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10 Reasons to Experience Downtown DSM This Winter

10 Reasons to Experience Downtown DSM This Winter

January 9, 2019

Discover new ways to explore Downtown Des Moines (DSM) with our list of 10 things to do with family, friends or on your own. Whether it’s outdoors or in the warmth of a historical building, there is so many ways to spend your time in the city.

Outdoor Excursions

 1. Brenton Skating Plaza

With public skating through mid-March, Brenton Skating Plaza offers a place for families and friends to reconnect and enjoy time together. Enjoy skating under the sunshine or stop by after dinner for a skate under the stars. If you’re lucky, you might pick a date with a few snow flurries, too.

Brenton Skating Plaza in Downtown DSM

2. Extensive Trails

While the trails are most often utilized during the summer months for biking, running and walking, they shouldn’t be forgotten through the colder winter months. If you own a fat tire bike, you can bike year-round. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are additional ideas for when snow is on the ground.

Artful Displays

3. John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

The John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, located in Downtown DSM’s Western Gateway, received a new addition in 2018: Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s ‘Iron Tree Trunk.’ The winter months are the perfect time to put on the hats and mittens and check it out, along with more than 20 other works by renowned artists from around the world.

John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park

4. Art Route DSM

Art Route DSM unites 87 pieces of public art in Downtown DSM. Through the help of a painted path and a mobile app, created by the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Art Route visitors can get to know the sculptures, murals and more throughout the city.

5. Principal Riverwalk

Located in the heart of Downtown DSM, the Principal Riverwalk offers pedestrian bridges as well as points of interest such as Brenton Skating Plaza, the Riverwalk Hub and a new skate park coming soon. Artwork featured on the Riverwalk include a sculpture by artists Joel Shapiro, Sally Vagliano Pettus and Jun Kaneko.

City Lights

6. Brilliant Buildings

Stretching along Grand, Locust, Court and Walnut Streets, you’ll experience brilliantly-lit buildings with bright, beautiful seasonal lighting — a fun, free sight to see with kids! Whether you’re on your way to a show or ready to enjoy one of many Downtown DSM restaurants, you’re sure to appreciate the twinkling displays.

Museum Moments

7. Science Center of Iowa

The Science Center of Iowa (SCI) offers an escape from the cold with winter camps and hands-on exhibits. Families can take in an IMAX movie or visit the Star Theater Planetarium. SCI’s traveling exhibits allow for something new during your next visit.

8. Iowa State Capitol

A free tour around the golden-domed Iowa State Capitol is a great way to pass the time this winter. See the breathtaking Iowa State Capitol library, the State Representative Chamber and climb to the top of the dome during the tour.

Iowa State Capitol

9. Iowa State Historical Museum

For an exhibit and lunch, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Iowa State Historical Museum and its bistro in-house restaurant, Café Barattas. Explore the history of Iowa film stars in the Hollywood in the Heartland exhibit or see the Mammoth: Witness to Change exhibit featuring a full-skeleton replica of a Hebior mammoth.

Shopping Scene

10. Historic East Village Boutiques

Shop local at well-known shops in the Historic East Village. Throughout the winter, this Downtown DSM neighborhood offers holiday events, social events and more. Shops are easy to access and nestled between an assortment of dining options. Whether it’s apparel shops like Raygun and Preservation or handmade creations from Ephemera Stationery Studio and From Our Hands, shopping here you’re sure to uncover new trends and unique local offerings.

Looking for more ideas on things to do in Downtown DSM? Or a list of upcoming Downtown events? We’ve got you covered.