10 Best Places for Downtown Des Moines Views
Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is full of Instagram-worthy views or backdrops perfect for your next TikTok. Whether you’re looking for a place to see the sights, hold a family photo session, even plan an engagement or wedding photos, make this curation of Downtown vantage points your go-to list.
Principal Park or Mullets
Ideal for daytime skyline views
With views of the Downtown DSM skyline, Historic East Village rooftops, various bridges and the Iowa State Capitol dome — this view of Downtown is “chef’s kiss!”
Principal Park: 1 Line Dr., Des Moines
Mullets: 1300 SE First St. #1253, Des Moines
EMC Overlook at MacCrae Park
Ideal for nighttime skyline views
See the twinkling lights of Downtown DSM at nighttime from the EMC Overlook, added to the park new in 2021 with additional park features completed in summer 2023.
1201 Davis Ave., Des Moines
John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park
Ideal for sunrise views
Facing east, you’ll watch the sunrise over 801 Grand, the Ruan Building and other prominent Downtown buildings. Bonus: Stay for a latte or breakfast at a nearby Downtown restaurant or brunch joint in walking distance, such as Horizon Line Coffee or Ritual Café.
1330 Grand Ave., Des Moines
Iowa State Capitol
Ideal for sunset views
Watch the sun go down over Downtown Des Moines on the Capitol grounds, then head to a Historic East Village bar or restaurant for a nightcap, like the Continental or Bellhop Tiki Bar.
1007 E Grand Ave., Des Moines
Ideal for action-packed views
Catch action-packed skateboarding along the Des Moines River and adjacent to the Principal Riverwalk. Snag a photo by the "WOW" sculpture with a mix of Downtown Des Moines sights also in view.
901 2nd Ave., Des Moines
Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge
Ideal for architectural views
Peep the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates building, the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens pagoda, Simon Estes Amphitheater and much more from this landmark located atop the Des Moines River running through Downtown DSM.
Principal River Walk – Just South of I-235, Des Moines
Parking Garage Rooftops
Ideal for fireworks views
Wind your way up to the top of a Downtown Des Moines parking ramp, like the one at 4th Street and Grand Avenue or the parking garage off of 5th Street between Grand Avenue and Locust Street to catch a great vantage point after any Friday night home game played by the Iowa Cubs!
4th & Grand Ave., Des Moines
5th St. Between Grand & Locust, Des Moines
Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens
Ideal for riverfront views
The Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge, Lauridsen Skatepark and Iowa Events Center are all within close proximity, along with the beautiful backdrop of the Downtown Des Moines skyline.
Robert D. Ray Dr., Des Moines
Gray’s Lake Bridge or Coleman Bridge
Ideal for walking, running or biking views
These bridges are beautiful during the daytime and truly shine at night when their colorful lights are mirrored over the water below — located on the southern side of Downtown Des Moines.
Gray’s Lake: 2101 Fleur Dr., Des Moines
Coleman: Near Gray’s Station – Just off the Kruidenier Trail, Des Moines
The Republic on Grand
Ideal for drinks-from-a-rooftop views
Located at the tiptop of the AC Hotel by Marriott in Downtown Des Moines' Historic East Village, grab a bite to eat or a handcrafted cocktail and enjoy the sights of #downtownDSM in #DSMUSA.
401 E Grand Ave., Des Moines
Share your Instagram-worthy moments with us! Follow and tag @downtownDSMUSA and @DSMpartnership on social media.
Plan your visit to Downtown Des Moines with these tips for parking and navigation. For even more views around the Greater Des Moines region, view our list of shoot locations around DSM curated for photographers, videographers and the media.