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Top Places for Workday Play in Downtown Des Moines

Downtown B-Cycle

Break out of the break room! These 10 places in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) are awesome spots to take a recess away from the office for a brain break, to garner some physical activity or to just plain have some fun. 

Climb Iowa East Village  

Test your climbing abilities with bouldering at Climb Iowa’s Historic East Village location. A fitness area also offers strength training and cardio exercise.

Wellmark YMCA 

Take advantage of the swimming pool, racquetball courts, basketball courts, fitness classes and exercise equipment. Visitor passes are available for non-members to use by the day. 

B-Cycle Bike Rentals 

With 18 B-cycle stations available in Downtown Des Moines, rent a bicycle for a few hours to take a break outdoors, or even commute by bike to your next meeting! 

Lauridsen Skatepark

Hop on your skateboard or scooter and go for a ride! If you prefer, you could also watch as a spectator. This skateboarding park in Downtown DSM is where the action is at! DSMskatepark.com  

Principal Riverwalk

Ideal for walking, running, biking, roller skating/rollerblading, scootering and skateboarding. Make your way to Lauridsen Skatepark or stop at the Rotary Riverwalk Park and spend a few minutes reliving your childhood enjoying the swings. 

Gray’s Lake 

Take your pick in renting watercraft including kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, pedal boats and row boats! Gray’s Lake also provides bike rentals, a walking/running/biking path, playground, beach, concession stand and shade trees for a few moments of Zen.  

Water Works Park 

With winding paved paths ideal for walking, running, biking (both road biking and mountain biking) or other recreation such as boarding or blading, Water Works Park in Downtown Des Moines is a great little getaway. Stop by the natural play areas to test your balance and garner sensory input. Bring your laptop and a hammock, lawn chair or picnic blanket and make it an afternoon of work away from your desk!   

John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park 

Explore arts and culture with a leisurely stroll through the Sculpture Park’s 24 sculptures located in Western Gateway Park, Downtown Des Moines. 

Central Library 

Allow yourself some quiet solitude. Browse the bookshelves at the Des Moines Public Library’s Downtown DSM location and fill up your weekend reading list by taking home a few books. E-book, audiobook, movie and magazine rentals are also available. 

Yoga on Cowles Commons 

Although the official programming takes place Sundays, June through September, you can still pack your yoga mat during the work week and get your downward dog on at Cowles Commons to find a little break from your cubicle! Cool off by dipping your toes in the zero-depth Lauridsen Fountain (re-opening in July 2022).

Downtown Attractions 

These Downtown Des Moines attractions are open for fun during the workday and serve as a great place to catch a break! 

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden 

Enjoy the gardens both indoors and outdoors, sprinkled with artful sculptures and Downtown DSM skyline views. Stay for lunch at Trellis Café.  

Iowa State Capitol 

With free tours of the Capitol available including the Iowa Law Library, plus several artful sculptures scattered around the Capitol grounds and an unmatched view of Downtown Des Moines, you’re sure to find a nice little getaway here. 

State Historical Museum of Iowa 

Spend an hour or an afternoon perusing the Iowa-centric collections jam-packed with history, art and culture celebrating the state.  

Downtown Breweries or Bars with Activities On-site

Play is the name of the game at these Downtown Des Moines brewery and bar locations open during the workday. A bite to eat and a board game make for a fun outing! 

Confluence Brewing Company

Grab yourself a pint and play cards indoors or on their outdoor patio, with live music and food trucks also occasionally on the menu. confluencebrewing.com 

Peace Tree Brewing Co.

Try your hand at a board game. Patio seating available. Check their events calendar for trivia and live music.  

Ricochet Des Moines 

With its new location in 2022, this Downtown Des Moines gaming spot offers skee ball, darts, bags/cornhole, foosball, bubble hockey and board games. ricochetDSM.com 

Coming soon, explore the new park adjacent to EMC Insurance Companies on the former Younkers Building site where bags, pickleball, chess and other outdoor games are planned! 

Find even more recess opportunities in Downtown Des Moines and explore restaurants, attractions, outdoor recreation and more. 

Greater Des Moines Partnership

DSM USA is the regional identifier for Greater Des Moines (DSM). DSM USA is a bold statement to the world: This is a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. This regional identifier is the result of significant quantitative and qualitative research. The Partnership will champion the DSM USA message, and encourages its Investors, its more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and DSM USA Ambassadors to help share the region's story with One Voice.