downtown, and the Des Moines Art Center is west of downtown.


Des Moines has no downtown movie theaters. The Civic Center theater (1979) hosts the Des Moines Symphony, touring Broadway shows, and a variety of other events.


The Iowa Cubs, Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, play at Principal Park (1992), on the south side of downtown. The Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League play at the Wells Fargo Arena (2005).

Map of Downtown Des Moines

Convention and Visitors Bureau

Historic East Village