11 Most Fun Things To Do In Des Moines, Iowa For Couples 

Des Moines started as Fort Des Moines in 1843 and from there it carved its way into becoming Iowa’s capital city with a history as rich as grandma’s secret recipe.

Des Moines also played a slick role in the westward shuffle during the 19th century that made it a star player in the nation’s expansion game. It wasn’t just a dot on the map; it was the GPS of pioneers heading to new frontiers.

Des Moines sits at approximately 41.5868° N latitude and 93.6250° W longitude. This dazzling city enjoys a central location in the United States which makes it easily accessible for 13.7 million lovebirds from all corners.

For couples craving the perfect romantic escapade the best months to hit up Des Moines are spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). 

During these splendid seasons, the weather is as delightful as a scoop of your favorite ice cream with temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F. The blooming flowers and colorful foliage create a picturesque backdrop for your lovey-dovey adventures.

Now, if you want to dodge the extremes it’s wise to avoid the chilly grip of winter (December to February) and the sweltering heat of summer (July to August). 

To sum it up, spring and fall are the sweet spots for couples to explore Des Moines, ensuring the weather is just right for hand-holding strolls, outdoor picnics, and heartwarming moments. 

It’s not just a city; it’s a love affair waiting to happen where every street corner whispers tales of the past and present that creates a melody for your heart to dance to.

1) Pappajohn Sculpture Park

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is located in Des Moines, Iowa and was established in 2009 through a generous donation from local philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn. 

Pappajohn Sculpture Park

It spans 4.4 acres in downtown Des Moines and showcases a remarkable collection of contemporary sculptures by prominent artists like Jaume Plensa, Willem de Kooning, and Louise Bourgeois. 

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park decked out with cool sculptures, offers chill vibes for peeps who dig art. 

The park has primo facilities like walking paths that makes it a fab spot for a stroll. With benches scattered like confetti, it’s a rad hangout to soak in creativity. 

For fitness buffs, the park’s got your back – fitness stations are scattered that will invite you to break a sweat with style. Got kiddos? The playground’s a blast for tiny adventurers. 

Check the events because this spot hosts hip happenings from art installations to live performances. It’s a photo op paradise, too – strike a pose with the sculptures and snap a gram-worthy pic.

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park isn’t just about art; it’s a fusion of good vibes, artful views, and fun things to do in Des Moines for couples.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, fitness fanatic, or just out for a good time, this place cranks up the fun and invites you to soak in the groovy atmosphere.


1330 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

2) Des Moines Art Center

The Des Moines Art Center, established in 1948, has played a vital role in Iowa’s cultural landscape. Originally housed in a mansion, it moved to its current location in 1949. 

Des Moines Art Center

Hosting a diverse collection, the center boasts works by renowned artists like Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe. Its emphasis on education and community engagement further cements its cultural impact. 

The Des Moines Art Center offers a wild mix of facilities and top things to do in Des Moines for couples to make your art adventure pop! With beautiful galleries featuring jaw-dropping art, you’ll be riding the creativity wave like a pro. 

Get your art vibe on with eclectic collections showcasing legends like Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keeffe – it’s a visual feast!

But wait, there’s more! The Center’s commitment to education is as rad as it gets. Dive into workshops and programs that turn art novices into certified art ninjas. 

Plus, the lush rose garden outside is a chill spot to soak up inspiration. Feeling peckish? The on-site restaurant serves up bites that are tastier than a palette of rainbow colors.

Get ready to groove and move because the Des Moines Art Center is not just a place; it’s an art carnival where creativity and fun collide most sensationally!


4700 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312, United States

3) Hoyt Sherman Place

Hoyt Sherman Place, located in Des Moines, Iowa, is a historic venue with a rich history. It was built in 1877 by prominent businessman Hoyt Sherman and served as a residence for the Sherman family. 

Hoyt Sherman Place

The mansion has Victorian and Second Empire architectural elements and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the years, it evolved into a cultural hub, hosting various events and gatherings. 

Hoyt Sherman Place boasts grandeur with its ornate architecture and lush surroundings. The venue offers diverse facilities, from opulent event spaces to charming art galleries. 

Inside, you’ll find a theater that hosts lively performances and concerts, adding a dash of excitement to your visit. The mansion’s historic charm makes it an ideal spot for weddings or special events, elevating any occasion with a touch of vintage elegance.

Amenities include well-maintained gardens, perfect for a stroll or a picturesque backdrop for photos. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the ever-changing exhibitions in the gallery, showcasing a mix of contemporary and classical pieces. 

For a touch of nostalgia and best things to do in Des Moines for couples, explore the mansion’s rooms, each telling a unique story from the past. 

The venue often hosts community events, fostering a sense of togetherness and fun. Hoyt Sherman Place isn’t just a building; it’s a lively hub where history, culture, and enjoyment converge, making every visit an adventure for all ages.


1501 Woodland Ave, Des Moines, IA 50314, United States

4) Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, established in 1929, has flourished into a horticultural haven. Originally a municipal greenhouse, it underwent renovations in 2013, evolving into its current state. 

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The garden spans 7 acres along the Des Moines River and features diverse plant collections, including tropical, temperate, and arid flora. Its domed conservatory, a focal point, showcases exotic species. 

This chill zone is packed with facilities and exciting things to do in Des Moines for couples, boasting a rad domed conservatory that’s basically a plant party under one roof. It’s got tropical, temperate, and arid plant scenes – like a plant rave but classy.

You can join the plant crew in educational programs and events and check out partnerships that bring the botanical buzz to the community. 

The vibe is all about sustainability and eco-chic, making it a top spot for eco-conscious explorers.

Feeling funky? The garden is filled with cool things to do, from strolling through diverse plant collections to getting educated on plant life. 

It’s not just a garden – it’s a green playground where you can rock out with nature in style. So, buckle up because this botanical bash is all about good vibes and green thrills for couples!


909 Robert D. Ray Dr, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

5) Gray’s Lake Park

Gray’s Lake Park, located in Des Moines, Iowa, has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. 

Gray's Lake Park

Originally a gravel pit, the area was transformed into a park in the 1930s as part of a Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression. 

Over the years, it underwent various developments, including the addition of a beach, playgrounds, and recreational facilities.

Gray’s Lake Park boasts a plethora of facilities and fun things to do in Des Moines for couples for a jazzy, good time. 

Kick off your shoes at the sandy beach and soak up the sun or groove on the walking trails encircling the dazzling lake. The park is in tune with fitness freaks, featuring workout stations to pump up those biceps and leg muscles.

For families, the playground swings into action with laughter and joy. Bring a picnic basket and lay out a feast at the sheltered picnic areas, where good times and good eats collide. 

The lake is open for kayaking and canoeing – perfect for a splashy adventure! Anglers can cast a line and try their luck with the diverse fish population swimming beneath the surface.

Feeling sporty? Hit the basketball and volleyball courts for some hoop dreams and spike-tastic action. 

Nature enthusiasts can bird-watch and embrace the tranquility of the park’s lush surroundings. 

As the sun sets, the park lights up with occasional events and festivals, turning ordinary days into extraordinary celebrations. Gray’s Lake Park is not just a park; it’s a symphony of recreation, relaxation, and good vibes!


2101 Fleur Dr, Des Moines, IA 50315, United States

6) Iowa State Capitol

The Iowa State Capitol, located in Des Moines, was completed in 1886, replacing two previous structures. 

Iowa State Capitol

It was designed by architects John C. Cochrane and Alfred H. Piquenard and exhibits a blend of Renaissance and Victorian architectural styles. 

Its distinctive golden dome, gilded with 23-karat gold leaf, is a prominent feature. The Capitol houses the legislative chambers, governor’s offices, and historical artifacts. 

The Iowa State Capitol is a cool spot with loads of amenities and romantic things to do in Des Moines for couples. Inside, you’ll find sleek legislative chambers where important decisions go down. 

The governor’s offices are like executive command centers super officials. But wait, there’s more! The historical artifacts on display are like a time-traveling adventure – relics from Iowa’s past telling stories.

The Capitol flaunts a fancy golden dome gilded with 23-karat gold leaf – it’s practically shining like a treasure! 

There are expensive meeting rooms, probably where top-secret discussions happen (shh, it’s a secret). Don’t forget the sprawling grounds – perfect for a picnic or just soaking up the sunshine.

Feeling historic? Take a tour and learn about the Capitol’s fascinating past. If you’re into architecture, the blend of Renaissance and Victorian styles is a feast for the eyes. 

Oh, and the 1924 fire? It’s part of the Capitol’s wild history – like a dramatic plot twist in a movie!

So, whether you’re into political history, or just want to bask in golden glory, the Iowa State Capitol is the place to be, offering a mix of amenities, historical vibes, and just good ol’ fun!


1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319, United States

7) Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo was opened in 1966 as a modest collection of animals. In 2008, a major renovation called “Blueprint for the Future” revitalized the zoo, introducing new habitats like the African Boardwalk and Australian Adventure. 

Blank Park Zoo

The zoo focuses on education, wildlife conservation, and community engagement, offering programs for visitors of all ages. 

With wild habitats like the African Boardwalk and Australian Adventure, it’s a fantastic journey into animal kingdoms. 

Check out the Discovery Center, where curious minds meet amazing critters up close – it’s like a party for your brain! Grab a snack at the Safari Grill, where burgers and fries are the real “roar” deal.

Take advantage of the Conservation Carousel, where even the grown-ups can jump on a zebra or giraffe and spin into wild excitement. Educational programs? They got them! From zoo camps for the kiddos to Zoo Brew nights for the big kids, learning is a blast.

Feeling wilder? Host your bash at the zoo – it’s the ultimate party venue. 

And guess what? Blank Park Zoo isn’t just about top things to do in Des Moines for couples; it’s also a wildlife superhero, saving endangered species and spreading the conservation vibe. 

So, whether you’re a curious critter lover or a party animal, Blank Park Zoo is your one-stop adventure shop!


7401 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315, United States

8) Science Center of Iowa

The Science Center of Iowa was established in 1969 and has been a hub for scientific exploration and education. Originally known as the Des Moines Center of Science and Industry, it aimed to foster curiosity and understanding of science and technology. 

Science Center of Iowa

Over the years, SCI expanded its exhibits and educational programs, engaging visitors of all ages. The center underwent renovations in the early 2000s to enhance its facilities and offerings. 

Step into the Science Center of Iowa, where curiosity meets coolness! With state-of-the-art facilities, get ready to embark on an adventure of awesome proportions.

Dive into the interactive exhibits, where science becomes your playmate and learning is the ultimate game.

Fuel your cosmic curiosity at the planetarium, where stars twinkle, and galaxies groove in a mesmerizing dance. Grab your lab coat and goggles – the Innovation Lab awaits! 

Unleash your inner mad scientist as you experiment with mind-bending activities and cutting-edge tech.

But wait, there are more best things to do in Des Moines for couples! The Science Center isn’t just about serious science – it’s a playground of fun. 

Slide into the Blank IMAX Dome Theater for a cinematic experience that’ll make your jaw drop. Challenge your brain in the Puzzle Palace, where brainteasers reign supreme. Need a breather? Head to the cafe for snacks that are out-of-this-world delicious.

Whether you’re a science whiz or just here for the cosmic vibes, the Science Center of Iowa is your ticket to a universe of excitement. So, strap in, get ready to geek out, and let the fun times roll!


401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

9) Maquoketa Caves State Park

Maquoketa Caves State Park was established in 1921 and was named after Jackson State Park, which encompasses more than 300 acres, known for its intricate cave systems and diverse flora. 

Maquoketa Caves State Park

The Civilian Conservation Corps played a vital role in developing the park during the 1930s, constructing trails, bridges, and facilities. The park’s caves, formed in limestone bluffs, have attracted explorers for decades. 

Maquoketa Caves State Park is like a playground for nature lovers! With campgrounds that make pitching a tent feel like an outdoor adventure, you can sleep under the stars and wake up to birds serenading you. 

Hiking trails? They’ve got them in flavors – short and sweet for a stroll or rugged and wild for the adventurer in you!

But wait, there’s more! The park boasts picnicking areas that practically beg you to pack a basket full of goodies. 

And, oh, did I mention the caves? Explore dark, mysterious caverns like Dancehall Cave – it’s like entering another world! If you’re into wildlife, keep your binoculars handy – spying on critters is practically a sport here.

Feeling a bit lazy? No problem! There’s a scenic drive for those who prefer four wheels to two legs. 

Need a break from nature? Swing by the visitor center for some cool facts or take a history lesson on the Civilian Conservation Corps, the heroes who jazzed up the park in the ’30s.

In a nutshell, Maquoketa Caves State Park is a fun fusion of outdoor bliss, historical vibes, adult things to do in Des Moines for couples and just the right touch of the wild!


9688 Caves Rd, Maquoketa, IA 52060, United States

10) Brenton Skating Plaza

Brenton Skating Plaza, located in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, opened in 2006 as a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink. 

Brenton Skating Plaza

Initially part of a revitalization effort, the venue quickly became a popular destination for locals and visitors. 

Its state-of-the-art refrigeration system ensures a reliable ice surface throughout the season, which typically runs from November to March. 

Brenton Skating Plaza is the coolest spot in downtown Des Moines, offering a frosty playground with top-notch facilities. 

Glide effortlessly on the ice, surrounded by the breathtaking cityscape along the Des Moines River. 

But wait, there are more cheap things to do in Des Moines for couples! Snuggle up in the cozy warming shelter between spins, where hot cocoa flows like a chocolate waterfall. 

The facility is equipped with skate rentals for all sizes so that everyone can join the icy fiesta. Grab your partner and show off your best moves during themed skating nights, where funky beats and colorful lights turn the rink into a disco wonderland.

Feeling competitive? Brenton Skating Plaza hosts exciting events, from ice races to friendly contests, adding a dash of adrenaline to your chilly escapades. 

And if you need a break from the action, simply soak in the lively atmosphere while enjoying live concerts and fundraisers held right on the ice.

In a nutshell, Brenton Skating Plaza is not just an ice rink – it’s a frosty wonderland of fun and frolic, offering a winter escape that’s as cool as it gets in Des Moines!


520 Robert D. Ray Dr, Des Moines, IA 50309, United States

11) National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium 

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, located in Dubuque, Iowa, traces its roots back to 2003. Its mission is to showcase the rich history and biodiversity of the Mississippi River. 

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

The museum portion immerses visitors in the region’s cultural and industrial heritage, featuring exhibits on steamboats, river trade, and the impact of the river on local communities. 

The aquarium, added in 2003, highlights the river’s diverse aquatic life, including native species and interactive displays. 

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is your go-to spot for aquatic awesomeness! 

Dive into a sea of lively things to do in Des Moines with cool facilities like interactive exhibits, where you can touch slimy sea creatures and witness underwater wonders. 

The aquarium boasts state-of-the-art tanks filled with quirky river critters – meet sassy turtles and flashy fish that’ll make you do a double take!

Need a break from the water world? No worries! This place is packed with amenities to keep you comfy and energized. 

Grab a bite at the café, serving up tasty treats to fuel your river adventure. Don’t forget to snag some souvenirs at the gift shop – your one-stop shop for quirky river-themed goodies!

Looking for more excitement? Check out their awesome events and educational programs. From riveting river stories to hands-on workshops, there’s never a dull moment. 

It’s not just a museum; it’s a wild, watery wonderland where learning meets laughter. So, gather your gang and make a splash at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium – where every visit is a fin-tastic adventure! 


350 E 3rd St, Dubuque, IA 52001, United States

Best Hotels To Stay In Moines For Couples

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